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1. A Legend is Reborn…

This month marks the re-release of the prequel to The Last Timekeepers series, Legend of the Timekeepers through my new publishers Mirror World Publishing! I found this story much harder to write because I was jolted out of my comfort zone of historical facts and into the fictitious civilization of Atlantis. Fantasy isn’t easy to write. You have to come up with a believable world to lure your readers in. And if you write something that doesn’t jive, you risk pulling your reader out of the world you’ve created and possibly out of your book. That said, I’m so grateful for the editorial crew I was gifted with on this book, and my hope is that you’ll appreciate and enjoy the journey we’ve all been through to make this book possible and believable.

Here’s the tagline and blurb from Legend of the Timekeepers:
         
There is no moving forward without first going back.

Lilith was a young girl with dreams and a family before the final destruction of Atlantis shattered those dreams and tore her family apart. Now refugees, Lilith and her father make their home in the Black Land. This strange, new country has no place in Lilith’s heart until a beloved high priestess introduces Lilith to her life purpose—to be a Timekeeper and keep time safe.

Summoned through the seventh arch of Atlantis by the Children of the Law of One, Lilith and her newfound friends are sent into Atlantis’s past, and given a task that will ultimately test their courage and try their faith in each other. Can the Timekeepers stop the dark magus Belial before he changes the seers’ prophecy? If they fail, then their future and the earth’s fate will be altered forever.

When The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantisdebuted, I posted my Dedication and Acknowledgements from that book on my blog. So in keeping with this tradition, here is the Dedication and Acknowledgements from Legend of the Timekeepers:

Dedication:

For my mother, Peggy. You taught me to stand up for myself, and never forget my roots.

Acknowledgements:

I said it before and I’ll say it again: Life is a team effort, and nothing is done without the help and support of others. The following people are in some way connected to the fabric of this work, to which I am eternally grateful:

Thank you to the staff at Mirror World Publishing, Justine Alley Dowsett, Murandy Damodred, and Robert Dowsett who gave this book a second chance.Hugs to my rock-star editor Tricia Schwaab who pushed my creative buttons so far I thought I was going through the change of life all over again. Seriously, Tricia, you made me a better writer. And finally, high fives to my book cover artist Kelly Shorten, who knew exactly what I wanted on her very first attempt at designing my beautiful cover—you are truly gifted.

A special shout out goes to my Wenches of Words family, especially to my cohort, Sloane Taylor. You Wenches have made this past year a special one with your show of kindness, support, caring, solidarity, and teamwork. Love you gals! May your lives be blessed with many bestsellers!

And last but not least, a big sloppy thank you to my hubby, Mike. You put up with enough of my melt-downs and tantrums to clear away any bad karma left between us. Again you acted as my pillar, my post, and more often than not, my anchor. God bless.
  

Cheers, hugs, and happy time traveling!

     

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2. Michelle Knudsen: Other Words Than These - Building Your Fantasy Universe

Michelle Knudsen is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 40 books for young readers. She won the 2015 Sid Fleischman Award for Humor for her YA novel Evil Librarian, and she talked to us about world building.

She started with a definition: World building is the physical world and the cultural world your characters inhabit.

All kinds of novels require world building. Fantasy and speculative fiction have other kinds of requirements, because you can't pre-suppose knowledge on the part of your reader. "Nothing can be taken for granted. You need to tell your readers everything they need to know about the world in which it takes place."

"The world of your fantasy story is just as important as your characters are."

As a young reader, she loved the Xanth books by Piers Anthony. In this world, everyone was born with a magical talent—it could range from a tiny skill like projecting a color on a wall to the ability to transform people, animals, and plants into other things. "As a young reader, I wanted desperately to go there. Everything about the world was literally magical."

World building also helps readers believe the things that happen in your world. The belief in the viability of the plot if affected by the viability of the setting (an idea she learned from the poet Julie Larios). Here's a sampling of the craft tips she shared with us.

Effective world building requires consideration of these five interconnected areas:

  1. Physical environment
  2. Inhabitants
  3. Social structure
  4. History
  5. Beliefs
Physical environment: Patricia Wrede has a huge list of world-building questions (available online). A few of them: 
  • Are the laws of nature and physics the same in this world? 
  • How does magic fit in?
  • How do magic beasts fit in? 
  • Is it like an alternate earth? 
These elements affect the way your characters live, what they wear, and how they travel. 

Inhabitants: This includes main characters and all types of people and creatures who live in your world. 

Social structure: This includes governments, relationships between individuals, neighboring discussions, languages. Who makes the laws? Can they move about freely? 

History: The recent and long-term history of the world that may be relevant to your story. Michelle starts thinking about this once she knows her characters and what's going to happen, and she asks what happened in the past that might have made a character do something. It's possible that little of this history will appear in the story, but having the knowledge in the back of your head will enrich the story. 

Beliefs: These include religious and supernatural (and possibly magic). Some decisions in this section depend on decisions made in other areas. So, if a religious figure rules, you need to know what the beliefs are and what happens to people who don't believe. 

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3. Micro Reviews: Demons, Race Horses, Assassins and Majors

And here’s another catch up post of long overdue mini reviews.

The Shadow Ellysium by Django Wexler

B / B+

This short novella served its purpose as a teaser to generate interest in the Shadow Campaigns series. I loaded The Thousand Names on my Kindle – now I just need time to read it!

 

To Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander

B / B+

This inspirational romance caught my eye because of the horse on the cover.  Maggie is dismayed when her father arranges her marriage to Cullen, an Irish immigrant.  She’s reluctant to marry a complete stranger, and an Irishman at that.  She’s also fearful that he’ll object to her training her mare to run in an upcoming race. 

I enjoyed the development of the romance, as well as the details of daily life on a farm in post Civil War Tennessee.  The author doesn’t shy away from describing the prejudices and terrible treatment of the Irish and African Americans.  At first I had a hard time with Maggie because her thoughts and views mirrored those of her neighbors, but as she got to know Cullen and the farm hands working for them, she began to finally see them as individuals deserving respect.  And the horsey bits were entertaining. 

 

 

Hit! by Deliah S Dawson

C-

This just did not work for me. I can’t help but think that a huge banking conglomerate would have a better solution for deadweight borrowers than having them assassinated, or forcing them to be assassins. Meh, I didn’t care for HIT.

Mad About the Major by Elizabeth Boyle

B

Fun read with a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off vibe. Lady Arabella escapes the suffocating confines of her father’s estate to grab a small taste of freedom before she’s forced to marry a stodgy old bachelor. Her father is furious with her because a handsome stranger made a spectacle of her at a ball, and now he’s adamant that she marry before she’s completely ruined. She runs into the rakish Kingsley, the stranger from the ball, after he almost runs her down with his carriage. Arabella convinces him to accompany her on her day of freedom, arguing that he owes her three favors for his behavior at the ball. What follows is an enjoyable romp through London, as Arabella and Kingsley fall for each other during their unusual adventures. I really enjoyed this.

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4. An Underwhelmed/Meh Letter To Public Enemies by Ann Aguirre...

From Becca PUBLIC ENEMIES Immortal Game #2 by Ann Aguirre Hardcover: 320 pages Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (August 4th, 2015) Language: English Goodreads | Amazon In Book 2 of the Immortal Game trilogy, Edie must learn the rules of the game . . . and then play better than anyone else.Through a Faustian bargain, Edie Kramer has been pulled into the dangerous world of the Immortal Game, where

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5. Fairy Sewing Project

About a month ago I started a project, a sewing project. I decided to create my own costume for the World of Faeries Festival, something I've always wanted to do, but never felt I had the know how or guts to do.

I decided it was time to just "do it".

Although each step took several deep breaths, I am very happy to say I know how to use my machine well enough to sew without a manual, and I am way more confident in using the foot and speed. :) The costume is coming along too. It'll be interesting to see it all come together in the end.

When designing, and as I continue to create this costume, I keep asking myself "What would one of my fairies wear?". I want to personify one of my own creations. When do we ever get that opportunity!? It's way fun!!

Here are some progress shots. :)

Pockets!


Took apart a beautiful skirt to make my own "artist" apron. It will also allow for no cashbox.


A crown of course!


My parents bought me a beautiful costume for the ren faires this past Christmas. I decided to modify the chemise to make it longer and more like my fairies' design.


Apron on the chemise. The idea is to have a half bodice in the future, but for now this will do.
Also, HUGE shout out to my mom, who did all of the hemming and sewing for the apron!! 


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6. The Trap by Steve Arnston, 245 pp, RL 4

I am so excited to read and review The Trap, Steve Arnston's third book! I loved his debut, the creepily marvelous post-apocalyptic tale, The Wikkeling, with amazing illustrations by the superb Daniela J. Terrazzini. His second book, The Wrap-Up List, is a YA novel in which a sixteen-year-old chooses the things she wants to do in the week before her scheduled "departure" from a world

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7. Edda: A Little Valkyrie’s First Day At School, by Adam Auerbach | Book Review

This book, wonderfully written and illustrated by Adam Auerbach, provides a fun and imaginative tale, with a uniquely voiced female character at its center.

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8. The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson, 258 pp, RL 4

The Abominables is a posthumous publication from Eva Ibbotson with illustrations by the wonderful Fiona Robinson. Ibbotson is best known for the magical creature filled books she herself called "romps." While her works always have a rich vein of loving kindness running throughout, Ibbotson had a gift for creating kooky characters with bad ideas and and bad intentions as well as those with

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9. COURT OF FIVES by Kate Elliott \\ Flawed but Engaging

Review by Kaitlin COURT OF FIVESby Kate ElliottAge Range: 12 and up Grade Level: 7 and upSeries: Court of Fives (Book 1)Hardcover: 448 pagesPublisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (August 18, 2015)Goodreads | Amazon In this imaginative escape into an enthralling new world, World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's first young adult novel weaves an epic story of a girl struggling to

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10. Sleepy San Francisco Squirrel

Greetings, I want to share a recent illustration that completed for my MFA program. The program has us traveling around the country for different contact periods twice a year, spring and fall. We always return to home base which is the Hartford Univeristy in Connecticut in the summer time. Last fall we traveled to New York […]

via Studio Bowes Art Blog at http://ift.tt/1CJMmb4

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11. Listen. I Know It's Too Early To Post This BUT . . . #SixofCrows

Gushing by Andye SIX OF CROWS*Six of Crows #1by Leigh BardugoAge Range: 12 - 18 yearsSeries: Six of CrowsHardcover: 480 pagesPublisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (September 29, 2015)Goodreads | Amazon Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price--and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a

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12. New Publisher!

I am delighted to say I have been taken on by a new publisher for my latest children’s humorous fantasy, ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’

”Finn is a bored young leprechaun who lives a quiet life with his family and friends in the sleepy village of Duntappin. He wants something exciting to happen, but never having been blessed by the Good Luck Fairy he soon gets far more than he bargained for. When he least expects his adventure to begin, Finn finds himself a long way from home in dire circumstances. Home begins to seem very appealing all of a sudden. Has he any hope of getting back? This is no fairy tale…

This funny and fast moving story filled by weird and wonderful characters will turn all your expectations on their head, but that’s a good thing, because it makes them all the more amusing’

 

My new publisher is the American based ‘Crimson Cloak Publishing’ The following extract is taken from their website.

‘Crimson Cloak Publishing was created by people who care about our authors, editors, artists, and customers. For without them, we could not exist.

Crimson Cloak Publishing is a new and exciting voice in the publishing industry. Our main goal is to provide quality literature to our audience at a fair price. We publish soft-covers and e-books, currently.  Audiobooks and hard cover will come later.’

Click on the link below to check out the great books for sale!

http://www.crimsoncloakpublishing.com/main_page.html

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13. Music and metaphysics: HowTheLightGetsIn 2015

How The Light Gets In (named, aptly, in honour of a Leonard Cohen song) has taken the festival world by storm with its yearly celebration of philosophy and music. We spoke to founder and festival organiser Hilary Lawson, who is a full-time philosopher, Director of the Institute of Art and Ideas, and someone with lots to say about keepings things equal and organising a great party.

The post Music and metaphysics: HowTheLightGetsIn 2015 appeared first on OUPblog.

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14. A History of Glitter and Blood: Review

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Hannah Moskowitz’s new book, A History of Glitter and Blood. It is a really weird book, you all, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. It was not entirely to my liking and I still can’t stop thinking about it?  Books about fairies are not my thing, and thinking about unreliable narrators reminds me of how much I disliked We Were Liars, but hey, I picked this one up because the cover was pretty and Moskowitz writes queer-centric fiction. If you like weird books and fairies and unreliable narrators and thinking about how history’s written, you’ll probably like this, though. I suspect it’ll be a polarizing read. Why is it weird? Well. There are fairies. Who are covered in glitter. And gnomes who eat fairies, despite disliking the taste of glitter. (And most fairies are missing some body parts as a result.... Read more »

The post A History of Glitter and Blood: Review appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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15. Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley, 304 pp, RL 4

Art by Diana Sudyka Circus Mirandus is the debut novel by Cassie Beasley and it comes with a lot of advance excitement, a movie deal and praise, all of which are deserved. When I first read the blurb for Circus Mirandus, I was reminded of a book that made an impression on me when I was in junior high, Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. And, while both books are set at a

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16. The Cabinet of Earths, written by Anne Nesbet, 258 pp, RL 4

The Cabinet of Earths, debut novel from Anne Nesbet stands out above recent fantasy novels I have read for the creation of main character, twelve year old Maya. For me, Maya can take a place at the table with strong girl characters in fantasy novels alongside Hazel, hero of Anne Ursu's beautiful Breadcrumbs. At the head of this table is Lyra Belacqua, the fearless, complex, heartbreaking

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17. The Silmarillion (1977)

The Silmarillion. J.R.R. Tolkien. 1977. 386 pages. [Source: Bought]
 There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made. And he spoke to them, propounding to them themes of music; and they sang before him, and he was glad. But for a long while they sang only each alone, or but few together, while the rest hearkened; for each comprehended only that part of the mind of Ilúvatar from which he came, and in the understanding of their brethren they grew but slowly. Yet ever as they listened they came to deeper understanding, and increased in unison and harmony. And it came to pass that Ilúvatar called together all the Ainur and declared to them a mighty theme, unfolding to them things greater and more wonderful than he had yet revealed; and the glory of its beginning and the splendour of its end amazed the Ainur, so that they bowed before Ilúvatar and were silent.
I loved reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion. That doesn't mean I found it easy the first time I attempted it. Or even the second. I do think you have to be in the proper mood to fully enjoy it--to appreciate it. There is a beauty to it, a certain grace to the language. Something that you don't see all that often. Something that brings to my mind--at least--the beauty and grace of the Authorized Version of the Bible (KJV). But with that beauty and grace there is a certain strangeness, a foreignness. Something that puts distance between the book and the reader. It's all about the world-building.

The Silmarillion is divided into several sections:
  • AINULINDALË
  • VALAQUENTA
  • QUENTA SILMARILLION
  • AKALLABÊTH 
  • OF THE RINGS OF POWER AND THE THIRD AGE  
Each section is unique, has its own style or tone. The longest section is Quenta Silmarillion. The section probably with the most reader appeal is Of The Rings of Power and the Third Age.

So is The Silmarillion similar to his other works? Yes and no. There are orcs, dwarves, elves, eagles, dragons, balrogs, wolves, giant spiders, humans, and wizards. And certainly much of The Silmarillion concerns the battle between good and evil. The two main "bad guys" are Melkor (Morgoth) and Sauron. And the book is about greed, ambition, honor, love, and friendship. There's plenty of action, and even some romance. The book features origin or creation stories. So there's a good chance that you can learn more background for putting The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit into context. But it does require some patience perhaps. For example, people rarely have one name--they may have up to a dozen! Turin Turambar comes to mind. I wish I'd known about the family trees at the end of the book while I was actually reading it!

Yes, The Silmarillion is beautifully written. But that isn't its only strength. The world-building is incredibly detailed. Its also packed with stories and interesting characters.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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18. Witches Protection Program, by Michael Phillip Cash | Dedicated Review

If you’re looking for a good fantasy book to transition from the young adult genre into the new adult genre, Michael Phillip Cash’s Witches Protection Program is your next read.

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19. Monster to the Max



Exciting news!

Jolly Fish Press has acquired my middle-grade fantasy series Monster or Die and will be publishing the first book, From the Grave, in Fall 2016. Editor TJ da Roza fell in love with my wacky and wonderful monsters with his first read—and who wouldn’t.  

Frightful and fun.
Delightful and deadly.
These creatures bring a whole new meaning to monster.

Be sure to follow along the journey to publication. With monsters in charge, most anything might happen.



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20. 5 Things to look for in Fairy Tale Retellings by YA Author Kaitlin Bevis...


Retellings of fairy tales and myths are all over the place, but some are better than others. Here are five things to look for in a great retelling.

1)                          The author only borrowed elements from the original version, not copied it entirely. Let’s look at Cinderella for this example. Unless you are affiliated with Disney, chances are, you can’t just retell the same story in a different, albeit gorgeous, format. The foundation of the story may have existed before, but the author has taken those roots and twisted them into a story of her own telling. A great example of an original Cinderella retelling is Cinder by Marissa Myer. Cinder took pieces of the original story and wove it into something entirely new story set in a dystopian future, featuring an alien Cyborg missing a foot for the title character. Liz DeJesus also wrote a fantastic retelling of Cinderella set in modern day. When reading multiple retellings, you should be able to identify the elements that were borrowed from the original, but otherwise they should be entirely different stories.

2)                          Something major is different. That something needs to move beyond the surface. We’ve all seen and read retellings that only genderbent the cast or changed the setting but otherwise left everything the same. When a key component is changed that should force the author and the reader to consider the story from an entirely different perspective. A great example of this is Fool by Christopher Moore. He takes the story of King Lear and tells it from the Fool’s perspective. Almost all the original dialogue is there, but the perspective is so different that the plot arc has completely changed. No one could say Fool is the same story as King Lear. It’s something different entirely.

3)                          It uses the changes to highlight some important social issue, but not at the expense of the story. Westside Story changed the setting of Romeo and Juliet to highlight gang violence as well as racial tension. But Westside Story didn’t go overboard. There are no after-school special monologues hitting the viewer on the head with the message. The comparison is quietly made and the viewer is left to draw their own conclusions from it.

4)                          Most of the stories that are retold have had a profound impact on culture. The absence or repetition of that myth needs to be explained in the universe. In my story, Persephone, the myths are still happening in modern day. Persephone, the character or the myth, didn’t exist until she was born. That made changes to the culture. I used the lesser known myth of Boreas and Oreithyia as a stand in for the Persephone myth in their culture. I also had to consider the myths she was involved with later and consider how removing these from the society would change that society. Other versions use reincarnation or have characters allude to the original myth and the similarities in what they’re going through.

5)                          They go deeper. The story, the motivations, the world building, the characters. A shallow version of the fairy tale or myth already exists. If the author built on it, at all, that should automatically make it deeper. The deeper, the better. A great example of this is Wicked. The Wicked Witch of the West was a very flat character in The Wizard of Oz. And it worked because she was an archetype. She didn’t need depth. But a good retelling forces you to reevaluate the story by adding depth. Elphaba has major depth and motivation and a backstory and flaws and great traits. She’s a three dimensional character at its finest. But the original mythology is accounted for in the story. When watching the Broadway, it’s easy to see how Dorothy would have seen her as the wicked witch caricature.  The original story is acknowledged, respected even, but it goes deeper. That’s what makes it an amazing retelling.

There are many retellings out there, but some are better than others. Share your favorites, and what made them great, in the comments below.

Blurb: The Daughters of Zeus, Book One

One day Persephone is an ordinary high school senior working at her mom's flower shop in Athens, Georgia. The next she's fighting off Boreas, the brutal god of winter, and learning that she's a bonafide goddess--a rare daughter of the now-dead Zeus. Her goddess mom whisks her off to the Underworld to hide until spring.

There she finds herself under the protection of handsome Hades, the god of the dead, and she's automatically married to him. It's the only way he can keep her safe. Older, wiser, and far more powerful than she, Hades isn't interested in becoming her lover, at least not anytime soon. But every time he rescues her from another of Boreas' schemes, they fall in love a little more. Will Hades ever admit his feelings for her?

Can she escape the grasp of the god of winter's minions? The Underworld is a very nice place, but is it worth giving up her life in the realm of the living? Her goddess powers are developing some serious, kick-butt potential. She's going to fight back.

Kaitlin Bevis spent her childhood curled up with a book and a pen. If the ending didn't agree with her, she rewrote it. Because she's always wanted to be a writer, she spent high school and college learning everything she could to achieve that goal. After graduating college with a BFA and Masters in English, Kaitlin went on to write The Daughters of Zeus series.

Connect with Kaitlin: www.kaitlinbevis.com


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21. Circus Mirandus, by Cassie Beasley -- filled with magic, adventure & friendship (ages 9-12)

Right away, I can sense a book is special by noticing my students' reactions. Whenever I've asked my 5th graders who've read Circus Mirandus how they like it, they start smiling and there's a twinkle in their eyes. OK, it sounds corny when I write it down, but you can feel the magic, the friendship, the hope they find in this book.
Circus Mirandus
by Cassie Beasley
Dial / Penguin Random House, 2015
Preview at Google Books
Your local library
Amazon
ages 9-12
Ever since he was a little boy, Micah has heard stories from his grandfather about the magical Circus Mirandus and the Lightbender who promised him a miracle. Now that Grandfather Ephraim is ill, Micah knows that he must do everything he can to find the Lightbender. But how can he find the circus, especially with his strict aunt keeping her eye on him?

"Circus Mirandus is not a story just about adventure," Corina wanted me to know, "it's about a friendship. You see, they're very unlikely friends at first but they become so loyal to each other." When Jenny Mendoza first hears about this quest, she is skeptical -- after all, Jenny is a logical, careful thinker. But Micah and Jenny do find the circus, the Lightbender and all the magic they were looking for.
"Reading this book inspired me because the ultimate goal is not what you think it is -- it isn't just to keep his grandfather alive. There are layers, ways that Micah learns he can make a difference, how magic makes a difference." -- Corina, 5th grade
Corina sparkled as she talked about how much she enjoyed Circus Mirandus. I can imagine her being transported to the circus in her imagination, soaring with Micah over the fence, holding onto the giant gorilla balloon (yes, you'll really have to read it to understand that).

I also like how Tasha Sackler, at Waking Brain Cells, describes the friendship at the heart of this story:
"It feels very organic and the two of them are not natural friends who see the world the same way. Instead it is much more like making a real friend where it is the willingness to be friends that makes a huge difference and a decision to stop arguing when you don’t agree. It is these parts of the book that are so realistic, where the relationships shine, that make the book as strong as it is."
Get a feel for the magic in Circus Mirandus by reading chapter four in the preview below:


For more, check out these very interesting interviews with Cassie Beasley:
The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Dial / Penguin. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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22. Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

2015, Balzer + Bray

Bone Gap is a small town where everyone knows each other on a first name basis.  It's also a small enough town where your personal life can become community property.  No one knows this better than Sean and Finn.  Living alone without any parents to help (and everyone knows how that happened), Sean works full time and looks after his younger brother who is still in high school.  Dreams were given up as well as the cameraderie brothers had.  Finn knows this only too well, but can do nothing about it.  He misses his older brother even though they're in the same room and when Roza left, the gap became larger in the brothers' relationship.

Roza came to Bone Gap quite unexpectedly.  Born and raised in Poland, she left her home country for the opportunity to be in America, but what she saw and experienced were darker and bleaker than she imagined.  Sean found Roza and gave her time to find herself again.  While others were struck by her beauty, Sean gazed at her beyond the beauty and began to fall in love with the woman.  No one had ever done that before.  In turn, Roza helps Sean and Finn find the bindings that loosened between them and she also became part of the family...until the day she disappeared.  Finn saw it happen, but there are gaps to what he saw.  He couldn't tell you what the man who took her looked like and wouldn't even be able to recognize him in a line-up because Finn is unable to recognize faces.

Petey likes to live in the solitary gaps she finds.  People talk about her, know her story, but do they really?  She's the pretty girl with an ugly face and the honeybees she helps tend with her mother allows her to take cover from what everyone says about her...until one night when Finn arrives at her house on a dark horse.  They go on the most magical ride, falling into the gaps between the world they live in and the other world that exists between.  The more Petey and Finn spend time together, the more their gaps are filled with much-needed love and acceptance.

The man took Roza because she was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen.  He told her he would never hurt her until she came to love him.  He offers her the finest things in beautiful places, but whatever the facade may be, it is still a prison.  He also knows Finn is searching for Roza and is working to create a gap large enough where Roza will never be found.  Little does he know how resourceful, strong and patient his beautiful prize can be.

Told in alternating stories between Finn (for the most part) and Roza, the reader is immersed into a  beautiful story of reality and fantasy.  Roza's world is fantastical and horrible at the same time while Finn lives in the real world that is becoming more beautiful every day.  Ruby's writing flows with emotion and beauty, taking the reader beyond the pages to the heart of the book - one about the importance of relationships.  It's been awhile since I last cried while reading a book, and this one I couldn't help myself.  It wasn't out of sadness, but out of the beauty and deep strong characters Laura Ruby crafts in this novel.  Magical realism at it's best in this book.  Highly recommended.


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23. A Retelling I Actually Liked? #Shocked

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24. Atlantis in Peril (Atlantis Saga #2) \\ A Middle Grade Win

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25. Game of Thrones: On Fandoms and Criticism (and crossing the line)

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