Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting -- Review & Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
~ Thomas A. Edison ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
M. L. Keller has a terrific post HERE on Authorial Intrusion. This is something we all do now and again. It can be effective if done right, but one must be careful. 

Laurence McNaughton has a guest post HERE on Janice Hardy’s Fiction University that will help you make your characters irresistable to readers. 

It’s always nice to get tips from the masters. HERE are 11 writing tips from George R.R. Martin. He does know how. 

I would like to take a moment to be serious here. My daughter Maggie is in the fight of her life and needs some help. I would appreciate it if you could view her short video and help out by sharing her link on Facebook, Twitter, or any other way to get the word out. Here is the link: https://www.youcaring.com/maggiehollinbeck-946234

Last week, I offered a copy of Brave Red, Smart Frog by Emily Jenkins to one of you. It was a popular choice, I think. This week, not one person said to leave them out of the drawing, and I heard from some folks who seldom leave a comment. My granddaughter picked the winner this week, and it is John Smith. Congratulations, John! I'll get the book out to you soon. For the rest of you, I have a really fun book for a giveaway this week.

When my grandkids and I took our trip to Colorado this summer, Greg Pattridge, who blogs at Always in the Middle, gave my granddaughter a book that I had coincidently chosen for review. We both simply loved A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting by Joe Ballarini and can hardly wait for the next one to come out. So much fun! Anyway, here is my review.

Kelly Ferguson has terrific Halloween plans. She and her best friend are going to a party where all the cool kids will be, including Victor, the guy who Kelly crushes on. But when Kelly’s mother’s boss calls and says her babysitter has fallen through for the night, Kelly’s mother blithely offers Kelly’s services. The kid, Jacob,  turns out to be a real handful — manipulative, smart, and scared of monsters. But when the monsters turn out to be real and when they steal Jacob away, everything changes for Kelly. She has to find a way to get Jacob back or her mother will lose her job. She makes an emergency phone call to Jacob’s regular babysitter and finds herself allied with a few monster-hunting babysitters with skills and knowledge Kelly never dreamed of.

"So much candy was given out that the air was dusted with sugar, 
and the breeze tasted sweet. Days after inhaling so much candy, 
a trick-or-treater could pick his nose, eat it, and swear he was 
eating a grape-flavored jelly bean."

Author Joe Ballarini has written an absolute romp of a book that will have kids
Joe Ballarini
everywhere howling for more. Fortunately, it looks like this will be only the first of a terrific series. The writing is crisp and absolutely pitch perfect for the middle-grade set. The story is exciting, funny, and very, very smart. This deserves, and will probably receive, readership beyond the target audience.



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.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Brave Red, Smart Frog -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
"When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat.
This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like
murdering children, but it must be done." 
~ Stephen King ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
We are lucky Janice Hardy did a guest post at Middle Grade Mafia HERE about how to be sure your protagonist is just a little too lucky. 

You can get some good ideas about getting ideas HERE at the Mixed Up Files of … Middle Grade Authors. 

Come to your senses! Alex Limbaugh at Ride the Pen has a good post HERE about getting the five senses into your writing. 

I hope you all had a nice Labor Day weekend. I know I did. Some family time and some grilling and a whole lot of relaxation . . . and no blog post. C'est la vie.

When we last met here, I promised a copy of My Weird School Fast Facts: Explorers, Presidents, and Toilets by Dan Gutman to one of you. Extra chances by spreading the word might be the key to why Nancy won the book this week. Thanks for sharing my link, Nancy, and congratulations! I will get the book out to you soon. For the rest of you, I have another fun giveaway this week, so please keep reading.

I was contacted by a publicist not too long ago with an offer of a few books in exchange for some reviews. That's always a good deal as far as I'm concerned. So I requested some. I loved the title Brave Red, Smart Frog, and I do love a good fairy tale, so that was my first choice. This little tome has seven retold fairy tales in it -- some very familiar and some not so familiar. It includes Hansel and Gretel, Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and the Frog Prince as well as three not so well-known tales -- Toads and Pearls, The Three Great Noodles, and Three Wishes. All are written splendidly with fresh language and a bit of a fresh take on the stories. The book also has a lovely illustration with an absolutely classic fairy tale look at the beginning of each story by Rohan Daniel Eason as well as a cover that will tempt young readers to open the book. Author Emily Jenkins has clearly done her homework in finding texts that tell the stories well and giving her a good platform to write her own take. If you like fairy tales, you
Emily Jenkins
will definitely want a copy of this book.

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.