Sunday, April 19, 2015

Finding the Worm -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:

''I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word.

Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine.''
~ Emily Dickinson ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:


HERE is an interesting listing of Top Editing and Proofreading Tools for Creative Writers.

Kathy Temean through her Writing and Illustrating blog led me to a really good article HERE on the Story Question.

The ladies at Writers Helping Writers have a great post HERE on Showing Emotion: Moving Beyond the Face. Don’t miss this one. 

With all the books I commit to reading for review, I don't often pick up other books. I read a lot of blogs and hear about a lot of books, and sometimes I find time for something beyond my review books. I do write a little poetry and read some poetry blogs regularly. I never miss Today's Little Ditty by Michelle H. Barnes. It's fun and she features a lot of poets there. She wrote recently about a novel in poems called Crossover by Kwame Alexander. Now I have to tell you, I love sports but have little interest in basketball, and this is a book about basketball. However, I was intrigued by Michelle's review of the book. I thought I'd pick it up and read a few of his poems. I got it from the library and read the first few pages and found I could not put it down. This is worth your time, whether or not you enjoy poetry, you will enjoy this book. Keep some tissues handy. It's very moving. Oh, and by the way, Michelle has featured poems by me a couple times on her blog. You can see my Clerihew HERE and my Tanka HERE.

Last week I offered an ARC of Watch the Sky by Kirsten Hubbard to one of you. With that gorgeous cover, it got a lot of interest. This week's winner is Greg Pattridge. Congratulations, Greg! Thanks for being such a loyal reader and commenter. If you don't know Greg, check out his blog Always in the Middle by clicking on the title. He is a writer and teacher and has great insight on middle grade fiction. Greg, I will get the book out to you this week. 

This week I'm featuring Finding the Worm by Mark Goldblatt. A couple years ago I read Mark's first book, Twerp, and fell in love with his main character, Julian Twerski, and his story. What a treat it was for me to find the next chapter in Julian's life in Mark's new book! I reviewed that book HERE and followed up with an interview with Mark HERE. If you haven't read Twerp yet, find a copy and read it. It is absolutely terrific. If you have read this blog for awhile, you know I am a huge fan of Gary D. Schmidt's books. Mark's books remind me of Schmidt's work and I think they are simply terrific. Here is the review I wrote for the San Francisco Book Review.


Julian Twerski, a.k.a. the Twerp, is back and he’s in trouble again. He’s in a new school (he’s in 7th grade now), but trouble seems to find him. He is unjustly accused of damaging a painting, a painting he really loves, and the principal assigns him a 200-word essay on citizenship. This is the beginning of a year-long duel between the two. But that isn’t all that is going on. Quentin, one of Julian’s gang (not a bad gang) is really sick. Devlin, a 9th-grader, seems to have it in for Julian. Beverly is acting funny and challenges Julian to races all the time. Julian is getting ready for his Bar Mitzvah, and the Rabbi is giving him trouble.

“It’s like when you’re watching a baseball game on TV and your guy strikes out, and then the replay comes up and you kind of hope he’ll foul off the pitch—even though you just saw him strike out.”

There is never a dull moment in this wonderful book. Mark Goldblatt has created
Mark Goldblatt
a cast of characters in this sequel to //Twerp// that take the reader directly to the Queens, New York of the 1960s and make this touching, funny story to life. Readers will walk with Julian through his 7th-grade year as he suffers great loss and becomes a man, as he discovers many kinds of love and as he meets a life-long idol. Don’t miss this amazing book.


I have a gently read hardcover copy of this terrific book for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.

Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Watch the Sky -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been able to talk about. Be willing to be split open.”

~ Natalie Goldberg ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends: 

Does Janice Hardy ever run out of wonderful ideas for writers to strengthen their works? I think not. HERE is a great post on mirroring.

HERE is a wonderful gathering of inspiring quotes from authors on motivating yourself. I particularly like what Dinaw Mengestu and Jami Attenberg have to say, but, honestly, these are all great.

The ladies at Writers Helping Writers has a great post HERE on the importance of grounding your characters in your readers world. 
I'm sorry I didn't get a post up last week. We did have a nice family day for Easter, but that wasn't the reason. Our Xfinity went out last Sunday morning and didn't come back on until very late that night. No telephone (yes, I do have a land-line), no television, and no internet. No internet means no blog. I felt like I was living in another age. My, we do get used to our connections to the world.  Anyway, I'm here now and am going to give away the ARC of Like a River by Kathy Canon Weichman as promised. Our winner this week is Janet Smart, a writer from West Virginia. You can get to know her through her blog, Writing in the Blackberry Patch by clicking HERE. Congratulations, Janet! I will get the book out to you this week. I have another giveaway, so please stay tuned.

This week I would like to tell you about a fascinating book I read recently. Watch the Sky by Kirsten Hubbard captured me with the cover. Isn't that an intriguing cover? Then I read about it and was able to claim it for review. Here is the review I wrote for the San Francisco Book Review. I absolutely love this book and think all of you will as well.


Jory is in sixth grade and, after being homeschooled until fifth grade, feels like he’s finally fitting in. His sister, Kit, who never speaks, is still homeschooled. Kit wandered into their lives three years before, but Jory loves her like a real sister. Their mom, who has debilitating headaches, keeps busy with Kit and baby Ansel. Jory’s stepfather, Caleb, keeps them safe and watches for signs. Something is coming, but Caleb won’t tell them what. And sometimes Caleb gets mean and acts a little crazy. When the time comes, they must be ready. They mustn’t talk to anyone about Caleb’s plans. But Jory starts making friends, and somehow he lets some secrets spill. Suddenly, Caleb announces it’s time, and the family begins digging a bunker in the canyon. Jory begins to question Caleb’s motives, but is it too late?

“Alone underground, Jory leaned against his half-filled wheelbarrow, inhaling the damp, earthy air through his bandana. Tall stacks of two-by-fours sat in the space’s center.”

Kirsten Hubbard has written an absolutely riveting middle-grade thriller. The
Kirsten Hubbard
characters are well-founded and absolutely believable and engaging. The close third-person point of view pulls readers completely into Jory’s world, and readers will feel his every hope and fear. This is an exceptional coming-of-age story that will stay with readers long after the cover is closed.


I have a gently read ARC of this terrific book for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.

Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.