Sunday, May 19, 2013

Double Giveaway -- The Diary of Minnie Bonner and That Time I Joined the Circus

Thought for the Day:

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." ~Ernest Hemingway~

Some Gifts for My Writer Friends:

Here are some links I think you will find valuable.

Click HERE for a terrific post on creating maximum conflict in your fiction.

If you are searching for an agent, click HERE for a post listing the top 25 agents by the number of deals for children's books they made last year.

For the seven deadly sins of self editing, click HERE.

Last week I had a chance for someone out there to win a copy of New Lands, the second book in the Chronicles of Egg series. Our lucky winner this week is ....Ta Da!..... Joanne Fritz!!  Joanne is a blogger and writer who can be found HERE. Hop on over and see what she is up to. Joanne, I will be in touch to arrange to have New Lands sent to you. Congratulations!

Now I must tell you, I have been pretty unbelievably busy making a dirndl. Really. My granddaughter's teacher announced last week that the kids should wear a costume tomorrow that represents from where their ancestors emigrated. Faced with watching my daughter pay a LOT of money to rent a dirndl or digging through my massive store of fabrics and making one sans pattern, I chose to make one. I'm cheap even with other people's money. And no one asked me to do it. I volunteered. So I've no one to blame but myself for being totally exhausted this evening. And it turned out pretty cute. I should have an official photo tomorrow and will try to remember to post it next week. 

This is all by way of saying I just don't have it in me to write a review tonight, so instead I will link to two book reviews I wrote recently for the Sacramento Book Review and I will be giving them both away. 

The first is a middle-grade book, part of the Dear America series. This one is The Diary of Minnie Bonner: A City Tossed and Broken, San Francisco, California, 1906. It is an uncorrected proof, but I don't remember seeing any problems. I really love this series, and this book is no exception. You can see my review by clicking HERE.

The other is a YA, but certainly not a hard-core YA. More sophisticated upper-middle-grade readers might well like it. It is That Time I Joined the Circus. You can find my review by clicking HERE.

To have a chance to win, all you need to do is be a follower and leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, you can Tweet the link to this post or post it on Facebook or on your own blog. Just let me know and I will give you extra chances in the drawing.

Don't forget to check out the original Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday blog run by Shannon Messenger. It's always fun to read and there are usually other giveaways there as well You can find it HERE.

For the giveaway, it is for U.S. readers only. Sorry, I fund this myself and can't afford to send out of the country. Thanks for understanding. But please leave a comment. I love to hear from you.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

New Lands Review and Giveway (even for my Canadian readers!!)

Thought for the Day:

“Nothing changes your opinion of a friend so surely as success - yours or his.” ~Franklin P. Jones~

Here are some links for my writer friends. I hope you find these valuable.

Click HERE for a good post with some plot generators. The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th are really good. It also has some great ideas for getting rid of writer’s block.

Great post on building tension can be found by clicking HERE 
For something every writer who ever leaves the house should read, click HERE


For my wonderful giveaway, the winner is Patty Hawthorn! (WooHoo!) Patty, I will get The Wrigley Riddle and On the Run to you soon. If you didn't win today, worry not. There is another great giveaway today. Read to the end and you can enter.


In March, I reviewed the first book in the Chronicles of Egg series by Geoff Rodkey Deadweather and Sunrise. If you missed that review, you might want to look at it HERE before reading the review of book two, New Lands, I’m posting below.

When we last saw our hero, Egg, he and his pal Guts have escaped from Pembroke, but they know well he is still after them and the treasure map. They travel to the New Lands to the town of Pella Nonna. Life turns out to be pretty darned good there as Guts turns out to be an extraordinary guitarist and becomes very popular. Of course, that popularity brings a certain amount of notoriety. That’s not a good thing for a couple of guys on the run from someone as powerful as Pembroke.

There are too many twists and turns to be believed in this fun, quirky second installment of the Egg Chronicles. I really don’t want to tell too much of what goes on, because if you haven’t yet read the first book (What are you waiting for????), knowing almost anything about this book could ruin it for you. The only issue I have with this book is that the ending is truly a cliff-hanger, and we have no idea when the third book will be out. It hardly seems fair to make us wait!

The publicist has generously offered to give away a copy of this newly released
Geoff Rodkey
book. If you’d like to win this second book in the series, be a follower (if you are not one yet, check to the right and join – it’s easy) and leave a comment. If you post the link on Facebook or Tweet it or post it on your blog, let me know and I will give you extra entries.

Don’t forget to stop by Shannon Messenger’s wonderful blog for more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday links. Click HERE to find it.

On the book giveaway, this is for U.S. AND Canada!! That's a real bonus for this blog. Remember, if you have trouble leaving a comment, click on the title of the post and it will give you just this post with a comments section on the bottom. Also, if you haven’t signed up by email, please do. Just look in the upper right-hand corner of this page, pop your email address in, and you will receive an email each time I put up a new post. Your information will not be shared with anyone.          

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Review of Orphan Train and a Double Giveaway of Tween Books

 Thought for the Day:

"If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that." ~Stephen King~

A Gift for My Writer Friends: Here are some links to articles and posts I think you will find valuable.

Kristin Lamb had two terrific posts this week on creating multi-dimensional characters. They are really worth your time. Click HERE and HERE to see them.

Sticking with the character theme for this week, click HERE for a wonderful post from Literary Rambles  on making your character come to life.

 I was hoping a writer would win this week's drawing since there is a writing book (Kicking in the Wall) along with the ARC of The Truth of Me.  I was pleased when Martina Boone's name popped out of the hat. (Let's hear it for Martina! Woot! Woot!) Martina is a writer and the founder and prinicpal blogger at Adventures in YA and Children's Publishing, a blog I've read for a long time and never miss. If you aren't familiar with that blog, click on the name and take a look. There is always something valuable to read. Martina, I will be sending the books to you this week.

I am going to take a little departure from my usual review of a middle-grade book to talk about a wonderful YA/ Adult crossover novel I read reacently. Yes, every now and then I read a book for grown-ups. I just fell in love with it.  It is Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Just below you will find the review I wrote for the San Francisco Book Review. I recommend this book highly.

Molly is seventeen and has spent far too much of her short life in foster homes – many of them. When she is caught stealing a book from the library, she is given fifty hours of community service. Her boyfriend helps her find an assignment helping a ninety-one-year-old woman, Vivian, sort through her attic. But her attic holds much more than expected. It holds her life story, and Molly is swept up in that story because there are surprising parallels to her own. This unlikely pair discovers much about each other, but perhaps much more about themselves, as they sort through and talk about the detritus of Vivian’s life. Vivian lost her entire family shortly after immigrating to America from Ireland. All she has left from her time as a nine-year-old orphan is a silver Celtic cross on a chain. She, along with a multitude of other orphans, is taken on a train to the mid-west where each is placed with families. Some of those placements are horror stories, but Vivian is a survivor.
Christina Baker Kline

“But I cannot muster any sorrow for Mrs. Byrne. I think of her cold eyes and perpetual scowl, her unwillingness to see me as anything more than a pair of hands, fingers holding a needle and thread. I am not glad she is dead, but I am not sorry she is gone.”
Christina Baker Kline weaves a most compelling tale based on happenings long forgotten. Her fine research makes this story feel absolutely authentic, and her writing is gorgeous.

As you can tell, I am crazy about this wonderful book. Now the bad news. I'm not giving it away. In fact, I've already loaned it to someone who absolutely promised to give it back because I just might read it again! And I want my daughter to read it too. She will love it. And my sister. And then maybe I'll read it again. And I've got a couple friends who would like this one. Sorry. You will need to get your own.

I will, however, give away two books this week, both listed as Tween books by the Sacramento Book Review, although I think one of them is for the younger crowd. The two books are The Wrigley Riddle by David A. Kelly. You can read my review HERE. The other is On the Run by Clara Bourreau. My good friend and critique partner Elizabeth Varadan reviewed it for SBR and you can read her review HERE. Elizabeth has TWO blogs, both worth reading. You can find them HERE and HERE. The second one is about all things Victorian and so much fun.

Don't forget to visit Shannon Messenger's blog for more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday books.  You can find her wonderful blog by clicking HERE

For the giveaway, sorry, but it is for those who live in the U.S. only. I just can't afford to ship books out of the country. In order to have a chance to win, all you need to do is be a follower (if you aren't already, go to the column on the right and join now. It's easy.) I now have 99 followers. Help me out here, people. One more and I hit triple digits at last!! If you want extra chances in the drawing, post the link to my blog on Facebook or Tweet it or post it on your blog. Let me know and I will give you extra chances in the drawing. Thanks for reading and have a great week.