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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: middle grade books, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 169
26. The Mark of the Dragonfly, by Jaleigh Johnson | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Mark of the Dragonfly, written by Jaleigh Johnson. Giveaway begins March 29, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends April 28, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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27. Me & Mr. Bell: A Novel, by Philip Roy | Book Review

This book will appeal to middle grade readers who like stories about inventions, airplanes, famous people, overcoming difficulties, and life in earlier times.

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28. The Magician’s Doll $25 Book Blast with M. L. Roble

About the Book

The Magician's Doll by M.L.Roble

Title: The Magician’s Doll | Author: M.L. Roble | Publication Date: February 2, 2013

Publisher: Independent | Pages: 320 | Recommended Ages: 10+

Summary

“They are stronger. They are coming. They will arrive!”

Life would be so much better for twelve-year-old Natalie if she and her mother weren’t different; other kids wouldn’t pick on her; she wouldn’t have to get into fights. She would have friends. But Natalie has abilities that set her apart, and despite her very best efforts to have a normal life, her developing “gift” has a way of upending them all. Then one day a big top circus rolls into town bringing with it Beausoleil the Magician, his daughter Louisa, and his mysterious doll. Strange things are afoot with Beausoleil’s arrival, and in his wake, an eerie storm is approaching. Soon Natalie discovers there is more to her world and the people around her than she knew, and that being different is just the tip of the iceberg… The Magician’s Doll sparks readers’ imaginations with a tale of magical discoveries, profound friendships, a fight against evil, and the growth that comes with facing your fears and accepting who you are.

Purchase the Book

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | The Book Bin

The Buzz

“The story of exceptional and gifted beings secretly living among us is timeless; this exhilarating book is an impressive treatment of that classic storyline. The writing is fast and clear, with a well-developed plot and perfect buildup of action and suspense.” ~ 5 Star Review, G. Wagner, Amazon

“This is perfect for kids of the middle grade age. It forces them to look at the way they treat each other and their differences. It makes them look at what true friendship is and what they would do in certain circumstances. I am sure this book was written to be a wonderful story, yet I find it is a great example of teaching kids something without them realizing they are learning I will definitely continue to recommend this book to parents and students.” ~ 5 Star Review, Sandra S., Amazon

“I am a eighth grader, and was told to read this book by a friend. I am a huge fan of fantasy and magic, and thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found it well thought through with colorful characters from a variety of backgrounds. The concepts and ideas are fresh and interesting, I especially enjoyed the idea of travel through maps, like Phillipe. I would DEFINITELY recommend this book to all my friends, and will do so as soon as possible.” ~ 5 Star Review, Eugenia, Amazon

About the Author: M.L. Roble

M.L. RobleM. L. Roble’s desire to write a children’s novel stems from the nostalgia of her own middle grade reading years where she first experienced books like “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “The Shattered Stone”. There have been different books and genres since, but those years fueled an enchantment for story that continues to this day.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+

* Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: April 11, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, M.L. Roble and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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29. Guest Book Review: The Shadow of the Pyramid by Wendy Leighton-Porter

porterPublisher: Mauve Square Publishing (February 4, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1909411043
ISBN-13: 978-1909411043
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Ages 8+
Fantasy/Adventure/Action

Five Stars

Jemima, Joe, their talking Tonkinese cat Max, and their best friend Charlie are off on their adventures again, searching for Jemima and Joe’s parents (somehow trapped in the past) and this time they are headed for ancient Egypt. Using their magical book, the poem containing clues, and Jemima’s necklace with the key, the kids and Max are transported back in time, arriving in the middle of an assassination plot to murder the young king Tutankhamun. Alas, Max has a morbid fear of mummies, having glimpsed a ghastly sight of one on Joe’s XBox game and he’s not too keen on this part of their adventure. They meet Ankharet, the gorgeous cat belonging to Tut’s young wife, Ankhesenamun. Max is totally smitten, but unfortunately Ankharet (who is jealous of Max’s instant popularity) doesn’t feel quite the same way about him. As the adventure unfolds, the kids and the cats, along with Tut’s wife try to stop several attempts on the young king’s life. Max even manages to foil two attempts, displaying a kind of unintentional bravery. The king is entranced with Max and names him “Max, beloved of Amun.” What an honour! Alas, despite their best efforts, once again the kids and Max are unable to change the course of history and cannot prevent the young king’s fate, a mystery which remains to this day. The end of the book is absolutely delightful and kids will just love the twist in this tale.

Max’s fear of mummies and the like afford some absolutely hilarious moments, especially since all his apparent heroics and saving the day are by accident. Author Wendy Leighton-Porter has woven a marvellous mixture of suspense, adventure, history, geography, and culture into an intriguing tale. Using real historical figures, she captures the feel and flavour of ancient times, and puts forward some quite viable theories for exactly what might have happened to Tutankhamun. As in previous books, the kids and Max are totally immersed in history, and this tale will definitely draw eager young readers to join them in the adventure. There are some interesting facts at the end of the book which will no doubt stimulate young time travellers to go and do a bit more research. Learning history the fun way is becoming the mark of this captivating series.

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.


0 Comments on Guest Book Review: The Shadow of the Pyramid by Wendy Leighton-Porter as of 3/24/2014 3:13:00 AM
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30. Australian Outback comes alive in Margot Finke's Trial by Walkabout



  • Paperback: 118 pages
  • Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc (January 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616334509
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616334505

The adventure of a walkabout through the Australian outback told through the first hand experience of young Josh Howard will have the reader fully vested in the characters from the onset and turning the pages as quick as a kangaroo protecting its young.

Margot Finke weaves her masterful storytelling skills with sibling conflict, lies, a rekindled then broken friendship, and the treachery of surviving the Australian outback into an adventure like no other. The use of the five senses will surely make you feel as if you are traveling along with Josh and his aboriginal friend, Bindi.

Between the disconnect Josh feels toward is older brother, Tom, and the nagging feeling he may not be able to fully trust Bindi, his inner voice whispers to him throughout his walkabout with Bindi. Will Josh realize in time that not everything is as it seems and that he must be open to others cultural beliefs and viewpoints? Find out in Finke’s latest masterpiece, Trial by Walkabout.
  
Learn more about Margot Finke's writing career and critique services at http://www.margotfinke.com

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

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

Connect with


A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

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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31. Grimmtastic Girls by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams Book Blast Giveaway

About the Books: The Grimmtastic Girls

Book #1

Title: Grimmtastic Girls #1: Cinderella Stays Late | Authors: Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams | Publication Date: March 25, 2014 | Publisher: Scholastic Inc. | Pages: 192 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 12

Grimmtastic Girls: Cinderella Stays LateSummary: The authors of the hit Goddess Girls series put a fun and girly twist on another super-popular theme: fairy tales!

Once upon a time, in faraway Grimmlandia…

A Grimmtastic girl named Cinderella is starting her first week at Grimm Academy on the wrong foot. Cinda’s totally evil stepsisters are out to make her life miserable. The Steps tease Cinda, give her terrible advice about life at the academy, and even make her look bad in front of her new friends, Red, Snow, and Rapunzel! But when Cinda overhears the Steps plotting a villainous deed that could ruin Prince Awesome’s ball, Cinda, her new friends, and a pair of magical glass slippers have to stop them–before the last stroke of midnight!
AmazonGoodreads

 

Book #2

Title: Grimmtastic Girls #2: Red Riding Hood Gets Lost | Authors: Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams | Publication Date: March 25, 2014 | Publisher: Scholastic Inc. | Pages: 192 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 12GRIMMTASTIC-2-cover-206x300

Summary: Red Riding Hood might have a terrible sense of direction, but her grimmtastic friends are always there to help!

Once upon a time, in faraway Grimmlandia…

Red Riding Hood is thrilled to try out for the school play. Acting is her dream, and she’s great at it–too bad she has stage fright! After a grimmiserable audition, Red decides to focus on helping her friends Cinda, Snow, and Rapunzel save Grimm Academy from the E.V.I.L. Society. But when Red gets lost in Neverwood forest and runs into Wolfgang, who might be part of E.V.I.L., she needs her magic basket and a grimmazingly dramatic performance to figure out what’s going on!
AmazonGoodreads

 

About the Authors: Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams

Joan Holub

 

Joan Holub has authored and/or illustrated more than 130 children’s books, including Little Red Writing (illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet) and Zero the Hero. She lives in NC and is online at www.joanholub.com

Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

 

 

Suzanne Williams

 

Suzanne Williams is the author of nearly 50 books for children, including the award-winning picture book Library Lil (illustrated by Steven Kellogg). She lives near Seattle, WA and is online at www.suzanne-williams.com

Author Blog | Goodreads

 

 

Co-authors Joan and Suzanne have written the Goddess Girls, Heroes in Training, and Grimmtastic Girls series. Though they live in different states and hardly ever get to see each other, they spend lots of time together in Grimmlandia.

Facebook (Grimmtastic Girls) | Facebook (Goddess Girls Books)

Online Author Visits

 

$50 Book Blast Giveaway

Amazon $50 Gift Card

Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: April 23, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the authors, Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MDBR Book Promotion Services


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32. It’s time for YallFest Y’all!

The schedule has been posted, the streets of Charleston cordoned off, and locals are hiding their cookie jars because the authors are coming to town!

 

Here’s the schedule for this weekend’s festivities, but I’ll point out a few things I’ll be involved in below (The Storyball will be particularly nuts):

SATURDAY NOV. 9TH PANELS

1PM

CMH: THE MIDDLE GRADE STORYBALL Pseudonymous Bosch, Adam Gidwitz, Lisi Harrison, Alexander London, Lisa McMann, Barnabas Miller, Lauren Oliver, Carrie Ryan, Natalie Standiford, JE Thompson, Sean Williams (All Middle Grade Authors will be on stage!) Moderator: Matthew Cody

4PM

BALLROOM: WRITING FOR KIDS Matthew Cody, Adam Gidwitz, Lisa McMann, Carrie Ryan,, C. Alexander London Moderator: Pseudonymous Bosch

6PM

CMH: YA Smackdown SOLD OUT


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33. Guest Book Review: Arabella, the Moon and the Magic Mongongo Nut by Hamilton Wende

arabella

 

Length: 126 pages
Publisher: Tafelberg; 1 edition (July 20, 2013)
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, ages 9+
ASIN: B00GA25PRA

Stars: 4.5

Arabella lives with her mom and dad in Parkview, Johannesburg, South Africa. She has a happy, stable life, with all the love anyone could imagine from her parents and (four!) grandparents. Her eleventh birthday is the turning point in her life. She receives some unusual gifts, which change Arabella’s life forever.  But then things go horribly wrong. Her dad dies, and life turns dark, bleak, and hopeless. Thanks to her unusual birthday gifts, Arabella discovers a magical world at the bottom of her garden and amazing things happen. She is able to speak to the animals there, and discovers she has a special role to play once she is given a magic Mongongo nut by Khanyi, the mealie lady. Suddenly, the ordinary becomes the extraordinary and Arabella and her new friends must battle against the evil hadedas, led by their nasty king, Ozymandias, who has a wicked plan. At the same time, Arabella finds hope in the Book of Echoes; hope that with this new-found magic, she can turn back the clock to the happy times before her dad died. Is the magic this strong? Can Arabella defeat the hadedas’ nefarious plans?

Although all young readers will love this charming book, young South African readers will particularly relish it. Familiar names, places, creatures, and cultural references will resonate with readers, bringing this adventure right into their own back gardens. Arabella faces enormous challenges, and the biggest one is within. As the use of magic changes her, perhaps bringing out selfish desires, she has to learn to do what is right. Acceptance of grief is very difficult for a young person, and this is one of Arabella’s saddest tests. Self-sacrifice, loyalty, the meaning of friendship, and doing the right thing are also highlighted as Arabella’s final choice will sway the outcome of the battle. Author Hamilton Wende has perfectly captured Arabella’s character, giving poignant insight into just how difficult life choices are at that age. The hadedas are brilliantly malevolent … but fun! Lovely atmospherics abound, painting the most incredible pictures for a young imagination to enjoy. The author has a real gift for scenarios and I am sure this book will linger in readers’ minds long after the last page has been read. I would suggest a glossary at the back for non South African readers to understand several local terms. I must mention the superb cover by Rob Foote which adds to the ethereal, magical quality of the book.

First reviewed for Jozi Kids, South Africa

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.


1 Comments on Guest Book Review: Arabella, the Moon and the Magic Mongongo Nut by Hamilton Wende, last added: 11/7/2013
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34. Interview with Talia Aikens-Nuñez, Author of OMG… Am I A Witch?!

witchTalia Aikens-Nuñez wanted to be a meteorologist, a politician and a lawyer. She never thought she would be a writer. It was the birth of her daughter that caused her to start writing. Raising a bilingual child inspired Talia to write multicultural children’s books. Talia’s family loves nature so much that she and her husband vowed that they will always try to live close to water. She, her husband, daughter and newborn son live on a river in Connecticut.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

After the birth of my daughter, I started writing books for kids. I wanted to write fun and imaginative books for kids that featured multicultural characters.

Why did you decide to write stories for children?

I wanted my kids to be able to see and read books featuring multicultural characters that did not focus on race or ethnicity.

 

Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?

No. I love to try to think like an 8-12 year old. My favorite part of writing for the age group is trying to capture their imagination and fun-loving nature.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

OMG… Am I A Witch?! is the enchanting story of a little girl who discovers her magical powers after turning her annoying older brother into a dog using a spell found on the Internet.

A classic story of “be careful what you wish for.” OMG… is a hair-raising, action packed tale of a girl looking for a spell reversal and finding herself in the process.

What inspired you to write it?

It just came to me one day as a fun and imaginative idea.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

They can purchase a copy from the publisher’s website (Pinwheel Books):
https://pinwheelbooks.myshopify.com/collections/our-books/products/omg-am-i-a-witch

Amazon (for Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/OMG-Am-Witch-Talia-Aikens-Nu%C3%B1ez-ebook/dp/B00FQI9SZO/

Amazon (paperback): http://www.amazon.com/OMG-Am-I-A-Witch/dp/0985424850/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/omgam-i-a-witch-talia-aikens-nu-ez/1117110410

What is up next for you?

I am trying to find a home for my next children’s book, Dragon Guardians.

Do you have anything else to add?

I hope everyone enjoys the fun and magical adventure of April and her friends. You can find me online at http://talia-aikens-nunez.vpweb.com and like me on Facebook at  http://www.facebook.com/taliaaikensnunezchildrenswriter

Thank you for spending time with us today, Talia. We wish you much success.

 


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35. Guest Book Review: Zoe and Zak and the Ghost Leopard by Lars Guignard

Ghost-Leopard-Cover-204x300

Zoe and Zak and the Ghost Leopard by Lars Guignard
Print Length: 340 pages
Publisher: Fantastic Press (November 9, 2013)
ASIN: B007XZ7UI0
Genre: Juvenile fiction

4 stars

When 11-year-old Zoe Guire arrives in India on a brief sojourn with her mom, she has no idea what is in store for her. She also has no idea that she possesses hidden powers. Upon their arrival, Zoe discovers (to her mild annoyance) that Zak Merril, a boy she knows from school, is also there with his dad, who is Zoe’s mom’s colleague. Events take a strange turn and both Zoe’s mom and Zak’s dad have to leave to sort out a few things. Ostensibly, Zak and Zoe will remain at the Delhi Grand Palace hotel under the supervision of a babysitter. But that’s not the way things happen at all. Within a short space of time, Zoe and Zak have encountered a definitely no-good character called Frank Berger, found an antique map, sneaked into Berger’s hotel room, hidden away in an old trunk, and then been transported to a strange place, miles from their nice, safe hotel. Plunged into an adventure involving a talking elephant, unusual local characters, and lots of danger, thrills, and spills, Zoe and Zak must stay alive and protect a mythical creature called the Ghost Leopard. It doesn’t help that Zoe keeps having really scary dreams as well.

This is adventure with a capital ‘A’ and the kind that middle grade readers will love. Although the book does have a slow start, soon Zoe and Zak are neck-deep in sinister people, events, and possible Very Bad Outcomes. The author does a fine job of painting the picture of India, from the ambiance, to the people, to the various cultural references. This places the young reader slap bang in the new and sometimes fantastical environment. India is full of amazing legends and fantasy elements and the author has used these to great advantage. Zoe and Zak see the ‘real’ India that tourists don’t encounter, and this is absolutely one of the high points of the story. While there is sometimes too much information, and it can slow down the pace, I think young readers will breathe in the ambiance with relish. Fantasy merges with reality in the author’s capable hands with descriptions to take young readers as high as the magic carpet they encounter. Zak is as ‘supermega majorly’ annoying as any sixth-grade boy can be and he provides many chuckles with his clumsy efforts to manage things. Zoe is intense, thoughtful, and takes things more seriously. I enjoyed the balance between the two characters and kids will certainly relate to them. This is an action-packed, magical adventure with enough excitement and peril to keep young readers glued to the pages. This is the first of Zoe and Zak’s adventures so young fans can look forward to more fantastical events.

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.


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36. WILL IN SCARLET named one of Amazon’s Best Books of 2013!

BOTYchildrens2013_75._SL75_V352881300_

 

I’m late posting this (though I did do a ridiculous victory dance on Twitter when it was first announced. But I’m happy to say that Will in Scarlet is in very good company. Just in time for the holidays, too . . . .


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37. On My Kindle

alchemy

The summer of 1984 was a golden time in America. From California, where gymnast Mary Lou Retton was winning Olympic gold, to Cape Cod, where explorer Barry Clifford was discovering pirate gold, the nation seemed obsessed with the precious metal. But for 15-year old Al, that obsession hits a little too close to home when he finds a code-filled notebook belonging to his missing father that may contain the ancient formula for turning lead to gold. Convinced that his father’s sudden disappearance is connected to his secret experiments in alchemy, Al sets out to find the truth. He enlists the help of Cammie, a beautiful girl staying for the summer while her marine biologist father tracks a wayward manatee, and together they begin unraveling the mystery. But the closer they get to an answer, the closer they grow to each other, and as the end of summer draws nearer, Al wonders if they can break the code without breaking his heart.

bone field

In this sequel to Belle of the Glades, the holiday season brings mystery and adventure for Belle and her Indian friend, Summer. At the Bone Field, they find clues of a Bigfoot, but Belle’s uncle dismisses the signs. Belle and Summer set out to befriend the mysterious stranger with food gifts, but he has reason to stay hidden. Is he a real Bigfoot? How does Belle solve the mystery?

games

Eleanor Parkhurst is determined to get in the way of Nathaniel Naverly seducing her sweet cousin Rose. Nate has a history of treating girls badly and Ellie suspects his intentions are far from honorable. Getting Nate to switch his attention to her seemed like a good plan, but Ellie didn’t foresee that she might have to protect her own heart from his schemes as well. The game is proving a challenge. Midnight meetings, fighting or kissing, it’s all part of the fun of flirting. Set in an English boarding school, Ellie and her American new best friend, Flora, discover that boys are more complicated than classes, and you have to play the game well or you might just get played!

guinevere
She is a mere child of twelve. But in these medieval days, this is the age when childish things must be put away and greater responsibilities accepted–all in preparation for a betrothal of marriage.

For young Lady Guinevere, on the advent of her thirteenth Birth Day, the whole idea is quite unbearable. After all, what could be better than spending her youth playing with her best friend Cedwyn, roaming the grounds around the castle looking for mythical creatures or hunting rabbits?

However, the wizard Merlyn–her teacher and friend–knows that destiny has a way of catching up with a person. His arrival sets in motion a series of events that will lead Guinevere to her destiny whether she is ready for it or not.

down under

When a reluctant grandson in Oregon is pressured into writing to his grandma in Australia, wonderful things happen. Both have a need for love and reassurance as they deal with their everyday problems. Back and forth the letters go: Josh shares his daily problems, and Grandma Rose shares past memories that astonish her grandson and his friend Kelly.

The Xbox gathers dust, as the two friends find themselves bike riding and bird watching – and actually reading. Googling the weird and wonderful Aussie critters that come to Rose’s garden becomes a fun hobby. Soon, Andy and Gradma Rose shrink the Pacific Ocean into a puddle they can easily ford.

** Glossary of Australian and words included.

billy

Young Billy loves the game of baseball. He can’t wait to play and hang around with his team mates. But Billy’s team mates don’t take to him right away and Billy struggles hitting.


2 Comments on On My Kindle, last added: 2/28/2014
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38. Interview with Annie Tipton, author of the ‘Diary of a Real Payne’ series

AnnieTiptonAnnie Tipton made up her first story at the ripe old age of two when she asked her mom to write it down for her. (Hey, she was just two—she didn’t know how to make letters yet!) Since then she has read and written many words as a student, newspaper reporter, author, and editor. Annie loves snow (which is a good thing because she lives in Ohio), wearing scarves, sushi, Scrabble, and spending time with friends and family.

www.facebook.com/diaryofarealpayne

Thank you for joining us today, Annie. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself? When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I’ve been a writer my whole life (almost literally!). My mom likes to tell a story about when I was two years old and I asked her to write down the words to a story that I made up. I remember writing scripts for plays that a friend and I acted out on the playground in early elementary school. Third grade was the first year I entered a story and was selected to represent my class at a conference for young authors. I always (well almost always) enjoyed writing school assignments and essays and I did lots of extracurricular writing—the school newspaper, a middle school writing contest called The Power of the Pen. Professionally, my first paying gig was some freelance work in high school when I wrote a few articles for a teen magazine put out by a Christian publisher. That was a pretty amazing experience to make a few bucks for doing something I absolutely loved!

I have a communications degree (with an emphasis in journalism), and my first jobs out of college were newspaper reporting. I wrote all kinds of stories—local politics and government, crime, business, healthcare—but my favorite articles focused on people and their stories. Now in my day job I work with words every day as an editor at Barbour Publishing.

I consider whatever writing talent I have as gift from God Himself. That’s not to say that I haven’t worked on honing the skill over the years, but He gives me the words. And my prayer is that readers will see Him on the page—even in some small way. 

9781624168260Why did you decide to write stories for children?

One of the main reasons I wanted to write a children’s series is because I am simply a kid at heart! Some of the first chapter books I read as a kid left a lasting impression on me, so I know firsthand the power that memorable characters and stories can have. 

Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?

I’ve actually been surprised at how easy it is for me to revert to “kid mode” while writing this series. I generally have a simple and optimistic view of the world and I tend to see humor in everyday life, so my own point-of-view lines up with kids well. Many scenes from my childhood—particularly memories I have of my younger brother—pop up in the storyline of the series, too.  Because of all of this, I think children’s fiction is probably the least-challenging fiction that I, personally, could be writing.

What is your favorite part of writing for young people?

I have really enjoyed walking down memory lane and reliving the big-sister-little-brother dynamic that EJ and Isaac have. Kids want to read about authentic experiences on the page—not something idealized or preachy—so it’s been a great challenge to constantly evaluate whether or not the story and the characters are ringing true. Plus, kids love goofiness, and it’s fun to let the characters really let loose sometimes, knowing that it just might be a reader’s favorite part of the book!

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

Diary of a Real Payne: Church Camp Chaos picks up about 6 months after the end of book 1 (True Story). Summer vacation is just around the corner, and EJ is more than ready to be done with Ms. “Picky” Pickerington, CoraLee McCallister, and the fourth grade. Hello sunshine! Hello 11th birthday party! Hello. . .CAMP!

It’s EJ’s first summer to spend an entire week at Camp Christian—complete with friends, bunk beds, games, campfires, s’mores, and even a gigantic zip line. From dining hall cooks dressed up in costumes (Is that a giraffe from Noah’s ark serving mashed potatoes?) to a stickler of a counselor named Gene, church camp is full of colorful characters and fantastically fun things to do. And, as always, EJ serves up even more marvelous adventures for herself with her vivid daydreams. Nothing. . .not even her annoying little brother’s appearance for day camp can spoil EJ’s fun!

But when EJ sets out to conquer her fears—some big, some small—will she learn that God is big enough to handle anything? 

What inspired you to write it?

I grew up in a family that is very involved in summer church camp. My grandfather was the camp manager, so my mom grew up (literally) at camp. My first summer jobs were working on staff at camp, and it’s always been a big part of my life. So having EJ go to her first week of church camp in book 2 was great fun for me!

Where can readers purchase a copy?

The Diary of a Real Payne series is available where all books are sold.

What is up next for you?

The third and final book in the series—Diary of a Real Payne: Oh Baby!—releases in September 2014. I’m looking forward to seeing the completion of EJ’s adventures!

Thank you for spending time with us today, Annie. We wish you much success.

 


1 Comments on Interview with Annie Tipton, author of the ‘Diary of a Real Payne’ series, last added: 3/9/2014
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39. “The Story Behind my Queen Vernita Series,” by Dawn Menge

coastlineQueen Vernita is based on my Grandmother Vernita.  Every character in the book is someone in my life.  My illustrator takes a picture I have of them and creates a character of them doing an activity.  Queen Vernita’s adventures are based on my real travels.

Each book is based on repetition and the math concepts of years, days, weeks and seasons.  Each year Queen Vernita chooses a destination and twelve wonderful friends to visit, one for each month of the year.

Queen Vernita visits the Blue Ice Mountains is based on my trips to Alaska.  Queen Vernita and her friends learn about crabs, glaciers, seals, otters and more.  They ride horses, kayak, and snorkel in the cold glacier waters.

Queen Vernita visits the Islands of Enchantment is based on the Hawaiian Islands, Sea Captain Jeff and Enchantress Carrie. The adventures swim with dolphins, sharks, eels, they learn to fish and explore lava caverns.

Queen Vernita Meets Sir HeathyBean the Astronomer is co-written with my brother Heath Rhoades who participates in asteroid and comet astrometry. The visitors learn about the planets and comets in the solar system. They learn how to make a sun dial and tell time using it.

Queen Vernita Explores the Oceaneer’s Coastline is about her yearlong coach travel.  She and her friends learn about jellyfish, Stalagmites and Stalactites, they explore caves and camp in the Redwood forest.

Queen Vernita visits Gator County is currently being published.  Queen Vernita travels down south where she gets to hold a baby alligator , ride in the bayou, she learns about the Underground Railroad, visits plantations and the Mardi Gras.

Queen Vernita explores Baja Quails takes her further south to learn new languages and dances.  She visits a crystal cave, learns to surf, rides a new invention along the beach and visits a blowhole along the ocean.

More books in the series will include; Queen Vernita visits Volcanic Island with Sea Captain Jeff, Queen Vernita visits the Great White Mountains, Queen Vernita explores Paradise Reef, Queen Vernita sails the seas with John Alden and many more adventures soon to be written.

 ————————————–

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
dawn
   Dawn Menge is the author of the Queen Vernita’s educational series.  There are currently five books published.  Queen Vernita’s Visitors, Queen Vernita Visits the Blue Ice Mountains, Queen Vernita Meets Sir HeathyBean the Astronomer and Queen Vernita Explores the Oceaneer’s Coastline.  Dawn Menge’s series has won nineteen literary awards.
     Dawn Menge has been teaching severely handicapped students for fourteen years. She holds a Masters and clear credential as an Educational specialist.  She is currently working on her PHD in Curriculum and Instruction.
     Dawn Menge is the mother of three and the grandmother of five beautiful children.
PURCHASE HER BOOKS ON AMAZON
CHECK OUT HER LATEST BOOK: 
 
Title: Queen Vernita Explores the Oceaneer’s Coastline
Genre: Children’s literature
Author: Dawn Menge
Publisher: Outskirtspress

2 Comments on “The Story Behind my Queen Vernita Series,” by Dawn Menge, last added: 3/13/2014
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40. New Release: Angus MacBain And The Island Of Sleeping Kings by Angela Townsend

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Angus MacBain is unaware that his ancestral roots hail from an ancient sect of Scottish kings. When his dying grandfather gives him a dragon pendant, thirteen-year-old Angus learns of a legacy that will take him across an ocean to the island of Iona and thrust him into a heritage he did not know he had. He soon discovers that his mother, whom he had believed dead, is really a seal fairy, in hiding from a dangerous enemy. To save her, Angus must undergo a perilous journey of destiny and power to battle an evil Dacian knight and those who serve him. With only his family shield and the advice of a wizened vampire hunter to protect him, Angus must navigate dangerous terrain and dark enemies, in a land where the past and the present mingle, and sleeping kings wake.

Excerpt:

THE COMPANY OF KINGS
New York City, 2013

Gloomy shadows crept across the tired oak floor, stealing what little light peered in through a set of stained glass windows. A dying fire crackled in the corner, its golden embers fading as quickly as the old man who lay near it.
Angus MacBain stood at the foot of his grandfather’s four-poster bed, his hope slipping away with every rattling exhale from the old man’s lungs. Cocooned in a series of heavy plaid blankets bearing the family tartan, Duncan MacBain struggled to free a withered hand. He motioned for his grandson to come closer. Angus took a few stumbling steps, sank to his knees and grasped the thin hand in his.
Duncan raised his head from the pillow. His eyes seemed to glow in the dimness of the bedroom. Gnarled fingers pressed something hard and bulky into Angus’ palm, then closed his hand around it and squeezed. The object cut into the boy’s flesh, but he didn’t try to pull away.
“You’re thirteen now, almost a man. You’ve got to be brave. Remember, you’re a MacBain.” The old man inhaled another ragged breath. “The arrangements have already been made. There will be no funeral. I’m sending you to Scotland—to Iona. You must leave now.” His grandfather’s steely eyes pinned Angus to the floor. “Strange things will happen—things that—just be careful, lad.”

“No, I won’t go. Not without you.” He buried his head in his grandfather’s chest. Angus’ throat constricted like a drawstring jerked tight. Tears sprang to his eyes.
“Don’t cry for me, laddie. I’ll be in the company of kings.”
With that, Duncan MacBain heaved his final breath.
Angus squeezed his eyes shut. After a weary moment, he opened them to gaze at his grandfather’s motionless body. With the tension removed from the old Scotsman’s features, he looked relaxed, at peace. Even so, a bitter rush of sadness swept through Angus and the hole in his heart his grandfather had filled when his parents died, now returned. Angus’ chest tightened. Every breath seemed to take more effort than it was worth.
The palm of his hand throbbed. He unclenched his fist and examined an amulet attached to a heavy chain. It looked old, perhaps even ancient, with a silver long-tailed dragon clutching a purple thistle in its talons. Words scribed in a foreign language glistened on its wings.
His father had worn a dragon amulet. Angus frowned trying to remember what it looked like. Did it also have a thistle? Could it be the same one? He’d been so young when his father died, he couldn’t remember. He slipped it around his neck, the amulet warm against his chest.
“I’ll take care of it,” Angus whispered. “I promise.”
Angus made his way down the narrow hallway to Grandfather’s study. An antique clock ticked solemnly on the mantel. Without grandfather, the room seemed so different. Barren. Unfriendly. Cold. He fell into a cushy gray recliner that always reminded him of elephant skin and let it swallow him. Maybe if he just closed his eyes for a few moments, he’d wake up and it would have all been some kind of terrible dream. But no matter how he tried he couldn’t keep his eyes shut.
His gaze traveled over the towering bookcases lining the walls, filled with ancient volumes bound by his grandfather’s hands. Silent rows of books stared back at him, like leather corpses resting in their tombs. On a nearby workbench, marbled scraps of leather, paste, and a rounding hammer gathered around a dusty press.
Angus’ throat burned. He’d never be his grandfather’s apprentice again, never help him repair old books about castles, dragons and other tales.
Now he had no one, except Grandfather’s nurse, Vera. Even though she was very nice, he barely knew her.
Angus shuffled down the hallway to his lonely room and packed his things. He made sure he had his games and the favorite collection of vampire tales his grandfather had bound for him. He flopped onto his twin bed and glanced at his watch. Angus’ heart twisted. Very soon, Nurse Vera would take him to the airport and he’d fly to a strange place he’d only heard stories about.
Angus scanned his bedroom for the last time, memorizing every detail so he’d never forget. Bare spots on the wall stared back at him, places where his Dracula posters once hung. In a fit of misery, he’d torn them down and ripped them to shreds.
There was no such thing as vampires and other magical creatures. Life wasn’t about fairy tales, only heartache, despair and death.
Angus narrowed his eyes. If only death were a living thing—he’d destroy it. Make it suffer for ripping away all the people in his life that had loved him. Rage and frustration twisted inside of him.
Angus grabbed an antique sword hanging on his bedroom wall and stabbed it into the center of his mattress. Sparks flew from the bed. Celtic swirls carved into the handle of the sword started to spin. A banging sound hammered into his head like being trapped in a giant bell. He fell to his knees covering his ears. The noise died down and a voice broke into his head.
“Are you all right, Dear?”
Angus uncovered his ears and peered up at Nurse Vera. She never called him by name just, “Dear.” Nurse Vera glanced at her watch. “I’ll help you pack your things then it’s off to the airport with you.” Nurse Vera placed a hand on Angus’ forehead. “You look so tired and it’s such a long flight. Promise me you’ll try to get some rest on the plane, Dear.”
Angus nodded. He waited for Nurse Vera to see the sword and scold him for messing with something so dangerous, but she just stood there, her eyes filled with concern. Angus glanced at the bed to look at the sword—but the sword was gone.

 

Purchase at Amazon!

Angela Townsend was born in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Missoula, Montana. As a child, Angela grew up listening to stories told by her grandparents, ancient tales and legends of faraway places.angela Influenced by her Irish and Scottish heritage, Angela became an avid research historian, specializing in Celtic mythology. Her gift for storytelling finally led her to a full time career in historical research and writing. A writer in local community circulations, Angela is also a published genealogical and historical resource writer who has taught numerous research seminars. Currently, Angela divides her time between writing, playing Celtic music on her fiddle, and Irish dancing.

Angela’s first novel, Amarok, was published through Spencer Hill Press in 2012. Her newest novel, Angus MacBain and The Island of Sleeping Kings, was signed for publication with Clean Teen Publishing in 2013.

Angela resides on a ranch, in rural Northwestern Montana, with her two children Levi and Grant.

Visit Angela at http://angelatownsendbooks.blogspot.com/


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41. Guest Book Review: The Princelings of the East by Jemima Pett

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Publisher: Princelings Publications; 2.0 edition (November 26, 2011)
ASIN: B006F3SME2
Genre: Fantasy
Age: 10+

4 stars

Princelings George and Fred leave the safe confines of their home, Castle Marsh, to investigate a mysterious and recurring Energy Drain that ruined their grandfather, King Cole’s birthday feast (and led to a lot of good food being wasted too!). They must find the answers since this situation cannot go on forever. Soon, there might be no power left. Leaving the castle is easier than they imagined; in fact the very mention of how useful a tunnel would be is enough for a tunnel to obligingly appear. A Great Adventure calls. Fred and George, inseparable, find themselves separated but they make the best of it. They meet a number of mysterious and sometimes vaguely sinister characters, particularly the ones with a vested interest in the situation. Is the production of a delicious and popular cola drink really the problem? And is time getting messed up somehow…?

George and Fred, although twins, are appealing and different characters. George (the Brains – he is a Thinker) and Fred (the Brawn – he is the Adventurer) make a great team, relying on each other all the time. When their adventure separates them, they must learn to rely on themselves and make decisions and choices depending on the circumstances that confront each one. They are inventive, curious, brave, and sharp-witted, no mean feat to survive in a variety of situations where petty politics rule. Both George and Fred go on a real journey of discovery, but in fact, much of the journey is internal as they miss each other’s presence, but make those vital choices alone in the end.

Author Jemima Pett creates a charming and endearing world that is a fantastical mix of medieval with technology. Detailed descriptions sink the reader right into each new location and paint vivid pictures of sights and sounds, and the way the inhabitants live. The secondary characters entertain and amuse as well, with a quaint turn of phrase, or a deep, dark purpose (depending on who it is) to give them definition. Lovely idiosyncrasies such as habits and speech patterns ensure the secondary players are fully rounded in this tale. Ms. Pett’s tongue-in-cheek humour will also give many a laugh to slightly older readers.

There is a useful list of characters and locations in the front of the book, which will help younger readers through the twists and turns of this surprisingly complex plot. The author’s illustrations that preface each chapter are delightful and help cement the reader in the context. A lovely read for all ages, with enough action, adventure, inventiveness, and fun to satisfy the most demanding reader. Fans will be delighted to learn that George and Fred’s adventures continue with the second and third books in the series.

Purchase as Amazon!

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.


0 Comments on Guest Book Review: The Princelings of the East by Jemima Pett as of 9/30/2013 8:56:00 AM
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42. John William and the Quest for Copia by Elizabeth Parkinson-Bellows Book Blast

copiaJohn William and the Quest for Copia

John William knew there was something special about the medallion Celeste found. It chimed and sparkled in the sunlight. He was right; the medallion was from Copia, a lost city masked in time. Legendary tales were repeated of a golden city inhabited by Empyrean Wizards that was suddenly plagued by greed and gluttony when a meager fledgling magician by the name of Imperius the Great wandered in. Some did not believe the city ever existed; others who knew better wanted it to stay lost.

John William and Celeste were more than ready for another adventure. The search for Copia seemed to be a perfect opportunity. They were unaware of the dangers until it was too late. Shadow jumpers emerged and grew rapidly in numbers. They wanted the medallion; its power would bring the lost city to life again, unlocking the dark past dormant with in its walls. The young explorers were in a mess of trouble. If they did not fix things fast, Copia’s pestilence of wild creatures would be set free to stir up an evil capable of destroying the realm.

Amazon * Smashwords

banditsJohn William and the Bandits of Basswood

We already know Alexander Drake’s story. His father, John William started it all years before when he entered Azra’s Pith. This is his story. John William was born an explorer; just like his dad before him. His adventure really began with the worst year of his life. He lived everyday in misery until his twelfth birthday. He set out to turn things around and find his smile again. A new friend gave him an invitation he could not turn down… follow me and change your destiny. He never imagined being captured by bandits and taken to a ship riddled with river rats was part of his fate. Not just any bandits – the Bandits of Basswood; known to be a ruthless and wild crew of thieves. Trying to escape would be a ridiculous idea. No one has ever escaped and lived to tell about it. Someone should have mentioned that to John William before he snuck off the ship. The chase out of Basswood was on. He took a chance to change his destiny and ended up on a wild ride to save his life.

Amazon * Smashwords

lizzieAuthor Elizabeth Parkinson-Bellows

Being the frizzy-haired tomboy with buck teeth gave me a slight case of shyness as a kid. A colorful imagination meant escape and adventure at the drop of a hat.

Over the years I learned that the insecurities I carried around were a waste of time. I still prefer a football game to a manicure any day of the week. That indispensable imagination has found its way into my writing providing a sense of joy and a true purpose.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

BookBlast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 10/20/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

If the Rafflecopter form doesn’t work, you can visit http://www.bookblasttours.com/2013/08/14/john-williams-and-the-quest-for-copia-by-elizabeth-bellows-book-blast-sign-ups/ for your chance to enter.


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43. First Chapter Review: A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat by Beverly Stowe McClure

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Today starts the virtual book tour for Beverly Stowe McClure’s A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat. My first chapter review of this middle grade/tween paranormal is part of that tour. The author had sent me a copy of this book when it was first released.  It’s high time I read it.

pirate-blockade-runner-cat-200x300BLURB: Thirteen-year-old Erik Burks’ life is falling apart. When he discovers a lace bra in the glove compartment of his dad’s car, his mom leaves his father and drags Erik from being king of the hill in Texas to the bottom of the pits in South Carolina. No Dad, no baseball, no friends, just Starry Knight (a girl who reads minds) and her equally weird brother, Stormy, the twins that live down the block.

Just when Erik thinks life can’t get any worse, while hanging out at the beach one evening, he and the twins notice lights radiating from the lighthouse. The only problem is the lighthouse was deactivated years ago. Stranger still, a ship materializes in the moonlit harbor. Curious, the twins and a reluctant Erik investigate and discover the ghost of a blockade runner, a phantom cat, and a pirate who prowls Charleston Harbor, all searching for rest.

A former nonbeliever in the existence of ghosts, Erik cannot deny the proof before him. And he has a revelation: The ghosts may be the answer to his desire to return home. Erik soon makes a deal with the ghosts. He’ll help them find what they’re looking for so their spirits can rest in peace. In return, the ghosts will scare Erik’s mother so she’ll be on the next flight back to Texas. Star thinks his plan stinks, but Erik wants his life back, even at the cost of his mother’s sanity.

COVER: This publisher has a lot of great covers, but I have to admit this is one of my favorites. The color, the fonts, the images, they all work together nicely. Kudos to the cover artist.

FIRST CHAPTER: Erik is feeling sorry for himself. His mom has uprooted him and moved to South Carolina where he’s got no Dad, no baseball, and no friends. There are those two freaky twins, Stormy and Starry Knight, but Erik is not having a grand time. He’s kind of tired of hearing about the light coming from the lighthouse–which is not likely since the lighthouse was deactivated years ago. Then when what looks like a ship appears, he’s had enough.

KEEP READING: I had the privilege of seeing this story in the pre-published stage, so I have to admit I knew I would keep going. What McClure has always done well is capture the emotions of her characters. Here’s this thirteen-year-old boy with a great life and great friends in Texas, maybe even a girl to admire, and suddenly he’s pulled from all that and brought to South Carolina where all he has is a set of freaky twins to hang out with. His mom keeps telling him he’s going to love it, but Erik isn’t convinced. Change can be hard for children, especially a move away from friends, and McClure captures that so well with Erik.

The ending of this chapter hints at what is to come, even if Erik isn’t ready to buy into anything yet. This makes for a smooth transition into the next chapter, as Erik walks home and contemplates what Stormy and Starry are telling him about the lights and the ship. I’m definitely eager to continue. I don’t know what additional edits have been performed since I first read this book, but everything I’ve read from this author has been fantastic.Beverly Stowe McClure photojpg

Pages  240

ISBN  978-1-77127-219-3

I received a free copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Beverly Stowe McClure, a former teacher, is now enjoying a second career: writing. She never planned to be a writer, but in the classroom she and her students did such fun activities in art and science that she decided to write about some of them. Luckily, a few magazines liked what she sent them, and her articles have appeared in Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Ladybug, Focus on the Family Clubhouse, Jr., and others. Nine of her stories have been published as books, the latest one a MG/Tween eBook: A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat. She also has two stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies.

Beverly enjoys discovering her ancestors in her genealogy research. She plays the piano. (Thank you, Mom, for making encouraging me to practice.) She takes long walks where she snaps pictures of wildlife and clouds, and of course she reads, usually two books at a time. She teaches a women’s Sunday school class. Watching baseball (Go Rangers) is another of her favorite activities. Retirement is fun.

You can learn more about Beverly Stowe McClure at http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com or follow her blog at http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com.

 

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4 Comments on First Chapter Review: A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat by Beverly Stowe McClure, last added: 10/8/2013
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44. Guest Blogger: Alyssa McCarthy of From Frights to Flaws by Sunayna Prasad

From Frights to Flaws

Twelve-year-old Alyssa McCarthy can no longer stand the toughness of her uncle and wants a better life. But one day she discovers not only the existence of magic, but also a villain hunting her down. The villain uses magic and magical technology to kidnap Alyssa to the Fiji Islands. As much as she wants to go home, she has to face some dangerous challenges first. Not only that, the villain himself must also be defeated. Can Alyssa succeed, even with the help of her mentors?

The Times with My Parents by Alyssa McCarthy

My name is Alyssa McCarthy. I am twelve years old and am currently living a tough life with my uncle and my cousin, Hailey. My aunt died when I was nine. When I was seven, though, I lost my parents.

The days before they died, though, were pretty cool. They used to take me to all kinds of cool places, like the park, county fair, and zoo. My dad was a high school math teacher and my mom was a bookkeeper. I grew up as the average middle-class child.

My mom wasn’t nearly as strict as my uncle, but like him, she was quite a health freak. I used to look at all the sugary cereals at the grocery store and even knew the names of the characters on them. But my mom wouldn’t let me buy them. She bought only whole grain products when it came to carbs. However, she would occasionally buy desserts and other junk foods when it came to special occasions.

She was also crazy about getting my hair to grow long and thick, like some Indian women have. I’ve had long hair ever since I was three, although it wasn’t down to my butt until I was in first grade. I remember on my first day of kindergarten, my mom massaged coconut oil into my hair. Kids said I smelled really good, and so I told them what it was. My mom would massage so many kinds of things into my hair from when she bathed me to when she brushed my hair. Being a health freak was also one of the reasons for making my hair grow long and thick.

My dad was more laid back then my mom. He would sometimes take me out for pizza and ice cream after my dance classes. He would also play outside with me on my playground and in the sandbox. Sometimes I preferred him than my mom.

Sadly, those days are over. I hate to say that I have and will continue to grow up without my parents. However, I have a godfather in Ohio, whom I am dying to live with. He was actually supposed to be my legal guardian if something happened to my parents. I hope everything gets better.Sunayna Prasad

Purchase your copy at AMAZON

Sunayna Prasad has been writing stories for over thirteen years, starting at the age of six. Now nineteen, she will start her junior year of college this fall, and will study accessory design as well as continue to write for children. Aside from that, Sunayna also likes to cook, watch movies, and draw. She lives on Long Island, New York, with her family.

Her latest book is the middle grade fantasy novel, Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions: From Frights to Flaws.

Visit her website at www.SunaynaPrasadBooks.com.

 

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1 Comments on Guest Blogger: Alyssa McCarthy of From Frights to Flaws by Sunayna Prasad, last added: 11/7/2013
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45. Guest Book Review: The Shadow of the Trojan Horse by Wendy Leighton-Porter

horse

Publisher: Mauve Square Publishing
Language: English
ASIN: B009NUKBRA
Genre: Juvenile fiction, adventure, fantasy, mythology, history
Size: 236 pages
Age group: 10-13

Five Stars

Jemima and Joe Lancelot, along with their talking cat Max, and their best friend Charlie, are off on another adventure. The twins live with their Uncle Richard since their parents’ mysterious disappearance several months earlier. Only the children and Max know what really happened—Mr. and Mrs. Lancelot, with the aid of a mysterious book, have become trapped in the past. Using the book and a special key, the kids are desperately dipping in and out of time to track down the adults. Oddly enough, when Uncle Richard gives them their (eleventh) birthday presents—an Xbox game of the Trojan War for Joe and a special charm bracelet for Jemima as well as a book on Troy—it is more than enough of a hint as to where they are going next. The kids, Charlie, and Max end up in the middle of the Trojan War. They do their best to stay alive, find out more about where the twins’ parents were last seen, and do all they can to turn the tide of events in a war that has been raging for ten years.

I love this series and have become hooked on it since book one, The Shadow of Atlantis. Max is really coming into his own, and the adventures would not be the same without him. This time, Max has a significant role to play, although his efforts to help end in disaster. However, in one of the funniest scenes of the book, he gets the chance to make amends although it’s not quite the heroic role he anticipated. Dressed as Hermes, the winged messenger of the gods, Max tries to intervene to alter the fortunes of war. Alas, one cannot change the past, and those who must perish cannot be saved. Once again, author Wendy Leighton-Porter skilfully weaves a world of mythology, fantasy, and fact, and immerses her young protagonists slap bang in the middle of Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad.

The adventure is a turning point for the kids and Max as they face the reality of brutal war, death, and destruction when Troy falls through treachery. The author conveys a subtle message about violence that will help kids decide what is and is not acceptable. Other life lessons come when they realise they cannot turn the tide of history. For once, they are mere small pawns in a gigantic battle involving no less than the gods of Olympus, who prove to be as weak and fickle as the humans whose lives they dominate. The kids learn about human qualities, some good, some bad: King Priam’s pride and stubbornness; Hector’s bravery, Agamemnon’s cruelty, Cassandra’s compassion and self-sacrifice. I found a change in the series at this point, as the book embraces deeper, darker, and more mature themes. The author does a wonderful job of not sugar coating significant events and life’s realities.

However, all is not lost, history is fulfilled, and the kids return with a fragment of information on the adults’ whereabouts. Cassandra’s gift of prophecy has given them a glimmer of hope. Back home, Uncle Richard—hugely impressed by their avid interest in history and archaeology—provides them with some reassuring facts about the final fate of several characters. In addition, some interesting changes emerge on the domestic front. Uncle Richard and Charlie’s mum Ellen are going out for a drink! Could this be something significant? We’ll have to wait and see what transpires in the next adventure…

A helpful map, pronunciation guide, a list of characters, and the author’s note placing Homer, Troy, history, and Greek mythology in context will add to young readers’ enjoyment. If you are a parent wanting to get your kids entranced with reading, start them on this series. It’s a great learning curve, with fun, action, adventure, and a unique story line.

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Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.


1 Comments on Guest Book Review: The Shadow of the Trojan Horse by Wendy Leighton-Porter, last added: 10/24/2013
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46. Guest Blogger: Mark J. Grant, Author of Lila: The Sign of the Elven Queen

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Mark J. Grant, a graduate of Occidental College, has been on Wall Street for thirty-seven years in various senior management positions. He has run capital markets for four investment banks and been on the boards of directors of four investment banks. Grant also writes “Out of the Box,” a commentary on the financial markets that is distributed daily to approximately 5,000 large money management institutions in forty-eight countries. He is the author of Out of the Box and onto Wall Street: Unorthodox Insights on Investments and the Economy (Wiley, 2011). LILA: THE SIGN OF THE ELVEN QUEEN is his first novel.

Visit his website at www.princesslila.com. Follow Mark on Twitter at https://twitter.com/lilaandfluffy.

7 Things About Lila: The Sign of the Elven Queen You Might Not Know

by Mark J. Grant

 

1. It all began at a dinner party at my house. I had some friends over and they were complaining that there were no nice books, no fairy tales, no Alice in Wonderland’s available in the world any longer. They said every book had he who could not be named or giant spiders or monsters or vampires or skulls and crossbones. There was nothing out there to read to their kids or have their older children read. This was quite a topic of conversation. I said that they had to be kidding, but if that was the case then I would write such a book. It would be a lovely fantasy that would not scare any child. They all looked at me with some disbelief but I did exactly what I promised. Lila—the Sign of the Elven Queen is my answer to their distress.

2.   The novel is the world seen through the eyes of a six-year-old girl. Each day is a new adventure as she confronts the wonder of daily life that is experienced by a child. She not only becomes older day by day, but mama is constantly teaching her to be a young lady as part of her growing up.Lila-233x300

3.   Lila lives in New York City and her building will not allow her to have a dog. Lila thinks and thinks about this, and finally concludes that she wants an invisible dog, to which her parents agree. On a cold and snowy day Lila and Papa go to the pet store to buy the invisible supplies for her new dog. As they reach the entrance, around the corner comes a black and white Australian Shepard who sits down in front of Lila, extends his paw and says, “Hello Lila, I am Fluffy.”

4.   Fluffy then introduces Lila to the invisible people of Iceland who live in the cornerstones of downtown buildings and in the boulders of Central Park. There is quite a stir in their community, as they rarely allow people to see them. It is apparent that Fluffy has something in mind.

5.   Lila has a birthmark on her left forearm and it is discovered that Lila has “The Sign of the Elven Queen.” This is something that has not been seen on a human in almost two thousand years. This causes a lot of fuss for the invisible people, and Lila and her parents are invited to “Boulder I, Parliament House” in Central Park to have lunch with the current Queen and Princess of the invisible people.

6.   The Council of Elders of both the invisible people in Iceland and New York then decide that Lila is to become a princess. Her coronation will also take place in Central Park at “Boulder II, Castlerock.” In the middle of this boulder is a large dome where two trees have grown thrones for the current Queen and Princess, and next to them is a sapling that is hurriedly growing a throne for Lila.

7. At the coronation it turns out that Fluffy is much more than he seems and he reveals his secret just as Lila become a Princess. Lila is crowned, turns seven and learns just who Fluffy really is as the invisible people can barely contain their joy. Now how good is that?

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47. Wright on Time®: Iowa, Book 6 by Lisa M. Cottrell-Bentley

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Nadia and Aidan continue their RV adventure with a trip to visit cousins in their dad’s home state of Iowa—just in time for Halloween and Nadia’s birthday! Nadia loves having time to document their discoveries about the Time Tuner. Aidan wants to sword fight with corn.

But what’s a “Wright on thyme”? How does a turtle get to be a Prince? How can you get lost inside a computer? And just what freaky weird Halloween tricks will the Time Tuner play on them?

6th book in the Wright on Time series
Written by Lisa M. Cottrell-Bentley
Illustrated by Tanja Bauerle
Published: October 4, 2013
ISBN: 193784806X
ISBN-13: 978-1937848064
LCCN: 2013935885
Retail price: $12.99
Pages: 162
Genre: Chapter book

Available in printed and digital formats.

 

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1 Comments on Wright on Time®: Iowa, Book 6 by Lisa M. Cottrell-Bentley, last added: 10/29/2013
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48. A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat by Beverly Stowe McClure

pirate-blockade-runner-cat-200x300A perfect, not too spooky, ghost adventure that kids will enjoy is the latest novel from award-winning author Beverly Stowe McClure.

Erik Burns is stuck in South Carolina with his mother and Aunt Molly after he finds a black lace bra in the glove compartment of his dad’s car. Whoops! Kept away from all his friends and the sport he loved to play in Texas, Erik is willing to do whatever it takes to get back home.

When Starry and Stormy Knight, a set of weird twins that live down the block, try to convince Erik that people have seen a light radiating from the deactivated lighthouse and a ghostly pirate ship prowling the harbor, he wants nothing to do with it. But when he witnesses these occurrences, he can’t deny the proof before him. That’s when he hatches a plan to help the ghosts rest in peace in exchange for a personalized haunting that will send his mother rushing back home to Texas so Erick can get his life back.

Beverly and I are in the same critique group, so I had the pleasure of watching this story unfold before it was published. Talented in the areas of contemporary and historical fiction, I am always amazed by how diverse her ideas are while staying true to her fan base. A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat should be another big winner for her. Why? Because in a nutshell, no matter what Beverly is writing, she knows what relates well to her readers.

In this story, Erik has been uprooted. Not only is he away from all his friends and baseball, he’s pretty ticked his dad hasn’t tried to contact him since the move. Those emotions work their way into the unfolding stories of Major Stede Bonnet, Blackbeard, and the ghost residing in the deactivated Morris Island Lighthouse. Not only that, Erik’s mom is trying to get him to befriend a couple of odd twins, when all he wants is to be reunited with his friends in Texas.

This paranormal middle grade/tween novel has a lot to offer. A great read any time of the year, it will definitely get you in the mood for Halloween.

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

File Size: 410 KB
Print Length: 265 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing (January 9, 2013)
ISBN 978-1-77127-219-3
Available in numerous digital formats. Visit the publisher’s website for more information.

 

I received a free digital copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

 

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7 Comments on A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat by Beverly Stowe McClure, last added: 10/30/2013
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49. Just Released: OMG!…Am I A Witch?! by Talia Aikens-Nuñez

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OMG… Am I A Witch?! is the enchanting story of a little girl who discovers her magical powers after turning her annoying older brother into a dog using a spell found on the Internet. Follow April and her friends, Grace and Eve, on their spellbinding adventures as they race to reverse the spell before her parents find out.

A hair-raising and action packed tale of a girl looking for a spell reversal and finding herself in the process, OMG… Am I A Witch?! is sure to delight children while teaching them important life lessons like “Be careful what you wish for!”. Is April really a witch? Will she be able to undo the spell in time? Is she gonna be punished FOREVER? and will her brother ever stop growling at her? Join us and find out!

Available today, October 31st thru AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes, on Kindle and MagicBlox!

Author: Talia Aikens-Nuñez
Illustrator: Alicja Ignaczak
Paperback | B&W interior
150 pages
Release date:Oct. 31, 2013
Ages 8-12

Talia Aikens-Nuñez is a children’s book author specializing in bilingual and multicultural children’s books. Her first book, Escucha Means Listen, was released by Musa Publishing in 2012. OMG…Am I A Witch?! is Talia’s first chapter book and she is currently seeking a home for her next children’s chapter book, Dragon Guardians. Talia lives with her husband, daughter and newborn son on a river in Connecticut.

Visit Talia online at http://talia-aikens-nunez.vpweb.com/

Visit Pinwheel Books to enter for your chance to win one of five copies of this book: http://pinwheelbooks.com/


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50. Starred Review for WILL IN SCARLET!

I’m currently in lovely Saratoga Springs visiting the equally lovely Northshire Bookstore, but I wanted to take a moment from the road and share this very nice review from The Bulletin. They say so many nice things I’m going all blushy.

«Cody, MatthewWill in Scarlet.Knopf, 2013[272p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-375-86895-5$16.99
Library ed. ISBN 978-0-375-96895-2$19.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-375-89980-5$10.99
Reviewed from galleys    R*Gr. 5-7
With his father off crusading for King Richard, thirteen-year-old Will Shackley must leave childhood mischief behind him as he takes on the responsibility of governing the Shackley estate. He makes a fine start, slaughtering two wolves during a hunt with his father’s men, but when Prince John’s thugs later attack Will’s home in an attempt to force fealty, the boy flees the battle to survive. Finding refuge among a merry band of thieves (including a drunken archer named Rob) in Sherwood Forest, Will sets out to plan his revenge but is soon confronted with the possibility that injustice is not simply the fault of one bad man. The punches packed in this historical action tale are both physical and emotional, as Will discovers that the sheltered world he grew up in is a privilege for very few and a distant dream for most. Cody’s pacing is a clever construction of frenzied but focused fight sequences balanced with quiet, subtle moments of self-reflection on Will’s part. Rich characterization does justice to each of the main players here, especially the villains: their motivations are made clear and understandable so that readers, like Will, come to realize the world is a complicated place with room for good and evil and much in between. Early scenes of wolf hunting and thrilling ambushes will likely draw even the most reluctant reader in, while the careful prose and likable hero will see them through to the satisfying conclusion.  KQG

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