Sunday, May 21, 2017

Black Ships Before Troy -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”  
~ Confucius ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Kathy Temean at Writing and Illustrating always has such interesting posts. The one HERE will be particularly helpful as you write the dreaded synopsis. 

We always hear so much about the importance of the first page. HERE is a terrific post from M. L. Keller on Writing a Killer First Page. 

Do you know what your Origin Scene is? Honestly, I had never heard the term before, so I sure learned a lot from the post HERE on Writers in the Storm. It’s a good one. 

Sorry to have gone missing last week. It was my daughter's last weekend in town, and we had a wonderful family dinner that ran long. We all had a lovely time and blogging was the last thing on my mind. Also for those who have been following the flipping saga, we are in escrow with a very nice young couple -- first-time home buyers. We didn't get quite as much as we hoped, but it was still a very satisfying experience. If all goes well, we should close in a little over a month. Then we will try to find another house.

Last time I promised an ARC of Mango Delight to one of you. This week's winner is Suzanne Warr, a North Carolina writer who blogs at Tales from the Raven. You can Find her blog HERE and read some great MG book reviews there. Congratulations, Suzanne. I'll get your book out this week. For the rest of you, keep reading. I have a terrific book to give away.

A publicist offered me a review copy of Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of THE ILIAD by Rosemary Sutcliff. I have long felt The Iliad was treated a bit like the ugly step-sister of The Odyssey and that's so unfair. I think it's such a great story, but most young people know a LOT about The Odyssey. They are familiar with the characters and many of the stories. There are, it seems to me, many versions of The Odyssey and parts of it are found in many, many school literature books. But not The Iliad. So I was excited to see a rendition for middle-graders of this great story. I was not disappointed. 

The writing is positively delicious. It has the cadence of an ancient text and the word choice is wonderful. "With his heart sick and hammering within him, Patroclus ran for the camp of the Myrmidons, which the fighting had not yet reached, and the ship where his lord Achilles waited for him." I love the rhythm of her writing and the way it takes one back in time and into this mythological world. The story is a great one and Sutcliffe tells it well and quite completely. 

This is a big (9" X 11"), beautiful book with lush illustrations and graphics on
Rosemary Sutcliff
nearly every page. The illustrations by Alan Lee use somewhat muted colors, but have a look that will transport readers to ancient Greece. This is just a delightful book that will engage young readers and introduce them to a story they might not otherwise discover until college. Seriously, find this book and read it.

I have a gently-read hardback of this book to share with 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, May 7, 2017

Mango Delight -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
~ Herman Cain ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Editing? Aren’t we all always? HERE are 25 Editing Tips for Tightening Your Copy.  

Anne R. Allen’s blog has a post HERE that many of us will find helpful: Rejection and Failure: Why There’s a Difference and Why Neither Means You Should Quit. 

I just love this post from Janice Hardy on “minitagonists.” I have plenty of them in my book and am glad to have them validated HERE

Last week I offered a copy of Big and Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd) by Julie Bowe to one of you. Danielle Hammelef always shares the link on my blog for extra chances. This week it paid off for her. Congratulations, Danielle! I will send out your book this week. Thanks for always reading, commenting, and sharing my link. For the rest of you, please keep reading. I have another giveaway for you.

I ran across Mango Delight by Fracaswell Hyman as I perused the list of available books for review from the San Francisco Book Review. The title caught my attention and, honestly, so did the author's name. When I read a synopsis, I grabbed it off the list. Here is the review I wrote for SFBR.

Mango Delight Fuller and her best friend, Brooklyn, seem to be the only two middle-school girls without cell phones. They are BFFs and get through waiting for this great status symbol together, but Brooklyn suddenly gets a phone and moves on to a stuck-up clique Mango and Brooklyn always referred to as Cell-belles, leaving Mango in her dust. Then Mango finds out Brooklyn has broken Mango’s trust in the worst way. An unfortunate cell-phone accident occurs that changes everything — not just for Mango and Brooklyn, but for her family as well. Brooklyn signs Mango up on the audition list for the school play, probably thinking she will embarrass herself, but quite the opposite happens. Lots of fun and interesting twists and turns.

Author Fracaswell Hyman has built a fascinating story for middle-graders with
Fracaswell Hyman
well-rounded, believable characters and a story that will keep readers turning pages. Unfortunately, the voice sounds more like someone 35 than someone 12 and the slang used by the young characters throughout will make this book seems out of date in no time at all. 

I have a gently-read ARC of this book to share with 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.