Friday, June 19, 2015

CIRCUS MIRANDUS Reviewed by Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books!

The Circus is coming to town under a magical veil of mystery, magic and intrigue. This is a fantastic story that has been picked from the publisher that has wings and will easily soar into the heart of the reader through the emotionally charged energy that it holds. It is sensitively told; tackling some of the challenges of life and the sadness of dealing with hope and death. 

Micah's beloved grandfather is gravely sick and close to death. His elusive past brings a magical world of Circus Mirandus to his grandson (Micah) which is stunning and rich in detail. It will have you engrossed from the first to the very last page. The rights have already been sold to be made into a film, even before publication. This story should easily translate to the big screen in cinematic quality. 

Read the complete post at MR. RIPLEY'S ENCHANTED BOOKS.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


In an attempt to set more time aside for writing, I will be spending more time doing that and less time posting here on Middle Grade Mania.

So instead of posting 3-4 times a week, I will be posting only once a week.

However, Middle Grade Mania is now offering book tour services for middle grade authors. If you are a blogger and would like to be contacted about future book tours or cover reveals, or if you are an author interested in promoting your book, please email me at lwredits at gmail dot com.

Thank you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

IT HAPPENED ON A TRAIN - Audio Book Review

If you've followed this blog for a while, you'll know that I am a HUGE fan of the Brixton Brothers mystery series. They're funny, they're hip and they have some really good mysteries in them. And good action scenes too. So I was very, very glad to see the library get audiobook copies of them! And I was very, very, very glad to see that the great Arte Johnson was the person reading them!. Now you may or may not know who Arte Johnson is but guys who grew up when I did are very familiar with him and knew how funny he could be. He's the perfect guy for these audiobooks and he did a great job on this one.

Read the complete review on BOYS RULE BOYS READ.

It Happened on a Train (Brixton Brothers Series #3)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015



This week, we are tackling cover that rely almost entirely on text for the cover. This is a common technique used for wordy titles or titles with powerful, self-explanatory words. Today we're looking at two books with wordy titles.

Designers often minimize graphics with long titles because if there are too many graphics or the images are too dominant, they run the risk of people not taking the time to actually read the title. When the title itself is the main graphic, that isn't so much of a problem. However, there is a greater risk of the cover failing to fully convey the theme and/or genre of the book.

Let's take these two for example:


The titles both suggest humor, particularly Stauffacher's book. There are few scattered "fun" images of a fish on a line, a sewing dumming, and an unhappy fork & knife. Fits with the idea of etiquette and the cartoonish illustrations support the humor in the title. The solid blue background helps to unite the otherwise (intentionally) messy colors & fonts of the title.

The first cover for Jen White's book presents a slightly more dramatic effect, while still erring on the side of humorous. Using cut-out maps for the font along with the tracks, car, and seemingly disconnected images strongly suggest a story about a journey of some kind. This may be a funny book, but the white background hints at something a little deeper.

The question is, do these covers succeed at grabbing the reader's attention? Do you want to open the book and read it? Do the images tell you enough about the story to hook you?

Comment below and let us know what you think.

Friday, June 12, 2015


I must admit that I was drawn to this book initially by its lovely purple colour. The more I looked at it the more I wanted to know about the characters depicted on it. The blurb drew me in too, this Cinderella-esque tale was definitely something I wanted to read.

The book is a fairly slim one, and it has plenty of illustrations, done by artist James Brown, dotted throughout. I found that this made it a quick read, I think it will mean that younger readers will find it manageable too - in interest terms it will appeal broadly.

Read the entire review at MIDDLE GRADE STRIKES BACK.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Just a heads up that more than 2 dozen new book blogs have been added to our directory today. Be sure to check them out!


The following blogs have been suspended from Middle Grade Mania due to inactivity or not posting about middle grade books for at least the past three months. If your blog has been removed and you would like it reinstated, please email me a link to a recent post about a middle grade book. Thank you.

Gimme the Scoop Reviews
Our Time in Juvie
Middle Grade Mayhem (visit Project Mayhem instead)

KRISTA VAN DOLZER Interviewed by Michelle I. Mason

Interview with  Krista Van Dozler, author of THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING.

1. It’s fantastic how you seamlessly wove in historical tidbits that adults have probably heard somewhere–for example, that the general public didn’t know President Roosevelt was in a wheelchair until after his death. Was it challenging to figure out where these would fit? Did you have a file of historical facts you wanted to include and couldn’t?

I didn’t have a file of historical facts, but now I wish I had!
For the most part, I researched the 1950s in general, then drew on that working knowledge as I drafted individual scenes. For instance, the scene in which I mentioned President Roosevelt has a reference to wheelchairs, so I tried to think of someone in a wheelchair that Ella Mae would have known. President Roosevelt came to mind, and it was only as I was fact-checking myself that I discovered the general public didn’t know the full details of his condition until after his death.

Read the entire interview on MICHELLE I. MASON'S blog.

The Sound of Life and Everything by Krista Van Dolzer

Sunday, June 7, 2015


You may notice that the two covers below bear no resemblance to each other at all. In fact, they bear no resemblance to any other middle grade book cover published this year. That's because unlike most covers, which are either paintings, or photographs, or some other "usual" form of art, the cover artists for THE WATER AND THE WILD and AOLEON really thought outside the box.

THE WATER AND THE WILD is actually a sculpture made of cut colored paper, designed and assembled piece by piece and then carefully photographed. AOLEON'S cover is a computer graphic design, which gives it a 3-D appearance.

Both these covers really stand out because of their imaginative and creative use of these extraordinary art forms, and I think both have succeeded in their aims for their own genres.

What book covers of the past have marked themselves as unique or different? What set them apart from other covers in their genre? Leave a comment below. I'd love to know what you think.

The Water and the WildScience Fiction Book - Part 1 First Contact - Aoleon The Martian Girl

Friday, June 5, 2015


Every month MIDDLE GRADE MANIA will be hosting a giveaway of a mystery middle grade book pack of 5 new releases. The titles will be revealed when the winner is announced at the end of each giveaway. To enter, you must be 18 or older and a U.S. resident.

A Year of Reading Reviews DRAGONS BEWARE!

Claudette is relentless. She has not given up on becoming a warrior. Her little brother, Gaston, is equally single-minded. He HAS given up his dream of becoming a chef until he can become as good a blacksmith as his father and/or do something that will make his father proud.

When the flying gargoyles attempt to attack their village, Claudette and Gaston's father, Augustine, and his sidekick Zubair set off to get Augustine's sword Breaker from the belly of the dragon Azra so they can defeat the evil Grombach, who is sending the gargoyle army.

Read the entire post at A YEAR OF READING.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dan Gemeinhart's THE HONEST TRUTH on A Book and a Hug

Stock tip:  Whatever your favorite tissue brand is, buy their stock now:)  THE HONEST TRUTH is a profoundly moving and penetrating journey up a mountain and deep into your heart's secret places.

"The mountain was calling me.  I had to run away. I had to."  Mark has thought it through and figured out exactly how he is going to make his getaway.  He has a great family, a dog who is willing to follow him into the darkest places, and a best friend, a girl named Jess, who has shared all the good moments and who understands when for Mark, "all the world is dark." 

They were meant for each other because  Jess is dealing with the empty space inside herself and Mark has been there for her too.  With all of that going for him he is still making a huge choice and deciding to grab on to one major moment in his life and do it his way.

Read the entire post at A BOOK AND A HUG.

The Honest Truth

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Congratulations to DARIA C. for winning Middle Grade Mania's MAY MONTHLY MEGA GIVEAWAY! She will be receiving a box of 5 middle grade books. Here is the reveal:

Class Clown AcademySome Kind of MagicThe Shark Whisperer
The Loch Ness PunsterStormbreaker (Alex Rider Series #1)

The JUNE MONTHLY MEGA GIVEAWAY has already started! The winner will be selected on the last day of June and will receive a box of 5 new middle grade books! The mystery of which titles will be included will be revealed when the winner is announced. You must be 18 years or older and be a U.S. resident to enter.  Thank you!