The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani 

So, I totally judged this book by its cover…come on, look at it!

The School for Good and Evil

http://somanchainani.net/

This is an awesome story! Two girls, an isolated village in the woods, a late night kidnapping, a mysterious school full of Good Evers and Evil Nevers, and a masked School Master with a dark secret. Yup, I’m hooked!

This book reminded me of Harry PotterCharlie Bone, and The Grimm Collection, but with such a different and unique twist! I loved Chainani’s spin on the classic fairy tale world, good versus evil, love, and friendship.

So. Much. Fun!

I saved this one for our Thanksgiving trip and I wasn’t disappointed! Excuse the blurry pic, but I was in the car (nope, wasn’t driving…I am too slow for Schmoopy!). I finished it last night & didn’t really want it to end!

Of course, I needed to find out which school I’d end up in, so I went online applied to SEG myself. The results weren’t that shocking, even though I kind of secretly wanted to be a little more evil.

ever

 

I’ll totally read the second book, A World without Princes when it comes out. I even hear the film rights have been acquired; I’d love to see this one made into a movie!

The School for Good and Evil  gets 4 Blings! from me. There were a few spots that left me kind of eh, but overall it was a great read. Middle Schoolers and anyone who is kinda dreamy would totally like it!

4 Blings!

4 Blings!

 

Here’s some more info about the book from http://somanchainani.net/books/:

The School

In 2013, the adventure begins. HarperCollins Children’s Publishers presents THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL, the first book in an epic fantasy trilogy by Soman Chainani.

“Invention in overdrive, indulging in a gnarly smackdown of folklore conventions, THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL is a comedic education by a writer primed to shoot to the head of the class.”

Gregory Maguire, Author of WICKED

“Wow. From the very first sentence, you know you’re entering a thrilling world of strange fantasy. The beautiful Sophie can’t wait to be kidnapped by the mysterious School Master. And I couldn’t wait, either–because I knew I was in for a wild and dangerous fairy tale ride. I loved this book.”

R.L. Stine, Author of GOOSEBUMPS
and FEAR STREET

“A whip-smart debut… If I could bewitch you all to read it, I would. Grade A.”

Tara Fowler, Entertainment Weekly

Hardcover Release: May 14, 2013
Page Count: 496 pages
Reading Level: Ages 9 & up
ISBN-10: 0062104896
ISBN-13: 978-0062104892

Synopsis

“The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.”

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?

The School for Good & Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one.

What are you reading? 

 

If you buy the books from the links above, I may get an associate fee from Amazon. It hasn’t happened yet, but hey, a girl can dream.

This blog is all Mandee.

Ashes & Shadows…Ilsa J. Bick Rocks This Post!

So, you may remember when I read Ilsa J. Bick‘s Ashes.

It freaked me out & kept me up at night.

I LOVED IT!
ASHES-5 Creepy Blings!
It also ended in a OMG! WHAT THE WHAT! cliffhanger! I totally love/hated how Ilsa rocked those last two pages!

Finally, finally, finally, Shadows is here! And, let me tell you, it is Ashes on overdrive! Just as amazing, way more awesome, and (if this is even possible) totally more disgusting and extreme. It rocks!
Shadows gets 5 Creepy Blings, too!

I am the happiest girl ever today to be able to present you with a post written by the AWESOME Ilsa J. Blick herself! WOOT!

Overview of characters Part 1 – For Books and Bling – Mandee
Need a quick refresher, of who’s who before you read SHADOWS? Well, you won’t get much in SHADOWS, but if you DO need to a memory-jog, read on.
If you haven’t read ASHES, shame on you. But don’t despair, you’ve got time.
In any event, BEWARE: spoilers ahead. Really, if you’ve not read ASHES, don’t go any further. Not only will you ruin the perfectly good time you might have had—because no synopsis can do justice to a novel—you will miss a lot of vital information that I can’t include.
Just saying.

Alex Adair: living with her aunt in Illinois after her mom, an ER doc, and dad, a cop, died in a helicopter crash three years ago. Suckier still, Alex carries a monster in her head: an inoperable brain tumor that’s stolen her sense of smell and many of her memories, especially those of her parents. After two years of failed chemotherapy, radiation, and experimental regimens, Alex has decided to call the shots for a change. As the novel opens, Alex has run off on what might well be a one-way backpacking trek through the Waucamaw Wilderness in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She intends to honor her parents’ last wishes and scatter their ashes from Mirror Point on Lake Superior. As it happens, she’s also got her dad’s service Glock, just in case she opts out of a return. After the Zap, Alex gets her sense of smell back in spades: a super-sense that also allows her to intuit emotions and, on one occasion, get a glimmer of what’s going on inside the mind of a wolf. Which is pretty funky. Much more to the point and like the dogs, she is able to detect the bloated roadkill stink of the Changed. Oh, and all of a sudden, every dog is her new best friend.

Ellie Cranford: sullen, uncooperative, a trifle whiny, a kid Alex has to keep herself from slapping silly. What can you say? The kid’s eight. Her dad’s KIA in Iraq; her mother split years back; and Ellie’s now being cared for by her grandfather, Jack, who might have the patience of a saint, but cut the kid a break. She hates camping, and it’s not like she hasn’t got good reason to be a little pissy anyway. Initially rescued by Alex and then Tom, Ellie is kidnapped by some very nasty adults who see her as a meal ticket.
Mina: Ellie’s dog, a Belgian Malinois, and formerly her dad’s MWD (military working dog). Mina also has the patience of a saint and packs a mean bite. The nasty adults take her, too.

Tom Eden: a young soldier and explosive ordinance specialist on leave from Afghanistan; a competent guy who complements Alex in a lot of ways. After Alex fends off a pack of wild dogs, Tom saves both Ellie and Alex by shooting his buddy, Jim, who’s gone through a major lifestyle change. Steady and calm, someone to whom Alex is instantly attracted, Tom also has a few secrets of his own. The biggest is just why he’s in the Waucamaw to begin with. Once they leave the (relative) safety of the Waucamaw—we’re talking wild dogs, booby traps, and kids who’ve suddenly decided that people make excellent Happy Meals—Tom is shot while trying to prevent the nasty adults from stealing Ellie.

Check out Ashes, if you haven’t. Get your hands on Shadows right away! And, of course, give the brillantly ewie Ilsa J. Bick some major creep out love!

A HUGE Books and Bling thank you filled with love for Ilsa. For both writing this post and creeping me out in a way that just makes me want MORE!
You totally rock!

Ilsa J. Bick rocked these books!

5 Blings! for both Ashes & Shadows!

5 Blings! for Ilsa J. Bick!

You’re Killing Me, Smalls! & 2 Thank Yous: AS King & my parents rock!

More Mandee Monday-You’re Killing Me,  Smalls!

So, a normal person would be excited when their favorite author announces a new book. A normal person would just pre-order it and wait excitedly. A normal person would check their blog from time to time and read updates and such.

There hasn’t been any normal in my life since,

well, never. 

I wanted to be a garbage man (yes, MAN) when I was 3. My mom let me get up early and watch the garbage men when they picked up our trash and I still remember peeking out the window and waving to them with a huge smile on my cute little face (I was pretty darn cute, I must say!) I was a puppy for several weeks (again, yes, WEEKS) when I was four. I barked, ate from a bowl, but thankfully used the potty like a person. (WHEW!). There was also a waitress phase. We turned the kitchen into The Hobit Hotel (my Mama started reading me Tolkien when I was 2). I took orders on my little notepad and brought out the food. It was hysterical. My dad, Popi, and I would then sit down and figure out the one thing that wasn’t on the table. We’d then wait until Mama sat down (finally) to eat to ask for it. She’d yell something about our legs being broken or how we’d be sorry when she was gone. Then she’d go get whatever we wanted and kiss us on the head.  I have at least a million more of these stories about my parents and how they totally rocked my little kid world and shaped me into someone who laughs and smiles and cares and really gives a darn about people.

Now back to my point: A normal person would be ecstatic at the news that their ultimate favorite author (YES, YOU, AS KING! YOU!!). And, don’t get me wrong, I totally am. But, I’m also a total brat-face and I can’t wait.

I. CANNOT. WAIT! 

There are so many awesome books out there that I am dying to read. There are new books, series finales (Lauren DeStefano’s SEVER immediately jumps to mind), and a my towering TBR piles.  I should really just hush and read and be happy. But, I can’t do that! I’m an only child. Waiting makes me go all Crazy Town Banana Pants! (Do you watch Community? If not, OMG-Go Freaking Watch It For Real Life!)

So, what’s my point here? Well, I have two. (possibly more, but I’m not a math person).

1. Thank you, AS King,  who I totally freaking love as an awesome author & totally fun person (BTW: not at all in a creepy stalker!) kind of way! You say what needs to be said. You are a survivor and I respect the hell out of you for your awesome stand against bullying. You shove it in the faces of people who need it shoved there (and other places I shall not name here). You find joy in things that matter. You just TOTALLY FREAKING ROCK! Mostly, though, You write these EPIC books that sink into my soul! They sit there and become part of me in a way that makes me stronger & better. You hit home with kids who don’t think anyone gets it. Then they read your books and feel like someone really does know what nobody else understands. Sometimes that is one of my students or a kid who I know really needs you. Sometimes it is someone in a book store or a library that I don’t know. Sometimes it is me. Really, your writing makes me hurl your books into people’s hands and scream, “READ THIS RIGHT NOW!!”  The Dust of 100 Dogs had me shoving the text in people’s hands! Please Ignore Vera Dietz shook my world. Everybody Sees the Ants, wow! Just wow!

I really super totally want to read Ask the Passengers immediately! I cannot wait for Reality Boy!

Simply put:

You’re Killing Me Smalls! 

2. Thank you, Mama & Popi! My parents are awesome. I’m lucky to have been raised by people who loved me & wanted me. I used to think Popi and I were kids together. I used to say, “Popi, remember when we were little and we . . .” My Mama says that we were loved more in one day than most people are loved in their whole lives. It’s true, too.  Maybe the dishes sat in the sink some nights, maybe we didn’t have a whole bunch of money. Who cares! I sure didn’t. They made me KNOW that I could do anything I wanted to do. They showed me what the real deal was, but made it fun, too! They read to me, let me be what & who I needed to be, picked up the shredded bits of my heart a zillion times when things totally sucked,&  they made me proud to be their kid! My Mama showed me what real love means when we cared for Popi as we slowly watched cancer take over his life. We were able to laugh then, too, in between times of nightmares and oceans of loss. They made me realize what I’m worth and taught me what marriage really means. Schmoopy and I can proudly base our marriage on those of our parents. My model for love is the truest example. There aren’t really words in English or any other language to explain these two amazing people.

 These two amazing people raised me with so much love & laughter & hope & peace.
I’m the luckiest kid ever!  

I do realize that to many this post seems to be about two totally different things. But it isn’t. The way I was raised and they way that AS King writes really do belong together. And I don’t really need for anyone but me to get that.

Proud to be Nerdy!

Two Worlds Collide!

Today, my books and bling life and literacy teacher life get to collide again. I love when this happens!

I love reading. Even more that that, I love people who love reading!

So, when I had the chance to write a post for the awesome Nerdy Book Club, I was all in! These are my people! I feel so at home with the Nerdy Book Club. Though I try to visit a variety of blogs, this is the one I never miss!

Check it out here: http://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/my-kids-hate-reading/

I hope you join all the Nerdy Book Club awesomeness! It really is great to be Nerdy!

Amped Bling! Daniel H. Wilson ROCKS!

Daniel H. Wilson is freaking awesome! 

I loved Robopocalypse! Totally loved it. It scared the heck out of me, but in an awesome way! I also loved How to Survive a Robot Uprising! I even used it with my 8th graders this year. They loved it, too! (I would have used Robopocalypse, but there were too many F-bombs for school!).

 

So, when I heard Daniel H. Wilson had a new book coming out, I pre-ordered it immediately! Got AMPED today and cannot wait to read it!

Amped Bling! Daniel H. Wilson

Ready for some awesome robot action? Check out these Daniel H. Wilson titles at your local indie book store or grab them from Amazon here:

TGIF Question of the Week: A sad story

Ginger, from GReads!, has these awesome TGIF posts with really fun questions! I’m jumping in again this week, but with a warning:  My answer isn’t a happy one.  So, if you don’t want to read something sad, and I don’t blame you, then go ahead and skip this post.

A Book Blogger is Born:

What made you decide to 
start your very own book blog?

 

I started my book blog when I was going through a time of personal and emotional HELL! What started out as the best year of my life, quickly feel apart. In short, I had my dream job and Schmoopy and I were finally (finally, finally, finally after years of trying) going to have a baby. It was a time of true peace and bliss in our lives. It didn’t last.

There were plus signs and blood tests. There were ultrasounds and heartbeats. There were 13 weeks of complete euphoria. I was one of those annoying pregnant people that smiled every time I puked. It was just like heaven.

Then we went to visit to a new doctor for some testing (since I’m in the “kinda old to be pregnant” category, we needed to get some extra tests done). During the ultrasound, the tech, who we didn’t know, was making that “uh-oh” face. She said she’d be right back. I knew something was wrong. We were told by another stranger (a very nice doctor that I can’t help but despise) told us that our baby had no heartbeat. There aren’t words to describe this. We were broken. We were completely and utterly broken. Broken and shocked. This wasn’t supposed to happen. That was September 29, 2010. I had surgery on October 1. The recovery was awful. I was deeply depressed. I was in pain, both physically and emotionally.   I really was broken. There were nightmares, and pills that made me feel like I was being stabbed, and people that said the most horrible things. If you aren’t sure what I mean by this, please check this post by Devan at Unspoken Grief. There was a lot of healing that needed to happen in my heart and mind. My body was working against me and it seemed that everyone else was, too. If someone you know tells you that they’ve miscarried, love them, support them, express how truly sorry you are, and more than anything, keep your opinions and advice to your self.

As my world shattered (this may sound extreme, but it is actually an gross understatement), my work was also falling apart. My position wasn’t going to be renewed (budget cuts) and I was told that I’d be spending the rest of the year filling in at different spots throughout the building. Just like that, the dream job was slipping away, too. Isn’t there some saying about how long the fall is when you are on top of the world?! At almost the same time, my personal and professional life crashed.

Real depression is painful. It hurts. It also makes everyone who loves you hurt, too. Sometimes it brings out the worst in people. I will never understand why, but it’s true. Simple human kindness isn’t as common as I always believed it to be. And at the same time, the kindness of strangers is sometimes so powerfully beautiful that I almost can’t comprehend it. I’ll never know why some people act the way they do, especially when someone is in so much pain. I do know that most people are kind. I also know that I don’t have room in my heart or life for those that are unkind. What a horrible learning experience. I cannot even explain how amazing my husband was during all of this. I was completely broken and he stayed so strong. I know now that his heart was just as broken as mine, but I couldn’t do anything but breathe (and some days that was a struggle). He was perfect. He was everything I needed him to be. He found his healing through helping me. He really is my greatest blessing. I love that man!

In the spring of 2011, when I was just beginning to feel human again, I decided to start something positive. My love for reading and a silly little tradition of me taking pictures of my engagement ring (When Schmoopy and I got engaged, I started posting pictures of our Adventures in Bling!) came together into this blog. It was such a major part of my healing. I’ve met so many amazing people and learned so many new things. It’s been a little over a year now and I’m still learning as much as I can and trying to interact with as many wonderful people as possible.

That’s the long, sad story of Books and Bling! There is still healing to be done, unanswered questions about our future family, and lots to learn. Wow, this really made me feel better!

While this journey was born out of true tragedy,

it really is leading to a very happy ending!  

Please remember to be kind, always!

 

Bling Worthy Books now on Tumblr!

Check out my list of awesomely Bling Worthy Books on Tumblr. I’ll keep adding to the list. It’s super easy and fun!

Basically, this is an epic list of books that I think are worthy of major Bling! 

Do you have a Bling Worthy Book to suggest? I’d love to hear about it! 

 

 

*Full Disclosure! These are all books that I've read or that books that I've heard amazing things about and REALLY want to read. If you'd like to buy one of these books for me, that would ROCK! Also, as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, if you decide to purchase the books through my links I'll get compensated from Amazon (assuming I set it up correctly...who knows!). I'll use that $ to maintain this blog, buy more books, and run contests.

One Second After by William R. Forstchen

5 Blings for One Second After!

Goodreads Says: New York Times best selling author William R. Forstchen now brings us a story which can be all too terrifyingly real…a story in which one man struggles to save his family and his small North Carolina town after America loses a war, in one second, a war that will send America back to the Dark Ages…A war based upon a weapon, an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP).  A weapon that may already be in the hands of our enemies. Months before publication, One Second After has already been cited on the floor of Congress as a book all Americans should read, a book already being discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a truly realistic look at a weapon and its awesome power to destroy the entire United States, literally within one second. It is a weapon that the Wall Street Journal warns could shatter America. In the tradition of On the BeachFail Safe and Testament, this book, set in a typical American town, is a dire warning of what might be our future…and our end.

Wow! No, really…WOW!

One Second After was awesome!

I am quite addicted to dystopia and apocalypse reads lately. There are just so many awesome titles! And, quite frankly, I was getting a vampired out! (OMG, but I still love them…just need a break! I’ll never have a crush on a zombie, I swear!). I love disaster movies like Armageddon and The Day After Tomorrow. So, when I read about the book on Parajunkee’s awesome blog, Parajunkee’s View, and just had to read it. Click here for her review! 

One Second After is (gasp) not YA. It is a real grow-up book. But, it was still awesome! The book focuses on a family in a small town & their struggles after an EMP (electromagnetic pulse–super scary stuff) blanks out all electronics. Image it…everything with a computerized or electrical component instantly gone! Freaky stuff! Freaky FOR REAL LIFE stuff!

This book was awesome. I loved the characters, even the ones I didn’t like, and I got pretty attached to their stories. I could easily imagine myself being forced to rethink how to live without all of my gadgets and luxuries that I generally take for granted (especially my iPhone & iPad, hot showers, and-OMG-my Keurig!). My head was spinning throughout the book as new problems arose…like lack of critical medication for diabetics and those with mental illnesses. When things get bad, they really get bad.

I loved how Forstchen brought me in to the lives of those in his small mountain college town, made me experience all of their fears, losses, and small triumphs. It was tense at times…really tense. There were heart wrenching decisions that had to be made, lives that were lost, and total shockers that really made my mouth drop open.  A few times I felt like I knew something awful would happen, and I would silently beg to be wrong.  That wasn’t always the case in One Second After! Forstchen did what needed to be done for the sake of the story, even when the outcome was dire or severe. That’s dedication!

The threat of an EMP attack is real. The world post EMP created by Forstchen is entirely possible. I sure as heck hope it never comes to that!

Read One Second After!  It is an awesome, terrifying, & realistic look at a future I  never want to see! 

Challenge Time: Chick Loves Lit’s Completely Contemp Challenge 2012 #CCC

I’m totally into Reading Challenges this year! I think you should be, too!

I’ve signed up for the AWESOME Chick Loves Lit’s Completely Contemp Challenge 2012.

The challenge is to read books from 2010, 2011, & 2012.  It will help cut down my TBR piles from past years a bit & still read all of the exciting books being released in 2012!

I’m planning to read 25 books towards this challenge, but I bet I will end up reading more.

My personal goal for 2012 is to read 112 books! (1oo+the current year=math even I can handle!).

This is a total Book-Win-Win Situation!

Here is the beautiful challenge Banner! I hope you join me in this super cool Contemp Challenge!!

Completely Contemp Challenge 2012

Ordered Cinder by Marissa Meyer! Thank you @Parajunkee!

Today I am IMPATIENT!

I can’t wait to read Melissa Meyer’s Cinder.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I’ve been on the waiting list at the public library for a while. I’m trying to be patient!

Alas, Patience and Mandee just don’t mix!

Today I read the super awesome review by  Parajunkee’s (read it here) and decided that I just cannot wait another second (well, maybe a day or two until the box arrives!).

Also, if you aren’t reading Parajunkee’s blog…well, start right now-I’ll wait!

You can read the first 5 chapters here free  (but don’t do it if you have no patience!)

So excited for some awesome Cinder Bling!

Maybe we will just file this under Don’t Tell Schmoopy!