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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Middle Grade, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. 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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2. 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.

0 Comments on MMGM Links (1/26/15) as of 1/26/2015 5:55:00 AM
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3. 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.


0 Comments on Book Review- Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan as of 1/23/2015 6:43:00 PM
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4. 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

0 Comments on Ghosts of War: The Secret of Midway by Steve Watkins as of 1/23/2015 1:15:00 PM
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5. 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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6. 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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7. 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.

0 Comments on We Meet Again: Review Haiku as of 1/21/2015 6:35:00 AM
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8. 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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9. MMGM Links (12/19/15)

*crawls out of the deadline cave to say* Here's your  MMGM links! *hopes they're right* *has been up till 4am every night* *stumbles away*

- Rachel at What Rachel Wrote joins the MMGM fun with a feature on DEAD END. Click HERE to welcome her to the group. 
- Mark Baker is spotlighting THE BLOOD OF OLYMPUS. Click HERE to see what he thought.
- Natalie Aguirre has a guest post on writing sequels and an ARC GIVEAWAY of THE INQUISITOR'S MARK. Click HERE for details. 
- Katie Fitzgerald is sharing THE MEANING OF MAGGIE. Click HERE to read her feature. 
- The Bookworm blog is fangirling for ARTEMIS FOWL. Click HERE to see what she thought.  
- Jenni Enzor is commemorating Martin Luther King day with features on her favorite middle grade Civil Rights era books. Click HERE to see what they are.
- Greg Pattridge is taking sides on the BATTLE OF DARCY LANE. Click HERE to read his feature.
- Dorine White is highlighting new 2015 books about Martin Luther King Jr.. Click HERE to see what they are.
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--THE SECRETS OF TREE TAYLOR. Click HERE for details.   
- Sally's Bookshelf is sharing BECAUSE THEY MARCHED: The People's Campaign for Voting Rights that Changed America. Click HERE to read her review. 
Andrea Mack is gushing about ALL FOUR STARS. Click HERE to see why. 
- Claire Caterer is revealing the cover for THE WAND AND THE SEA. Click HERE for all the fun.
- 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.

0 Comments on MMGM Links (12/19/15) as of 1/19/2015 7:41:00 AM
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10. Billy's Blitz by Barbara Mitchelhill

For his 11th birthday, Billy Wilson's dad surprised him a German Shepherd puppy.  A lot of people were anti-German Sheherds because it was considered a Nazi dog, but Billy loved his, naming her Sheeba.  By Billy's 12th birthday, England is at war with Germany, his dad is away in the Army, and his friends have been evacuated to the country, along with most of London's other schoolchildren. But his mum decides to keep Billy and sister Rose, 6, home with her.  Still, his dad manages to get leave and find a shiny almost new bike for Billy's birthday.

But soon dad returns to the army, and mum, Billy and Rose spend uncomfortable nights in the Anderson shelter in the backyard in Balham, South London, but no bombs are falling in London yet.  But that all changes on September 7, 1940.  Now, bombs are falling and the three Wilson's decide go to the nearest Underground station when the air raid sirens go off.  That way, they don't hear the sirens, the planes, and the bombs as much.

Night after night they carry blankets to the station, thinking they will be safe.  And they are, until Balham Station takes a direct hit.  Billy and Rose are separated from their mum, but thanks to the help of a new friend, they make it out of the station.  But where is mum?  It's hard to see anything in all the chaos, dust and debris, but Billy and Rose insist on waiting for her to come out of the station, until a WVS lady, Mrs. Bartley, makes them leave.  After all, bombs are still falling.

Once in a shelter, it is decided by the authorities that Billy and Rose will be sent to Wales for safety - against their will, and with the Major in charge insisting, rather coldly, that they are now orphans.  Luckily, at breakfast, they meet a boy about Billy's age called All-Off (because he cut all his hair off), who advises them not to go to Wales.  But, although, All-Off gets out of the shelter in time, Billy and Rose are put on a transport truck to Paddington Station and Wales.

Determined to find his mum and to get back home to finally let Sheeba out of the Anderson shelter where she was put for safety, Billy waits for the right opportunity for escape the transport truck.  By the time that happens, they are far from home and Billy has no idea how to get back to Balham.

As Billy and Rose make their way home, they meet with even more adventures, setbacks, and disappointments, but Billy finds a best mate in All-Off.  Billy also discovers a courage within himself he probably never thought he possessed, as well as a strong sense of responsibility for Rose and Sheeba and it doesn't hurt that his new best mate has some pretty good street smarts.

I loved Barbara Mitchelhill's first WWII novel, Run Rabbit Run, based on real events, it's about a sister and younger brother who must deal with some harsh fallout because their dad is a conscientious objector.  Billy's Blitz is also based on a real event.  On October 14, 1940, Balham Station was being  used as a bomb shelter and really did take a direct bomb hit, killing 64 people.  Mitchelhill imagines the aftermath of a terrible disaster for two kids who don't know if their mum made it out alive or not.  Her realistic description of the station, in fact of bombed London generally, are really spot on.

What Billy saw when he came out of Balham Station
So is her characterization.  Billy is at times afraid, brave, wanting everything back to normal, or wishing someone else could deal with their problems.  Rose can be a whiny brat, not realizing the seriousness of their situation, yet she can also be brave and helpful when asked to be.  All-Off is a real favorite - definitely his own boy, yet faithful to Billy and Rose.  The authorities, concerned only with evacuating orphans, made my toes curl with anger at their lack of empathy.  Luckily, there is the WVS (Women's Volunteer Service) lady to counterbalance that.

Billy's Blitz is a compelling realistic novel that gives the reader a true to life picture of London during the Second World War.  We tend to think that all of London's children were safely evacuated but many remained in London with their family and often, family members became separated or worse and kids were left to survive by themselves even while dealing with loss and grief.  Mitchelhill's novel demonstrates how easy it is for this to happen in the midst of chaos, and how easily the best laid plans can go awry, yet she manages to do this without scaring her young readers.  

This is a novel that is sure to please young readers, especially those interested in WWII and/or historical fiction.

This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was received from the author

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11. MMGM Links (1/12/15)

If you missed it last week, the title for KEEPER #4 has been revealed! You can find it HERE.

And here's your  MMGM links!

- The Bookworm blog is spotlighting FINALLY. Click HERE to see what she thought.  
- Jenni Enzor is raving about UNGIFTED. Click HERE to see why.
- Greg Pattridge is highlighting WHERE I BELONG. Click HERE to read his feature.
- Dorine White is talking about THE TURTLE TWINS AND THE MIRACULOUS PENCIL. Click HERE for her review.
- Andrea Mack is gushing about ALL FOUR STARS. Click HERE to see why. 
- The Page Turner is caught up in THE ZOO AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD. 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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12. The Stolen Moon: Review

I’m so glad I started the new year off right by reading The Stolen Moon. I’ve been eagerly anticipating this sequel ever since I devoured its predecessor, The Lost Planet, in one sitting last January. Well, I loved this installment even more. There are scenes of breathtaking action, as well as heart aching tenderness, against the backdrop of an ever expanding and politically complex universe. More please and thank you! We pick up not long after where we left Chase safely onboard the starship Kuyddestor and reunited with his sister Lilli. With still no memory of his old life, his parents, or how he got into this predicament, there are still plenty of answers to pursue. And as it turns out new danger is lurking just out of sight. As a reader who is largely driven by characters and how much I do or don’t connect with them this book was... Read more »

The post The Stolen Moon: Review appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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13. The Book Review Club - Don't Call Me Ishmael

Don't Call Me Ishmael
Michael Gerard Bauer
MG/YA

If the cold, dreary, dark days of January have blanketed you, this is just the right read. Don't Call Me Ishmael is Bud, not Buddy hilarious and set in Australia, where, currently, it is summer! So pull up a chair and toast your toes on the warmth and humor of this story.

Basic plot: Ishmael Leseur, a Year Nine student (that's down under for ninth grader), suffers from ILS, Ishmael Leseur Syndrome, which is Ishmael's name for his particular brand of adolescent/early teeanage agony. It's made up of a "crawl in a hole" embarrassing story why he parents named him after one of literature's most renowned protagonists, a bully who teases him about said name, a girl whom he is crazy for but who doesn't know he exists, and a group of misfit friends who are constantly getting themselves into embarrassment squared messes.

I discovered this book in, of all things, German (although the author is from and story set in Australia, so no worries, you can easily get it in English). My husband comes from ye olde country and we've raised our daughters bi-lingually, which has meant a lot of audiobooks "auf Deutsch". I chose this title for its length. Shameful, I know, but it was six hours long instead of the meager two so many middle grade German audible books come in at. So there you have it, random parameters (barrage young ears with as much second language as possible) unearthed a humor goldmine.

I wish I could say I know how Bauer does it, but I don't, which is why I've gotten the other two books in this series to get behind his humor trick. He is spot on with adolescent funny. My daughters and I laugh out loud in the car on the way to school every morning. Me, maybe more. The agony of teenagerdom maybe hits a little too close to home for barrel laughs for them. Theirs is more the "somebody else is going through this?!?" ha-ha-whew.

So there you have it. Pick up a copy of Don't Call Me Ishmael and start 2015 off with a good laugh and an uproarious story. For more cheer in these bleak months, check out the reviews on Barrie Summy's website (and pray that groundhog doesn't see his shadow!)

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14. MMGM Links (1/5/15)

Another short list, (and thank goodness, because I have so much more writing to do before I go to sleep)

It's INTENSE DEADLINE time around here guys. So it's possible I may have to skip a couple of MMGM's. I'll TRY not to but yeah. My Jan is going to be insane.

Anyway, here's your  MMGM links!

- Rcubed is fishing out THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH. Click HERE to see what she thought.  
- Daniel Johnston is really digging THE WALK ON. Click HERE to see why.
- Greg Pattridge is COUNTING BY 7s. Click HERE to read his feature.
- Dorine White is taking part in THE TURTLE TWINS book blast, with a $100 giveaway. Click HERE for details.
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--GUILTY? CRIME, PUNISHMENT, AND THE CHANGING FACE OF JUSTICE. Click HERE for details. 
- The Page Turner is caught up in THE ZOO AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD. 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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15. Vietnam Book Five: Walking Wounded by Chris Lynch

Morris, Beck, Ivan and Rudi have been friends since forever, so when Rudi was drafted, Morris convinced the others join up and go to Vietnam together, thinking they could watch out for each other by joining a different branch of the Armed Forces.  Each of the previous four books in the series focuses on one of the friends.

Now, in Walking Wounded, Rudi has been killed by friendly fire, apparently, the friendliest fire of all, and this novel follows each man's reaction to their friend's death.

Morris, whose idea it was for them to all join up, is feeling terrible guilt about having convinced them to do that.  He immediately requests and is granted the job of escorting Rudi's body home.  There is a lot of introspection during the trip.  But once home, Morris has some difficulty being there, in part because he knows the truth about Rudi's death and in part because the adjustment to suddenly being in a civilian setting is difficult for combat soldiers.  This was especially true for Vietnam soldiers, who had to face protesters, as Morris does while home, who held them responsible for the war that they were against.  Morris is still in the Navy and, though he is now stateside for his remaining tour of duty, his request for how he would like to spend that time may surprise readers, but when I think about it, I realized it would be a healing process for him.

Beck, the smartest one of the bunch, joined the Air Force, flying a C-123 aircraft, defoliating the forests of Vietnam with Agent Orange.  Beck is struggling to keep things together for himself, even as he is almost overwhelmed by the loss of his friend and by the realization that he is fighting a senseless war.

Ivan is an Army trained sharpshooter, who seems to just appear on different missions in this book, until he finally is shot in the face.  Sent stateside, on a first class plane, Ivan decides to take off once he reaches the states and hitchhikes the rest of the way home.  Despite winning medals, Ivan is having a great deal of difficulty with his Vietnam experience and with Rudi's death and takes off for the family's hunting cabin to be alone.

I have only read one other book by Chris Lynch, a WWII novel, but I will say that he does know how to write a war book for middle grade readers.  There is enough fighting with the enemy and among the American soldiers themselves to make it feel realistic with being too graphic.  The language is a little cleaner than I would have imagined it was in reality, but that's OK.

I don't usually read the fifth book in a series if I haven't read the previous four, but I did this time.  I found I didn't have much problem figuring things out.  The novel is narrated in the first person by all four of the friends in alternating chapters, so we get the full effect of their reaction to Rudi's death and to the war in general.  I was a little taken aback by Lynch still giving Rudi a voice, but in the end, it worked.

I thought Lynch really captured the disorientation, confusion, and anger that accompanied so many Vietnam soldiers as they fought a war they didn't fully understand and returned to a hostile homeland. Morris and Ivan are clearly beginning to experience the emotion toll of the Vietnam war and the disenfranchised feeling so many felt after the war.

As war books go, that is books that actually take place in the midst of the fighting, this is an excellent novel.  I remember feeling the same way about the first Chris Lynch book I read, The Right Fight.

Everyone thought that Book 4: Casualties of War was the last book in the series, but then Walking Wounded appeared.  Is this the last book?  Don't count on it.  There are still too many lose ends, beginning with what happened to Beck.

This book is recommended for readers age 10+
This book was an EARC received from NetGalley

This is my Vietnam War book for my 2014 War Challenge with a Twist hosted by War Through the Generations.

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16. The Cat at the Wall

The Cat at the Wall

Written by: Deborah Ellis

Published by: Groundwood Books

Published on: August 11, 2014

Ages: 10+












Clare is a regular girl at a regular school in Pennsylvania, but with a mean streak. Clare is also a cat in the West Bank of the Middle East, who finds a boy hiding from Israeli soldiers. How Clare became a cat and what Clare the cat decides to do about the boy are just two of the mysteries told in this middle grade novel.

Ellis has impecable nonfiction credentials (Looks Like Daylight, Kids of Kabul) and she combines her extensive knowledge of the Israeli-Palestine situation to illuminate an important theme- that we all have choices and we can improve or worsen other people's lives as a result of the path we choose.

The fantasy element was actually quite well-done, although different from what I expected from Ellis' work. The juxtaposition of a normal middle-class life in the US with the fear of an orphaned boy in one of the world's most conflicted areas is clever and the fantasy element makes it feel less like a moral tale.

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17. Friday Feature: Star of the Team



A girl.
A dream.
An accident.
A dream shattered.
 
Eleven-year-old Kate Taylor dreams of being the star of her basketball team, Angels. When Kate’s tooth is knocked out at one of the games and her mother, who is also her coach, says she can’t play until the tooth the dentist replants heals, Kate’s dreams are in jeopardy. Add Emily, the new girl at school who claims she’s the best, and Kate faces a challenge to prove that she is the star.
 
Will Kate succeed? Or will Emily ruin Kate’s plans?
 

 
Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/18r6ox4
 
Bev’s Bio:
 
Most of the time, you’ll find Beverly in front of her computer, writing the stories little voices whisper in her ear. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks and snaps pictures of clouds, wild flowers, birds and deer. To some of her friends, she is affectionately known as the “Bug Lady” because she rescues butterflies, moths, walking sticks, and praying mantis from her cats.
For twenty-two years Beverly taught children in grades two through five how to read and write. They taught her patience. Now, she teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church. To relax she plays the piano. Her cats don’t appreciate good music and run and hide when she tickles the ivories.
 

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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18. MMGM Links (12/29/14)

Another  short list, thanks to the holidays. But here's your MMGM links!

- Mark Baker is burning with love for EVERBLAZE (yes, it's my book so I can make as cheesy of a pun as I want! :) ) Click HERE to see what he thought. 
- Daniel Johnston is caught up in THE CONTAGIOUS COLORS OF MUMPLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL. Click HERE to see why.
- Greg Pattridge has his favorites of 2014--with a DOUBLE GIVEAWAY. Click HERE for all the fun
- Dorine White is taking part in THE TURTLE TWINS book blast, with a $100 giveaway. Click HERE for details.
- Susan Uhlig is soaring for ROOFTOPPERS. Click HERE to read her review. 
- 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! 
- 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! 



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. 

0 Comments on MMGM Links (12/29/14) as of 12/31/2014 10:44:00 AM
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19. The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place: Review Haiku

Way more fun than a
Victorian setting has
any right to be.

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry. Roaring Brook, 2014, 351 pages.

0 Comments on The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place: Review Haiku as of 12/8/2014 7:39:00 AM
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20. MMGM Links (12/8/14)

Still in the deadline cave (*waves from among the empty Pepsi bottles*) But I did put together the MMGM links again--and please bear with any mistakes.

Oh also, I'm giving away six signed-and-doodled-on EVERBLAZEs. Go HERE if you want to see how you enter.

Okay, onto the links!

- The Paige Turner joins the MMGM fun with a feature on THE SECRET WAR. Click HERE to welcome them to the group!
- Jenni Enzor is counting on THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH. Click HERE to see why. 
- Greg Partridge is caught up in THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE BEAGLE. Click HERE to read his review. 
- Sheri Larsen is gushing about THE LUMPY DUCKLING. Click HERE to see why.  
- Annie McMahon is whispering about the HOUSE OF SECRETS. Click HERE to see her review. 
- The Bookworm blog is sweet on THE CANDYMAKERS.  Click HERE to see what they thought.
- Suzanne Warr is feeling dreamy about THE DREAM KEEPER. Click HERE to read her feature.    
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--a copy of A PLAGUE OF UNICORNS, plus she has an interview with the author. Click HERE for details. 
- Rcubed is really digging HERE LIES THE LIBRARIAN. Click HERE to see why. 
 - Sue Heaven is featuring SWEATY SUITS OF ARMOR: COULD YOU SURVIVE BEING A KNIGHT, along with an interview with the author. Click HERE for all the fun.
- Dorine White is feeling the heat of FYRE. Click HERE to read what she thought.
- Kim Aippersbach is spotlighting WHALES ON STILTS. Click HERE to see her review.
- 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! 
- 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. 



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. 

0 Comments on MMGM Links (12/8/14) as of 1/1/1900
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21. Kate the Great: Review Haiku

A little trite, but
SO true to the modern
fifth-grade experience.

Kate the Great, Except When She's Not by Suzy Becker. Crown, 2014, 272 pages.

0 Comments on Kate the Great: Review Haiku as of 12/15/2014 6:36:00 AM
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22. MMGM Links (12/15/14)

Here's this week's MMGM links!

- Jess at the Reading Nook has an early review for ALL THE ANSWERS. Click HERE to see what she thought.  
 - Annie McMahon is caught up in SKYLAR ROBBINS: THE MYSTERY OF SHADOW HILLS. Click HERE to see why.
- The Paige Turner is cheering for THE TWO PRINCESSES OF BAMARRE. Click HERE to welcome them to the group!
- Jenni Enzor has two features--MASTERPIECE and THE FAMILY UNDER THE BRIDGE. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Greg Partridge is on the edge of his seat for ADVENTURE ON NEMESIS MOUNTAIN. Click HERE to read his review. 
- The Bookworm blog is celebrating 11 BIRTHDAYS.  Click HERE to see what they thought.
- Suzanne Warr is gushing about BREADCRUMBS. Click HERE to read her feature.    
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--a copy of GRACEFULLY GRAYSON. Click HERE for details. 
- Rcubed is rooting for KNIGHTLEY AND SON. Click HERE to see why. 
- 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! 
- 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! 



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. 

0 Comments on MMGM Links (12/15/14) as of 12/15/2014 6:46:00 AM
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23. MMGM Links (12/22/14)

It's a short list, thanks to the holiday week, but here's your MMGM links!

- Jess at the Reading Nook is super excited to gush about THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE. Click HERE to see her review. 
- The Bookworm Blog is rooting for THE SCHOOL FOR THE INSANELY GIFTED. Click HERE to see what she thought!
- Greg Partridge has found THE PERFECT PLACE Click HERE to read his review. 
- The Page Turner is featuring ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS.  Click HERE to see their feature.
- Rosi Hollinbeck has some last minute middle grade shopping suggestions. Click HERE to see what they are. 
- 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! 
- 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! 



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. 

0 Comments on MMGM Links (12/22/14) as of 12/26/2014 3:20:00 AM
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24. Writer Wednesday: Happy Holidays and Free & Low-Priced Books!

This isn't your typical Writer Wednesday post because tomorrow is Christmas! To celebrate the holiday season I want to help you fill up that new ereader you asked for or that you purchased for someone else. We all know that can get expensive, so here are my books that are either FREE or very low in price. Enjoy!


FREE Books:

Kiss of Death: Young Adult Paranormal Prequel Novella to the Touch of Death Series. This book is told from Alex's POV.


The only life Alex Montgomery knows is raising the dead and having zombie servants, normal stuff for an Ophi. Alex is a necromancer descended from Medusa—or at least he will be once he comes into his powers. So far his life is training to use abilities he doesn't yet possess, which gets him beaten up by zombies on more than one occasion. And his parents Victoria and Troy won't tolerate anything less than perfection from Alex. He has a lot to live up to, and they remind him of it every day. So when an innocent birthday kiss turns deadly, Alex has to work twice as hard to master his Ophi abilities. He isn't the Chosen One, but he's still a Montgomery, which means he's expected to run the Ophi school one day. With a new group of students coming to the school, Alex needs to learn fast because he's about to be sent on the biggest mission of his life.

Want to know Alex's story and what he was like before he met Jodi? Now you can. Download it FREE here.


Curse of Death: Young Adult Paranormal Prequel Short Story to the Touch of Death Series.


When Medusa is caught between the god she serves and the god she loves, there can only be one outcome.

Download it FREE here.












The Imaginary Friend: Lower Middle Grade Two-Part Short Story

Samantha and Tracy have been best friends since kindergarten, but now that Tracy has gotten over her shyness and made new friends, Samantha is feeling left out. This is nothing compared to how she feels when a strange girl named Jessica tells Samantha that she’s actually an imaginary friend. Tracy has outgrown Samantha, and it’s time for Samantha to help another child who needs her. But will Samantha be able to move on and fulfill her duty as an imaginary friend?

Download it FREE on Amazon or B&N.


Campus Crush: New Adult Contemporary Romance Novel consisting of four novellas (written under my pen name Ashelyn Drake)
The co-eds of Timberland College know a little romance is good for the soul. 

Follow four couples as they try to find love in the Campus Crush Series boxset, including Nothing to Tell, Romancing the R.A., Behind Closed Doors, and Rushing Into Love. 

When you're looking for love, you have to be willing to break the rules. 

This novel includes all four novellas in the Campus Crush series: 
Nothing To Tell
Romancing the R.A.
Behind Closed Doors
Rushing Into Love

Download it for FREE on Amazon or B&N.

LOW-PRICED Books:

Touch of Death (Touch of Death series #1): YA paranormal
Jodi Marshall isn’t sure how she went from normal teenager to walking disaster. One minute she’s in her junior year of high school, spending time with her amazing boyfriend and her best friend. The next she’s being stalked by some guy no one seems to know. 


After the stranger, Alex, reveals himself, Jodi learns he’s not a normal teenager and neither is she. With a kiss that kills and a touch that brings the dead back to life, Jodi discovers she’s part of a branch of necromancers born under the 13th sign of the zodiac, Ophiuchus. A branch of necromancers that are descendents of Medusa. A branch of necromancers with poisoned blood writhing in their veins. 

Jodi’s deadly to the living and even more deadly to the deceased. She has to leave her old, normal life behind before she hurts the people she loves. As if that isn’t difficult enough, Jodi discovers she’s the chosen one who has to save the rest of her kind from perishing at the hands of Hades. If she can’t figure out how to control her power, history will repeat itself, and her race will become extinct.

Only $1.99 on Amazon or B&N.


The Monster Within: YA paranormal
The moment seventeen-year-old Samantha Thompson crawls out of her grave, her second chance at life begins. She died of cancer with her long-time boyfriend, Ethan, by her side—a completely unfair shot at life. But Ethan found a way to bring her back, like he promised he would. Only Sam came back wrong.

She's now a monster that drains others' lives to survive. And after she kills, she’s tortured by visions—glimpses into her victims would-have-been futures had she not killed them. Barely able to live with herself and trying to make things right, Sam ends up a pawn in a vicious game of payback within the local coven of witches.

But when the game reveals what Ethan had to do to save Sam, she must make a choice that will change all their lives forever.

Only $3.99 on Amazon or B&N.


Perfect For You: YA contemporary romance written as Ashelyn Drake
Seventeen-year-old Meg Flannigan isn’t very self-confident, but what girl would be after her sophomore-year boyfriend dumped her by making out with another girl in front of her locker? 

Now a senior, Meg catches the eye of not one, but two gorgeous guys at school. Sounds good, right? What girl wouldn't want to be in Meg's shoes? One cute boy happens to be her boyfriend, and the other? Well, he wants to be. And Meg? She's torn between Ash, the boy she's been with for nearly five months, and Noah who is pretty irresistible. 

But Meg is playing with fire. Pitting two boys against one another, even if she doesn't intend to, could end badly if she isn't careful. 

Only $2.99 on Amazon or B&N.


Into the Fire: YA paranormal romance written as Ashelyn Drake
Seventeen-year-old Cara Tillman’s life is a perfectly normal one until Logan Schmidt moves to Ashlan Falls. Cara is inexplicably drawn to him, but she’s not exactly complaining. Logan’s like no boy she’s ever met, and he brings out a side of Cara that she isn’t used to. As the two get closer, everything is nearly perfect, and Cara looks forward to the future.

But Cara isn’t a normal girl. She’s a member of a small group of people descended from the mythical phoenix bird, and her time is running out. Rebirth is nearing, which means she’ll forget her life up to this point—she’ll forget Logan and everything they mean to one another.. But that may be the least of Cara’s problems.

A phoenix hunter is on the loose, and he’s determined to put an end to the lives of people like Cara and her family, once and for all.

Only $3.49 on Amazon or B&N.


Happy Holidays!


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25. Friday Feature: 25 Roses by Stephanie Faris



Mia moves from the shadows to the spotlight when her matchmaking plans go awry in this contemporary M!X novel from the author of 30 Days of No Gossip.

Mia is used to feeling overlooked: her perfect older sister gets all the attention at home, and the popular clique at school are basically experts at ignoring her. So when it’s time for the annual Student Council chocolate rose sale, Mia is prepared to feel even worse. Because even though anyone can buy and send roses to their crushes and friends, the same (popular) people always end up with roses while everyone else gets left out.

Except a twist of fate puts Mia in charge of selling the roses this year—and that means things are going to change. With a little creativity, Mia makes sure the kids who usually leave empty-handed suddenly find themselves the object of someone’s affection. But her scheme starts to unravel when she realizes that being a secret matchmaker isn’t easy—and neither is being in the spotlight.


My thoughts:
First, I love this cover. Just adore it. It's the kind of cover that makes you want to open the book, so I was excited to read this. And I wasn't disappointed at all.

Mia gets a really brilliant idea to buy roses for the kids in her class who don't ever get roses. All she wants is to make people feel good because she knows what it's like to feel left out or not quite as good as someone else, including her older sister. I loved Mia immediately for this.

But there's a problem with Mia's plan. Everyone wants to know who sent the roses, and since Mia is the one who sold them, everyone interrogates her. Mia tries to dodge their questions and pretends she doesn't know who sent them. But sending the roses leads to Mia playing Cupid. Kids are asking her for help talking to their crushes and getting made over. Mia's not sure how everyone came to think she knows about matchmaking and she's not exactly happy about it. Especially since Mia can't even admit to herself that she has a crush of her own.

Things begin to get out of control for Mia and she's not sure if she can fix it. What started out as a nice gesture becomes a heap of trouble for Mia.

I really loved Mia. I think she had great intentions, so when things started going wrong for her, I felt awful for her. The poor girl was only trying to be nice. But let's face it. Middle school is tough! There's plenty of drama to go around.

I couldn't put this book down, and as soon as I finished it, my daughter claimed it for herself. This is a great middle grade read that I highly recommend.
Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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