Blackbird Fly book review AND a chat with Erin Entrada Kelly (MMGM)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

     Hi everyone! I can't wait to share with you a few things that have happened this week. Well, actually, there are only two things, but they are a VERY, VERY, big deal so calm yourself down and have a seat. 
     Thing One: I got to read "Blackbird Fly". It's a big deal because an MMGM blogger suggested it (My Brain on Books Thanks for the rec!) and I actually found it in my library. I decided to give the book a shot and actually enjoyed it. It was a very interesting book. The story-line was very detailed and gave me a pretty decent picture about the main character, Apple. 

     Thing Two: I got to interview ERIN ENTRADA KELLY! Yes--I know what your thinking, how did this crazy eleven-year-old snag some interview time with an awesome author? The answer is...I kinda went on her blog...and I kinda went into her contacts tab...and I kinda emailed her...and she kinda EMAILED ME BACK!!!! Yes! She really did! I know you're super happy too--but we're going to start off with the review first. (I'm so evil--I'm making you wait--muahahahhahaha!)

     Future rock star, or friendless misfit? That's no choice at all. Apple Yengko moved from the Philippines to Louisiana when she was little, and now that she is in middle school, she grapples with being different, with friends and backstabbers, and with following her dreams.
     Apple has always felt a little different from her classmates. Her mother still cooks Filipino foods, speaks a mix of English and Cebuano, and chastises Apple for becoming "too American." It becomes unbearable in middle school, when the boys—the stupid, stupid boys—in Apple's class put her name on the Dog Log, the list of the most unpopular girls in school. When Apple's friends turn on her and everything about her life starts to seem weird and embarrassing, Apple turns to music. If she can just save enough to buy a guitar and learn to play, maybe she can change herself. It might be the music that saves her . . . or it might be her two new friends, who show how special she really is. Erin Entrada Kelly deftly brings Apple's conflicted emotions to the page in her debut novel about family, friendship, popularity, and going your own way.

What I Liked About The Book: This book is mainly about how Apple is teased and bullied because she is Filipino. "Blackbird Fly" opens your eyes to a world of racism--a world where not everything is perfect. And not to mention, in the beginning of every chapter, Apple has tells us her "Second Favorite Song For Now", and throughout the book, you're introduced to multiple Beatles' songs. Not being a HUGE Beatles' fan, I was able to look up the songs and listen to them while I read each chapter. It might've been just my imagination, but I think it made each chapter sound better. That part was pretty cool. 

What I Didn't Like About The Book: I believe that everything has flaws. I think everything from my pillowcase to my green and white socks has flaws--not that you had to know that...ANYWAY...Wait what was I saying again? Oh, right, flaws. I believe that everything has flaws. But unlike EVERYTHING else, "Blackbird Fly" seemed perfectly perfect to me. I now it's hard to believe, but I've yet to see something in that book that I didn't like. If you do find something, please feel free to let me know. 

And now...I VERY lucky to get a chance to interview ERIN ENTRADA KELLY and was glad/sad that it wasn't face to face. 

Pros of being face to face: 
  • I would've gotten to meet her!
  • I would've been able to give Erin an awkward hug!
  • I would've begged to get her autograph!
Cons of being face to face:
  • I would've been too, starstruck and then I would faint and then I wouldn't be able to do any of that stuff up there and then I wouldn't be able to ask her my questions and then and then and then and then...Forget that. Let's start the interview!

And action!

Erin Entrada Kelly!

And THE...
No need for the fancy stuff. It's just me. 

Let the interview begin!!!

Cindy: How did you come up with the plot for "Blackbird Fly"?

Erin: I have a lot in common with Apple, so the plot felt very natural to me. I was the only Filipino in my school and I was very embarrassed of my ethnic background. I wanted to be a writer like Judy Blume; Apple wants to be a musician like George Harrison. Apple and I aren’t the same person, but her story is very familiar. I wanted to write a book that shows people it’s okay to be who you are, no matter what other people think. Like they say: “Be who you are, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

C: What made you want to be an author?

E: I was born with some weird writer gene, if there’s such a thing. I’ve been reading and writing my whole life. (Well, except when I was a baby, but I’m sure I was thinking of stories back then too). At some point I realized that I could create any kind of world I wanted—all I needed was pen and paper. As long as I had pen and paper, I was okay. I still feel that way.

C: Are there any other authors that inspire you as you write? If so, who?

E: Judy Blume was my biggest influence when I was a kid, but now I’m inspired by just about everything. I read all kinds of stuff—short stories, flash fiction, long novels, short novels, non-fiction, history, everything. I read short stories on unknown blogs. I read lots of online literary magazines. All of it inspires me in one way or another. Even books I don’t like. I’m a true bookworm. Or maybe wordworm, because I don’t just read books.

C: What was your best subject in school? Why?

E: I’m just going to be honest: I didn’t like school at all until I got to college, where my favorite subjects were English and history. Before college, my best subject was always English. In fact, I got a near-perfect score in English on the ACT/SAT; I scored in the 99th percentile. I was very proud of that. I won’t tell you what I got in math and science. Let’s just say it wasn’t the 99th percentile.

C: What is your writing environment like? (Where do you write?)

E: I write mostly at home, because that’s where I’m most comfortable. I like windows. I like notebooks, because I write my first drafts in longhand. I love flowers. I need a bright room with background noise. In fact, I recently shared my writing space—complete with pictures—with author Jenn Bertmann in her Creative Spaces blog. Check it out:

C: What do you think is the hardest thing about writing?

E: Translating what’s in your head to what’s on your paper. Good writing looks easy, but it isn’t. Every sentence has to count. Every scene has to matter. Readers are smart. If they get bored or come to a scene that makes no sense, they’ll skip it. And then they’ll put your book down and never pick it back up again. And no one wants that!

Annnnnnddd....CUT! That's a wrap people. I think this might be my best MMGM so far! My fingers hurt a lot now, so if you'll excuse me, I think I might take a break. Have a nice week! 

If you'd like to check out the rest of the MMGM's or go back to Shannon Messenger's website, click HERE

If you'd like to check out Erin's website, click HERE

Sisters (MMGM)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

     Hee. Hee. I can't stop giggling. (*takes a deep breath* *feels calm* *feels funny* *massive wave of giggling* *feels calm*) Hi every--heeeeeeeee, heeeeeeeee--ahem. Hi everyone and welcome to MMGM. Today I'm doing a book review on an epically, epic book: "Sisters" by Raina Telgemeier.  Well, actually it's a comic book, but I liked so that's that. 

Summary (from Amazon): 

The companion to Raina Telgemeier's #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling and Eisner Award-winning graphic memoir, SMILE.

Raina can't wait to be a big sister. But once Amara is born, things aren't quite how she expected them to be. Amara is cute, but she's also a cranky, grouchy baby, and mostly prefers to play by herself. Their relationship doesn't improve much over the years, but when a baby brother enters the picture and later, something doesn't seem right between their parents, they realize they must figure out how to get along. They are sisters, after all.

Raina uses her signature humor and charm in both present-day narrative and perfectly placed flashbacks to tell the story of her relationship with her sister, which unfolds during the course of a road trip from their home in San Francisco to a family reunion in Colorado.

What I Liked About This Book: 

This is something I can't say about every book: I could actually relate to "Sisters". The things that happened in "Sisters" were very realistic. Fights, drama, hair pulling, punch buggies, and others may be an interesting way to build the plot, but Raina Telgemeier was able to pull it off. Because I have an (annoying) little sister, the things that happened to Raina and Amara--the main characters--were very relatable, because I've gone through those things too! It helped me realize that I'm not the only one dealing with this stuff. And to have a book that you can relate with kind of makes you have a telepathic connection to how the characters feel. Let me put it this way: It was PREEEETY awesome. 

What I Didn't Like About The Book:

I think the only thing I didn't like about the book was that it was TOO short. It took me less than an hour to read and made me want to pull my hair out (Not that I want to be bald. That was a scary thought...). I mean I read a lot of long books like KOTLC, but "Sisters" seemed SO short. I want to know more about what happened to them!!!

If you like my review(s), please comment, follow me by email, or subscribe. Everyone's support is highly appreciated. Thanks so much!

If you'd like to go back to the Shannon Messenger's blog or to the MMGM list, click 


If you'd like to go to Raina Telgemeier's website to read more about her books, click

Have a nice week! 


The Time of the Fireflies (MMGM)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

     Hey, everyone! Welcome to a brand new Monday! It's MMGM time! Today, I'll be doing a review on "The Time of the Fireflies" by Kimberly Griffiths Little. I *love* this book and you'd be surprised about how I got it. Book fair. I know it's weird, but I almost always get my books from the library. When I read a book that I *really, really* like--I know it seems like every book but still--I'll beg my mom to get me it. And that's usually when we go online and do all that jazz. But hey, enough about me. Let's hear more about the book. 

     A *little* back up info: 

-Larissa (the main character) lives in an antique shop

-When she was younger, a bully pushed her into the river and she almost died

-Now she has a scar right across her face (I feel so bad for her)

     When Larissa Renaud starts receiving eerie phone calls on a disconnected old phone in her family’s antique shop, she knows she’s in for a strange summer. A series of clues leads her to the muddy river banks, where clouds of fireflies dance among the cypress knees and cattails each evening at twilight. The fireflies are beautiful and mysterious, and they take her on a magical journey through time, where Larissa learns secrets about her family’s tragic past — deadly, curse-ridden secrets that could harm the future of her family as she knows it. It soon becomes clear that it is up to Larissa to prevent history from repeating itself and a fatal tragedy from striking the people she loves. (FYI, that wasn't my summary, it was from the back of the book. I can't seem to summary all that goodness in one post. *hangs head in shame*)

     Argh--just reading the title is giving me the creeps. According to my friends, I'm basically freakishly scared of everything--but in my defense, I already read the book and I know what happens so I get to give you a warning. If you plan on reading this book...sit yourself down and prepare yourself because there's no way that you're going to stop reading this thing. Trust me--I don't lie. 
     Kimberly Griffiths Little will just weave her way into your heart and through her book--sealing just the right amount of horror, drama, and comedy into the perfect book. If you want to find out more about Kimberly Griffiths Little or "The Time of the Fireflies" you can check out her website  HERE
     Right before ending this post, I just wanted to thank everyone who gave my blog a chance. And for a look in the future, I'll be doing a review on "Blackbird Fly" by Erin Entrada Kelly next week. Come back next Monday for more reviews!  Bye! 
~Cindy Tran
     To return to Shannon Messenger's MMGM list or go back to her blog, click HERE

I'm writing a NEW STORY!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I can't even. Legit. I have no words. And it's actually surprising because I'm an amateur writer. I still can't even. Here's my prologue: 

The dark room was illuminated by one single lightbulb, which shone like a spotlight on the lone figure who was pacing back and forth. If you looked directly at the light, you could see dust swirling in the air, like scattered puffs of clouds in the sky. 
   “These are the last of them, ma’am.” a boy said from a dark spot in the corner. He gestured towards the six people lined up upon the wall. The boy’s body was barely visible, but you could see tiny movements in his direction, hinting that he was shaking. 
   The girl who was pacing in the middle barely even looked up. She continued to pace. With her arms crossed, pitch-black hair down, and shoulders slouched, she created the gloomy mood, which seemed to have gathered around the room, hypnotizing everyone in it. 
  The boy spoke again when he saw that the girl had no reaction. “Ma’am it’s your choice now. These were the ones that we captured. It all goes down to this. It’s up to you to decide who is the—”
  “Has anyone every thought of adding more lights to the place?” a voice asked from the wall, interrupting the boy from the corner. 
  The girl in the center looked up, and her bright blue eyes scanned the wall. When she found the right person, she took a sword out from the scabbard hung at her waist and drove into the wall, right above the boy who had spoken. The sword’s glinting blade was a mere two inches from the boy’s head. She’d nearly chopped his head off. 
   “What do you have to say to that?” she growled, looking down at him. 
   The boy, paralyzed with fear, didn’t say a word. 
   The girl retrieved her sword and went back to her spot in the middle. “We’ve wasted enough time. I only need to know one thing. Who leaked the secret?” She was on the small side, but her voice carried through the room, echoing as it did. 
      Everyone became interested in their toes. 
     “I said who. Leaked. The. Secret?” She asked, stalking closer to the six people.
     Silence. No one said a word. 
     “Okay. I guess we’ll have to further examine the group then.” She went from person to person, looking into their eyes, as if she were looking for the truth. 
     When she reached the last person, the familiar face made her heart ache. Without warning all the wind was knocked out of her…and she collapsed. 

(dun, Dun, DUN!!! I know it's a cliffhanger. But chill. Hopefully I'll be able to finish this story. For now, I'll just have to leave you in the dark...)

*switches off the light*


*realizes that she just walked into the wall*

*hangs head in shame*

Happy Easter (there *MIGHT* be a playlist!)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

 Happy Easter! It's time for our *FIRST* holiday playlist! 

How to Use Playlist: 

1. You're going to need wi-fi because these links lead to YouTube videos, which will pop up in a different tab. 

2. To listen to a song or watch the video, all you have to do is click on the link with the corresponding number. 

3. There is no auto continue for the videos (or not that I know of...) so you can go in any order that you'd like. 

4. I'm sorry if there are any errors, because I build the links myself, and I'm only human...BUT I will triple check to make sure that the links work, so no worries. :-)

5. The songs that are in rainbow color are the ones that were in my special edition in Sweeter than Fiction, but the ones in regular color are the ones that are new to my blog. Let's get started!


1. Best Thing I Got, By Sabrina Carpenter: 

2. MAGIC, By Tiffany Alvord:

3. The One That Got Away, By Chester See and Tiffany Alvord (COVER):
Play #3

4. Miss Movin' On, By Fifth Harmony:
Play #4

5. Because of You, By Kelly Clarkson:
Play #5

6. Pompeii, By Glee (COVER):
Play #6

7. Style, By Taylor Swift: 
Play #7

8. Maps, By Max Schneider and Alyson Stoner (COVER):
Play #8

9. Who You Are, By Anna Clendening (COVER): 
Play #9

10. Can't Stop Dancin', Becky G: 

11. Skyscraper, By Angelic (COVER):
Play #11

12. Try, By Colbie Caillat: 
Play #12

13. Sweater Weather, By Max Schneider and Alyson Stoner
Play #13

14. Thinking Out Loud, By Ed Sheeran

15. Hurricane, By The Vamps

16. Amnesia, By 5 Seconds Of Summer

17. Uptown Funk, Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars:

18. Lips are Movin', By Meghan Trainor

19. The Heart Wants What It Wants, By Megan Nicole (COVER): 

20. Escape, By Megan Nicole: 

21. Feel The Light, By Angelic:

22. Ready Or Not, Bridget Mendler: 

23. We'll Be the Stars, By Sabrina Carpenter:
Play #23

The Prince of Fenway Park, Unlocking the Spell, and A Year Without Autumn (MMGM)

     Hey everyone and welcome to...MMGM day! (As you can see, I'm still working on the introduction. Please feel free to skip the lame-ness...) Um, anyway, today I'll be doing a book review on "THE PRINCE OF FENWAY PARK" by Julianna Baggott. (I know it seems like I *LOVE* every book, but I really don't. I only do book reviews on the ones I *LOVE*...)

     For those of you who don't really watch or play baseball, you might need some back up info about this stuff. Lucky for you, I did a little research (Thank you, Google!)

Back up info: 

-Fenway Park (usually just known as 'Fenway') is the Boston Red Sox's home. 

-In 1919, (Oh, the horror!) Babe Ruth was sold from the Red Sox's to the New York Yankees. (If you live in New York, yada-yo, you should be partying, but for us Bostonians (*cough cough* , me)...(well, I wasn't born yet or anything...but still.)

-Um, after our BEST player was sold, we were set upon a curse for I don't know...86 YEARS?!?!?!?!?

-(*I think part of me just died*)

-So yeah, there was a tiny little curse thingy...

Back to the review...

     ANYWAY... Oscar Egg thinks he's cursed, just like the Red Sox. Apparently, he has a mom who wants to ditch him and a dad that would I say this...weird. Not weird in 'I-am-so-not-normal-I-can't-sit-in-my-seat-or-eat-cereal way. When I say weird, I mean he lives UNDERNEATH Fenway Park. With creatures. Cursed Creatures...animals that are said to be stuck there until the curse is broken. (BTW, curse=Red Sox not winning any World Series for a LONG TIME) Oscar wants to save his father--and the Cursed Creatures, of course--so he tries to help the Red Sox. During his journey, he meets weird old ladies, finds out that he has the magic ability to figure out codes, and oh, yeah. He goes back in time to retrieve all-star, hall-of-fame-worthy baseball players to save the day--and break the curse. Looks like Superman just got a little less super. 

     Wow. This is unbelievable. I read this borrowed this book two years ago (from the library) and yet I still remember *MOST* of the story. That says something. Usually I don't remember anything, from where I put the orange I was going to eat to which socks I poisoned (Whoa, wait a second...I don't poison socks!). And of course, I would totally recommend this book to everyone. (Hm...I guess I recommend all books to everyone.) But don't take my word for it. Look this book up and check out the comments. I've yet to see a bad one...

#IDoNotPoisonSocks (!!!)


Second book for MMGM today! I'm also doing a review on "A YEAT WITHOUT AUTUMN" by Liz Kessler. Once again, EPIC book. (actually, this book was *OFF THE CHARTS*) It's a must read for girls. (Sorry dudes, but the first one was for you) 

     (The awesome author of this awesome book is Liz Kessler, FYI) Unlike THE PRINCE OF FENWAY PARK, you don't need back up info. I had to read this one a few times to understand it, but there's a really inspiring message to it. If you can see it great, if you can't try to click on the picture, although I'm not sure if it works. Well, if you can't see it at all, the question is: 

     If you could see into the future--would you look?

     Knowing most of you, your answer would be yes--but in your defense, I said yes the first time I saw it too... After reading this book, my funny yes went away and was replaced with a sober *noooooooooooooo*. 

     Here's why:

     Jenni Green is a girl on a mission. After going on a time-traveling elevator, Jenni finds out that she's lost a year of her life. When going back proves to be harder than going back down a level, Jenni starts to panic. If she couldn't go back, she'd be stuck in the future--forever. It doesn't seem too too bad, but when a tragic hits her best friend's family and she loses Autumn as a friend, Jenni has to go back in time. But how?

     In my opinion, anything that involves time travel or friendship or scary situations or extreme drama is my type of thing. Lucky for me, this book had everything I liked in it. How I found the book: I was actually in love with her (Liz Kessler's) mermaid series, "THE TAIL OF EMILY WINDSNAP", and her stories always had a question that would make you change your mind in the end, so I decided to give this "A YEAR WITHOUT AUTUMN" a chance. Happily, I wasn't let down. :-)

     "The author of the best-selling Emily Windsnap series spins a gripping tale about a girl who stumbles into the future--and must change its course to save a friendship."

                                                      ( -I don't know who said this but somebody had to say it)



     I'm feeling adventurous. Third book for today! I got a lot of good feedback on last week's MMGM (The Wide-Awake Princess), so I decided to continue with the next book in the series. (This book is by E.D Baker)



     Back up info:

-Annie has found her sister's true love!!!

-Gwendolyn's true love is an enchanted bear, who's actually a prince

-He was turned into a bear by an evil dwarf

-The dwarf wanted Beldegard's gold and the prince wouldn't give it to him so the only option that he had was...

-They're on a mission to find the evil dwarf

     The next fab book in the fab series is"UNLOCKING THE SPELL". Like I said in the "Back up info", this book is taking place after Annie found her sister's true love, which--like I said--happens to be a bear. Beldegard is a bear that was turned into a prince. Oh wait--I think it's the other way around. 

*goes back into the book to check*


         Yeah. It is. Beldegard is a prince that was turned into a bear by an evil dwarf. Now the gang--Annie, Liam (Annie's might-be-a-little-more-than-a-friend friend), Beldegard, and somehow Gwendolyn, but that's not the point. ANYWAY, they go on a journey to find the dwarf and make him reverse the spell. 

     Since this book was part of the series that I read (this was book two) of course I had to read it. Um, I also found this book on E.D Baker's website (click on her name somewhere up there...), which led me to looking it up in the library, which lead to me having the book, which lead to me holding the book, which lead to me jumping around, which lead to me actually opening the cover, which lead to me reading the book, which lead to me liking it a lot, which lead to me doing a book review. Whew, that was NOT easy to type. 

     A really good reason to read this book: 

You get to see a dwarf get turned into a chipmunk. What's not to like?


A special thanks to Shannon Messenger who lead me to all these wonderful people. Thank you so much for welcoming me to the group. It makes me feel so special. I appreciate every person who decides to give my blog a chance, read my posts, and comment. You don't know how much I like reading what you think. 

*group hug*


(I made it big on purpose. Don't worry.)