Melody Ellison is American Girl’s newest historical character. No Ordinary Sound: A Melody Classic One by Denise Lewis Patrick is the first book of two about her.
Melody Ellison is nine years old and she’s living in Detroit in 1963. She’s been choose to sing a solo for youth day at her church and she’s having a hard time decide what song to sing. She takes advice from her older bother who is a really good singer and whose dream is to be a Motown singer. She also takes advice from her grandmother, Big Momma, who is also a singer. What ultimately, inspires Melody to choose a song is the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There are many unfair things happening during Melody’s time, even to Melody’s own family. It’s a tragedy that happens at a church in the south that leaves Melody silent. Will she be able to raise her voice and sing at youth day?
First things first, Melody is such a cute doll. I got her a week ago right when American Girl released her and I don’t like to play favorites with my dolls but she’s definitely one of mine.
Melody’s story struck a cord with me (musical pun intended). I remember learning about the Civil Rights Movement all throughout school but reading about it from Melody’s point of view. I liked seeing how Dr. King influenced her and gave her hope. They way that melody took the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church broke my heart. I almost cried reading that part.
I loved how bold and brave Melody is. She fights for what’s right and she won’t stand for the discrimination. Eventhough she’s a fictional character, I admire her.
I liked this Beforever bind up better that Maryellen’s. My biggest problem with Maryellen’s volume one was that it felt like it was three different short stories tied together in to one novel. This was not the case with Melody. Melody’s story was one story and I really appreciated that.
This story was beautifully written and because of that, I give it 5/5 stars. I will definitely be reading part two of Melody’s story in the very near future.
It’s been one year since the very first post went live on Book Alphas. I can’t believe it! Time has really gone by so fast. So, I thought it’s time you get to know me a little better and I thought I’d give you 25 bookish facts about myself.
- I hate mass market paper backs. They’re bulky, the font on the page is small and they do not look good on my book shelfs.
- It physically pains me to see pages in books dog eared.
- I didn’t start reading the Harry Potter books till I was 18.
- My favorite genre is contemporary. I’ll read it in young adult and chick lit.
- To meet Sarah Dessen, one of my all time favorite authors, I made my Dad take me to Dallas (it was a four hour car trip and totally worth it).
- When I was in Elementary School, my favorite books to read were the American Girl Books.
- I still regularly read American Girl books (and collect dolls. I’m 20 and have no shame.)
- Out of all the books I was required to read in high school, the only one I finished was Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger.
- I’ve actually picked up more of J.D Salinger’s works since then.
- I have three favorite authors: Lisi Harrison, Sarah Dessen and Emily Giffin.
- I buy most of my books from Amazon.
- I love cheep books, so I buy a lot of books at the bargain section at Barnes and Noble, Half Price Books and Book Outlet.
- My favorite place to read is beach side.
- I write a review for every book I read but with only posting one review a week and I read a lot of books so, a book review is rarely up right after I read a book.
- I love how pretty rainbow bookshelves look but it makes me uncomfortable thinking that authors and series would be separated on my shelves.
- The name of the blog, Book Alphas, is a reference to one of my favorite authors of all time, Lisi Harrison. In her Clique series, the girls are always fighting over who is the Alpha- the leader who is the smartest, prettiest and coolest person of the group. She has a spin off series from the Clique, Alphas. The alphas series is about a group of girls who are all “alphas” and are at a boarding school for the best of the best. Alphas Academy. The purple color of the website is also a reference to The Clique. The main character, Massie Block, finds out that it means royalty and it becomes her favorite color- she even has a purple streak in her hair at one point!
- I love the smell of bookstores.
- I love to stare at how beautiful my bookshelves are.
- I have somewhere around 50 unread books on my shelf.
- I have a book buying addiction.
- I watch booktube, my favorites are PolandBananaBooks20, Jesse The Reader, A Book Utopia and Katytastic.
- My most owned (and i’d even say read) author is Lisi Harrison. I own and have read all 31 of her books.
- I’ve always loved reading. In my first grade year book, there’s a picture of me and next to it reads “my favorite thing about first grade is becoming a better reader.”
- I regularly go to book signings. I’ve been lucky enough to meet my three favorite authors, Lisi Harrison, Sarah Dessen and Emily Giffin. Some other authors i’ve met are Nicola Yoon, Ally Carter, Jesse Andrews and Gayle Forman.
- I’d love to read more short stories.
I hope you enjoyed getting to know about my bookish habits!
In December 2010, I was on Christmas break with my sleep schedule all screwed up and I was flipping channels in the middle of the night and I came across a rerun of The Hills. It was thirty minutes of complete drama and bull shit but I was completely hooked. I ended up watching the series on netflix. While I liked the drama and bull shit that was 90% of the show’s content, my favorite part was the other 10% of the show’s content, Lauren Conrad trying to make a name for herself in the fashion industry. Specifically, in the later episodes when Lauren was working for Kelly Cutrone at People’s Revolution.
I fell in love with Kelly right away. She’s brutally honest, doesn’t put up with any bull shit and has her focus is on getting the job done.
In her second book, Normal Gets You Nowhere, Kelly gives advice and lessons that she’s learned based on her life experiences. She talks about everything from her spiritual beliefs, personal branding, sex, the law and family.
Do I recommend this book to everyone? Not necessarily. Kelly can be a bit out there but I do think there are two chapters in the book that should be required reading for all living humans. The first chapter, Comfortably Numb, it talks about how everyone and everything is a brand and how we as a society have become numb to hearing about bad things. The other chapter that I think everyone should read is the seventh chapter, The No Matter What Club. In it, Kelly talks about how you should have your group of people who you have their back and they have your back no matter what. How you need to have people like that in your life to survive.
Now, if you’ve been following this blog for awhile, it’s no big secret that one of my favorite books is Kelly’s first book, If You Have to Cry, Go Out Side. I’ve actually read it a couple of times now. I love that book so much, I had pretty high standards going in to Normal Gets You Nowhere. My only regret with reading it was waiting so long to do so. I gave it 4/5 stars.
In Jennifer Mathieu’s second novel, Devoted, we meet Rachel Walker, a seventeen year old girl, who is devoted to god. She and her family attend Calvary Christian Church and she prays daily. Rachel helps take care of her younger bothers and sisters (there are ten walker children in all), dresses modestly and is preparing to be a wife and mother. It’s all Rachel has known her whole life but Rachel is curious about the world that exists out side of her church and she’s not finding the answers in her homeschooling textbooks or in the bible. Until now, she’s always found comfort in her beliefs but will those beliefs be what destroys her?
You know the Duggar family? The ones from that TLC show and who always seem to be caught up in some kind of scandal? Yeah, that one. I first heard the author speak about this book at Teen Book Con 2015 and she described it as “Duggar gone wild.” I was immediately sold on the book. Also, I should point out this was right before all they were caught up in all the scandals.
The writing is just fabulous. There’s no better way to describe it. The story is written in such a way where you’re hooked from the very first page. She brings the characters and the world to life. I also love the way that she weaves in background information and how everything mentioned in the background information comes in to play somewhere else in the story. I wasn’t able to put this book down.
The thing I love about Devoted along with Jennifer’s other novel, The Truth About Alice is that while they are the contemporary, character driven stories that I love there’s a unique element to them that makes me think, not just about the story but makes me question my own life. I read Alice last year and her story has stuck with me. I have a feeling Rachel’s story will stick with me too.
I gave devoted 4/5 stars and I very highly recommend that you check out Devoted and if you haven’t read Jennifer’s other book, The Truth About Alice, that you check that one out too.
You probably know Gayle Forman from her books If I Stay or Just One Day, a couple of her more popular books. Sisters in Sanity was her debut novel.
As told on the back of the book, Sisters in Sanity is about “sixteen-year-old Brit Hemphill, it’s hard to know who she can trust. Convinced she’s out of control, her father has sentenced her to red rock: a center for supposedly rebellious teens, where therapy consists of name calling and the girls who get privileges are the ones who rat out their peers.
But then Brit meets V, Bebe, Martha and Cassie- four girls who keep her from going over the edge. Together, they’ll hold on to their sanity and their sisterhood despite the bleak reality.”
Prior to reading Sisters in Sanity I had read three of Gayle’s other books: The two books in the If I Stay duology back in 2014 right before the If I Stay movie came out and Just One Day the first book in the Just One Day duology last summer.
Just like those three books, Sisters in Sanity was super hard to put down and super easy to read. The story was unique and unlike any other book I had read before. I connected with Brit, the main character, right from the start and I was intrigued right from the start. I like how the story started right with the action and weaved in the back story as it went.
I really liked Sisters in Sanity and gave it 4/5 stars. I can’t wait to read more of Gayle’s books.
Isle of the Lost by Melissa De La Cruz is the prequel to the Disney Channel Original Movie Descendants.
In The Isle of the Lost, we follow Mal the daughter of Maleficent, Evie the daughter of Evil Queen, Carlos who is Cruella De Vil’s son and Jay the son of Jafar. They live on The Isle of the Lost, and island where all the villains have been banished twenty years ago. It’s protected by a dome that makes leaving, no option and blocks out magic. Carlos thinks that a machine he built could possibly break the dome using science. When he turns on the machine, showing it to Evie, weird things start happening. Including the return of Maleficent’s evil sidekick, Diablo, the crow.Diablo says that the dragon’s eye is somewhere on the island and Maleficent sends Mal to go find it. Mal, enlists the help of Jay, Evie and Carlos to find the dragon’s eye. Will they be able to find it?
I love Disney. I watched the movie last summer when it premiered and thought it was the cutest thing ever. So naturally, I wanted to read the book. Reading this book after watching the movie won’t be confusing (that’s what I did) but reading the book before watching the movie won’t spoil anything. This story take place before the movie starts. In fact, the epilogue of the novel sets up for the movie.
I really enjoyed Mel’s (see what I did there? No, I didn’t come up with it.) writing style. I’m typically not a fan of third person but I found it very refreshing. I liked how the villian’s children were their own unique characters but you could still tell who their parent was. I also enjoyed the alternating point’s of view between the four main characters. It helped keep up the pace of the story. Another point of view I enjoyed in the story was Prince Ben, of Auradon. He’s the son of Belle and the Beast. It was fun to see the perspective of the life of the princes and princesses of the “good” island and it was his point of view that helps this directly set up for the movie.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was a fun and light read with an interesting take on these classic stories we all know and love. If you love the classic stories of these villains or love the disney movie, this book is a must read, no matter what your age. I rated this book 3/5 stars.
Sick of the American Girl book reviews yet? Well, too bad if you are because i’m coming at you this week with another one (and there are more to come). This week, I’m telling you about Maryellen, A girl who is growing up in 1954.
First, let’s talk about how adorable this doll is. Her dress is so pretty and those side bangs are just too cute! Especially when reading the story and you learn how they come about. I want this doll and I can’t promise that I won’t buy her at some point during the year…
I don’t know how to start with describing this book because it’s like three stories in one. You get to meet Maryellen and her family, go with her when she starts the fourth grade and spend the holidays with her and her family. Maybe it’s because when I was a kid, the books that went with American Girl dolls was a series of six so I can see where one “book” would have ended and where the next would have started. I know Maryellen is the newest doll in the historical, or beforever (as it’s now called) so her books were never released as a six part series. I don’t like these new bind ups and will not be buying anymore expect for the ones that are only releases in this way, such as Maryellen.So basically, a very valid excuse to be a frequent visitor at half price books!
Maryellen reminds me a lot of myself when I was her age. She is obsessed with the movies and television and often pretends that she is a in a TV show. I love her active imagination. Something else I thought was relatable in the book was that like me, Maryellen’s first day of fourth grade was horrible. I loved reading about all her siblings and all their such distinct personalities.
I didn’t like how this was written in third person. It’s not something that took away from the story but is a personal preference in writing style. Also, I didn’t like how all the other family members are mentioned and have distinct personalities but Maryellen’s dad is barely mentioned- I think though that just has a lot to do with how families were in the 1950’s. The dad worked and that was pretty much all he did- provide for the family.
Overall, I had a fun time reading about Maryellen and I can’t wait to read her second set of stories. I gave The One and Only: A Maryellen Classic 1 4/5 stars.
What do you guys think about American Girl’s rebranding of the historical characters?