Monday, September 22, 2014

SCBWI - Michigan Fall Conference

Hi everyone! Sorry I don't have any books to share today. I spent the weekend on Mackinac Island for the SCBWI -Michigan's fall conference. It was such an inspiring weekend catching up with friends, getting to know friends better and making brand new friends. And that was just with the attendees! I also was able to chat with editors Christy Ottaviano and Arthur Levine who are both so smart and funny and so gracious to spend their weekend with us away from their families. Authors Candace Fleming and Laurie Keller were amazing to listen to and illustrator/author Eric Rohmann is just so talented. (Since I'm not an illustrator, I didn't end up in any of his breakouts.) I also attended agent Jodell Sadler's intensive on Pacing and it was chock full of so much good writing advice.

Thank you for stopping by and I will see you next week!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Nest

Welcome! I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Today's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is a brand new book by debut author, Esther Ehrlich. I was able to read an arc from the publisher on NetGalley for my honest opinion. All thoughts in the post are my own.

by: Esther Ehrlich
Wendy Lamb Books 2014

From Goodreads:
For fans of Jennifer Holm (Penny from Heaven, Turtle in Paradise), a heartfelt and unforgettable middle-grade novel about an irresistible girl and her family, tragic change, and the healing power of love and friendship. 

In 1972 home is a cozy nest on Cape Cod for eleven-year-old Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein, her older sister, Rachel; her psychiatrist father; and her dancer mother. But then Chirp’s mom develops symptoms of a serious disease, and everything changes.

Chirp finds comfort in watching her beloved wild birds. She also finds a true friend in Joey, the mysterious boy who lives across the street. Together they create their own private world and come up with the perfect plan: Escape. Adventure. Discovery.

Nest is Esther Ehrlich’s stunning debut novel. Her lyrical writing is honest, humorous, and deeply affecting. Chirp and Joey will steal your heart. Long after you finish Nest, the spirit of Chirp and her loving family will stay with you.

What an amazing book! The more I read middle grade, the more I realize that I love realistic fiction, whether it be contemporary or historical, that has an MC and his/her family dealing with situations that could occur to anyone. In the case of NEST, Chirp is a fun, dancing, smiling girl who loves bird-watching and living along the ocean. But as Chirp’s mom’s medical condition deteriorates, she experiences emotions and situations that would be hard for any 11-year-old to deal with. At this point, she begins her friendship with Joey, the boy who lives across the street. Seeing the bond grow between these two, neither of whom has an ideal family life, was enjoyable and heart-wrenching at the same time. Yes, I will agree that this book contains some heavy topics, but nothing that middle graders shouldn’t be able to handle and process. As a debut book, I’m very impressed and hope that Chirp and Joey’s story might continue in a second book.

For those of you who have reached my post today, Sunday, I purposely posted early to give you a chance to win an arc of NEST from my friend, Barbara Watson. If you are on Twitter, here is Barbara's tweet with the details. Her giveaway runs through tonight (9/14) 8pm CST. Good luck and thanks for stopping by today. Have a great week!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen

I'm sorry I've been absent for a few weeks, but the end of the summer has kept me busy. That and the fact that I've pretty much completed my middle grade novel. Just a few tweaks to make and I will be ready to query. Yeah!!! This has been four years in the making, so it is a tremendous feeling to have it almost complete. At least until I have revisions with an agent/editor! :) For today's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, I've chosen a pick that was on my to-read list for a while, and I finally was able to read it. A fun read with so many underlying layers that also makes you think.

by: Donna Gephart
Delacorte Press 2012

From Goodreads:
Olivia Bean knows trivia. She watches Jeopardy! every night and usually beats at least one of the contestants. If she were better at geography, she would try out for the show’s kids’ week. Not only could she win bundles of money, she’d get to go to the taping in California, where her dad, who left two years ago and who Olivia misses like crazy, lives with his new family.

One day Olivia’s friend-turned-nemesis, Tucker, offers to help her bulk up her geography knowledge. Before Olivia knows it, she’s getting help from all sorts of unexpected sources: her almost-stepdad, superannoying Neil; her genius little brother, Charlie; even her stressed-out mom. Soon she has breezed through the audition rounds and is headed for Hollywood! But will the one person she wants to impress more than anyone else show up to support her?

Any kid who is a fan of Jeopardy! will love this book. Intermixed with the lightness of the game show and Olivia's desire to be in the show are deeper issues many kids face - divorce and the aftermath of step-parents, etc., boy/girl issues, popularity in school and realizing how important each one of us is. I enjoyed the realness of the situations and the wrapping up of those emotions by Olivia, some happy and some sad.

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope to be more regular in my posting as we settle back into our school routine. I've been reading some great books lately that I can't wait to share with you. Have a good week!