I received this book for free from Read for Review in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

{Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb: Ally Malinenko}Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb by Ally Malinenko
Series: The Lizzy Speare Series
Published by Antenna Books on September 10, 2012
Genres: Childrens, Fantasy, Middle School
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Source: Read for Review
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{Synopsis} – MEET LIZZY SPEARE…

…a normal twelve year old girl with a talent for writing, who has a very not normal 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 nearly five hundred years old. Could that be why 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 Shakespeare’s tomb? 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.

“This is it. This is where everything starts. Are you ready? In my home, some doors lead to other rooms. Some doors lead nowhere at all. Some doors lead back in time. Some doors can be made to go wherever you want them to go, whenever you want. This door,’ he tapped a finger on the red painted wood, `leads to your past. Yours and yours alone.”

{My thoughts} – This book was different for me. I typically read books about vampires, werewolves, etc. This book is about a 12 year-old girl named Lizzy and her best friend Sammy. They are kidnapped one night when Sammy is sleeping over by a man named Johnathan Muse. They are then dropped into an unfamiliar world in which reality merges with Mythology.

Lizzy is a smart child and isn’t very trusting of people that she doesn’t know, whereas Sammy seems to believe everything that he is told by Johnathan. A short while after they arrive there she is informed by Johnathan that she is the last living descendant of William Shakespeare. This news catches her off guard and she finds it hard to believe, however Sammy finds it to be cool.

Shortly after we are introduced to the Dmitri Marlowe – He tells Lizzy that everything Jonathan has said is a lie and that she shouldn’t trust him. This is where things start to get interesting. She is forced to make the choice of who to believe or trust the most. Should she trust Dmitri a guy she has seen before that her father didn’t seem to trust or Johnathan the Muse that has been nothing but nice to her and Sammy since they were kidnapped?

This book leads her on the journey of self discovery, it shows that she is strong willed, that she is willing to fight for what she believes in and that she will not give up until she has no other option. Once she sets her mind to the quest to find her father she will stop at nothing until she does. It’s a very smooth read and extremely engaging to the reader. My 9 and 7 year-old enjoyed me reading it to them. They were hooked on it from chapter one.

Final Conclusion: 5 Star Rating.

biophotoWhat made you decide to become a writer?
I don’t know if I ever did decide. I think I just loved to tell stories and sometimes there wasn’t anyone around to listen to me blather on. So I started writing them down.

Do you have a muse? If so, Who is your muse when it comes to writing? Why?
Of course! Every artist has a muse. My muse is a fickle girl – sometimes she flits off to exotic places and I don’t hear from her for weeks and then she comes back carrying trunk loads of treasure – clocks and quills and keys and magic doors and special ink. All the stuff that goes into a good adventure story.

What is your favorite brainstorming technique?
I walk 5 miles to work each morning. It’s amazing how many things you can think up on a long walk. I recommend it for anyone who gets “stuck.”

What was your favorite book as your were growing up? Why?
My favorite books (cause I can’t pick one of anything) were probably The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Wrinkle in Time and Bridge to Terabithia. The first taught me that writing was a thing you could do for a living, the second taught me how important realistic characters were and the latter taught me that you can have all the magic you want but it doesn’t matter if there’s no heart.

What is one book that you believe is a must have for anyone’s bookshelf? Why?
The Collected Works of Shakespeare. Because with that foundation under your feet you can only be destined for great things.

If you could go anywhere in the world past, present of future, where would you choose? Why?
I would definitely go back to the 1500’s to Stratford-Upon-Avon to have a pint in the same pub as William Shakespeare. I’d probably be too shell-shocked to say anything but to just sit next to him would be an honor. Plus I want to know if he was really that bald!

Are you currently writing another book or considering writing another book? If so what is it about?
I’m working on two books right now. The first is the second Lizzy Speare book tentatively called Lizzy Speare and the Hall of Hecate and the other is a YA sci-fi book about chess, time travel, street kids and doppelgangers. It’s sort of a hot mess right now.

When you were a young child, did you see yourself becoming a writer in the future? If so, Why?
Maybe. I mean it’s definitely what I wanted to be. But the thing about writing is that if you really are a writer, you’ll do it no matter what. No matter how many rejections you get, no matter how much work it takes. You’ll do it because you have to. There’s a lot to be said for that.

What would you tell someone that wants to become a writer as a career?
Read. Read. Read. And then read some more. Read a ton. Read everything you can. And then when people tell you you stink, ignore them. When they tell you you’re great, ignore them. Keep writing till it sounds real to you. That’s all that matters.

What quote from a book best fits you as an individual?
“She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain.” – Louisa May Alcott

What quote from a book is your favorite?
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philsophy” – Hamlet

and

“You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I will more willingly part withal – except my life, expect my life, except my life” – Hamlet

If you had the option to travel into the pages of a book, which book would you choose? Why?
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. But I’d skip over the beginning with the war and go right to being Lucy when she first pushes through those coats and feels the snow and the pine needles. And then, I’d get to meet Mr. Tumnus. I can think of nothing better.

What are 10 random facts about yourself that you’d like to share?
1. I do an amazing Robert DeNiro impersonation
2. I’m the only one who thinks it’s amazing
3. I’m the youngest in my family
4. I think having a brother would have been cool (though my sisters rock)
5. I love the taste of coffee ice cream but I don’t like coffee as a beverage
6. I desperately want to go to Antarctica cause I have thing about polar exploration
7. I’m a horrible singer
8. I think the internets is a weird (but probably good) place
9. I can’t refuse a handful of cheez-its
10. I fell off a waterfall in high school. I’m still working on writing that book.

What is one thing about yourself you have never shared with anyone before?
I’d tell you but then I’d have to kill you. Classic spy rules.

Website: http://allymalinenko.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AllyMalinenko
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