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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: middle grade, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 1,244
1. Middle Grade Contemporary - Star of the Team by Beverly Stowe McClure

I first met Beverly when I embarked on my writing career in 2007 and we have remained connected ever since. Not only do I enjoy Beverly's style of storytelling I have enjoyed and continue enjoy our personal connection. It is my hope some day to meet in person. For now I will have to rely on cyberspace and email exchanges to stay connected. 

Congratulations Beverly on your latest MG novel! Without further ado, I'm proud to share the book and bio information for Star of the Team and Beverly Stowe….

Applause, applause…



STAR OF THE TEAM
MG contemporary

Blurb:

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?

Links:

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.

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE <![endif]-->

Bev, it's a pleasure hosting you today! Doing the Snoopy dance in celebrating your latest accomplishment!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author


Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with
A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Farvorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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2. Always Abigail: Review Haiku

Classic middle-grade
about mean girls, nice girls, and
doing the right thing.

Always Abigail by Nancy J. Cavanaugh. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2014, 320 pages.

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3. MMGM Links (10/27/14)

Well, we are now 8 days from the release of EVERBLAZE (7 days from the launch party!!)

THIS IS NOT A DRILL, PEOPLE! 

:)

I've compiled all the recent updates into one handy post you can find HERE. And thank you all for bearing with me--and sharing my excitement--during these crazy days!


Okay, onto the MMGM links:

- Jess at the Reading Nook is gushing about THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH--with a giveaway! Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Reader Noir has chills for NIGHTMARES. Click HERE to see their review.  
- Mark Baker has a double feature this week. Click HERE to see what he thought of THE MYSTERY OF THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN. And click HERE to see his review of THE MYSTERY OF THE GHOSTLY GALLEON.  
- Katie Fitzgerald is cheering for RAIN REIGN. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Suzanne Warr is haunted by THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND. Click HERE to see why. 
- Susan Olson has found magic in ABRACADABRA, TUT. Click HERE to see what she thought.  
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--a hardcover copy of COURAGE FOR BEGINNERS. Click HERE for details. 
- Sue Heavenrich is rooting for FLEABRAIN LOVES FRANNY, along with an author interview. Click HERE for all the fun.
- Amara Jabber thinks everyone must BEWARE OF THE HAUNTED TOILET. Click HERE to see why. 
- Dorine White has a very special tribute to the students at Marysville Pilchuck high school, where her daughter actually attends. Not middle grade related, per se, but definitely worth a read. Click HERE for more.
- Greg Pattridge is digging WRITTEN IN STONE. Click HERE to read his review.  
- Jenny Enzor is featuring THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM--1963. Click HERE to see what she thought.  
- 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! 
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week. 
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring 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. 

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4. Review: Gracefully Grayson

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky. Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group. 2014. Reviewed from ARC.

The Plot: Grayson Sender is twelve years old.

Grayson is lonely, even surrounded by classmates, even at home, living with cousins, an aunt and uncle.

Grayson is lonely in part because of Grayson's parents death years ago, leading to Grayson being the odd child out at home.

Grayson is lonely because Grayson cannot connect with others because Grayson is hiding the most important part of who Grayson is.

In Gracefully Grayson, Grayson gradually gains trust and friends until Grayson can reveal the truth: that Grayson is a girl inside. Grayson is a transgender girl.

The Good: I'll be honest Grayson broke my heart, because of how lonely she is. Of how unable to connect with those around her.

At school, Grayson tries out for the play and takes her first step towards her true self by asking to play the part of a girl. One of the happy-tear moments I had was -- spoilers -- when the cast welcomed Grayson, became her friend, treated her like they'd treat anyone else.

Then there were the sad-tears of those who bullied Grayson, and of Grayson's aunt who believes that Grayson is in part causing the problems by not continuing to hide her truth.

And I cried at all the things Grayson did, in hiding. Doodling pictures of girls, but doing it in such a way that people wouldn't know. "If you draw a a triangle with a circle resting on the top point, nobody will be able to tell that it's a girl in a dress. To add hair, draw kind of a semicircle on top. If you do this, you'll be safe, because it looks like you're just doodling shapes."

Loving glitter pens and being prepared with lies to explain why she has the purple and pink ones.

Wearing a sweatband to pretend it's a hairband.

Pretending basketball pants and a t-shirt are somehow a gown, with the wide pants a full skirt.

And how important it is to Grayson, to anyone, to have their own truth by the truth others see. That it's harmful, the years and the lies of pretending to be something other than who she is.

At the end of Gracefully Grayson, someone tells Grayson that "I know it may feel like there are people who are against you, but I want you to remember that most people in the world are good. Look for the people who extend a hand to you. And when they do take it." This, in a nutshell, sums up the book. There are people against Grayson, for various reasons. But there are just as many good people in Grayson's world.

And the question left to the reader is this: is the reader one of the good ones? Does the reader extend a hand to those around them?

I'm making this one of my Favorite Books of 2014, because it is such a beautiful book and Grayson is such an endearing twelve year old.

Links: author interview at Diversity in YA; Bookfabulous Review; Robert Bittner Review at Gay YA;



Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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5. Curse of the Granville Fortune Release Day Scavenger Hunt!


Let the hunt begin!

Curse of the Granville Fortune officially releases into the world today! This middle grade fantasy adventure involves a race to a treasure, so there's a scavenger hunt to celebrate.

But first, check out the cover and blurb:



Find the fortune, break the curse!

The hunt is on for an ancient treasure tied to nine-year-old J.B.'s family history. He's been having visions that make him sweaty, lightheaded, and certain he’s turning into some kind of freak—or worse, going insane. But things are worse than he imagined. The visions stem from a family curse. An ancient ancestor was accused of stealing the massive Granville fortune, and now J.B.’s entire family will suffer.

To break the curse, J.B. must find and return the Granville’s stolen property. But he's not the only one searching for the treasure. As he sets out on his journey through a dark and foreboding forest, he'll battle his worst fears and fight terrifying creatures along the way. And when he meets two others who share the missing pieces of his visions and suffer from the same curse, the three soon realize they need to work together to break the curse before it's too late.

Order it on Amazon or B&N.

Now for the scavenger hunt. Below is a list of bloggers helping out with the hunt. Visit each of their pages and collect a letter that is "hidden" in their post in either a different color or a larger font size. See what I did there? Hmm, is that the first letter clue? ;) If you go through the list in order, the word will spell itself out for you. If you don't go in order, you'll have to unscramble the word. Either way is fine and totally up to you. Then enter the word on the rafflecopter form for bonus entries. You don't have to find the word to enter the giveaway, but the word will earn you the most entries.

What's up for grabs?

SWAG from ALL of my books!

Yes, that's right. There's a drawstring bag, coins, buttons, a mood ring, a heart bracelet, a flame pendant, trading cards, a key, and bookmarks! All this loot could be yours!

Here are the stops for the scavenger hunt (in order):

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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6. MMGM Links (10/20/14)

Since we are so incredibly close to the release of EVERBLAZE, plan on me (shamelessly) starting these posts with a few updates.

First: the EVERBLAZE pre-order giveaway is in full swing, so if you missed the post--and you want to get your free swaggish goodies--make sure you go HERE.

I've also announced another of my EVERBLAZE tour stops (Salt Lake City--WOOOO!). You can find details about all my upcoming events HERE.

Phew--okay, that wasn't so bad, right? And now, onto the MMGM links:

- Suzanne Warr is highlighting LUG: Dawn of the IceAge. Click HERE to see why.
- Rcubed is gushing about TURTLE IN PARADISE. Click HERE to read her review. 
- Michelle Mason has a special series recommendation on THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE. Click HERE to see why
- Sue Heavenrich is convinced that THERE WILL BE BEARS. Click HERE to see what she thought.
- Amara Jabber has chills for THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. Click HERE to see her review. 
- Dorine White is GIVING AWAY books 1-4 of The Code Buster's Club. Click HERE for details.
- Greg Pattridge thinks SMASHER is simply smashing. Click HERE to read his review.  
- Susan Uhlig has two middle grade recommendations for you, A SNICKER OF MAGIC, and THREE TIMES LUCKY. Click HERE to see what she thought.  
- Andrea Mack is dishing about WHO WHAT WEAR: The Allegra Biscotti Collection #2.  Click HERE to see her feature.  
- Susan Olson is cheering TUT, TUT. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- 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! 
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week. 
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring 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 (10/20/14) as of 10/20/2014 7:47:00 AM
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7. Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus: Review Haiku

I don't even want
to think about how bad this
pickle guy must smell.

Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus by Tom Angleberger. Amulet/Abrams, 2014, 224 pages.

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8. Monday Mishmash 10/20/14


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. Curse of the Granville Fortune Releases Tomorrow!  I can't believe tomorrow is the big day! My middle grade fantasy will be available 10/21.
  2. Out of the Ashes on Goodreads  You can now add Out of the Ashes, book two in the Birth of the Phoenix Series, on Goodreads.
  3. #IntotheFireChallenge  Halloween will be here before you know it, so get your review of Into the Fire up on Amazon to be entered for a chance to become a phoenix in the third book in the Birth of the Phoenix Series. You could also win signed copies of all three books in the series.
  4. Beth Fred's Writing Class  My friend Beth Fred is teaching another class through Colorado Romance Writer. It's called The Art of Blurb Writing. Sign up here.
  5. Witches Three Tour  I signed at Books-A-Million in Exton, PA last Saturday along with Jennifer Murgia and Molly Cochran. Jen and I will be signing at BAM in the Stroud Mall in Stroudsburg, PA this Saturday from 1-3pm. Come see us if you're in the area.
Here are some fun pictures from last Saturday.


That's it for me. What's on your mind today?



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9. Top Secret Files of History: Spies, Secret Missions, & Hidden Facts from World War II by Stephanie Bearce

World War II is like an iceberg - the parts of it that we read about in history books or even learn in the classroom are really just the tip of the iceberg.  Below the surface, hidden from sight, are all kinds of secrets, deceptions and subterfuge that helped win the war.  So, what are some of them?

Well, Stpehanie Bearce has culled some of the more interesting aspects of wartime secrets and put them together in this small, but very interesting book.  Young readers will learn not only how one became a spy for England, training in the grand estates around the country requisitioned for that purpose, but they will read about the Ghost Army that fought the war with rubber trucks, tanks, planes and weapons.  Rubber?  That's right.  And that's not all they did.

Kids will how read about how an Australian journalist turned spy called The White Mouse became a bane of Nazi existence because of her ability to give them the slip while working with the French resistance.   Or how one man, Christopher Hutton, invented the silk map, making life so much easier for Allied pilots and parachutists, because their maps were now so lightweight and indestructible.  Hutton went on to invent other useful things for soldiers, including a special Monopoly game that could be sent to POWs and contained escape equipment.

There is lots of interesting information about secret missions, like, exactly what Julia Child was cooking up during the war.  Or the secret city that really didn't exist but did exist, and designed to fool the Japanese.  And readers will learn all about Rat Bombs, Bat Bombs and Doodlebugs.

But my personal favorite was the section on Code Talkers.  I've always liked codes and ciphers, especially the Enigma (one of these days I am hoping to post instructions for making a simplified Enigma out of a Pringles container).   And I, like many of you, have heard of the Navajo Code Talkers, but never really understood how the coding worked.  Bearce gives a short history about this special group of men, and how they devised their code, and includes a simplified dictionary for solving her Code Talker's Challenge.

In fact, in each of the five sections that the book is divided into there are corresponding projects that kids can do or things they can make, such as a simple spy obstacle course or a fingerprint kit, or even a book safe.

Scattered throughout each chapter are sidebars of even more interesting information or facts that will intrigue readers, such as how Ian Fleming came up with the name Jame Bond for his famous agent 007.  And at the back, you will find Bibliography and a list of websites where readers can get additional information on all the topics covered.

Spies, Secret Missions & Hidden Facts from World War II is sure to please budding history buffs and anyone else who just likes a secret.

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

A 5 copy giveaway of Spies, Secret Missions & Hidden Facts from World War II is going on over at Goodreads until October 28, 2014, so head on over there if this sounds like a book you would like to own.

0 Comments on Top Secret Files of History: Spies, Secret Missions, & Hidden Facts from World War II by Stephanie Bearce as of 10/18/2014 11:38:00 AM
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10. Gracefully Grayson: Review Haiku

Sensitively done;
a testament to the power
of great theatre.

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky. Hyperion, 2014, 256 pages.

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11. MMGM Links (10/13/14)

We are getting SO CLOSE to the Launch of EVERBLAZE, so make sure you're checking my blog regularly for all the updates.

I've announced three of my upcoming tour stops, as well as the So Cal Launch party. You can find that information HERE. And there's so much more to come. More tour stops. A new KEEPER website. And tomorrow I'll be launching the pre-order giveaway!

But in the meantime, here's the MMGM links:

- The B.O.B. is sharing a peek at what it's like to go to one of Rick Riordan's BoO tour stops. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Jenny Enzor is going out of her mind for OUT OF MY MIND. Click HERE to read her review. 
- Mark Baker is showcasing SPACE CASE. Click HERE to see what he thought. 
- Sue Heavenrich wants you to know that ELIZA BING IS (NOT) A BIG FAT QUITTER. Click HERE to see why.   
- Jess at the Reading Nook is finding A MILLION WAYS HOME. Click HERE to see her feature. 
- Susan Olson is gushing about SACAGAWEA'S STRENGTH (BLAST FROM THE PAST). Click HERE to see what she thought.
- Amara Jabber was caught by THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND. Click HERE to see her review. 
- Suzanne Warr is seeing new heights for ROOFTOPPERS. Click HERE to see why.
- Rosi Hollinbeck is revieing--and GIVING AWAY--DASH.  Click HERE for all the fun. 
- Dorine White is cheering for CLAUDE ON THE SLOPES. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Greg Pattridge is swooning over THE BLOSSOMING UNIVERSE OF VIOLET DIAMOND. Click HERE to read his review.  
- Susan Uhlig has two middle grade recommendations for you. Click HERE to see what they are.  
- Kim Aippersbach has chills for THE BONESHAKER. Click HERE to see her feature.  
- 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! 
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week. 
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring 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 (10/13/14) as of 10/13/2014 8:09:00 AM
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12. Alvin Ho #6: Review Haiku

I don't understand
how Alvin's parents didn't
EFFING MURDER HIM.

Alvin Ho: Allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, and Other Tourist Attractions by Lenore Look, illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Schwartz & Wade, 2014, 176 pages.

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13. MMGM Links (10/6/14)

Managed to put together the MMGM links again (now if only I could hit my word count requirement for the day and go to bed... *glances at clock* *sighs*).

Also, if you missed it, I've announced the Official EVERBLAZE Launch Party details, so if you're in SoCal, make sure you check HERE to mark your calendars. And don't worry, I still have all kinds of fun things coming, including the rest of my tour info, as well as the pre-order giveaway, the launch of the soon-to-be-newly updated keeperofthelostcities.com, and more!

So keep checking back regularly, and in the meantime, here's some awesome middle grade recs floating around the blogosphere from the other MMGMers.

- The B.O.B. has chills for GIANTS AND ICE. Click HERE to see what she thought.
- Sue Heavenrich is hearing a WHISTLE IN THE DARK. Click HERE to see why. 
- Amara Jabber is dishing about WAIT TILL HELEN COMES. Click HERE to see her review. 
- Suzanne Warr is sharing some of the incredible insights she gained from the Dave Wolverton/Farland seminar she attended. Click HERE to check that out. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck is seeing stars for ALL FOUR STARS--and GIVING AWAY a copy.  Click HERE for all the fun. 
- Greg Pattridge is in love with THE KEY THAT SWALLOWED JOEY PIGZA. Click HERE to read his 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! 
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week. 
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring 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 (10/6/14) as of 10/6/2014 6:33:00 AM
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14. Monday Mishmash: 10/6/14


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. Into the Fire is a Cybils Awards Nominee!  So, I found out Into the Fire was nominated for the Cybils in the YA Speculative Fiction Category. Yeah, I'm a little excited. :) See the nominees here.
  2. Curse of the Granville Fortune Blog Tour  I can't believe the release of Curse of the Granville Fortune (MG fantasy) is just around the corner. The 21st will be here soon, so I'm finalizing my blog tour posts this week.
  3. Another Book Drafted  Last week I finished drafting a new book and I'm sort of in love with it.
  4. My Husband's Birthday  It's my husband's birthday today!
  5. FREE Monthly Newsletter  My FREE monthly newsletter may have gone out yesterday, a day early. I may have accidentally only set the time to post instead of the day to post. ;) Didn't get one? Stay on top of my giveaways, book news, and writing tips by signing up for my newsletter here.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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15. The Winged Watchman by Hilda van Stockum

Original 1962 Edition, which is what I read
Books about the Netherlands during World War II are generally about the Dutch Resistance, but Hilda van Stockum has focused more on the daily experiences of one very close knit, religious family living, but without ignoring Resistance activities.  

At ten years old, Joris Verhagen can barely remember what life was like before the Nazis invaded Holland in 1940 when he was 4.  Life is hard for the Verhagen family - father, a 4th generation millwright, mother, Dirk-Jan, 14, Joris and Trixie, 4, but because they lived in a working windmill, things were not quite as hard as for others in their small village.   Now, after four years of Nazi occupation, everyone is hopeful that the Allies will soon arrive.

The novel is told as a series of connecting vignettes that show how the family quietly worked hard to resist the Nazis.  And so there are some wonderful moments in which their occupiers are outsmarted, like the downed RAF pilot who Joris discovers hiding in an old abandoned windmill and the amusing way that he was he was hidden in plain sight by Joris's Uncle Cor before escaping back to England.

Or the two little girls who come to stay with the Verhagens after their parents are forced into hiding and their absolute faith that St. Nickolas will show up at the Verhagen door with Christmas surprises.

Even little Trixie has a very surprising story.

There are some scary, tense moments as when Leendert, an adolescent, becomes a landwatcher for the Nazis, even though his own parents are against them and threatening to turn his own father in.  Always trying to win favor with the Nazis, Leendert like to throw his weight around, like pushing a young girl off a broken-down bike with wooden wheels, causing her to loose consciousness, but not before she manages to toss her satchel into the bushes.  Joris later discovers, when he retrieves the bag for her, that it is full of Resistance newspapers.

There is so much more that happens to the Verhagen family, and their friends and neighbors, all related with such compassion.  But at the heart of everything, is the Winged Watchman.  It is the Winged Watchman that ultimately saves the day for so many of them.

The two main characters, besides the windmill, are Joris and brother Dirk-Jan, who are portrayed as quite heroic, but not without a certain amount of fear.  And who can blame them, living in an atmosphere of betrayal and danger.  The most striking descriptions are of the hunger and homelessness that so many Dutch experienced by the winter of 1944 (known as the Hunger Winter) because the Nazis confiscated more and more of the food grown in Holland for themselves and because so many homes were bombed.

The Winged Watchman was written in 1962 and may feel a little dated and the writing may seem a little stiff to today's young readers, but it is still a compelling story of resistance and courage.  The family is deeply religious and van Stockum shows how that also helped the Verhagens preserver throughout.

I also learned two intersting facts about windmills in this novel.  The Winged Watchman is not a mill used for grinding, but was used for draining the water out of areas below sea level in order the reclaim the land below the water.  The reclaimed land is called a polder.  The water is diverted to a canal and is kept out of the reclaimed land by a dyke.  This kind of windmill, of course, plays an important role in The Winged Watchman, so it helps to understand what it is all about.

The other interesting fact I learned is that windmills were used to send coded messages from member of the Dutch Resistance to other members right under the nose of the otherwise ever vigilant Nazis.  The messages were read according to the location of the windmills sails, or the different color stripes of cloth tied onto them and sent windmill to windmill.  Most Dutch citizens were ferociously patriotic, with only a few traitors like Leendert.

Hilda van Stockum was born in Rotterdam, Holland, and she clearly loved her country very much,
though by the time World War II began, she was living in the US, having married an American.  She based many of the occurrences in The Winged Watchman on letters and stories of relatives who remained in Holland.  Van Stockum was a prolific writer and in 1935, her short novel A Day on Skates: the Story of a Dutch Picnic was a Newbery Honor book.

The Winged Watchman is still in print and can be found in most bookshops and libraries and is still a worthwhile book to read.

This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was a hand-me-down from my sister


 

0 Comments on The Winged Watchman by Hilda van Stockum as of 10/3/2014 11:59:00 AM
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16. MMGM Links (9/29/14)

Assembling these MMGM links after a looooooong day of drafting/brainstorming. So here's hoping there aren't too many mistakes. Sorry if there are. Brain = tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired. But thank you all so much for all the awesome support for middle grade!

- Seraphina at Seraphina Reads joins the MMGM fun with a feature on THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. Click HERE to welcome her to the group. 
- The B.O.B. has chosen, um... ME, as her Genius of the week (WOW--thank you SO MUCH!). Click HERE to see what she thinks of KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES.
- Andrea Mack is sweet on the ALLEGRA BISCOTTI COLLECTION. Click HERE to see her review.
- Heidi Grange has chills for DOLL BONES. Click HERE to see why. 
- Amara Jabber starts her Halloween Countdown with THE BEST HALLOWEEN EVER. Click HERE to see her review. 
- Janet Smart is back with another HANK ZIPZER review, this week focusing on NIAGRA FALLS, OR DOES IT? Click HERE to read her review.
- Mark Baker is freaking out for TERROR OF THE SOUTHLANDS. Click HERE to see why. 
- Jess at the Reading Nook has a bag of praise for SCAVENGERS. Click HERE to see her review.
- Suzanne Warr is riveted with THE MARK OF THE DRAGONFLY. Click HERE to see her feature. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck is gushing about--and GIVING AWAY--a copy of THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY.  Click HERE for all the fun. 
- Greg Pattridge is wrecked for SHIPWRECK ISLAND. Click HERE to read his review.  
- Susan Olson is in awe of the THE TIME OF THE FIREFLIES. 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! 
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week. 
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring 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 (9/29/14) as of 9/29/2014 8:55:00 AM
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17. Annika Riz, Math Whiz: Review Haiku

Sudoku is the
hook, but the cookie failures
were my favorite part.

Annika Riz, Math Whiz by Claudia Mills. FSG, 2014, 128 pages.

0 Comments on Annika Riz, Math Whiz: Review Haiku as of 9/26/2014 8:10:00 AM
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18. Miss Emily: Review Haiku

Yes, I totally
picked it up for the title,
AND WHAT OF IT, EH?

Miss Emily by Burleigh Muten. Candlewick, 2014, 144 pages.

0 Comments on Miss Emily: Review Haiku as of 9/24/2014 6:21:00 AM
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19. #659 – Fat and Bones and other stories by Larissa Theule & Adam S. Doyle

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Fat & Bones: And Other Stories

Written by Larissa Theule
Illustrations by Adam S. Doyle
Carolrhoda Books            10/01/2014
978-1-4677-0825
Age 8 to 12           104 pages
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“Welcome to Bald’s Farm. Well, perhaps it’s not Bald’s Farm anymore. The old man has kicked the bucket, setting off a wave of conflict from the muddy pig pen to the tall wheat fields. In this darkly funny, slightly supernatural chain of tales, no creature is safe. Not Leonard Grey, a spider with sophisticated tastes. Not Esmeralda, a resentful one-footed pig. Not Tulip, a plant with a mean streak. And as for Bones, the old man’s son, and Fat, his winged rival? They’ll learn that danger lurks in the strangest of places . . .”

Opening

“Fat stood on the topmost branch of the tree, gazing in the direction of the farmhouse.”

The Story

Bones is the son of his father, the farm owner, who has most recently passed away. Fat is the former farmer’s fairy. They hate each other with a passion usually reserved for love. Now that Bone’s father has died, Bones will run the farm and his first priority: get rid of excess Fat.

In the span of one day, Bones tries to take out Fat, who tries to take out Bones. The pigs must move around on less and less feet to supply Bones with his favorite meal of pig foot stew. Pa may be dead, but Bones is still hungry. Ma, who is crying herself blind ventures out to the pigpen to grab a foot. Which one does she get?

Leonard’s family thinks he is the strangest spider that has ever spun a web. He cannot sneak and lives alone. He reads poetry while drinking herbal tea. Down below, Fat is making a new potion and needs the fresh blood of a spider. Leonard picks this moment to prove he can sneak. He cannot.

The Dead Man Song is for Priscilla Mae, the escaped spider for which Leonard has found love. She sees a group of animals honoring the dead farmer’s passing. Jimmy’s in Love pits mouse against mouse for the love of a mouse across the kitchen floor. Cat lurks on the floor, waiting for a wandering mouse. Sometimes he greets the mouse.

“Good afternoon, mousie-pie.”

Sometimes he pounces. Occasionally, that tricky cat does both. A mouse just never knows. Jimmy decides to take a chance but the floor is full of water—salty, tear stained water. Daisy and Tulip are the best of friends, sharing a puddle. All is well, until little sprouts move in and choke the water supply. Daisy and Tulip argue over how to get the sprouts to leave. The differences could mean the end of Tulip or Daisy.

Finally, Dog Alfred visits his Ma. Ma wants Alfred to go home. Alfred is sneezing. He has a cold. Alfred is upset, (and sets up Ma to speak a line of funny I love)

“Ma,” he said, [pleading voice] “I came all this way. I can’t go home now.”
“You live next door,” she said.

Fat & Bones: And Other Stories

Review

Fat & Bones: And Other Stories is a fast read with only 104 pages. On those 104 pages, every word counts thanks to wonderful writing and editing. Each story has something to teach kids. In Leonard Grey III, Leonard learns it is okay to be yourself and love is better than alone. Fat feels morally obligated to care for his neighbors, even when he is the one who injured said neighbor. Be nice to others; get to know your neighbors; be responsible for each other. Esmeralda must decide which is more important, her jealousy and “revenge” or the good of the group. Fat and Bones is philosophy 101 for the middle grades.

I am not a fan of the cover. The moon grinning as it does is eerie, but that is the intent. The illustrations use dark tones of green, grey, and black. The image is often part of the shadow or obscured by it. I am sorry to say, I am not a fan of these illustrations. I love the individual stories. I enjoyed the way one story depends on the other. What happens in one story—or does not happen—affects another story, which affects another, and so on, yet none may be the wiser. Fat & Bones: And Other Stories play this out for kids in a way they can understand.

Humor plays a big part, easing what are actually dark themes of death, jealousy, war, and dejection into an enjoyable, funny story, odd as that may sound. Some kids may not like the darker, philosophical themes, while others will love them. I think the older the child, the more they will enjoy Fat and Bones.

These Seven stories, all intertwined, are a great read. Each story has a unique mix of characters from the Bald Farm. Each has their own plot, conflict, and resolution, yet the stories build on each other, need each other to live. There are many things kids can learn from these stories while reading a funny, heart-felt whole divided into parts that seem to stand on their own—because they do. Older kids will enjoy this book. Adults will enjoy this book. Fat & Bones: And Other Stories is the author’s debut.

FAT AND BONES AND OTHER STORIES. Test copyright © 2014 by Larissa Theule. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Adam S. Doyle. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Carolrhoda Books, Minneapolis, MN.
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Purchase Fat and Bones at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryLerner Booksyour favorite bookstore.
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Learn more about Fat & Bones: And Other Stories HERE
Meet the author, Larissa Theule, at her twitter page:    https://twitter.com/larissatheule
Meet the illustrator, Adam S. Doyle, at his website:    http://adamsdoyle.com
Find other middle grade novels at the Carolrhoda Books blog:   http://www.carolrhoda.blogspot.com/

Carolrhoda Books is a division of Lerner Publishing Group.

fat and bones
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Debut Author, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: Adam S. Doyle, Charolrhoda Books, children's book reviews, Debut Book, fairies, farm life, feuds, Larissa Theule, Lerner Publishing Group, middle grade novel, pig foot stew

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20. Happy Book Birthday to The 8th Continent by Matt London!

Happy Hour banner

featuring

Matt London

8CIt’s always fun to celebrate an author’s debut novel, and this one’s in the family; Matt London is a dear friend of mine, as well as Jordon Hamessly London’s other half. Matt’s one of the hardest working writers I know, and I’m so excited that people finally will be able to read his novel. Tomorrow, his first book, The 8th Continent, will start finding its way into the hands and hearts of middle grade readers — as well as older readers who love a good adventure story and anyone who hasn’t quite grown up.

Yep, I’m definitely the latter. While I was reading an advance copy of The 8th Continent last weekend, it kept reminding me of favorite stories from my childhood. I used to love adventure books starring smart kids like the Danny Dunn series by Raymond Abrashkin and Jay Williams; the Alvin Fernald books by Clifford B. Hicks; the Three Investigators by Robert Arthur, Jr.; Matthew Looney by Jerome Beatty, Jr.; and of course, the Tom Swift books by Victor Appleton. It also captured the same humor, epicness, and thrills of one of the best cartoons of all time, DuckTales, and the fun and gee-whiz factor of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Spy Kids.

I know I’ve just horribly dated myself, but what I’m getting at is I loved The 8th Continent, but 10-year-old me would have been obsessed with it. Oh, for a time machine…

The 8th Continent has broad appeal in the age of its readers and their interests, but if your kids love science, technology, and biology, you have to give them this book. There are lots of teachable moments throughout, from little quizzes forced upon the main characters — 10-year-old Evie and her 11-year-old brother, Rick — to discussions you can have with young readers about ecology, zoology, and even morality and family dynamics.

There’s also plenty of action and excitement with some tense chapters that will keep you turning the pages, and Matt sure knows how to turn a phrase. His liberal use of goofy similes always made me smile, and I often laughed out loud. One of my favorite sentences: “And then he saw it, a vacant white socket behind the wires, looking at him like a surprised ghost.” So adults will enjoy reading this adventure with their kids, too, and it could also be an introduction to other stories they’ll like: Matt has filled the book with sly nods to books like The Wind in the Willows and Charlotte’s Web, and when kids pick up on them, they’ll probably be grinning as much as I was.

But wait, what’s it about? Here’s the synopsis:

Evie and Rick Lane are determined to transform the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — a real life pile of floating garbage — into an eighth continent, using a special formula developed by their father. This new continent will be a place where their family can live free from the intervention of Winterpole, a global rule-maker run by bumbling bureaucrats. But eleven-year-old pink-and-plastic-obsessed Vesuvia Piffle, the secret mastermind behind the villainous Condo Corp, also has her sights set on this new land, and she wants to use it to build a kind of Miami-on-steroids. Now, it’s a race against time and across the world as the kids gather the items they need to create their continent. Because whoever controls the eighth continent controls our future. And the future can’t be both “green” and pink.

In honor of Matt’s release day, I’m giving away one hardcover copy of The 8th Continent (open internationally). To enter, just leave a comment saying what you would do with your own new continent and then fill out the Rafflecopter form below. And be sure to wish Matt a happy release day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats again, Matt! I’m really glad I won’t have too long to wait for the next book. :) I think this is a charming and clever series that will stick with kids for a long time and one day be remembered as a childhood favorite by a geeky 36-year-old reader like me.

EC MyersE.C. Myers was assembled in the U.S. from Korean and German parts and raised by a single mother and the public library in Yonkers, New York. He is the author of the Andre Norton Award–winning young adult novel Fair Coin and Quantum Coin, as well as numerous short stories. His new novel, The Silence of Six, a thriller about teenage hackers and government conspiracies, will be out on November 5, 2014 from Adaptive Books. You can find traces of him all over the internet, but especially at http://ecmyers.net and on Twitter: @ecmyers.

 

 

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21. Review: Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I was offered a copy of Hook’s Revenge for review, and how could I possibly refuse? Pirates!  Sword play!  Adventure! It was a no-brainer to load this on my Kindle and start reading.   Following Jocelyn, Hook’s 12 year old daughter, on her grand adventure to Neverland, I was captivated from the first page.  Jocelyn is a rough and tumble girl, with no patience for manners, baths, or hair brushing.  She’s brave and intelligent, but when she’s sent to Miss Eliza Crumb-Biddlecomb’s Finishing School for Young Ladies to learn how to behave in polite society, she bristles at every lesson.  She gets off on the wrong foot with her classmates, and once they discover that she’s the dreaded Captain Hook’s daughter, watch out!  Nobody wants to be her friend, and one of her roommates begins bullying her unmercifully.  While there is little that Jocelyn is afraid of, she is miserable and friendless at school.

Then Jocelyn meets Roger, the cook’s helper.  Suddenly, everything seems bearable again.  That is until the horrible Prissy finds a way to hurt Jocelyn by having Roger dismissed from his position at the school.  Dreadfully unhappy, Jocelyn makes a wish, and ends up receiving a mysterious letter from her father, delivered by Edger, a talking bird.  Before she knows it, she’s been whisked off to Neverland to face her father’s nemeses – Neverland’s crocodile.  Will she be able to carry out his final wish and defeat the monster that devoured her dad?

I enjoyed Hook’s Revenge because Jocelyn is such a capable girl.  She doesn’t sit around and wait for someone to come to her rescue.  Instead, she creates her own opportunities for rescue and adventure, relying on her bravery and intelligence to make her own luck.  Unlike her father, she’s a kind girl, though she longs to step into Captain Hook’s shoes, and be as terrifying as her father was.  The captain of her own ship, with Smee and the rest of her motley (a barely capable crew) at her command, she sets off to face the crocodile.  What she doesn’t expect is how terrifying the beast is, or how many dangers she’ll face during her quest.  She faces cannibals, rival pirate crews, and the Fairy Queen with equal aplomb, but will it be enough to see her safely to the end of her adventure?

Hook’s Revenge is a fun read with a humorous and droll narrator.  I really liked Jocelyn.  Peter Pan makes a few guest appearances, as do the Lost Boys, and it was interesting seeing Neverland through fresh eyes.  There’s room for a sequel, so I hope I’ll be able to spend more time with Jocelyn soon.

Grade: B

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

 

Twelve-year-old Jocelyn dreams of becoming every bit as daring as her infamous father, Captain James Hook. Her grandfather, on the other hand, intends to see her starched and pressed into a fine society lady. When she’s sent to Miss Eliza Crumb-Biddlecomb’s Finishing School for Young Ladies, Jocelyn’s hopes of following in her father’s fearsome footsteps are lost in a heap of dance lessons, white gloves, and way too much pink. So when Jocelyn receives a letter from her father challenging her to avenge his untimely demise at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile, she doesn’t hesitate—here at last is the adventure she has been waiting for. But Jocelyn finds that being a pirate is a bit more difficult than she’d bargained for. As if attempting to defeat the Neverland’s most fearsome beast isn’t enough to deal with, she’s tasked with captaining a crew of woefully untrained pirates, outwitting cannibals wild for English cuisine, and rescuing her best friend from a certain pack of lost children, not to mention that pesky Peter Pan who keeps barging in uninvited. The crocodile’s clock is always ticking in Heidi Schulz’s debut novel, a story told by an irascible narrator who is both dazzlingly witty and sharp as a sword. Will Jocelyn find the courage to beat the incessant monster before time runs out?

The post Review: Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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22. The Meaning of Maggie: Review Haiku

You'll catch on before
Maggie does, but you'll love her
for her ignorance.

The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern. Chronicle, 2014, 220 pages.

0 Comments on The Meaning of Maggie: Review Haiku as of 9/17/2014 8:34:00 AM
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23. The Truth About Twinkie Pie: Review Haiku

Southern-fried cooking
comes to Long Island, packed with
family secrets.

The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh. Little Brown, 2015, 352 pages.

0 Comments on The Truth About Twinkie Pie: Review Haiku as of 9/22/2014 7:42:00 AM
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24. MMGM Links (9/22/14)

Assembling these MMGM links after a looooooong day of drafting/brainstorming. So here's hoping there aren't too many mistakes. Sorry if there are. Brain = tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired. But thank you all so much for all the awesome support for middle grade!

- Annie McMahon is gushing about...*blush* EXILE, by, um, me. (wow, THANK YOU). So if you'd like to see what she thought, click HERE 
- Heidi Grange is cheering for PAPERBOY. Click HERE to see why. 
- Amara Jabber is highlighting THE MARK OF THE DRAGONFLY. Click HERE to see her review. 
- Janet Smart continues gushing about HANK ZIPZER again, this week focusing on THE ZIPPITY ZINGER. Click HERE to read her review.
- Clare Caterer is in love with THE RED PYRAMID. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Lucy at Booksylvania wants everyone to want THE UNWANTEDS. Click HERE to read her review. 
- Suzanne Warr is living for THE YEAR OF THE PANDA. Click HERE to see her feature. 
- Rcubed is talking about THE SUMMER I SAVED THE WORLD...IN 65 DAYS. Click HERE to see why. 
- Greg Pattridge is stirred up for RILEY MACK STIRS UP MORE TROUBLE. Click HERE to read his review.  
- Rosi Hollinbeck has two reviews, and two awesome GIVEAWAYS.  LEROY NINKER SADDLES UP and FAMILY TIES. Click HERE for all the fun. 
- Michael Gettel-Gilmarten is putting his faith in RORY'S PROMISE. Click HERE to see why. 
- Katie Fitzgerald is caught up in GREENGLASS HOUSE. Click HERE to see why.  
- Kami Kinard is studying THE BOY PROJECT. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Susan Olson has chills for THE WALKING DEAD. Click HERE to see her review. 
- Jenni Enzor is obsessed with THE TWO PRINCESS OF BAMARRE. Click HERE to see why.  
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week. 
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. 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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25. A Horse Called Hero by Sam Angus

It's 1940, and British soldiers have just been evacuated from Dunkirk, but Dodo (Dorothy) Revel and her younger brother Wolfie, 8, still haven't heard from their Pa, Captain Revel.  When a telegram arrives, Spud, the children's housekeeper, tells them the sad news that their Pa is missing.  Later that night, however, the children overhear Spud talking to someone that seems to indicate something else about Pa.

Next thing Dodo and Wolfie know, they are being evacuated to Dulverton, North Devon.  Billeted with a reluctant woman whose son is off fighting, their only relief is at school with their kind teacher Miss Lamb.  One day, on their way home from school, Dodo and Wolfie find a newborn foal.  For Wolfie, it's a miracle.  Pa had loved horses and knew a lot about them, much of which he had already taught Wolfie.  Dodo and Wolfie decide to hide the foal, now named Hero for Captain Revel, with the help of a local boy named Ned.

When word breaks that Captain Revel is being charged with desertion and disobedience at Dunkirk, Mrs. Sprig decides she can't have his children living with her.  Luckily, they end up with Miss Lamb and her elderly father, Rev. Lamb.  There is even a place for the growing Hero there.

Life is better with the Lambs, though not at school.  The whole nation is following Captain Revel's court-martial and his children are bearing the brunt of people's anger.  It is a slow process and as time goes by life gets harder, with increasing shortages and rationing.  Hettie Lamb has been watching over a small herd of Exmoor ponies, which are slowly disappearing.  During a particularly cold snowy winter, the ponies are rounded up, and, along with Hero, put into a pen where they can be fed.  But one night, the ponies and Hero disappear.  Wolfie is devestated.

When Rev. Lamb dies, Hettie is told she must move and so the three of them go to live in County Durham, a coal mining area in Northeast England.  There, Dodo gives art lessons to the children of a coal mine owner, while Hettie teaches school.  The war has now ended and Captain Revel is serving a two year sentence and still hoping to have his name cleared.  He had always worked to improve condition for coal miners, and now, even in prison is continuing that work.

But when the truth about Ned, the boy who had helped Wolfie with Hero back in Dulverton, and the shady activities he had been bullied into doing by his father come to light, things begin to change.  Is it possible the Ned holds the key to what happened to Hero?

I really enjoyed reading Sam Angus's novel Soldier Dog when it first came out, so I was excited to read A Horse Called Hero.  And I wasn't disappointed,  it is a very compelling, though somewhat predictable, story with lots of coincidences.  What is nice about this story are the glimpses the reader gets into so many aspects of life during the war.

There are the pacifist demonstrations in Knightsbridge the children witness while out shopping with Spud.  Sometimes we forget that not everyone supports war.  The crowds of children and parents on Praed Street heading to Paddington Station was palpable.  And although evacuation was difficult under the best of circumstances, Dodo and Wolfie's story show how absolutely capricious the whole process was.  Mrs. Sprig was a horrible, narrow-minded woman with friends just like herself and wasn't able to really welcome these two scared, displaced children into her home.  It makes one wonder how often that or worst happened in real life.  

However, Angus draws a lovely picture of the relationship between Wolfie and Captain Revel in the letters exchanged throughout the war, much of which was advice on caring for a horse.  Wolfie's hero worship of his father is touching, never flailing even when the circumstances surrounding Captain Revel's arrest are revealed.  Captain Revel was clearly a very compassionate character and it is one of the best fiction father/son relationships I've ever read.

The reader also learns so much about what life was life for coal miners and the pit ponies, as they were called.  These horses pulled tons of coal out of the mine each day, never seeing daylight once they were  deep in the mine.  The men and horses labored under dangerous conditions and that was what Captain Revel was working to change.

Two things did bother me - we never find out how old Dodo is, only that she is older than Wolfie.  And a map showing the relationship of London, North Devon and County Durham would have been nice (maps are almost always nice in historical fiction).

But, in the end, the novel really asks the readers to consider what makes a hero.  For that, it is a novel  well worth reading.

This book is recommended for readers 9+, but proably better for 11+
This book was purchased for my personal library

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