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1.

Just got back from San Diego Comic Con (so much fun--but SO EXHAUSTING)--and there are quite a few links this week--so here's hoping I get these right.

Here are the MMGM links!

- The Runaway Librarian joins the MMGM fun with a feature on four of her favorite new reads. Click HERE to welcome her to the group. 
- Books 4 Learning is spreading some love for PERCY JACKSON'S GREEK GODS. Click HERE to see why. 
- Sue Kooky is spotlighting THE IT GIRL. Click HERE to read her review.  
- Susan Olson is gushing about ONCE WAS TIME. Click HERE to find her feature.
- Justin at Justin Talks Books is highlighting JUST MY LUCK. Click HERE to read what he thought 
- The B.O.B. is interviewing author Christopher Healey. Click HERE to check it out.
- Michelle Mason is wishing for THE SEVENTH WISH. Click HERE to find her review. 
- Susan Uhlig has a double feature this week. To see her review of COUNTING THYME, go HERE. And to see her review of THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY, click HERE 
- Greg Pattridge has a double feature with THE DRAGONFLY EFFECT and SLACKER. Click HERE to see what he thought. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--AIM. Click HERE for details.  
- Michael Gettel-Gilmartin is revealing the cover of A CRACK IN THE SEA . Click HERE to check it out.   
- Jess at the Reading Nook has a Q&A with author Kit Grindstaff. Click HERE for all the fun.   
- Carl at Boys Rule! Boys Read! has a special guest feature from one of his awesome readers. Click HERE to see what they thought of THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY. 
- Jenni Enzor is sweet on SWEET HOME ALASKA. Click HERE to see why. 
- Got My Book is throwing down THE COPPER GAUNTLET. Click HERE to read their feature. 
- Michelle Mason is covering RUBY REINVENTED. Click HERE to see what she thought.
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week. 
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site
- 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 on a Monday (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--and please don't forget to say what book you're featuring) 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!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

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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2. Weekend Reading #11

I will admit that a couple of things have really slowed down my reading this summer.  
First of all, Stranger Things on Netflix completely captivated me.  I binged on that really hard this week.
Secondly, I am playing Pokemon Go.  I adore this game, but my very favorite thing is that my son will ask me to drive him and his friends around to play.  When your 18 year old, about to go to college son wants you to go out and play a game with him, you go out and play that game!

Anyway, I am going to focus on some reading this weekend.  These are the two books I am currently reading.  I am participating in a blog tour for The Secret Sea in August.  I like the alternate reality aspect of this book.  I also received The Gallery in the mail and this cover is so gorgeous I bumped it to the top of my TBR.  I love the feel of this book in my hands.
(I am also going to Star Trek this weekend, can't wait!!)
What are you reading this weekend?

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3. Turning Pages Reads: CLOSE TO FAMOUS, by JOAN BAUER

Welcome to another session of Turning Pages!When we talk about comfort reads, we have to mention the works of Joan Bauer. A little offbeat, a little unique, her books are always engaging and wise. Though quite a few are written for teens, many... Read the rest of this post

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4. AUTHOR INTERVIEW! Sarah Beth Durst on THE GIRL WHO COULD NOT DREAM

A little while ago I had the privilege of reading Sarah Beth Durst's latest fantasy novel for middle grade readers, The Girl Who Could Not Dream--the tale of a girl whose parents distill, bottle, and sell dreams out of a secret room in their... Read the rest of this post

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5. MMGM Links (7/18/16)

Here's this week's MMGM links!

- Tara Creel joins the MMGM fun with a feature on PAX. Click HERE to welcome her to the group. 
- Books 4 Learning wants everyone to SMILE. Click HERE to see why.
- Justin at Justin Talks Books is cracking THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA. Click HERE to read what he thought 
- The B.O.B. is highlighting BETTY CORNELL'S TEEN-AGE POPULARITY GUIDE. Click HERE to check it out.
- Michelle Mason is wishing for THE SEVENTH WISH. Click HERE to find her review. 
- Susan Uhlig has a double feature this week. To see her review of COUNTING THYME, go HERE. And to see her review of THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY, click HERE 
- Greg Pattridge is solving THE DRAKE EQUATION. Click HERE to see what he thought. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--COUNTING BY 7s. Click HERE for details.  
- Michael Gettel-Gilmartin has chills for THE PECULIAR HAUNTING OF THELMA BEE . Click HERE to see why.   
- Jess at the Reading Nook has a Q&A with CC Payne. Click HERE for all the fun. 
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week. 
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site
- 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 on a Monday (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--and please don't forget to say what book you're featuring) 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!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

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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6. Book Review: Black Lightning by K.S. Jones…

I absolutely love Arizona! I’ve been lucky enough to visit twice (Phoenix, Tempe, and Scottsdale areas), and would love to go back and see the Grand Canyon, since I never got a chance to go there. K.S. Jones paints a vibrant and beautiful picture with her words, that allows me to feel my skin sizzle under the Arizona heat, and make my mouth water for buttery cornbread. So what’s my take on a story set in a place that can conjure up Geronimo’s ghost and make you sweat with every page you turn? This is what I posted on Amazon and Goodreads…



Lightning does indeed strike twice with this 5 Star Winner!

K.S. Jones combines a mixture of Apache folklore, natural phenomenon, and science fiction in a dessert setting to create her middle grade sci-fy adventure about 10 year-old Samuel Baker and his incredible journey into another dimension. Fast-paced from beginning to end, Jones weaves a fantastic and emotional tale wrought with love, death, magic, and hope.

Jones’s imaginative story is a must for any bookshelf (or ereader), and though geared for tween boys, there’s plenty of action to get the girls cheering for Samuel and his friend Isabelle to get them back home to the families they love. High fives for K.S. Jones and her electrifying tale!

Tagline and Blurb:

Life moves on — no matter what...

Following his father’s puzzling disappearance and his mother’s death, ten-year-old Samuel Baker goes through the motions of living in a world turned upside down. He wears an Apache talisman, a long ago gift from his father, in hopes its promise of strength and guidance is true. But what he truly wants is the power to bring his parents back. 

Heartless Aunt Janis is elated at the prospect of becoming Samuel’s legal guardian. She is sure an orphan boy will elicit such an outpouring of public sympathy that her husband will win his Senate bid by a landslide. But when Grandpa Tate arrives, things don’t go as expected, especially when black lightning strikes!

Read an Excerpt:

Samuel stood beside his mother’s rain-speckled casket. He had cried his tears dry, so there was no point in trying to find more.

“Chin up, young man,” Aunt Janis said as her fingers nudged Samuel’s jaw upward. “Death is just part of life, and our photographer needs a good picture of you for the newspapers.”

A camera flashed, leaving Samuel’s red and swollen eyes burning as if stung by the sun instead of grief.

So many important days had come and gone without his father, but surely he would come home today, wouldn’t he? Samuel closed his eyes. He pretended his father was beside him holding his hand. They had a right to hold hands, he told himself. Not because he was ten, but because it was his mother’s funeral. Two years had passed since his father left, never to be seen again. Vanished, was the word his mother had used. Into thin air, she’d said.

“Take that silly thing off.” Aunt Janis flicked Samuel’s wood and bead necklace.

“No,” he said and shook his head. “My dad gave it to me.” It was a pinewood tile, the size of a domino shaved nickel-thin, which hung from a leather cord around his neck. Burned onto the front side of the wood was a lightning bolt. Its flipside bore the blackened imprint of a tribal dancer. It had a turquoise nugget and a shiny black hematite bead strung together on each side. His father had given the talisman to him with a promise: It will guide you and give you strength when you need it most.

Today, dressed in a black suit and starchy white shirt, Samuel wore it in hopes the promise was true.

As mourners gathered, Samuel’s friend Brian came to stand beside him. “Hey,” he said.

“Hey,” Samuel answered without taking his eyes off the casket.

“Is that the necklace your dad gave you? You don’t usually wear it.” Brian’s wire-rimmed glasses slid down his straight arrow nose. He pushed them back up the bridge with one finger until they encircled his eyes again. “Can I see it? I promise I’ll give it right back.”

“It’s not a necklace.” Samuel pulled the leather cord off over his head, mussing his overgrown blond hair. “It’s a talisman.” He handed it to Brian. “My dad said it would help me, but it hasn’t done anything yet. I think it was just one of his stories. It’s probably just an old piece of scrap wood with a couple rocks tied to it.”

Brian shrugged after examining the piece then he handed it back to Samuel. “I think it’s cool. You should keep wearing it anyway.”

Nodding, Samuel hung the talisman around his neck again, but this time he dropped it down beneath his shirt where it was no longer visible. It felt warm against his skin.

“Has anybody told you where you’re going to live now?” Brian asked.

“Probably with Aunt Janis and Uncle Jack.”

Brian frowned. He kicked the tip of his shoe into the muddy soil. “They live so far away. Why can’t you just stay here and live with Mrs. Abel? She doesn’t have any kids.”

Mrs. Abel was their fourth grade teacher. She had plainly stated to all who would listen that her job was to teach the proper use of the English language to children who behaved properly. A babysitter, she had said, she was not. Today, she stood in the rain with the other mourners, eyeing the ground where the hem of her long, gray dress lay caked in mud. Tufts of brown hair jutted out from under her pink plaid scarf. Even though she stood a few feet from him, she had not spoken to Samuel since his mother’s death. Few people had. Everyone had words for Aunt Janis and they talked to Uncle Jack, but no one but Brian and a few classmates had spoken to him. Maybe talking to an orphan was harder than talking to a normal kid.

Purchase Links:

Mirror World Publishing

Amazon 

Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author:

Karen (K.S.) Jones grew up in California, but now lives in the beautiful Texas Hill Country northwest of San Antonio with her husband, Richard, and their dogs Jack Black, Libby Loo, and Red Bleu. Black Lightning is her first middle-grade novel. She credits her love of fantasy to the early influences of authors J.R.R. Tolkien, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells. Her award-winning first novel, Shadow of the Hawk, a Young Adult Historical, released in 2015.

Connect with K.S. Jones:



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7. My Thoughts: Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

4 spicy & soft ginger cookies.

Cover Love:
I LOVE this cover. You have to see it in person to see how beautiful it is, but it's like  rose gold and shimmery and gorgeous.  So eye catching!

Why I Wanted to Read This:
I had been hearing a lot of buzz about this book, even before it was released.  I was lucky enough to get an ARC in the mail, but it still took me a few months to get it read.  Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:
Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount.
Romance?: Nope, not that kind of book.

My Thoughts:
This was a great read.  The only reason I gave it four cookies was because I had a hard time getting into the story.  I feel like this was my fault.  Reading the synopsis made me know there was going to be a lot of times my stomach would be in knots while reading this book.   It made me a little hesitant about diving right in, so I took my time.  When I let myself go, I realized that my fears came true, but the way the author handles it all made it an easy read.  There was a lot of tension and my stomach was in knots, but one reason I was too upset while reading this is that Annabelle always has someone on her side.  People, her parents, believe her.  Having someone in her corner the whole time gives her the confidence she needs to stand up for the innocent and for herself.

I love the setting. This was set at the start of World War 2, in a rural area.  Annabelle goes to school in a one room schoolhouse, but there are also cars.  It's like the cusp of the technological revolution. Annabelle's parents are hard working farmers, but also very much devoted to their children. Annabelle's grandparents and an aunt live with them as well.  These things are during a time that always fascinates me, there is such an innocence about the world still.  And that's what makes this book so powerful.  We see a little girl on the verge of growing up who loses her innocence pretty quickly.  What happens to her and her world changes her, makes her see how the world really is, but it doesn't destroy her.  The author does a great job of walking the fine line between destroying Annabelle and using the situation to make her stronger.

One of my favorite parts of this book is how much takes place in the family kitchen.  Most of Annabelle's confessions to her family happen around the table or when she is helping her mom cooking and baking.  I love that!  This is what happens in my family, the kitchen is the heart of our home and some of our best times are when I am cooking or cleaning up and my kids are doing homework and my husband is helping them or me and we are all just enjoying being together.  Even though the events that happen in this book are serious, you just know that their kitchen is the room that has the most love and trust.

To Sum Up: This book didn't turn out to be the hard read I had expected. It was innocent and interesting and a little disturbing.  It would be a great read for a middle school book club!

Book sent to me from Rachel at Penguin.  Thanks Rachel!

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8. Friday Feature: A Family For Leona


I'm back! My blogging break is over. Of course I've missed you all. Today, I'm sharing Beverly Stowe McClure's latest release, A Family For Leona.


Ten-year-old Leona Chapter doesn't understand why her papa left his six children at the Brooklyn Home for Homeless Children after their mother's death in 1921. Each day she prays he'll return and take his children home. God, however, isn't listening. Her brothers and sisters are either adopted or run away, leaving only Leona and Baby Mildred in the orphanage. Leona promises she and Mildred will be together for always. A promise she cannot keep, for Leona, along with her friend Noah, who she defends from the bullies Hiram and Jehu, and several other orphans, are soon on a train headed to Texas, while her sister stays at the orphanage. Leona vows she'll go back to Brooklyn, the first chance she gets. An Orphan Tran tale of the early 1900s.

Grab it on Amazon.

Most days, you'll find Beverly at her computer writing stories young voices whisper in her ear. When she's not writing, she plays the piano. Her cats don't appreciate good music and run and hide when she tickles the ivories. She's sometimes called the "bug lady." She's not telling why.


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

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9. Thursday Review: SPARKERS by Eleanor Glewwe

Synopsis: With cover blurbs from the likes of Rachel Hartman, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Anne Ursu, and Ingrid Law, the MG fantasy Sparkers by Eleanor Glewwe should have caught my eye earlier. I met Eleanor at a conference this summer and I'm a... Read the rest of this post

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10. Obsessing Over #5: The Littlest Bigfoot


 
 
I love the synopsis for this book.  I love the author and have read many of her adult books.  I love the cover.  Right now, I think this book is at the top of my WANT list.  It comes out in early September and I will be pre-ordering a copy for myself and a copy or two for my library. 

Also, I have a certain fascination with Bigfoot.  When my oldest son was first diagnosed with Crohn's disease he had to spend about a week in the hospital.  He wasn't overly sick, he just needed to be on an IV because he was pretty malnourished, so he was really, really bored.  One of the things we discovered was the TV show Finding Bigfoot.  For some reason there was a marathon on and we spent one whole day and evening watching that show.  It was a lot of fun and a good memory during a bad time.  Ever since then we have lots of Bigfoot discussions, even though he's 18 now.  It is something that bonds us a bit, and makes me even more excited for this book.

Any upcoming fall releases catch your eye yet?

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11. MMGM Links (7/11/16)

Here's the MMGM links!

- Justin at Justin Talks Books is seeing stars for COSMIC. Click HERE to read what he thought 
- The B.O.B. is back with a miniature book haul feature. Click HERE to check it out.
- Andrea Mack is cheering for OCDANIEL. Click HERE for their feature. 
- Jenni Enzor is highlighting kidlit books that have been translated from other languages. Click HERE to see what they are. 
- Greg Pattridge is WAITING FOR AUGUSTA. Click HERE to see what he thought. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing WOLF HOLLOW. Click HERE to find her feature.  
- Michael Gettel-Gilmartin is sweet on STARS SO SWEET . 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. 
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week. 
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site.


If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (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--and please don't forget to say what book you're featuring) 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!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

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 (7/11/16) as of 7/13/2016 4:55:00 AM
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12. Road Trip Reading #2 & Weekend Reading #10


This weekend we are driving three hours away to watch our son play in a senior showcase soccer game.  It will be a down and back in one day trip and my husband is driving, which means I am going to be reading!  

What are you reading this weekend?

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13. Skating with the Statue of Liberty by Susan Lynn Meyer

Skating with the Statue of Liberty continues the story of Gustave Becker begun in Black Radishes.  Gustave, now 12, and his family, along with his cousin Jean-Paul and his mother, all French Jews who have finally gotten American visas to leave Nazi-occupied Europe and sail to America.  It's January 1942, and the ship the family is sailing must dock in Baltimore to avoid the Nazi U-boats patrolling the waters around New York City.  Gustave is disappointed that the Statue of Liberty won't be his first view of America, but arriving in the US is his first taste of freedom since before WWII began.

However, life isn't all that easy for the Becker family in NYC.  After staying with kind relatives, they find a small, affordable one room apartment with a shared bathroom on West 91st Street in Manhattan.  His father must settle for a low-paying job a as janitor in a department store, and his mother ends up sewing decorations onto hats.   Gustave begins school at Joan of Arc Junior High school, hoping the name is fortuitous for him in his new school, home and country.

School issn't too bad for Gustave, who already knows a little English, with except for his homeroom teacher, Mrs. McAdams, who believes that raising her voice at him will make Gustave understand her better.  And she also decides that his name is too foreign and begins to call him Gus.  He does have one African American student in his class, September Rose, but he doesn't understand why she keeps her distance.  Eventually they do become friends, and face some nasty physical and verbal incidents because of it.

Gustave's English improves quickly, and he even gets an after-school job delivering laundry.  He and his cousin Jean-Paul, who now lives with his mother at a relative's home in the Bronx, join a French boy scout troop run by a French priest and a French rabbi, the same rabbi who has begum preparing the two cousins for their Bar Mitzvahs. And through his friendship with September Rose, Gustave learns about the Double V campaign in which her older brother Alan and his friends are involved.

But Gustave also worries about his friend Marcel in hiding back in France.  Luckily, he is able to write to his friend Nicole in Saint-Georges, France, whose father is in the French Resistance, so there is always hope that there will be good news about Marcel.

I had very mixed feelings about this novel.  There is no real conflict in it, really.  It is mostly about Gustave assimilation into American life.  And while that is very interesting and realistic, it isn't very exciting.  In fact, the whole issue around the Double V campaign, including the demonstration staged by Alan and his friends outside a department store in Harlem that refuses to hire African Americans is actually the most exciting part of the book and, I think, it should have been a story in its own right.

On the other hand, and perhaps because my dad was an immigrant, I personally liked reading about Gustave's life in America, perhaps because it is inspired on the author's father's real experiences after arriving in this country.  For sure, America isn't portrayed perfect and even Gustave faces incidents of racism and anti-Semitism, but for the most part, he does make friends and has a nice support system in his family, Boy Scouts and school.  I certainly appreciate his mixed feelings about which country to give his loyalty to and how that is resolved.    

Themes of friendship, family, refugees, racism, hate, and acceptance make this historical fiction novel as relevant in today's world as in 1942.  It is a quiet, almost gentle novel that will give young readers a real appreciation of what their family may have lived through coming to a new, unfamiliar country, finding a place in it and giving back as productive members of society.

This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was borrowed from the NYPL

Did the Statue of Liberty really skate in this book?  Of course not, but you'll have to read to the end to find out where the title comes from.

Gustave lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, just as Meyer's father did.  His school, Joan of Arc Junior High School on West 93rd Street, is referred to in the book as a "skyscraper school" which only means that it was built up not out because of rising property values.  But it is also a real school, now landmarked and on the NY Art Deco Registry.  As you can see, it is an unusual school:


Gustave also spends a lot of time at the Joan of Arc statue in Riverside Park, at the end of West 93rd Street.  It is also a famous landmark and you can read all about it at one of my favorite blogs, Daytonian in Manhattan (he has better photos)

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14. MMGM Links (7/4/16)

More MMGM links than I would've expected today--but here you go:

- Justin at Justin Talks Books is featuring UNGIFTED. Click HERE to read what he thought 
- S.W. Lothian joins the MMGM fun with a mini review of SHIRLEY LINK AND THE SAFE CASE. Click HERE to check it out.
- Books 4 Learning is cheering for SISTERS. Click HERE for their feature. 
- Got my Book is spotlighting CITY OF THIRST. Click HERE to see what they thought 
- Greg Pattridge is swept away with THE TURN OF THE TIDE. Click HERE to see what he thought. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--MAYBE A FOX. Click HERE for details. 
- Reading Violet is spreading some love for THE FORGOTTEN SISTERS. Click HERE to see what she thought.  
- Faith Hough is howling for WOLF HOLLOW. Click HERE to find her review.  
- Carl at Boys Rule, Boys Read is championing BIG NATE. 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. 
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week. 
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site.


If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (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--and please don't forget to say what book you're featuring) 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!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

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. Blitzed by Robert Swindells

This post was originally posted in 2012, but something odd happened on Blogger and it had to be reposted.

It is 2002 and Georgie Wetherall loves two things - knowing all about England in World War II and creeping. Creeping?  That is when you “streak across a row of back gardens, over fences, through hedges, across veg patches...without getting caught or recognized.” (pg13)  And he especially likes leaving Miss Coverley’s garden is shambles.  Georgie knows she doesn’t like him - she's always watching him.  So when he has to repair her fence post as punishment for his last creeping adventure, Georgie discoveres she watches him - it seems he reminds her of someone, but who?

All this is forgotten, however, when Georgie’s class goes on a trip to Eden Camp, a former POW camp turned into a WW 2 museum of 29 huts each dedicated to one aspect of the war.  Hut 5 is a realistic replica of a bombed street in London during the Blitz.  The sounds and smells add to the realistic atmosphere - but wait, it is perhaps a little too realistic.  In fact, Georgie suddenly finds himself transported back to wartime London.

Finding himself faced with the real deal, cold, hungry, lost and scared, Georgie wanders around until he finds a friendly searchlight crew who give him something to eat.  After living through a night of bombing in a public shelter, Georgie notices four kids emerging from a bombed out pub.  He and the kids start talking and they tell him he can stay with them as long as Ma approves.  Ma turns out to be a 14 year-old girl who watches over orphaned kids in the pub's basement.

Ma has a job in a second hand shop owned by what she believes to be is a Jewish refugee from Germany called Rags.  But when Georgie discovers a radio transmitter locked in one of the shops upstairs rooms, the kids begin to suspect that maybe Rags isn't who they think he is.  And they decide to find out exactly what he is up to with that radio transmitter.  Trouble is, Rags begins to suspect Ma of snooping in his stuff and decides to find out what she is up to.  So, Georgie, along with Ma and the other orphans, is on a wartime adventure he never dreamt possible.

I liked this coming of age time travel story.  It is told in the first person, and the author maintains the voice of a 12 year-old boy throughout, giving it an authentic quality - quick, witty, full of colloquialisms from 2002 that are questioned by the folks from 1940.  I also found Georgie's reaction to his predicament refreshing.  In most time travel stories, kids end up in a different time and place and seem to assimilate so easily.  But for Georgie, it isn't just a jolly adventure.  He worries throughout about not getting home, not seeing his parents again.  As wartime London loses its romanticized aura and becomes reality, it causes Georgie to experience real reactions like throwing up more than once and even wetting himself at one point.

But it is also a story of survival, complete with a cast of orphan characters right out of Charles Dicken's London, who become Georgie's family away from family, helping him adjust and carry on. And most importantly, helping him see the reality of war.

Blitzed is a fast paced but wonderful book.  The chapters are only a few pages long, but the events are exciting, making it an ideal book for a reluctant readers and certainly one that would appeal to boys as well as girls.

This book is recommended for readers age 10+
This book was purchased for my personal library

You can hear Robert Swindells speaking about Blitzed here.  It is on YouTube but the embed function is disengaged.

And there really is an Eden Camp in Yorkshire, so if you happen to be in England and would have an interest in visiting (you might want to go to Yorkshire anyway, it is a wonderful place to see.)  Information about visiting can be found here

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16. My Thoughts: A Clatter of Jars by Lisa Graff

3 peanut butter cookies.

Cover Love:  YES! I love this cover, it is darling.  It makes me think of summer camps and lakes and fireflies and fun.  Wonderful cover!

Why I Wanted to Read This:
I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this in the mail and after I read A Tangle of Knots I knew I had to read this one.  While it's not quite a sequel, it should definitely be read after A Tangle of Knots. Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:
In this companion to A Tangle of Knots, it's summertime and everyone is heading off to camp. For Talented kids, the place to be is Camp Atropos, where they can sing songs by the campfire, practice for the Talent show, and take some nice long dips in the lake. But what the kids don't know is that they've been gathered for a reason--one that the camp's director wants to keep hidden at all costs.

Meanwhile, a Talent jar that has been dropped to the bottom of the lake has sprung a leak, and strange things have begun to happen. Dozens of seemingly empty jars have been washing up on the shoreline, Talents have been swapped, and memories have been ripped from one camper's head and placed into another. And no one knows why.

Romance?:  Nope.

My Thoughts:
While I enjoyed this read, I didn't like it as much as A Tangle of Knots.  Part of the reason is that in Knots, the Talents that people had were kind of normal things.  Things that a lot of people might be good at, just enhanced for different people.  I enjoyed that idea a lot.  It's not like people were superheroes, they were just enhanced.  The Talents that some of these kids had in Jars were more...powerful.  Not all of them, some of them were normal, but they just seemed more impressive.  I didn't really like that change.

This was also a darker book.   The campers were in real danger in this book and a lot of the campers were desperate about their Talents or lack of Talents.  The camp director was one of the most desperate and the desperation leads her to doing some pretty awful things.  I didn't feel like anyone was in true danger, and I hoped everything would be tied up nicely, but I was antsy while reading a lot of this book.

However, I liked the setting a lot.  I always wanted to go to a summer camp like this one, on a lake.  I always went to sports camp that were hot and dusty, not on a lake.  I liked most of the kids in this book and how they worked together to figure out what was going on and how to fix it.  And I did like being back in the same world as A Tangle of Knots.  It's really fun and there is a lot of possibilities.  Also, I love how easily the author writes other points of view.  She can slip in and out of characters so smoothly the story just flows!

To Sum Up:  Love this world and these are two awesome middle grade books.  I will be book talking them a lot in the fall and recommending them for a lot of my 6th grade readers!

0 Comments on My Thoughts: A Clatter of Jars by Lisa Graff as of 7/2/2016 7:27:00 AM
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17. The Blitz Next Door by Cathy Forde

For Pete Smeaton, age 10 going on 11, moving from London to Clydebank, Scotland had its good points and its bad ones.  He was sorry to leave a place he knew so well, and his two best mates Simon and Alfie.  On the other hand, in Scotland, Pete has a big bedroom to himself, away from the rest of his family, including baby sister Jenny and her incessant crying.  Not only that, but there's that old WWII Anderson shelter at the end of the garden, just past the bomb crater, perfect to use as his personal den. Now, if only the girl next door would stop crying - except there is no next door, not since WWII when it took a direct hit from a bomb.

But no sooner do Pete and his football-figure collection get to the shelter, then he is confronted by Dunny, who claims the shelter is his.  After a brief showdown, the two boys bond over the football figures and in no time, Pete had a new best mate.  Everything seems to be going well - the house comes with his dad's new job, his dad's boss, Jamie Milligan, loves old rock and rock music as much as Pete does, and he doesn't have to start a new school until after the Easter holiday.  If only the girl next door would stop crying and who is the creepy old lady that is always standing at the bomb crater and doesn't seem to see or hear anyone?

Little by little, with the help of Dunny, Mr. Milligan and his mum, Pete begins to unravel the mystery of the crying girl next door.  No one who has lived in this area in Clydebank seems surprised when they discover that Pete can hear her.  He learns from them that her name is Beth and she lived next door during the war.  On the night of the Clydebank Blitz, Beth was in the Anderson shelter when the bomb hit her side of the house and destroyed it.  A box of treasured items, including her mother's wedding photo got lost in the rubble. Beth's mother was killed in the blitz and she and her father migrated to New Zealand in the 1950s.

Beth is an old woman now, and all she wants is to see the photo of her mother once more, the one in her lost box.  On the anniversary of the Clydebank Blitz, the Anderson shelter becomes a portal that takes Pete back to that terrifying night.  Can he help Beth find her treasure box in the past, so she can die in peace in the present?

The Blitz Next Door is a nice blending of real events with realistic fiction and fantasy.  The story is told in the third person, from Pete's perspective.  He is a clever, sensitive boy, good to both his sister and the girl next door, for all their crying, and brave enough to take risks to help Beth.  The other characters, especially Dunny and Mr. Milligan are also well developed with definite personalities, even Jamie Milligan and Dunny's younger brother Wee Stookie are solid and believable, though Pete's mum and dad as minor characters never really evolve.

The Clydebank Blitz was, indeed, a real event, and happened over the course of two nights, March 13 and 14, 1941.  A total of 560 Luftwaffe bombed the city because of its munitions factories and shipyards, 578 people were killed and many, like Beth, lost their homes.  The Blitz Next Door is a basically a contemporary story and you may wonder, as I did, if there would still be a bomb crater from WWII.  I didn't find one specific to Clydebank, but there actually are still some craters in the area.

This is a story set in Scotland and there is some amount of British slang used.  It won't take long to figure out that footy is soccer, that a stookie is a plaster cast, and that bally doesn't what it sounds like it should mean.  It is actually a substitute for saying ?bloody" which at one time was considered to be an expletive, but isn't really, anymore.

The Blitz Next Door is a compelling story that should appeal to readers who like a mystery and time travel stirred into their contemporary adventure stories, and that explores themes about friendship, family, courage.  This would pair nicely with A Shirtful of Frogs by Shalini Boland.

This book is recommended for readers age 8+
This book was an EARC received from NetGalley

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18. MMGM Links (6/27/16)

Here's this week's MMGM links:

- Justin at Justin Talks Books joins the MMGM fun with a feature on TO CATCH A CHEAT. Click HERE to welcome him to the group 
- Sue Kooky is seeing stars for SPACE CASE! Click HERE to see why.  
- Patricia at Children's Books Heal wants everyone to LISTEN, SLOWLY. Click HERE for her feature. 
- Jenni Enzor is highlighting THE BFG. Click HERE to see why she loves this classic.    
- Greg Pattridge is cheering for NINJA LIBRARIANS: SWORD IN THE STACKS. Click HERE to see what he thought. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--PATRIOT PAPERS. Click HERE for details. 
- Reading Violet wishes everyone would read EDEN'S WISH. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time. 
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week. 
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site.


If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (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--and please don't forget to say what book you're featuring) 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!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

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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19. MMGM Links (6/13/16)

Back to desperate deadline times, so here's a brain-broken attempt at the MMGM links:

- Jess at the Reading Nook is in stitches for A TANGLE OF KNOTS. Click HERE to see why. 
- Suzanne Warr is talking about the submission roller-coaster. Click HERE to see what that's all about
- Jenni Enzor is spotlighting THE BIRCHBARK HOUSE. Click HERE to learn more about it.  
 - Natalie Aguirre has an author guest post, and a GIVEAWAY of THE DISTANCE TO HOME. Click HERE for details.
- Books 4 Learning is cheering for BOOKED. Click HERE to read her review.
- Greg Pattridge is highlighting JOSH BAXTER LEVELS UP. Click HERE to see what he thought.   
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--SWEET HOME ALASKA. Click HERE for details.  
- Faith Hough is raving about WAITING FOR AUGUSTA. Click HERE for her review.  
- Reading Violet has a double feature--THE HIDDEN ORACLE and A BUSS FROM LAFAYETTE . Click HERE to see what she thought.  
- Sue Kooky is also spreading some love for THE HIDDEN ORACLE. Click HERE to read her review.   
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week. 
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site. 
- 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 on a Monday (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--and please don't forget to say what book you're featuring) 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!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

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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20. Monday Mishmash 6/13/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. My Grandfather's 95th Birthday  Today I'm celebrating my grandfather's 95th birthday!
  2. Editing  I'm editing for clients again this week.
  3. Proofing Visions of Mockingbird Point  Book three in the Curse of the Granville Fortune series is almost ready. I'm proofing the ARC right now.
  4. Summer  I'm still getting used to my summer schedule. I'm not getting as much work done as usual, but I'm exercising like crazy.
  5. Orlando  My heart goes out to all those affected by the shooting in Orlando. 
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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21. We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler by Russell Freedman

Russell Freedman has written a wonderfully succinct history of the short-lived White Rose resistance movement the formed in Nazi Germany after some friends became disillusioned with the whole National Socialist government and its leader Adolf Hitler.

Freedman highlights the White Rose's history through the lives of siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl.   Hans, once a willing participant in the Hitler Youth and a natural born leader, quickly began to realize that within the youth organization and Germany as a whole, there was no place for anything other than what had been decided by those in power.  Even singing folksongs from other countries around a campfire was met with severe reprimand.

Sophie, three years younger than her brother Hans, was a member of the League of German Girls, a part of the Hitler Youth.  She was also enthusiastic at first, but just like Hans, became disillusioned, especially after seeing some of the treatment the Nazis imposed on people who were not party members, or on Jews.

Disillusionment led to action and soon Hans, now a student at the University of Munich, Sophie and a small group of like-minded student friends were writing and mailing their Leaflets of the White Rose, exposing what they felt was the truth about the Nazi Regime and Adolf Hitler and asking the citizens of Germany to take responsibility and fight them.

The White Rose began distributing their first leaflet in June 1942.  Altogether, six different leaflets were printed and distributed all over Germany by the thousands, so many that the Gestapo began to diligently search for the members of the White Rose.  On February 18, 1943, Hans and Sophie were arrested carrying a suitcase full of leaflets to be distributed and after a short trial, executed on February 23, 1943.

The story of Han and Sophie Scholl and the White Rose is an inspiring one and Freedman has presented it in a sensitive, thought-provoking manner.  I think its real strength lies in the simplicity with which Freedman tells the story of the White Rose, all the while quietly letting the courage, honor, and principles of these valiant dissenters shine through.  He makes clear that opposing Hitler was a dangerous business and that these young idealists were well aware of the danger they faced and died still believing they had done the right thing.

This is an excellent introduction to resistance in the Third Reich and would pair very nicely with Deborah Hopkinson's Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in World War II Denmark and/or The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Petersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose for an interesting unit on Resistance vs. Acceptance (remembering the silence is acceptance).

We Will Not Be Silent includes copious photographs, including copies of the Leaflets of the White Rose, with some translation of their content.  Back matter also includes Source Notes, a Select Bibliography of books and films.

This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was an EARC received from Edelweiss/Above the Treeline

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22. Friday Feature: Blues Bones Review by Guest Reviewer Ayla Hashway


As I'm sure you all know, I acquired Blues Bones by Rick Starkey so I can't review it. However, my daughter, Ayla Hashway, is here today to review the book since she chose to read it for her summer reading. Just a little bit about Ayla: she's nine years old, going into fourth grade, and is an avid reader. 

First, here's the cover and blurb:


Thirteen-year-old Rodney Becker has found the perfect cure for stage fright. Voodoo!

Armed with the stolen finger bones of a dead blues guitar player and a mishmash of voodoo spells from the Internet, he and his best friend enter a graveyard at midnight to perform their ritual. Now, all that stands in his way of winning a local guitar competition is the power of RETURN – a side effect of the voodoo that spells disaster for Rodney.
His cure has become a curse. How else can he explain jamming his finger so bad he can't hold a guitar pick, his part-time dad stealing his guitar, and his mom getting into an accident that could have taken her life?

How much is Rodney willing to risk to achieve his dream of being a guitar legend?

And now, here's Ayla with her review!

Hi,it's Ayla. I read the book Blues Bones for the first time! I kind of felt bad for Rodney when he froze up on stage at the school talent show, but it was funny at the same time. I think people can relate to Rodney with stage fright and other things. I also think it was cool when he played around with the voodoo spells. There were a lot of funny parts to this book. It was fun to read, especially with my mom. So I'm really glad Rick wrote this book. I hope many people get to read it and have as much fun reading it as I did. Have fun reading! Bye!


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

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23. Monday Mishmash 6/20/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. After Loving You  I'm getting my Ashelyn Drake NA contemporary romance ready for it's early October release. I've gone through edits and now I'm proofing. 
  2. Visions of Mockingbird Point  The final installment of the Curse of the Granville Fortune series is now available. Find out if J.B. and the gang find the fortune and break the curse. Grab your copy here
  3. Father's Day  I hope all the dads had a great Father's Day!
  4. Exercise  I've been running, walking, playing tennis, and swimming. I love that I'm getting so much exercise, but my bedtime has gotten out of hand. I can barely stay awake until nine because I'm exhausted!
  5. The Secret Sister  My daughter is hard at work on her book, The Secret Sister. She's on chapter sixteen now and already has a cover! I can't wait to see the finished product.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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24. MMGM Links (6/20/16)

In the middle of the all-nighter I'm pulling to get Lodestar turned in today (OMG MY BRAIN IS READY TO BREAK) So these may be the iffiest MMGM links yet. But here you go:

- Angela Russell joins the MMGM fun with a feature on FLICKERS. Click HERE to see why. 
- Emily at Literary Hoots is also joining the MMGM fun with a feature on WOLF HOLLOW. Click HERE to welcome her to the group!
- Dorine White thinks the AWESOME 8 are awesome! Click HERE to read her review.
Suzanne Warr has chills for ODD AND THE FROST GIANTS. Click HERE to see what she thought.
- Books 4 Learning is cheering for THE WEDNESDAY WARS. Click HERE to read her review.
- Greg Pattridge is spotlighting the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS ALMANAC 2017--with a giveaway! Click HERE to see what he thought.   
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--THE SLEEPOVER. Click HERE for details.   
- Natalie Aguirre has an author (and agent) guest post, and a GIVEAWAY of STICKS & STONES. Click HERE for details.
- Reading Violet is highlighting DAWN OF SPIES. Click HERE to see what she thought.  
- The Mundie Moms are always huge supporters of middle grade. Click HERE for their Mundie Kids site. 
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time.
- 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 on a Monday (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--and please don't forget to say what book you're featuring) 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!) (Also make sure the post you send me is a new post, not one from earlier in the week. I try to keep the content fresh)

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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25. My Thoughts: A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff

4 yummy yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting.

Cover Love:  I love this cover, it's colorful and whimsical and includes so many elements from the book.  I adore it!

Why I Wanted to Read This:
When this book first came out, I saw a lot of comparisons to Savvy, which was a book I adored.  It went on my TBR list, but I wasn't able to get it read until now.  Wish I had started sooner!  Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:

Told in multiple viewpoints, A Tangle of Knots is a magnificent puzzle. In a slightly magical world where everyone has a Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal Talent for cake baking. But little does she know that fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born. And her destiny leads her to a mysterious address that houses a lost luggage emporium, an old recipe, a family of children searching for their own Talents, and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever. However, these encounters hold the key to Cady's past and how she became an orphan. If she's lucky, fate may reunite her with her long-lost parent. 
Romance?: No.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book.  The style it is written in makes for a quick and easy read:  short chapters told from different points of view.  The author nails all of the characters voices.  I love that the Talents each person can be simple, like accurate spitting, or more advanced, like baking the perfect cake for a person.  I bet the author had a great time deciding how people in this world can be Talented.

I loved little Cady and rooted for her through the whole book.  But while Cady felt like the main character, this was a book with multiple characters whose storylines are woven together so smoothly.  It was easy to keep track of who was who and what each one was doing.  And while I was able to make some educated guesses about where the story was going to end up, I was constantly and pleasantly surprised by the turns in the story.  And I LOVED how everything was woven together so beautifully at the end!

And all the recipes!  I am going to try some of these cakes.  Look for a future "Food From Fiction" post on that!

To Sum Up:  Awesome middle grade read.  This one is easy to get into the hands of the younger readers in my school!

Remember to enter my giveaway for a pack of Lisa Graff paperbacks!  Check out this post to enter.

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