Sunday, March 1, 2015

Hero by Sarah Lean -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
"To finish is sadness to a writer, a little death. He puts the last word
down and it is done. But it isn't really done. The story goes on and
leaves the writer behind, for no story is ever done.”
~ John Steinbeck ~



Gifts for My Writer Friends:


Writer’s Digest has an excellent article HERE on why character must be the heart of your novel.

Adventures in YA Publishing has a great post HERE with forty questions to ask when you get that long-awaited call from an agent.

Some important reminders HERE about how to keep a critique group running smoothly. 

Last week, I offered a my ARC of Moonpenny Island by Tricia Springstubb to one of you. The lucky winner this week is Natalie Aguierre. Congratulations, Natalie! I will be getting the book out to you this week. If you don't know Natalie, she is an aspiring MG and YA fantasy writer and shares blogging duties with another writer at Literary Rambles. They run a lot of reviews, author interviews, other useful things for writers, and have a ton of giveaways. Click on the title to visit their blog. You really shouldn't miss it. I have another giveaway this week, so stay tuned. 

I 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.

Leo Biggs has a huge imagination, and when he imagines himself a gladiator, he simply can’t be beaten. When he tries to join the popular group of boys at school, they make him prove himself by doing despicable things. When the boys hurt Leo’s neighbor’s dog, Jack Pepper, Leo takes Jack home and tells people he saved Jack from the pond, when it was really Jack Pepper who had helped Leo. Once that lie has been told, it takes on a life of its own, leaving Leo to live in the shadow his lie has thrown. Leo tries to find ways back from the bad place he’s in, but things seem to get worse, and when there is a sinkhole in the middle of town, Jack Pepper disappears. Leo feels responsible, but does he have what it takes to really rescue Jack?

“I felt like a gladiator on his knees in the sand without a shield, waiting for a stronger gladiator
to deliver a killer blow.”

Sarah Lean has written a story that will resonate with younger middle-graders.
Sarah Lean
A lot of kids will feel a kinship with the imaginative young Leo. Jack Pepper is a nearly magical dog kids will really love. Some parts of the story stretch credulity a bit far, but overall this is a good book that will please young readers.


I have a gently-read ARC of Hero 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, February 22, 2015

Moonpenny Island -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:


“One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to 
have the right ones form themselves into the proper patterns at
the right moment.”
~ Hart Crane ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends: 


Revising? Check out the post HERE from Fiction University about slashing word count.

Thinking of using song lyrics or a poem in your work? Better check out The Editor’s Blog HERE before you do.

If  you need a little inspiration to keep on keepin’ on (and who among us doesn’t?) read the post HERE on Anne R. Allen’s blog. 

Last week, I offered my ARC of The Terrible Two to one of you and our winner is Paddy Lawton! Congratulations, Paddy. I will get your book out to you this week. Fear not, readers. I have another giveaway this week.

I'm lucky to be a book reviewer for the San Francisco Book Review. I get to read a lot of great books and get most of the books I give away here from them. A couple months ago I read an enchanting novel that just came out this month. I loved it. So I want to spread the word. The book is Moonpenny Island by Tricia Springstubb. Here is the five-star review I wrote for the Review.



Flor and Sylvie are best friends. They have been forever. They live on a tiny island in the middle of a huge lake. In summer, the island teems with people, but when autumn comes, the summer people leave and Flor and Sylvie are the only two eleven-year-old girls for miles. But when this summer ends, things change. Sylvie’s parents send her to live with relatives on the mainland and go to school there. Flor and Sylvie can email and talk on the phone, but it isn’t the same. Flor’s mother also leaves to stay with her mother and sisters on the mainland because, she says, her mother is ill. In addition, Flor’s older sister, Cecelia, seems to be pulling away and just isn’t there for Flor anymore. Their father seems to work all the time. Flor is bereft and lonely.


“And now Flor feels herself shrinking too. Something whittles away at her, scraping off bits and more bits, pieces of her flying off, till all that’s left is her heart, exposed to the air and light, nothing at all to protect it.”
 


Tricia Springstubb has written an absolutely engaging and charming novel that
Tricia Springstubb
will capture the tween set and older readers as well. The writing is lively, the characters well-rounded and interesting and believable, and the story one with which young readers will fully relate and understand. Spingstubb explores friendship, young love, and family dynamics in ways specific to middle-graders.


I have a gently-read ARC of Moonpenny Island 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.