Thursday, December 13, 2012

Guest Post & Giveaway: Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb by Ally Malinenko

Today we have a guest post from Ally Malinenko, author of Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb. Ally's talking about the Top 5 favorite books she read as a kid. She's also giving away a copy of her YA Urban Fantasy, Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb! Make sure to enter to win below! Check out a synopsis:


…a normal twelve year old girl with a talent for writing, who has a very notnormal family secret. And when Lizzy’s father vanishes, that secret will change her life in ways unimagined. (Spoiler Alert! It turns out that Lizzy, or Elizabeth S. Speare, is the last living descendant of William Shakespeare. Shhh! Don’t tell anybody!)

Then Lizzy and her best friend Sammy are kidnapped, awakening in the faraway land of Manhattan. Their host is Jonathan Muse, whose job is to protect Lizzy from becoming the latest victim in a family feud going back nearly five hundred years. Is that why is the mysterious, eye patch-wearing Dmitri Marlowe is after her? (Spoiler Alert 2—he’s the last living descendant of Christopher Marlowe, a friend and rival of Shakespeare’s. But keep it to yourself!) Is Marlowe after Lizzy’s family fortune rumored to be kept in the tomb of that bald guy with the goatee? Does he seek artistic immortality? Or Revenge (with a capital R) for a death long, long ago?

In a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, Lizzy and Sammy are thrust into the realm of the mythical and fantastic—from satyrs and Cyclopses to Middle Eastern cab drivers and Brooklyn hipsters in what is truly “an improbable fiction” as the Bard himself once wrote.

Top 5 Favorite Books as a Kid by Ally Malinenko:

I stink at top five games. Top five favorite songs. Top five best albums. Top five favorite foods. Doesn’t matter what the topic is because the point is that I stink at picking just five. Or even just ten. I’m terrible at making choices which is a really bad problem for a writer. So when the fine folks at Pretty in Fiction asked me to pick my top five favorite books as a kid, I balked. Could I really narrow it down to just five? Is that possible? Who knows? Let’s give it a try.

1. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson
I’m not sure exactly the first time I read Bridge to Terabithia because I read it so many times afterwards that it became ingrained in the very fibers and DNA of my imagination. Shortly after finishing it my friend and I crafted together our very own world, Fanteris, complete with entry points, creatures, witches (though I’m quite sure we got those from Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Which, but more on that later), and journals to document it all. We were the King and Queen of our Fanteris. None of that would have happened without Jess and Leslie. It wasn’t until I was older that I learned the sad truth – Mrs. Patterson’s son’s best friend was struck and killed by lighting and watching her son struggle with his grief was the reason for the book – but as a child, this was a tale of pure imagination, the power of friendship and the heartbreaking reality of the world. This book made me believe not just in magic but in the power of story-telling.
Leslie named their secret land ‘Terabithia’ and she loaned Jess all her books about Narnia so he would know how things went in a magic kingdom – how the animals and the trees must be protected and how a ruler must behave.
2. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Oh, Mr. Lewis. Where do I begin? I was probably seven when I read this book the first time. Every closet door I have opened since then, I’ve held my breath for just a moment because hey, what if? If Lev Grossman can build an entire series (The Magicians) out of the meager hope that Narnia is real, well, then I can hope so too.
I watched the British cartoon they made hundreds of times and cried every time Aslan was dragged to the Stone Table. I had the whole set of books and I read them over and over and over again till I had to tape some pages back in. Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the Last Battle, my unhappiness was really about Narnia being over. The story was true because I believed it was true.
And then, of course the inevitable happened. I got older and the light went off and I said, “Wait what? Aslan is Jesus?” and for a while the whole thing came apart. And I was angry and felt betrayed and vowed to never wish for Narnia again. But of course, then I got even older and I got over it. The truth is I will always separate that story that land, that magic from whatever allegory it was. Because when I was a child, I believed in Aslan, the lion, the warrior, not Aslan the stand-in for Jesus. And finally, and maybe most importantly C.S. Lewis was the first one who made me want to be a writer. I wanted to craft a land, people it, and live in it.
Once a King in Narnia, always a King in Narnia. But don't go trying to use the same route twice. Indeed, don't try to get there at all. It'll happen when you're not looking for it. And don't talk too much about it even among yourselves. And don't mention it to anyone else unless you find that they've had adventures of the same sort themselves. What's that? How will you know? Oh, you'll know all right. Odd things, they say-even their looks-will let the secret out. Keep your eyes open. Bless me, what do they teach them at these schools.
3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
Meg Murray might be my favorite character ever created. She wasn’t fearless. She wasn’t spunky. She was neither Anastasia nor Pippi Longstocking. She was awkward and shy and lacked confidence (though she’s smart as hell) in her family full of geniuses. She was ME (minus the family full of geniuses).
Plus there was Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Which, who to this day I still find fascinating and clearly stole, renamed The Wandering Witches and peopled my imaginary world with. Plus the book opens with “It was a dark and stormy night.” Perfection. Even now I try to throw the word tesseract into at least once conversation a day (no, it doesn’t work well, but thanks for asking).
Plus time travel, centaurs, the man with the red eyes, the black thing, telepathy alternate universes. Need I go on?? It’s sci-fi and fantasy with a healthy dose of realism and chock full of people who I understood.
Suddenly there was a great burst of light through the Darkness. The light spread out and where it touched the Darkness the Darkness disappeared. The light spread until the patch of Dark Thing had vanished, and there was only a gentle shining, and through the shining came the stars, clear and pure.
4. Watership Down by Richard Adams
I used to pick this book up at my local library. And then promptly set it back down. Pick it up, put it down. Just to feel the heft of it. There were ever so many pages, it fascinated and terrified me at the same time. When I finally mustered up the courage to check it out I carried it around school like a badge of honor. Look how big it is, I thought to myself when I left it on my desk. I’m going to read ALL those pages. And I did. I read the story of Hazel and Fiver, of the warren without does and in terrible danger – my first prophesy – of Bigwig and Dandelion and Blackbery and Pipkin and Silver. A simple story about rabbits that was far from simple, that encompassed my first true understanding of the noble quest, a journey that would be replayed again in my life when, older, I bent the spines of Homer and Virgil. It was epic story telling before I even know what an epic was and in being so it helped sew the seeds of a what constitutes a hero’s journey.
All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you; digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.
5. Everything else by Everyone Else
I told you I couldn’t just do five. So, in the number five slot I’ll cram in everything else that mattered to me when I was a kid. Here goes: Charlie and Chocolate Factory, The Witches, Freckle Juice, Frindle, How to Eat Fried Worms, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Fudge, Super Fudge, Little Women, Charlotte’s Web, Pippi Longstockings, The Hobbit, Deenie, Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, The Borrowers, Double Fudge, Ramona, Beezus and Ramona, Henry Huggins, Ribsy, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Socks, Ralph S. Mouse, Island of the Blue Dolphin, Hatchet, Black Stallion, Where the Red Fern Grows, Cricket in Times Square, Giver, The Door in the Wall, Number the Stars, Bunnicula, Chocolate Fever, Harriet the Spy, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, The Incredible Journey, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, The Secret Garden, The Rescuers,….this list is just going to keep going.

I said from the get go, I couldn’t do five. So now, it’s your turn. Top five (or 50) favorite books when you were a kid. Ready? Go!


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For more about Lizzy Speare check out these sites!

1 comment:

We love to read them. :)

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