Monday, August 27, 2012

Updating and writing

You may not have noticed, but I've been busy updating my blog. I've cleaned it up a bit and made some minor changes with some of the pages.  Click away and see what I've done!

I'm sorry I haven't posted a MMGM in a while. I've been busy reading for critique partners and doing writing of my own.  For the next couple of weeks, I will probably be around much as I have a novel to finish!  I've been stalled for a bit and need to get jump started and get the ending all wrapped up.

I also had an amazing experience this past weekend! I was able to meet one of my absolute favorite authors. Someone who's own writing story compelled me to begin writing seriously.  The one, the only -

 Debbie Macomber!

She is such a personable, fun lady! I had a blast getting to know her a little better. This was also my first time at Schuler Books in Walker, Michigan. I so wish we had a Schuler Books in the Detroit area.  My mom and I had a great time!

I wish you all an enjoyable end to the summer, and I hope to be back soon with more to share about books and writing!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Summer of the Gypsy Moths

Welcome to Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! I had every intention of posting this last Monday, but had to postpone until today. If you're still looking for one more book to enjoy this summer, read on!

by: Sara Pennypacker
Balzer + Bray 2012

First the description from the jacket flap:

Stella loves living with Great-aunt Louise in her big old house near the water on Cape Cod for many reasons, but mostly because Louise likes routine as much as she does, something Stella appreciates since her mom is, well, kind of unreliable. So while Mom "finds herself," Stella fantasizes that someday she'll come back to the Cape and settle down. The only obstacle to her plan? Angel, the foster kid Louise has taken in. Angel couldn't be less like her name—she's tough and prickly, and the girls hardly speak to each other.

But when tragedy unexpectedly strikes, Stella and Angel are forced to rely on each other to survive, and they learn that they are stronger together than they could have imagined. And over the course of the summer they discover the one thing they do have in common: dreams of finally belonging to a real family.

This book packs quite an emotional punch. The tragedy that strikes at the beginning of the story sets the events in motion for Stella and Angel. Over the course of the summer, they learn that the differences they both thought stood between them actually are the ties that make them perfect together. As they grow and mature, much too early for most 12 year-olds, they start to understand each other and figure out how to live as a family.

What I loved about this book was Stella's personality. She loves order and routine and uses her clippings of tips and advice from Heloise (a Martha Stewart character) to help get through the day. She acts and behaves much older than she should and by the end of the book is finally given a chance to live like a child again.

The setting of Cape Cod was a secondary character in the book as well. I felt like I was by the ocean as I read. A good portion of the book also focuses on Louise's garden, especially her blueberry bushes. The description and attention to the detail of this setting and how it fits into the main characters' lives really makes the book for me.

I definitely recommend Summer of the Gypsy Moths, especially if you want to escape to the Cape for a bit!

Have a great week!  And for those of you that are writers, maybe I will see you around the Forums of WriteOnCon in the next few days.

For other MMGM links I love, check out  my list to the right. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Becker and Denton's Mouse and Bear Picture Books

Fun Picture Book Series!
I recently discovered Bonny Becker and Kady MacDonald Denton's Mouse and Bear picture books. They are great cuddle up and read books, but also have a humorous touch to them as well.

The first book, A VISITOR FOR BEAR, introduces us to Mouse and Bear and shows the beginning of their friendship. (Look at that cover, aren't they just adorable!)

The book jacket gives a great synopsis:

Bear is quite sure he doesn’t like visitors. He even has a sign. So when a mouse taps on his door one day, Bear tells him to leave. But when Bear goes to the cupboard to get a bowl, there is the mouse — small and gray and bright-eyed.

In this slapstick comedy of manners from author Bonny Becker and illustrator Kady MacDonald Denton, all Bear wants is to eat his breakfast in peace, but the mouse — who keeps popping up in the most unexpected places — just won’t let him be!

I love the manners that Bear and Mouse use. Without being pushy or over the top, they teach kids that being polite (even when you're annoyed) is possible. Those manners coupled with the fun places Mouse pops up, make the book an enjoyable and fun read.

After meeting Mouse and Bear, their further adventures can be found in A BEDTIME FOR BEAR and THE SNIFFLES FOR BEAR.  They also have fun in an early reader A BIRTHDAY FOR BEAR.

Have a great weekend everyone!  I'm reading a great new middle grade and hope to have it done to share on Monday.