I thought it was pretty good, but nothing special. It's a neat, though
not really unique, world where dragons transform into human form and
live in a tense alliance with humans. There's all sorts of heavy handed
shades of prejudice, fear, and related racial issues. There was a prior
war. There is an impending war.
See? None of that is very unique or amazing, so I definitely am not in
the camp that hails the world building as something uniquely special.
With the Irish famine wiping the landscape, Molly and Kip are forced to
travel to England to find whatever work they can. They are hired as
servants in a creepy, crumbling manor house where nothing is quite what
it seems to be and the locals avoid at all costs. Soon the children are
confronted by a mysterious, dark specter and an ancient curse that
threatens the lives of everyone in the house.
Read more about THE NIGHT GARDENER at Literary Hoots, HERE:
have spent the last ten hours at a baseball field about an hour from
our house watching our grandson play hard and have a lot of fun with a
team other than his regular team that asked him to help them out this
weekend. Today they played three games and we were there for all of them
and all the time in between. My brain is fried. I'd love to write some
brilliant new thing for you, but I'll be lucky if I can cut and paste
correctly, but I'll try. Here is the review I wrote for San Francisco Book Review for Hero by Sarah Lean. I like her books and reviewed A Hundred Horses just about a year ago. If you missed it, click HERE to read that review. Here is my review for Hero.
I’ve fallen in love with the covers of the Dinosaur Cove
series. Aren’t they just too cute?There are 26 books in all. In
addition to the great pictures on the covers, there are line drawings
that are exuberant and full of detail on about 75% of the pages. Attack of the Tyrannosauraus (Dinosaur Cove No. 1) (by
Rex Stone, 2008, 68 pages) and many others in the series are out of
print, but used copies are readily available. Alas, the covers of the
more recently written ones partly follow the trend of
title-words-as-image and are not quite as cute.
Read more about DINOSAUR COVE at Time Travel Times Two, HERE:
Nothing but the Truth by Avi follows the unfolding events
after a teacher has a boy suspended for humming along with the Star
Spangled Banner every morning in homeroom. Through "documentary
evidence", namely transcripts, letters and interviews, Avi presents the
points of view of the different involved characters: the 9th grader, the
English teacher, the Principal, and so forth.
My mother in law worked for twenty years as a high school math
teacher. She describes teenagers as elementary school children in adult
bodies. Clearly that's the case here with Philip Malloy. Being
transferred from a rather liberal homeroom where the request for quiet
isn't enforced, to a very strict room where I suspect an accidentally
dropped pencil during the music would be cause of a trip to the office,
is a rather disconcerting proposition for a teenager or for anyone.
Any independently published book for children or teens in any genre is
eligible. The overall winners in each category (children, middle grade,
young adult) will each receive $500 and a year's worth of full-page ads
in Middle Shelf Magazine (rate card value $4,500). In addition, more
than 100 books deemed by the editors as "notable" entries will be
featured in the November/December issue of Middle Shelf Magazine.
"Independently Published" books include self-published books and
e-books, and/or books and e-books published through small presses
releasing less than 5 titles per year. The competition is open to
authors worldwide; books must be in English. Any length book and any
publication date is eligible.
The deadline for entry is midnight on August 1, 2015. The winners will be notified by September 4, 2015.
See website for complete details on how to submit.
Cecil is a toad who lives in a pond at the edge of town with his friends
Sprout (a frog), Jeremy (a worm), Rayray (a lizard) and Reggie (a fly
with a five day life span). After visiting Jeff the free-range hamster
in his luxurious treehouse and getting picked up by a hawk, Cecil sees
that there is a freeway coming right towards his habitat. Gathering his
friends (including Jeff with his spiffy radio controlled car), Cecil
tries to stop the construction in various ways, all of which prove
unsuccessful. In the end, the group is saved when one of them turns out
to be an endangered species.
Mark Goldblatt’s first book, TWERP, introduced us to 12-year-old
Julian Twerski. He’s a smart kid with many thoughts about life and growing
up. This sequel set in 1969-70, has Julian at age 13 returning to his
journal writing. The story will have you laughing, crying, and thinking.
It’s a funny book wrapped up in a serious one.
If you missed out on TWERP, you’ll be familiar with Julian’s gang of
friends in no time. FINDING THE WORM is a separate story that stands
well on its own. If you take the journey with Julian, he’ll seem like an
old friend by the last page. I call that excellent writing. It also
shows a male writer can push the emotional buttons instead of avoiding
them. Everybody deserves to have someone in their life like Julian. He’s
loyal and his story would be perfect for anyone at that awkward almost a
Read the complete review of FINDING THE WORM at Always in the Middle, HERE:
Tunnel Vision is a fast-paced, smartly written story with a fascinating premise, likable hero, and enthralling storytelling. Susan Adrian mixes genres, with a little bit of mystery; thriller; and supernatural combined together to create a refreshing and captivating plot. The world Susan Adrian creates is a complex and layered one, with clever world-building.
From mysterious men in suits, the steely DARPA agents, cryptic messages from Jake’s grandfather, and several twists; turns; and revelations, Tunnel Vision has such a thrilling and intense vibe. I found Jake’s tunneling ability to be super intriguing and wonderfully explored.
To read the complete review on Word Spelunking, click HERE.
Flor and Sylvie are the best of friends. They live on Moonpenny Island -
a small island that only boasts 200 residents when all of the summer
folks leave. Even though Sylvie and Flor seem quite different from one
another, they compliment each other very well. Sylvie doesn't make fun
of Flor's fears, and when she does laugh at her, it's not the kind of
laugh that hurts her feelings.
Read more about Moonpenny Island on My New Tweendom HERE.
This book is pretty dark and depressing at first; Charlie is
sleep-deprived, depressed, angry, and having terrible nightmares. Also,
it's loooooong. Like, almost-didn't-finish long. The beginning seriously
drags, and the actual conquering of fears requires a lot of work. So I
was a little surprised that it's targeted to kids as young as 8 years
(according to the publisher).
The following blogs (S-Z) have been removed from Middle Grade Mania due
to inactivity or not posting about middle grade books for the past three
If your blog is among these and you would like it reinstated, please
send an email to lwredits at gmail dot com with a link to a recent post
featuring a middle grade book (not picture books or young adult books.)
I'm sorry if these removals offend anyone, but this is a directory of
current blogs that post regularly about books for middle grade readers. If you know of any blog that should be in the directory but isn't, please shoot me an email.
I'd never heard of The Diddakoi until someone recommended it during a #ukmgchat
event on Twitter, which was on the theme of diversity in children's
literature. I ordered a copy on that basis but, being a bit thick, I
assumed the title was along the lines of The Gruffalo, or Jabberwocky or The Babadook, meaning I thought it was about a strangely-monikered monster. D'oh! As I now know,
"diddakoi" (or diddicoy/didicoi/didakai) is a pejorative slang word for
"gypsy" or "Roma" or "traveller", as we would now say. Read the complete reviewHERE.
The coolest thing about being a part of the online publishing community
is that you get to see the genesis of all kinds of success stories.
I remember, for example, following The Writer's Voice contest in its
first year, and seeing a particularly strong query+first page that was
garnering a lot of requests. That page always stuck in my mind. And by
the time I was fortunate enough to meet MarcyKate Connolly a year or so
later, MONSTROUS was already on its way to become a book.