Something To Do

The Key To Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd (guest post from Hannah Rials)

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“Just when you think you don’t have it in you to bloom anymore, you do.”
Emma Pearl Casey has always known that she’s meant for something extraordinary. It’s her destiny, or rather in her destiny dream. All the women in her family have had one, and they have gone on to do great things to help all sorts of people in so many different ways.
In the meantime while Emma waits for her destiny dream to come to her, she is perfectly content helping to run her grandmother Blue’s Boneyard Cafe, adventure through her backyard, which is actually a graveyard, and give her daily tours.
However, no matter how much we wish for things to stay as they are, the world always has a way of making them change. When roses start falling from the sky, what the people of Blackbird Hollow call a Gypsy Rose summer, Emma’s home starts to change. She learns that her grandmother is being pressured to sell the café, aka her charmed home, she’s losing her connection to her deceased mother, and an old classmate rolls back into town without the power of speech. So much is changing, and the Big Empty is growing bigger.
That’s when Emma’s destiny dream comes, and it couldn’t be more confusing. So now, with the help of her loyal friends, her caring family, and the spirits of Blackbird Hollow, she has to figure out what her destiny is, what spectacular thing she is meant to do.
The Key to Extraordinary is one of the most charming books I’ve read in a while. It was witty, touching, funny, adorable, thought-provoking, and all around fantastic. I was immediately pulled into the charming town of Blackbird Hollow, it’s history, and the spiritual atmosphere of the whole place. Emma is such an enjoyable narrator, with her cute turns-of-phrase, loyal heart, and belief in the miraculous. This is an absolute MUST READ for anybody, but especially you’re favorite Middle Grade reader.
Something To Do Activities:
1. Boneyard Brew: In The Key to Extraordinary, the staple of the Boneyard Café is the Boneyard Brew, hot cocoa with a secret ingredient that only Grandma Blue and Emma’s brother Topher know.
Here’s an amazing hot chocolate recipe that you could make in a cauldron…or a crockpot. But even know I know the secret ingredient, I’m not telling you. You’ll just have to read the book to figure it out.
 Boneyard brew
2. Preserving Flowers: Flowers are a huge part of Emma’s story and the history of her town. Her grandmother has tons of flower tattoos going up and down her arms that represent a special person in her heart. Here’s a fun way to preserve your favorite flowers:
 how to press flowers
3. Journaling: I always encourage journaling. My grandmother was the first person to give me a journal, and I’ve been pretty consistent in my duties. Emma’s ancestors recorded the amazing things that their destiny dreams led them to do. Maybe you should think about recording your amazing adventures, discoveries, and friends you make in your own incredible life. You could add a fun spin to journaling by creating Junk Journals that incorporate the physical mementoes of your adventures. Get the scoop on Junk Journals here>
Junk JOurnals

HANNAH RIALS: A Maryville native and current college student at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Hannah began writing her first novel at age twelve. Eight years later, the result is her new YA novel Ascension; a modern day teenage romance filled with “double-blooded” vampires and revenge-seeking witches. When not spending time with her family and playing with her beloved Corgis, Buddy and Noel, Hannah leads a creative group, crafts and cultivates her writing skills. Connect with Hannah on FacebookTwitter and via her website.


****Some of these links are affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, I may get a very small commission. This money goes towards postage and supplies to keep books and ideas in the hands of young readers!

The day has come! The much-anticipated release of Ascension by Hannah Rials is finally HERE!
Enter this world of vampires, set in the south, and realize you are being pulled in more—and deeper—with each page.
Steeped in the mystery, intrigue and rich history of New Orleans and the secretive world of the Deuxsang, teen vampire, Cheyenne, and her forbidden love, Eli, embark on a very different, and vastly more dangerous, journey as the net of betrayal tightens around them. This intense and fresh novel is enchanting, engrossing and impossible to put down right up to the cliffhanger ending. Remember, the end is not the end.
What an extraordinary debut novel with new and intriguing twists on vampires—a strong female protagonist as one. I already can’t wait for book two.-Jill Murphy Long, author of The Conduit

This book is by the far the BEST YA/Adult fiction that I’ve read in a very long while. So exciting!-Rebecca F

The wait is over-Ascension is here! Thrilling and entertaining, like the experience on a crazy roller coaster. Hannah has grown into the most amazing writer. Watching her journey has been as much fun as holding the book in my hands. A “must read” for YA and thriller fans!-Valarie B


Grab your copy of Ascension HERE and visit Hannah on Facebook, Twitter and on her website.