Monday, August 26, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - The False Prince

My pick for today's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is a book I haven't actually read yet. But, my middle grade son has and loved it, so I wanted to share it with you today. He read it for the middle grade book club at his school. It is now very high up on my to-read list!

by: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Scholastic 2012

From Goodreads:
In this first book in a remarkable trilogy, an orphan is forced into a twisted game with deadly stakes.

Choose to lie...or choose to die.

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.

As my son and I talked about the book, I would jot notes down for my post. His thoughts are pieced together below.

Who is the perfect audience for THE FALSE PRINCE?  Middle graders, probably 5th grade and up.  Boys might like it more than girls, but girls can definitely read it too. It is filled with battles, fighting and killing, but there are also funny parts.

Who is your favorite character? Sage - I liked him because he has an attitude and he pretends to be really bad at sword play, horse riding, etc. and he says he doesn't know how to read – but he really can do all those things. 

As soon as he can get his hands on the second book - THE RUNAWAY KING - he wants to read it.  The third book - THE SHADOW THRONE - comes out next year.

That's all I have for this week. For other MMGM posts, please see the list on the right side on my website.  Have a great week!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Exciting News!

I know, I know, my second post of the day, but I have some exciting news that I would like to share! One of my picture book manuscripts is going to be made into an ebook with MeeGenius!, the #1 app for children's books. If you don't know about them, check out their website, especially if you have young children. The timeline right now would have my book - Ducklings on the Move - available on the app sometime around Christmas.

It has been a bit of a whirlwind the last couple of weeks, but everything is starting to sink in now. I can't wait to see the illustrations and my story come to life!

I'm so thankful to all my writing friends who have helped me so far in my writing career. All the critiques and advice are so appreciated! Now, back to work! :)

Picture Book Day - Doggone Feet!

Today's featured book is a new picture book by my friend and fellow Michigan author/illustrator Leslie Helakoski. This is Leslie's sixth picture book she has written and the second picture book she has written and illustrated. Leslie has stopped by my blog before, click here to read her Q and A.


by Leslie Helakoski
Boyds Mill Press 2013

From the jacket flap:
Just me and two feet!

That's what this dog likes - having her person all to herself. But then new feet arrive, insisting on icky things like doggie shampoos! Soon, baby feet appear, bringing noise and chaos. As the family expands, these doggone feet are everywhere! It's a good thing that making room also brings surprises...and joy.

Here is a dog's eye view of life in a growing family.

Why kids will love it - Reading about each new set of feet will have kids guessing who they might belong to. Since the faces that go along with the feet aren't shown until the end of the book, kids can imagine the faces until the end. The surprise at the end of the book is very fun and definitely a total surprise! The illustrations are cheery and so kid-friendly, there's so much to look at and enjoy.

What I learned as a writer - Picture books are so dependent on the text and illustrations to have a give and take with each other. This book is a perfect example of needing both. Leslie does a fantastic job of meshing the two together. The repetition she uses to carry the story along is simple, but so fun to read.

This is such a fun book to read aloud, I hope you will all check it out! Stop by Leslie's website to see the book trailer. Very cute! Have a great week!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Rock Harbor Search & Rescue

Today's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday features the first book in a new middle grade series by Colleen Coble and Robin Caroll.  The series is based on Coble's Rock Harbor series for adults.   Interestingly, Rock Harbor is a fictional town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that sits on Lake Superior. Pretty close to home for me. So, let's get to the book.

By: Colleen Coble and Robin Caroll
Thomas Nelson 2013

From Goodreads:

Emily O'Reilly is obsessed with all things Search and Rescue. She volunteers with the team and goes on rescue missions with her stepmom. She is even selling homemade jewelry to save up for her own Search and Rescue puppy. But when an expensive necklace is stolen from a renowned jewelry artist at Rock Harbor's fall festival and Emily is accused of the crime, it looks like she'll never get her puppy and be able to join the Rock Harbor Search and Rescue team.

Emily isn't willing to give up on her Search and Rescue dreams that easily, and she sets out to find the real culprit and to restore her reputation. With a few suspects in mind, Emily is determined to uncover the truth, but she isn't prepared for the secrets she and the Search and Rescue dogs sniff out in the process. This exciting mystery is filled with twists and turns that will keep readers on the edge of their seats and have them pining after a Search and Rescue puppy of their own!

Why kids will love it - For those that love mysteries, especially girls, this is a great story. The twists and turns make it hard to figure out who the thief is until the very end.  It is also very "real" and I'm sure many girls can relate to Emily and her best friend, Olivia. 

What I learned as a writer - The more twists and turns, the more readers will keep turning the pages to find the answer to the mystery. It was also interesting to read how the blended families were handled in a middle grade.  It was nice to see a loving step-mom who was also loved by her step-kids. That can sometimes be hard to find in kids lit.

That's all I have for today. For other MMGM links, see the list to the right on my website. Have a great week!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher for my honest opinion. All thoughts are my own.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Picture Book Day - Wooby & Peep

Today I would like to share a fun, new picture book with you. I actually met one of the main characters in person at the SCBWI Wild, Wild Midwest Conference this past May.  Isn't Wooby cute?

WOOBY & PEEP: A Story of Unlikely Friendship
by: Cynthea Liu and Mary Peterson
Sterling Children's Books 2013

From the jacket flap:
Peep and her pet iguana, Ricardo, are LOUD and WILD.

Wooby and his goldfish, Wendy, are NOT.

When Peep moves in next door, Wooby is in for quite a shock. Peep throws crazy parties, wears silly costumes, and makes a lot of noise. This quiet neighborhood will never be the same. Can Wooby and Peep ever learn to become friends?

Why kids will love it - Reading about Peep's antics will bring many laughs. And seeing the friendship bloom between Wooby and Peep will show kids how much fun it can be to be friends with others, even those who might be a little different than you.

What I learned as a writer - Having fun, original characters is so important in picture books. And giving them names that are unique, but match with the other characters is also important. I loved the dialogue between the characters, which shows that for some pb's plenty of dialogue does work.

I hope you all check out WOOBY & PEEP. It's a fun book!  Have a great week!