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1. Classic Readalong Discussion: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Today’s readalong discussion is Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH! Are you ready to have your heart warmed by a valiant young mouse? To swoon over a dashing rat captain of the guard?  (Yes, you read that correctly.) We all loved this month’s book, so let’s dive right in. As always, while we’re always hoping that our discussions will encourage new readers to pick up these books, we do discuss specific spoilers in each story.   Wendy: I’m very fond of extraordinarily handsome rats. :D Layla: I first read this in junior high school (and still have my copy today, boo-yeah!). I remember avoiding Frisby for awhile because I was really into fantasy novels and thought the cover / title were unappealing. Boy howdy was I wrong. I loved this book as a kid and I still love it now; it has officially withstood the test of time for... Read more »

The post Classic Readalong Discussion: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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2. Interview with Patrick Jennings, Author of Hissy Fitz!

Happy Hour banner

by Julie Eshbaugh

featuring Patrick Jennings!

~~

Patrick JenningsAs readers of this blog already know, PubCrawl is excited to help spread the word about Egmont USA’s spring 2015 list, a group which has banded together under the name Egmont’s Last List. It’s my pleasure to welcome Patrick Jennings as our guest here at PubCrawl today! (And we are giving away of one of Patrick’s books! More on that below…) I’m so thrilled to interview such a prolific writer of children’s books! Patrick’s website lists 25(!) titles. If you’d like to see all their beautiful covers, you can click here. Patrick’s latest is HISSY FITZ, which came out last month from Egmont. Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:


hissy_frontcoverHissy Fitz lives with some two-legged creatures who are destined to serve him in every possible way and understand his every whim. Sadly, these creatures are sorely lacking in their skills. For one thing–they touch him when they want to touch him. Don’t they know that the two-legged are there for him to touch when he wants to–meaning when he wants food? Petting wakes him up! They speak to him–don’t they know the two-legged should be seen–so Hissy knows where to order food–and not heard?! It’s becoming intolerable. What is this irascible cat to do?

I understand that, although you generally write for middle graders, this book is for younger readers. What made you decide to move in that direction?
My publisher wondered if I’d be interested in writing a chapter book. The book fairs and clubs had been asking for them. I told my editor about my insomniac cat idea and she liked it.

What changes in your writing process when you target a different age level? Do you write for a certain age, a reading level, or both?

I think the story dictates the reading level, the audience. When a story is right for a seven-year-old, the language often takes care of itself. In other words, if you want to engage with a kid, you should talk about something they care about, and in a voice and vocabulary that makes sense to them. That’s not talking down; that’s talking to.   

Hissy Fitz is your first illustrated chapter book in in a long time (over ten years, correct?) How is an author matched to an illustrator? What is the process involved in creating an illustrated book? Other than providing the text, do you have any other input as to the illustrations?

When a book is submitted without illustrations, the art director looks for an artist. They have many illustrators’ portfolios on file. I work on the book with my editor while the artist is found. Usually the text is nearly finished before the illustrating begins. For Bat and Rat, a picture book, I ended up retooling my text, cutting out what was rendered visually by the amazing Matthew Cordell. I did a little tweaking for Hissy after Michael Allen Austin’s hilarious pictures came in. There were textless spreads in Bat and Rat, so, some notes were needed, but, in general, one tries to leave artistic decisions to artists.  

I also understand that this is your first cat book! Yet you’ve had pet cats for 20 years? What took you so long to write a book about a cat?

I never had a story to tell. I’ve considered that this is due to cats not really doing much of anything. Mostly they just sit around the house. Dogs go out and play with their owners, protect their owners, rescue people, hang with their friends. Cats nap on average eighteen hours a day. It was when I struck upon the idea of an insomniac cat that I finally had a cat story. 

Hissy Fitz is such a unique character – his voice really sucked me in. I know it’s difficult to pinpoint the origin of an idea, but can you say where the character of Hissy Fitz came from? What made you decide to tell this particular cat’s story?
Those twenty years with cats were spent wondering what they thought about, especially what they thought of humans. In recent years, I’ve led a young writing group at my house, and have watched the writers interact with my cats. I tried sharing with the kids all I’d learned about how to approach a cat, touch a cat, and treat a cat, but it didn’t make much of an impression. I suppose their treatment of my cats shaped my idea of how Hissy would view kids, as well as other humans. 

I know you do a lot of school and library visits with children. What’s your favorite thing about meeting young readers?

Their enthusiasm. They love to read, and they get very excited when they meet an author of a book they’ve read. They have tons of very good questions. They’re often also interested in writing stories. The whole day is filled with excitement. I’m thoroughly exhausted afterward. It’s the best.

Any last words of advice for aspiring writers, particularly those hoping to write for children?

Spend as much time as you can with kids. Volunteer to read at the library, or in classrooms. Read to nieces and nephews, grandchildren, whomever. Talk to kids about the books they love. Listen carefully. Feel their enthusiasm.

Thank you so much, Patrick! Also, I want to offer congratulations on the news that Lerner Publishing has acquired all of Egmont USA’s frontlist and backlist titles. We look forward to reading many more of your stories!

To celebrate the publication of HISSY FITZ, we’re giving away a copy of this wonderful book! Leave a comment below and use the Rafflecopter form to enter!

About the author:

Patrick Jennings’s books for young readers have received honors from Publishers Weekly, The Horn Book, Smithsonian Magazine, the PEN Center USA, the Woman’s National Book Association, and the Chicago and New York Public Libraries. The Seattle Public Library awarded his book, Guinea Dog, the Washington State Book Award of 2011. His book, Faith and the Electric Dogs, is currently being adapted for the screen. His new book, Hissy Fitz, will be published in January 2015. He currently writes full time in his home in Port Townsend, Washington.

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3. Gaijin: Review Haiku

A different story
of internment, with
complicated characters.

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner. Disney, 2014, 144 pages.

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4. Review and Giveaway: Witherwood Reform School by Obert Skye

Today I have a review and giveaway for Witherwood Reform School by Obert Skye!

If you have been following the blog, you already know that I enjoy all genres of fiction.  Reading level is irrelevant.  I love anything from picture books on up and I always have.  When I saw Witherwood Reform School, I thought it would be worth checking out, so I was happy to hop on the blog tour.  I haven’t read Obert Skye previously, but I have heard of his Pillage trilogy and have it on my TBR.  Witherwood Reform School is the start of a new series about Tobias and Charlotte Eggars, a brother and sister who get themselves into more trouble than they’ve ever been in before.  And to think it all started with tadpoles and gravy!

Tobias and Charlotte are mischievous kids, and they’ve already managed to drive off several governesses.  Their latest, Martha, is like a thorn in their sides.  She’s lazy, mean, and after threatening harm to Charlotte, Tobias has had enough.  He very cleverly sneaks tadpoles into the gravy, fully expecting to be amused when Martha runs screaming from the house.  What he doesn’t expect is for her to choke on a mouthful of mashed potatoes, hurl up the grossly contaminated gravy, and run screaming from the house – right as Ralph, the kids’ put-upon father, returns home early from work.  Ralph is not in a good mood; he’s just been fired from another job, and his children are the last straw.  He orders them into the car, drives out to the middle of nowhere, and drops them off at the gates of Witherwood Reform School.  Then he leaves them standing in the rain, intending only to give them a scare.  He then gets into an accident and loses his memory.  Poor Ralph!  Poor Tobias!  Poor Charlotte!  Their lives are all about to become a lot more complicated!

There is something weird going on at Witherwood, and it’s not just the creepy teachers and scary monsters patrolling the school grounds. As Tobias and Charlotte are forced to attend classes and do dishes and slave away on KP duty, they realize that something is not right.  There are guys wandering around in lab coats, singing guards walking the halls, and mysterious rooms they are told never to enter.  They are locked in their room at night, and they don’t even have pillows!  That right there would be reason enough for me to escape.  I mean, how are you expected to get a decent night’s sleep with NO pillow?

The tone of the story is very dry, and reminded me of Lemony Snicket.  Witherwood Reform School is fast paced, and a very quick read.  Charlotte and Tobias are likeable protagonists, even if they have a tendency to create mayhem.  They are clever, which serves them well with their attempts to escape, but also unlucky, because every attempt is foiled, leaving them in more trouble than before.  My only complaint is that it reads like a serial – think of Darren Shan’s Zom-B.  It ended on a cliffhanger, none of the important plot points were resolved, and it has a feeling of incompleteness.  I think it will appeal equally to boys or girls, assuming they don’t mind the non-ending and are ready to follow the series for the long haul.

 

 

Obert Skye is the author and illustrator of the Creature from My Closet series: Wonkenstein, Potterwookiee, Pinocula, and Katfish (forthcoming September 2014). He has also written the bestselling children’s fantasy adventure series Leven Thumps and Pillage. He currently lives indoors and near a thin, winding road with his family. Visit him online at abituneven.com or follow him on Twitter at @obertskye.

After a slight misunderstanding involving a horrible governess, gravy, and a jar of tadpoles, siblings Tobias and Charlotte Eggars find themselves abandoned by their father at the gates of a creepy reform school. Evil mysteries are afoot at Witherwood, where the grounds are patrolled by vicious creatures and kids are locked in their rooms. Charlotte and Tobias soon realize that they are in terrible danger—especially because the head of Witherwood has perfected the art of mind control. If only their amnesiac father would recover. If only Tobias and Charlotte could solve the dark mystery and free the kids at Witherwood—and ultimately save themselves.

US addresses only, please

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  2/18: Little Red Reads

2/19: A Reader’s Adventure

2/20: Stories & Sweeties

2/23: The Hiding Spot

2/24: Bumbles and Fairytales

2/25: Manga Maniac Café

2/26: The Book Monsters

2/27: Mundie Kids

3/2: Milk & Cookies: Comfort Reading

3/3: Green Bean Teen Queen

The post Review and Giveaway: Witherwood Reform School by Obert Skye appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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5. Cybils Finalist Review: THE DUMBEST IDEA EVER! by Jimmy Gownley

Summary: This book has got a great title. Rest assured the premise lives up to the promise. This was one of my personal favorite titles from this year's excellent crop of Cybils graphic novel finalists. The autobiographical story of how the author... Read the rest of this post

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6. MMGM Links (2/23/15)

Scrambling a bit (when aren't I, anymore? le sigh), so here's what I HOPE are correct MMGM links:

- RCubed is highlighting SEAN GRISWALD'S HEAD. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Alex at Randomly Reading is cheering for NICKEL BAY NICK. Click HERE to see why. 
- Susan Olson is gushing about THE DRAGON OF ROME. Click HERE for her feature. 
- Michael Gettel-Gilmarten is highlighting OVER SEA, UNDER STONE. Click HERE to see why. 
- Suzanne Warr thinks THE DREAMER is a dream. Click HERE to see why. 
- Rachel at What Rachel Wrote is cheering for GOOD MASTERS, SWEET LADIES. Click HERE to see her review.
- The Bookworm Blog is gushing about SPACE CASE. Click HERE to see why.
- Greg Pattridge is WAITING FOR UNICORNS (and really, who isn't?) :) . Click HERE to read his feature.
- Sally at Sally's bookshelf is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--THE GIRLS OF GETTYSBURG. Click HERE for all the fun. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--MOONPENNY ISLAND. Click HERE for details.   
- Katie Fitzgerald is also featuring MOONPENNY ISLAND. Click HERE to see her thoughts. 

- Jenni Enzor is spotlighting THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS. Click HERE to read her feature.  
- Mark Baker is taken with STORY THIEVES. Click HERE to read his review. 
- Dorine White is breaking Brandon Mull news. Click HERE to see what it is. 
- Katie Fitzgerald has ALL THE ANSWERS. Click HERE to see why. 
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.   
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.  
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week. 
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 




If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

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7. The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Born with a severely clubbed foot, Ada Smith, 10, has been kept imprisoned and abused by her Mam in a one room flat her whole life.  Mam sees her foot as a mark of shame and humiliation, and so Ada never learned to walk, scooting around on her bum as she waits on Mam and younger brother Jamie, 6.  Then one day, Ada decides to learn to walk, keeping at it despite the pain and blood.

Then, when war comes to England, Ada is told that Jamie will be evacuated, and she will remain in the flat - bombs or no.  But Mam doesn't know Ada's secret and when evacuation day arrives, she and Jamie take off for the train station together.  Eventually arriving at a small countryside village, all the children are selected by residents except Ada and Jamie, who are taken to the home of Susan Smith (no relation) and left in her care.

But Susan is depressed, mourning the death of her friend (though clearly more than friend), Becky.  The two women had lived there together for years and Susan had inherited the property.  The last thing she wanted now were two children to take care of.  And yet, she does.  She feeds Ada and Jamie, buys them new clothes and shoes to replace the dirty, raggy things they arrived in, and allows them to find their own way through a certain amount of benign neglect.

And Susan has a pony named Butter that Ada determines to learn how to ride and care for.  Soon, she is riding all over the village and surrounding area.  Susan has also taken Ada to a doctor about her foot, and she has been given crutches to help her walk.  But when Jamie begins school, Ada refuses to go not wanting to admit she can't read or do simple math.  Eventually Susan figures it out and offers to teach her at home - an offer not very welcomed by Ada.  But why not?

Ada and Susan are two people carrying around a lot of physical and emotional baggage, thrown together by a war they don't really feel connected to and which at first doesn't feel quite as real as the personal war they are waging with themselves.  But gradually, they forge relationships with each other and begin to feel like a family.  And then Mam shows up and takes the Ada and Jamie back to London, despite the bombing and Ada is forced to scoot around on her bum once again.

Now that they have seen another side of life, is it over for Ada, Jamie and even Susan?

What a powerful story The War That Saved My Life is.  It is everything that makes historical fiction so wonderfully satisfying.  There is lots of historical detail about London and the countryside in those early war days, including the rescue of British soldiers from Dunkirk (Susan's house is on coastal Kent, the closest point in England to Dunkirk).

I thought that Susan and Ada were drawn well, with lots of depth to their personalities, but not Jamie so much.  He really felt like just a secondary character, mostly there for contrast and to move the story along in a believable way.  The shame Mam felt over Ada's foot is quite palpable, but also seemed to empower her with the ability to abuse her daughter, making her plain scary, though a rather one dimensional character at the same time.

One of the things I found interesting is that in the beginning Ada, the child, is such a strong, determined character, while Susan, the adult, was kind of weak and irresolute.  And yet, they have things to teach each other.  And to her credit, Bradley doesn't actually come out and directly let the reader know that Susan and Becky were partners, but its clearly there.

If your young readers loved Good Night, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian, they are sure to love The War That Saved My Life.  If they haven't discovered Good Night, Mr. Tom yet, perhaps it's time to introduce them to both of these fine books.

This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was an ARC eceived from the publisher

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8. What Would Garrison Griswold Do?

BookScavenger3d(This post is cross-posted from EMU's Debuts)

I've been in the midst of making promotional plans for Book Scavenger. I've sought out advice from other authors on what they recommend and don't recommend for your debut book, and the only bit of advice that everyone seems to agree on is this: The best thing you can do to promote your first book is write your next book.

Okay, cool, I'm doing that! I have two more books scheduled to come out in 2016 and 2017, and I'm currently working on both simultaneously. One is in the outline/first draft stage, and the other is nearing the end of its second revision. (I feel like those last two sentences make me sound very organized in my writing process. I am not. I wrote "working on two books simultaneously" but really it feels more like spinning in circles while juggling cats.)

But still, even if everyone agrees the best thing you can do is write the next book, I can't do nothing for my debut. If for no other reason than I'm excited about it! I want people to hear about it. So many people have had a hand in shaping the book--early readers and critique partners, teachers, my agent, my editor, the art director, production editor, copyeditor . . . And the illustrations! Sarah Watt's work is so freakin' cool and takes the book to a whole other level. The book that will be in bookstores and libraries has been a team effort, and I'm proud of it. Even if readers hate it, I want Book Scavenger to have a fighting chance of surviving in the retail world, and that won't happen if readers don't hear about it in the first place.

So I wanted to do something fun to celebrate Book Scavenger and spread the word about its existence. What to do, what to do? That's where Garrison Griswold comes in.

Illustration by Sarah Watts
Garrison Griswold is a central character in Book Scavenger. He's this larger than life, eccentric book publisher who's a huge game and puzzle fanatic. He thrives on thinking up elaborate games and making them happen--something that has earned him the reputation of being "the Willy Wonka of book publishing." A reputation, by the way, that he loves to play up. Book Scavenger is one of his game creations. It's a website and a real world book hunting game where players hide used books in public places and then upload clues to the website for other book scavengers to solve in order to seek out the books. (Kind of a mashup of Book CrossingGeocaching, and Little Free Libraries, with a dash of influence from video games I played as a kid.)

I wanted to do something in the spirit of Garrison Griswold, but I couldn't go all out Garrison Griswold because that guy has resources that I do not. (He rented out the San Francisco Giants stadium in order to break the Guinness World Record for largest group Bingo game, for example. I can't do that.)

But I did come up with something that's big, by my standards at least, and fortunately my publisher was on board. I hope it will be fun and will make Mr. Griswold proud. I'll be putting this plan into action on Wednesday and will update here with the info, but for now here's a teaser video (which offers a clue--something I know Mr. G would approve of):



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9. MMGM Links (2/16/15)

Heading down the home stretch of NEVERSEEN (which is good because my deadline is right on top of me.) So I'm throwing these links together with very little brainpower left after a very long drafting day. Here's hoping some of them are right...

MMGM links:

- RCubed is highlighting SEAN GRISWALD'S HEAD. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Suzanne Warr is raving about ALL FOUR STARS. Click HERE to see why. 
- Rachel at What Rachel Wrote is cheering for GOOD MASTERS, SWEET LADIES. Click HERE to see her review.
- The Bookworm Blog is gushing about SPACE CASE. Click HERE to see why.
- Greg Pattridge is feeling WEST OF THE MOON. Click HERE to read his feature.
- Sally at Sally's bookshelf is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--THE GIRLS OF GETTYSBURG. Click HERE for all the fun. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--THE TERRIBLE TWO. Click HERE for details.   
- Jenni Enzor has chills for THE MADMAN OF THE PINEY WOODS. Click HERE to read her feature.  
- Mark Baker is taken with STORY THIEVES. Click HERE to read his review. 
- Dorine White has the trailer for CAMP OHMIGOSH. Click HERE for all the fun. 
- Katie Fitzgerald has ALL THE ANSWERS. Click HERE to see why. 
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.   
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.  
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week. 
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 




If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

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10. It's Cybils Day!

Hie thee over to www.cybils.com for all the good news (especially those great-looking graphic novels, eh?)

0 Comments on It's Cybils Day! as of 2/14/2015 7:47:00 AM
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11. MMGM Links (2/9/15)

STILL in the deadline cave--starting to think it's neverending. But here's your  MMGM links:

- Jess at the Reading Nook is wondering at THE IMAGINARY. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Suzanne Warr has chills for PENNY DREADFUL. Click HERE to see why. 
- Rachel at What Rachel Wrote is jumping for joy for RABBIT HILL. Click HERE to see her review.
- The Bookworm Blog is gushing about THE FALSE PRINCE. Click HERE to see why.
- Greg Pattridge is gushing about ELVIS AND THE UNDERDOGS. Click HERE to read his feature.
- Sally at Sally's bookshelf is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--THE GIRLS OF GETTYSBURG. Click HERE for all the fun. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--FISH IN A TREE. Click HERE for details.   
- Susan Olson is sharing a list of "time travel to Egypt books." Click HERE to see what they are.  
- Jenni Enzor is giving lots of stars to ALL FOUR STARS. Click HERE to read her feature. 
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.   
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.  
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week. 
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 




If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

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12. Nightmares: Review Haiku

Not bad, surprisingly:
real kid fears handled with
real kid solutions.

Nightmares by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. Delacorte, 2014, 368 pages.

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13. Stella by Starlight: Review Haiku

A fair bit of stiff
exposition, but you
can't help liking Stella.

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper. Atheneum, 2015, 336 pages.

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14. Blog Tour: ARES: BRINGER OF WAR (Olympians #7) by George O'Connor

click to embiggen.Summary: Ares is the seventh book in O'Connor's very successful Olympians series of graphic novels. In fact, I was amazed to see that we've already gotten to book 7, because that means I've missed quite a few in the middle. For... Read the rest of this post

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15. The Crossover: Review Haiku

Briefly confused by
narration, but I loved these
guys and loved their game.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. HMH, 2014, 240 pages.

ETA: OMG I TOTALLY SCHEDULED THIS ONE PRESCIENTLY, EH?

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16. Let’s Talk about Sons of the Sphinx by Cheryl Carpinello

This week’s special guest on Author Interview Thursday is Cheryl Carpinello.SONS OF THE SPHINX I’m really looking forward to having a good chat with her and get her to reveal a few tips on what’s working for her and keeps her going as an author. Cheryl writes Middle Grade books and today I wanted to shine a light on her latest tome – Sons of the Sphinx. Enjoy.

 

Historical background of Sons of the Sphinx:

Sons of the Sphinx is based on the schism that shot through ancient Egypt when, according to historians, the Pharaoh Akhenaten turned his back on Thebes and the gods of Egypt. He built his own city to honor his god the Aten, and he insisted that the people of Egypt do the same. Along with this, he supposedly refused to send troops to defend Egypt’s borders thus incurring the wrath of the then General Horemheb. When Tutankhamen becomes pharaoh, he reverses Akhenaten’s proclamations and returns the governing center to Thebes and the worship back to the god Amun.

However, the damage has been done, and by the time Horemheb attains pharaoh status, he has proclaimed the betrayal of the Egyptian people by Akhenaten so widely and so much, all members of the family including Tutankhamen and Ankhsenamun and Ay are dishonored.

The historical significance of my story is the main reason I was able to write Sons of the Sphinx. Needing to help right a wrong done over 3000 years ago and reunite the boy king with his queen (whose tomb has yet to be identified or found), allowed my protagonist Rosa to come to terms with who she is and what her place in this world is.

 

Synopsis:

Armed with what she considers her grandmother’s curse, 15-year-old Rosa agrees to help the ghost of King Tut find his lost queen Hesena. Though Hesena’s ba inhabits part of Rosa, finding the whole spirit of Hesena so that she and Tut can be together for the first time in over 3000 years proves to be a harder task than Rosa first thinks.  Thrust back into Ancient Egypt with Tut, Rosa discovers that finding Hesena is not all she must do. She must keep out of the reach of the living Horemheb—who crosses mortal boundaries using Seth’s evil magic—if she is to stay alive to make it back home.

 

Buy Links:

AmazonUS: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MVGC96Y/

AmazonUK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00MVGC96Y/

Amazon Print: http://www.amazon.com/Sons-Sphinx-The-Quest-Books/dp/1500554936/

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/sons-of-the-sphinx

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/469860

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sons-of-the-sphinx-cheryl-carpinello/1120481788

iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/sons-of-the-sphinx/id925912370

1 Comments on Let’s Talk about Sons of the Sphinx by Cheryl Carpinello, last added: 2/5/2015
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17. MMGM Links (2/2/15)

Before I get to the MMGM links, a couple quick updates, since last week had some exciting stuff happen!

If you missed it, the cover for NEVERSEEN has been revealed. Go HERE to see the gorgeousness.

Also, for those who've been dying to know when Let the Sky Fall #3 is going to come out, my Editor answered your question (albeit slightly vaguely) with this tweet:


(And yeah, I know that's a year later than you were probably hoping for--SORRY. I'm a wee bit behind on deadlines. But it's still happening. And I promise I'll use that extra time to make it as awesome as possible.)

And that's it. Just lots of writing writing writing (yes, I AM still in the deadline cave--sigh). So here's your  MMGM links:
- Angela Russell joins the MMGM fun with a three book GIVEAWAY. Click HERE to see what's up for grabs, and welcome her to the group.
- Michael Gettel-Gilmarten is captivated by THE INQUISITORS'S MARK. Click HERE to see why. 
- Rachel at What Rachel Wrote is telling THE TALE OF DESPERAUX. Click HERE to see her review.
- The B.O.B. is saying farewell to book blogging with a post about one of her favorite books of all time: RIDING FREEDOM. Click HERE to check it out
- Greg Pattridge is spacing out for SPACE CASE. Click HERE to read his feature.
- Natalie Aguirre is interviewing MarcyKate Connolly and GIVING AWAY a copy of MONSTROUS. Click HERE for all the fun. And if you come back on Wednesday she'll be reviewing and giving away an ARC of MARK OF THE THIEF. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--NANNY X. Click HERE for details.   
- Susan Olson is cheering for DREAMER, WISHER, LIAR. Click HERE to see why. 
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.    
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.  
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week. 
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.



If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

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18. WINTER 2015 NEW VOICES SNEAK PEEK

Happy 2015 to you! To start the year off right, we’d like to introduce our New Voices picks for Winter 2015. These debut novels entertained us, enriched us, intrigued us, and made us so excited to witness the beginnings of these authors’ sure-to-be-stellar writing careers.

Click on the links below to read the first chapter of each title, and make sure to keep an eye on these fantastic authors. We can’t wait to see what they do next!

Blackbird Fly

BLACKBIRD FLY, by Erin Entrada Kelly, follows twelve-year-old Apple Yengko as she grapples with being different, with friends and backstabbers, and with following her dreams. Apple has always felt a little different from her classmates. She and her mother moved to America from the Philippines when she was little, and her mother still cooks Filipino foods, makes mistakes with her English, and chastises Apple for becoming “too American.” But it becomes unbearable in eighth grade, 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. Read the first chapter here!

The Keepers: The Box and the Dragonfly

THE KEEPERS: THE BOX AND THE DRAGONFLY, by Ted Sanders, is the first in a four-book middle-grade fantasy series about Horace F. Andrews, a quiet boy who discovers he possesses a power that can change worlds. When a sign leads Horace underground to the House of Answers, a hidden warehouse full of mysterious objects, he unfortunately finds only questions. What is this curious place? Who are the strange, secretive people who entrust him with a rare and immensely powerful gift? And what is he to do with it? From the enormous, sinister man shadowing him to the gradual mastery of his new-found abilities to his encounters with Chloe—a girl who has an astonishing talent of her own—Horace follows a path that puts the pair in the middle of a centuries-old conflict between two warring factions in which every decision they make could have disastrous consequences. Read the first chapter here!

No Parking at the End Times

NO PARKING AT THE END TIMES, by Bryan Bliss, is a thoughtful and moving story about losing everything—and about what you will do for the people you love. Abigail’s parents never should have made that first donation to that end-of-times preacher. Or the next, or the next. They shouldn’t have sold their house. Or packed Abigail and her twin brother, Aaron, into their old van to drive across the country to San Francisco, to be there for the “end of the world.” Because now they’re living in their van. And Aaron is full of anger, disappearing to who-knows-where every night. Their family is falling apart. All Abigail wants is to hold them together, to get them back to the place where things were right. But is that too big a task for one teenage girl? Read the first chapter here!

Red Queen

RED QUEEN, by Victoria Aveyard, is a sweeping fantasy about seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose latent magical powers draw her into the dangerous world of the elite ruling class. Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with Red blood serve the Silver elite, whose silver blood gifts them with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the King, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own. To cover up this impossibility, the King forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything to use her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal. Read the first chapter here!

Little Peach

LITTLE PEACH, by Peggy Kern, is the gritty and riveting story of a runaway who comes to New York City and is lured into prostitution by a manipulative pimp. When Michelle runs away from her drug-addicted mother, she has just enough money to make it to New York, where she hopes to move in with a friend. But once she arrives at the bustling Port Authority, she is confronted with the terrifying truth: She is alone and out of options. Then she meets Devon, a good-looking, well-dressed guy who emerges from the crowd armed with a kind smile, a place for her to stay, and eyes that seem to understand exactly how she feels. But Devon is not what he seems to be, and soon Michelle finds herself engulfed in the world of child prostitution. It is a world of impossible choices, where the line between love and abuse, captor and savior, is blurred beyond recognition. This hauntingly vivid story illustrates the human spirit’s indomitable search for home, and one girl’s struggle to survive. Read the first chapter here.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA, by Becky Albertalli, is an incredibly funny and poignant twenty-first-century coming-of-age, coming-out story—wrapped in a geek romance. Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: If he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing with, will be jeopardized. With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met. Read the first chapter here!

Check back here for “Opening the Book” Q&A’s with the authors and insightful words from the editors of these fantastic New Voices!

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19. I’ll Mention This Again

I am teaching an online class through the Loft Literary Center beginning on February 2, 2015. Here is the description:

Many consider ages 8–12, “the middle grades,” to be a golden age for readers. Their novels include classics like Charlotte’s Web, the Ramona series, and the earliest adventures of Harry Potter. Most Newbery winners also fall into this category. In this class, we will explore some of the qualities that make a book a hit with young readers, with an emphasis on developing a character-driven story. Topics covered include creating a main character kids want to chase through the pages of a novel, avoiding stereotypes and cliches, and being attentive to the inner life of a middle grade novel. Participants will have an opportunity to share their work and get feedback from their peers as well as from the teaching artist.

And here are answers to commonly asked questions:

  • The class is completely online and mostly asynchronous. We do have weekly live chats to check in but the meat of the class is in the online readings and discussion forums. (We use the Moodle platform, but don’t worry if that doesn’t mean anything to you.)
  • There is a chance to share works in progress with the rest of the class; you also get private feedback from me on about 10 pages of writing.
  • The class is listed as “intermediate” primarily because of the expectation that writers are familiar with (if not steeped in) middle grade books, but if you have not read a lot you can catch up by familiarizing yourself with at least some of the following books. Most are Newberry medalists or honorees, so look on that bookshelf if your bookstore or library has one! These are not assigned class readings, but I use them as examples throughout the class (this is a partial list):
    • Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (and others in the Ramona series) – Beverly Cleary
    • Bud, not Buddy – Christopher Paul Curtis
    • Harriet the Spy – Louise Fitzhugh
    • The Giver – Lois Lowry
    • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – Robert C. O’Brien
    • Hatchet – Gary Paulsen
    • From the Mixed Up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler – E. L. Konigsberg
    • The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin
    • Holes – Louis Sachar
    • Maniac Magee – Jerry Spinelli
    • When You Reach Me – Rebecca Stead
    • Charlotte’s Web – E.B.White

    We also all read one recent book recommended and voted on by the class, and I try to get the author to join us for a chat.

Sign up for the class here! I hope to see you there.


Filed under: Miscellaneous Tagged: classes, learn with gern, loft literary center, middle grade

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20. We Meet Again: Review Haiku

Is this pint-sized
sociopath actually growing
on me? Oh dear.

We Meet Again (Timmy Failure #3) by Stephan Patsis. Candlewick, 2014, 272 pages.

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21. Celebrate #Tuck40th – Would You Want to Live Forever?

Macmillan is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt.  They posed the same question for 40 bloggers:  “What if you could live forever?”  Here’s my answer -

I am new to Tuck Everlasting, and after reading the book, it did make me think.  What if I could drink from the spring, knowing that I would live forever?  Would I do it?  If I had answered the question when I was 20, I probably would have jumped at the chance. Think of the things I could accomplish!  I could devote myself to a cause, like finding the cure for cancer, and know that time wasn’t concern – I had all the time in the world, after all.  But that decision relies on the wisdom of being old enough and mature enough to realize that the gift of time comes with an obligation to do something good for the rest of humanity.  If I had found that spring when I was twenty, I would have taken a drink, and probably lived a life like Jesse.  The youngest Tuck, Jesse thinks that their unnatural life should be lived to the fullest.  Go off and do your own thing, without any concerns about societal obligations.  His life view makes sense – they have to keep the spring a secret, they can’t put down any roots for fear of causing suspicions because they don’t age, so why should he go out of his way to do anything for anyone else?

At my present point in time, though, if I stumbled on that spring, no, I would not take a sip.  Why not?  Having had to say goodbye to people I loved, the thought of doing it repeatedly, and often, is a huge deterrent.  Think about it – if you lived forever, but nobody else did, you’d be saying goodbye an awful lot.  You’d be alone a lot. With each death, it feels like sliver of my soul dies, too.  How long before there wasn’t anything left of me that really mattered?   At least the Tucks had each other to while away the endless years of their life.  But what if it was just you, and you were alone?  Sure, you could make connections with others, fleeting friendships that to you lasted the blink of an eye.  What would that be like?  Maybe that’s why Tuck considered that drink from the spring a curse instead of a blessing.

What do you think?  Would you drink from the spring?

 

Doomed to – or blessed with – eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing than it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune . . .

You can order a copy of the 40th anniversary edition here – http://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250059291

The post Celebrate #Tuck40th – Would You Want to Live Forever? appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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22. Catching Up: Book Blurbs of Fall/Winter, Pt. 1

I've gotten incredibly far behind on my reviewing, so it's that time again: time to cut to the chase and offer quick, no-nonsense book reviews before I completely forget everything about these stories. This past fall was a real bear as far as... Read the rest of this post

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23. Ghosts of War: The Secret of Midway by Steve Watkins

When Anderson, 12, and his friend Greg decided to start a band, they were given permission to practice in a basement room at his Uncle Dex's junkshop, provided they clear it out themselves.  Alone in the room, Anderson notices an old military trunk with a strange glow to it.  He finds an old Navy peacoat in it that he decides to keep.  Inside the coat pocket, is an old letter and when he pulls it out, he hears a voice saying "that's mine."

Later that night, the voice materializes in Anderson's bedroom.  It belongs to a young World War II sailor who doesn't seem to remember who he is or what happened to him and has been living in a kind of limbo since the war. Anderson is understandably freaked.

The next day, while discussing with Greg the possibility of adding keyboard player Julie Kobayashi to the band, Anderson's ghost appears in the cafeteria.  And it seems that Greg and Julie can both see him.  Pretty soon, the trio decides to help their ghost find out about himself.  Anderson tracks down the recipient of the old letter he found in the peacoat.  It turns out to be an old girlfriend, Betty Corbett,  who tells them their ghost is named William Foxwell, that he went missing in action on a ship in the Pacific Ocean and presumed dead.  Later, she married William's friend and they named their son after him.

One helpful clue about William is the mention of the Battle of the Coral Sea in his letter.  Anderson and his Uncle Dex both are history buffs, and Uncle Dex knows all about this battle.  Little by little, Anderson, Greg and Julie begin to piece together that particulars of William's life in the Navy, and as they do, William begins to remember things as well.

All of this is taking time and it seems that William is having a harder and harder time materializing and is, in fact, beginning to fade away again.  Then, matters get more complicated when a Japanese sailor who has been keeping a secret about William and the Battle of Midway for 70 years refuses to tell them what really happened.

Will Anderson, Greg and Julie be able to solve the mystery surrounding William's death in time for him to find eternal peace?

Ghosts of War: The Secret of Midway is a short but exciting mystery, one that will definitely appeal to boys as well as girls.  The mystery is historically based, so there is lots of information about the two battles mentioned and what being caught in the middle of war is really like.  But we also see how the war impacted everyone, including those like Betty Corbett on the home front.

Besides William's story, we also learn about Anderson and Greg's life, but not so much about Julie's yet.  Anderson's mother suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and is often in pain and tired.  His dad works long hours and Anderson frequently comes home and makes his mom some dinner.  Greg's dad is a binge alcoholic with a short temper.  When things get bad, Greg sneaks out of the house and stays with Anderson.

And, of course, because they are sixth-graders in a junior high school, there are bullies to contend with. All of this makes for a well rounded story and gives depth to the characters, who, I assume, we will get to know better and better.  Ghosts of War: The Secret of Midway is the first in a series of books, and yes, you guessed it, they all begin with the mysterious glowing military trunk.

This is a great book for kids who like history, especially military history, but even if history isn't their thing, it's still an exciting read.

This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was sent to me by the publisher, Scholastic

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24. Book Review- Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Title:  Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
Author:  Rick Riordan
Series:   Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Published:  May 2005 by Miramax,  May 2006 by Miramax
Length:  377 pages
Source: bought and library
Other info: Many other series such as The Heroes of Olympus and the Kane Chronicles have stemmed off. There was a film adaptation of The Lightning Thief.
Summary :  Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can't seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse-Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy's mom finds out, she knows it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he'll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends -- one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena -- Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

Review: Percy Jackson is a mostly normal child. Yes, he has trouble concentrating and keeps getting thrown out of schools but mostly, he's ok. Until, on this school trip, it looks like he'll get thrown out because his maths teacher wants to kill him. And he vaporises her with a sword. More things happen, and Percy ends up at Camp Half Blood, with satyrs, demigods, and a centaur of a Latin teacher. And a quest. Because Zeus is angry. And things get better from there.
I love this series from the bottom of my heart. I read it first when I was eight or nine, maybe? I don't know, but I wanted a book and I asked my dad for recommendations in Waterstones and he picked this off the shelves and I fell in love with it when I read the chapter titles. Add the fact that I already had a love of Greek mythology and you can see how this is going to work out.
I reread this because my reading aim for 2015 is to work my way through all of Rick Riordan's demigod series and this is the first one.
The world of this is wonderful. The Gods are alive and kicking and operating out of the USA, doing what they've always done in a more modern way. This "what they've always done" includes having children with mortals, thus necessitating Camp Half Blood, a safe place to train and live without fear of monsters.
The characters  are well fleshed out and great to read about. The new takes on mythology are genius, especially when you notice the clever ways little things are updated'. You just fall in love with all the characters- Percy for his determination to keep trying, Grover for his determination to keep trying, Annabeth for her cleverness and levelheadedness, Chiron for his general badassery of being both a centaur and a Latin teacher...the list goes on.
They adventure in such a way that we meet a variety of creatures from Greek myth. I must say, when I first read it, I felt so proud of myself for being to guess ahead as to who this threat was, and I also enjoyed learning about new aspects of mythology too.
The writing describes well, but has a huge dose of humour. Case in point: chapter titles. But I loved the sheer amount of fun that this book was, comparatively speaking to everything else I was reading.
The  plot keeps running in new direction throughout the whole novel. The twists at the end where we learn how the thing got in, I  did not see coming the first time I read it. It was foreshadowed so perfectly and the way it all came round made me happy.


Overall:  Strength 5 tea to  a strong opening to a brilliant series.


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25. MMGM Links (1/26/15)

Okay first--mark your calendars for tomorrow (yes, TOMORROW--1/27/15) because the cover for NEVERSEEN is getting revealed (right here on this blog, like I always do. It's tradition). :)

And now, here's your  MMGM links! *hopes they're right* *is still VERY much in the deadline cave* *is never going to be free* *flails*

- Rcubed is rooting for THORA Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- The Bookworm Blog wants to go to SPY SCHOOL. Click HERE to see why. 
- Rachel at What Rachel Wrote is gushing about A SINGLE SHARD. Click HERE to see her review.
- Sher A. Hart is spreading the love for THE TWISTED OAK AMATEUR DETECTIVE series--with a WHOLE SERIES GIVEAWAY. Click HERE for details. 
- Greg Pattridge is teaching us THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY. Click HERE to read his feature.
- Dorine White is cheering for MADDY WEST AND THE TONGUE TAKER. Click HERE to see what they are.
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--MY COUSIN'S KEEPER. Click HERE for details.   
- Susan Olson is feeling loyal for THE ONLY ONES. Click HERE to see why. 
- Suzanne Warr is giving a shoutout to THE CANDY SHOP WAR. Click HERE to see her quick thoughts. 
-Sally's Bookshelf is STEERING TOWARD NORMAL. Click HERE to read her review. 
- Andrea Mack is raving about RAIN REIGN. Click HERE to see why.  
- Jenni Enzor is feeling CLOSE TO FAMOUS. Click HERE to see her review.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.    
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.  
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week. 
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.



If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

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