Sunday, April 29, 2012

Review of "no-name baby" and a giveaway

If you are reading this in your email, don’t forget to click on the headline to go to my blog. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please do. And please leave a comment. If you have trouble leaving a comment, please click on the title of the post and comments should pop up at the bottom. If you don’t have one of the accounts they ask for or don’t want to use that, please use Anonymous, but let me know who you are. Thanks. I love to hear from you.

Writer’s thought for the day and something to think about as you read the review:

"When people ask me if these stories are true, 
I prefer to say that they are true enough." 
 ~ David Sedaris

My gift for my writer friends, a list of eight helpful hints for writers, can be found here:

Now back to the business of blogging. I was contacted recently by a friend who is part of a group of recently-published writers interested in having reviews of their works out there in the blogosphere. Would I be interested in doing some book reviews? Well, heck, yeah. I’m always interested in reading and reviewing books. When I found out many of these writers have been working with editor extraordinaire Steven Roxburgh, I was doubly on board. “Sign me up,” said I. And then the first book arrived. Nancy Bo Flood sent me her slender volume entitled no-name baby and I began reading.
In rural Illinois, shortly after World War I, Sophie, fourteen, is an only child, but there are three grey gravestones in the family plot for babies lost – a sister and two brothers she had never known. Her mother is pregnant again, and Aunt Rae has come to the farm from Chicago to help when the baby comes. Sophie’s her grandmother, Nonna, lives there too, but at her age, she can only do so much. Her father, of course, has to run the farm. But he has help – a handsome young man, Karl, who goes to school with Sophie. When Aunt Rae is in the house, there is always a strange tension.

As Sophie and her mother are doing chores one day, Sophie wriggles out of slopping the pigs, a chore she hates. Finally, her mother agrees to do it while Sophie gathers eggs. Sophie sees her mother struggle with the slop pail, then slip and fall. She’s hurt and the baby is coming early.

It takes several days of worry before Sophie is able to breathe easier, finally knowing her new little brother and her mother will be all right. Since she has to stay home to help for awhile, Karl brings her school work to her, meeting her in the orchard in early evenings. Their budding romance is apparent to all. Aunt Rae doesn’t like it and, in a strangely contentious moment, says something that makes Sophie question everything about herself and her life, a mystery she is determined to solve.

“A strange weariness filled Sophie. She sat down on Papa’s three-legged stool, tucked her knees under her chin, circled her arms around her legs. And then, not knowing why, she cried and cried.”

Nancy Bo Flood
This bucolic story, framed by the ravages of World War I and conflicts that can only be found in a family, has lovely texture, compelling characters, and polished writing. Girls from upper middle grades on up through YA will find a gem between the covers of no-namebaby. Nancy Bo Flood was kind enough to sign the copy she sent for review, so one of you can win a very gently read autographed copy. Just leave a comment here on the blog for once chance and post the link to to this blog post on your blog, Facebook, or other social media and let me know for a second chance. As always, one of my incredibly honest grandchildren will pull the winning name from a hat.

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. If you are in the comment screen and your comment is refused or kicked back, please email me at rosihollinbeck at yahoo dot com and let me know. At least one of my regular readers is having a problem, and I am trying to correct this. Thanks!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Meet Author Lynda Mullaly Hunt

If you are reading this in your email, don’t forget to click on the headline to go to my blog. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please do. And please leave a comment. If you have trouble leaving a comment, please click on the title of the post and comments should pop up at the bottom. If you don’t have one of the accounts they ask for or don’t want to use that, please use Anonymous, but let me know who you are. Thanks. I love to hear from you.

Writer’s thought for the day:
“Writing is easy. All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” ~ Gene Fowler

First, I have winners to announce from the last two posts. Helen will be receiving a copy of May B and L. W. Reyes will receive a copy of Neville. Congratulations and thanks for playing!

A few weeks ago I reviewed a wonderful debut novel, One for the Murphys, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. You might want to check out that review by clicking HERE. I absolutely fell in love with the characters and story. I’m always curious about the writer’s journey, so I contacted Lynda to see if she would share some of her own story. I’m happy to say she was willing. Here a little about her and then the interview.

Author Bio:

Lynda Mullaly Hunt is the author of middle-grade novel, ONE FOR THE MURPHYS (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin), winner of The Tassy Walden Award: New Voices in Children’s Literature. She is also a former teacher and Scenario Writing coach. Lynda has been Director of the SCBWI-NE Whispering Pines Retreat for six years. Lynda lives with her husband, two kids, impetuous beagle and beagle-loathing cat.

Your protagonist Carley’s habit of turning words and finding an extra level of meaning was interesting to me. Is this something someone you know does, or did your character bring it along with her?

Actually, I do know someone who does this—me! I remember doing this as early as second grade. Therefore, Carley’s turning a phrase or finding a pertinent word inside another word came easily. There were a few times, however, that I had to study words and work at it a bit. Also, there were some obvious ones that fit really well that I didn’t notice until the final editing stage. I couldn’t believe that I had missed them!

I also tend to think in metaphors; my head makes comparisons automatically. My husband and kids have teased me about this for years, but it comes in handy if you’re a writer!

Your writing has such a great, natural flow to it. Do you spend a lot of time planning your writing – outlining and such – or is it a much more organic process for you? Maybe you could talk a little about your writing process.

Thanks so much, Rosi!

I’ve tried outlines, but they point and laugh at me.

Not only do I just jump in, but then I proceed to jump all over the place. I begin a book by writing the beginning; seems pretty normal thus far, right? When I’m a few chapters in, my mind will decide to show me the ending, so I write that. Then I spend the rest of the time connecting the two. However, all of those in-between chapters are written completely and utterly out of order.

My writing seems to be driven by the emotions of the characters. I really don’t know what part of the book I’ll be writing as I make coffee and “prepare.” However, when I sit down—BAM!---it’s usually there. Something, anyway. (If the writing stinks to begin with, I just keep writing through the stinky period.)

After finishing a scene, I write its title/subject on a 3x5 card and put it on a magnetic white board. As the book progresses, I work on putting these cards in order. Every chapter of a book is a separate file on my computer; piecing them together to create a novel later is actually fun! It’s like doing the ultimate puzzle! When it is assembled, I read it from beginning to end and add text to create smooth transitions between chapters. It’s a nutty process—but it’s all mine—so I embrace it!

Do you feel your job is easier or harder now that your debut novel is out? Is there more or less pressure? Does the pressure come more from yourself or others?

Well, in some ways, it is definitely easier. Query letters are a thing of the past—and that is a huge relief! I don’t have to sign up for critiques at conferences or worry anymore about “if lightning will strike.”

But there is definitely more pressure—and that is as it should be. Pre-publication, I obviously did write, but my schedule was a lot more flexible. Now, I must write on a regular basis in order to hit deadlines.

Also, marketing One for the Murphys turned out to be a lot more time consuming than I had ever imagined. But, that is partly my doing, as I tend to be an over-the-top researcher and get swept up by attention to detail. I actually like the marketing aspect of the author career, though. It can be fun and is a way of taking a break without taking a break. 

My publisher has never put direct pressure on me. However, when I signed a contract, I figured that high expectations were implied. I assumed that my editor and publisher expected my work to be of a high caliber. I assumed that they wanted me to work hard with them to create the very best book that we could. And, I assumed that they wanted me to work with them to get Murphys out into the world through marketing and publicity. We are, after all, a team.

What advice would you pass along to those of us who haven’t gotten that first book published?  
Well, to be honest, I think that writing with the publishing industry on your shoulder—whispering what the market wants, what will sell, etc. messes with a writer’s voice and craft. My advice is to forget about publication and focus on the writing. Attend workshops on character, plot, and pacing. Forge the best manuscript that you can—then worry about getting it into hands of publishing professionals.

Be open to critiques. I empathize that when you get a critique from someone, we’re sometimes tempted to explain or assume that they “just didn’t get it.” Try to walk the fence between confidence/optimism and knowing that writing for children is a business and that your work must be its very best to compete. Truly consider feedback. True—sometimes feedback is off base--doesn’t fit the voice of the character. However, if you hear something twice, you may want to linger on it for a bit; give it some extra thought.

To be honest, I didn’t really think I would get published in the beginning. I just worked to make my writing better because I enjoyed it and I liked the people in SCBWI. The first time I attended a “first pages” activity, the editor said my page was “cheesy. A horrible 70’s throwback or something. Just terrible.” 

I was embarrassed as my eyes shifted left to right, wondering who knew it was mine. But I didn’t dismiss it. I went back to my room and looked at it with a critical eye. And you know what? It was cheesy. It was terrible. I had work to do. Soon after, I abandoned PB writing for novels. 

So, be confidant in your skill! But, remember that we all—published or prepublished—have things to learn.

What’s next for you?

My second novel, ALPHABET SOUP, is under contract with Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin) and I couldn’t be happier!  Set in the 70’s, it’s about a fifth grader named Lucy who can’t read so she acts out in class to hide it from everyone until a teacher sees through her bluster. 

I am very much enjoying working on this book. I wondered if I would love working on another book as much as Murphys, but I really do! It is set to be released in spring, 2014. During the “down times” of editing (when my publisher/editor, Nancy, has the ms) I will be speaking at conferences and visiting schools. I’m REALLY excited about this! 

Thank you, Lynda,  for so generously sharing your time and thoughts.

Lynda recently posted a link to her new book trailer for One for the Murphys. It’s terrific. It made me want to carve out a day and read her delicious book again. You can find the trailer at this link. It is worth your time! You might enjoy poking around her website while you’re there.

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.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Treasure Hunting 101 – Review of A Boy Called Duct Tape

I read a lot of blogs. One that I look at regularly is called Two Nerdy History Girls. They both write historical novels and have lots of fun and interesting posts about fashion, travel, etc. from long ago. Last week they posted an absolutely charming modern video for book lovers. Don’t miss this one.

A few weeks ago I was visiting Mayra’s Secret Bookcase, another blog I read regularly. Check it out! Just click on the name. Lots of good stuff. She reviewed a book that sounded really fun, and I commented I thought it was a great concept and thought my grandson would love it. She dropped me an email and let me know the author was interested in having more blog reviews and asked if I’d be interested. Well, heck, yeah. Send it on.

So last week I got a little package in the mail containing a copy of A Boy Called Duct Tape by Christopher Cloud. The first thing I noticed is that it seems to be self-published. That used to be a really big red flag, but I know how tough the business is. Besides, it had all five-star reviews on Amazon. How many relatives can one writer have? So what the heck. Give it a try. I am so glad I did. This is a real romp and I can’t wait to hand it off to my grandson. He is going to LOVE it. In fact, I can’t imagine a middle-grader who wouldn’t. Even reluctant readers will be swept up by this fast-moving adventure.

Pedro, age twelve, is known around school as the Duct Tape Kid because his family is so poor he can’t get new shoes when his wear out. He has to repair them with duct tape. And boys that age really go through shoes, so his are more duct tape than shoe. Of course, the kids at school give Pedro a really tough time.His little sister, Pia, age nine, was badly injured in a car accident that killed their father. She has a terrible limp, but soldiers on. Their mother works hard, but they just don’t have much.

At the beginning of summer, Pia and Pedro are swimming in a really deep place in the river, a spring-fed spot, when Pedro finds a twenty-dollar gold piece. When he looks on the internet in the media center, he thinks it might be worth a whole lot more than twenty bucks. When their cousin Kiki comes for a two-week visit, they all decide to take the coin to the town pawn shop to have it appraised. The owners of the shop, the Blood brothers, are really sleazy guys who try to keep the coin, but finally one flips it to Pia. She sticks it in her pocket and they go to the local Outlaw Days Festival celebrating the town’s connection to Jesse James. While there, they buy a map for a dollar that is a copy of a treasure map donated to the local museum, Supposedly, it leads to treasure left behind by the James gang in a deep, deep cave on a nearby mountain. But, of course, everyone knows that’s just a tale. The map has been floating around for years.

When Pia takes the coin from her pocket, the kids discover the Blood brothers have switched coins and stolen theirs. They return to the shop, but it’s closed and locked. They are crushed. Pedro is convinced of two things: the coin is real and worth a lot, and the treasure map is real and has been ignored by everyone.

Christopher Cloud
The children find a odd, tough man who is a world-class spelunker and convince him they have a map to the Jesse James treasure. They tell him  they know it’s real because of the coin they found. He finally agrees to take them to treasure hunt in the cave, and they agree to pay him with a cut of the treasure. They head out in canoes and soon discover they are being followed by the Blood brothers. They lose them, and head up the mountain. After a lot of searching, they find the entrance to the cave. This isn’t some little run-of-the-mill cave. This is miles long and deep with twists and turns and dangers nearly unimaginable. The group is challenged at every turn and face more hazards than a crash-test dummy. When they are partway through their journey, they discover they are being followed. There is little doubt who is tracking them.

This is an old-fashioned adventure story told at breath-taking speed. There are plenty of twists to keep the pages turning and the readers guessing. I highly recommend this to anyone who has kids or who is a kid at heart and loves a good adventure.

There are still a couple of days left to leave a comment on the last blog post and get into the drawing for a book. You can do that by clicking HERE. Since I can't give away my copy of A Boy Called Duct Tape because I just have to give it to my grandson, if you leave a comment on this blog post by next Saturday at midnight, I will put your name in a drawing for the book not claimed on the last drawing. (How’s that for cryptic?)

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.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Editing Counts!

If you are reading this in your email, don’t forget to click on the headline to go to my blog. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please do. And please leave a comment. If you have trouble leaving a comment, please click on the title of the post and comments should pop up at the bottom. If you don’t have one of the accounts they ask for or don’t want to use that, please use Anonymous, but let me know who you are. Thanks. I love to hear from you.

Here are a couple of links to really good things for my writer friends.

First you can get some good writing advice directly from Kurt Vonnegut’s own mouth. There are also links to advice from other great writers. I’m particularly fond of John Steinbeck’s pithy advice. Check it out.

If you’re writing picture books, this is an excellent post:

Now, I have the pleasure of announcing the WINNERS of the giveaway from my last blog post. The first winner is Joyce Moyer Hostetter, who will receive a copy of An Elephant in the Garden, and the second winner is Elizabeth Varadan, who will receive Kaspar the Titanic Cat. Congratulations to both. Stay tuned, because I have decided this is so much fun, I will have yet another giveaway this post!

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know I do a LOT of book reviews, not only on this blog, but for the Sacramento Book Review. I work almost exclusively with middle-grade books and picture books. Once in awhile I will review an adult or YA. In the last few weeks, I’ve reviewed books written by award-winning authors that left much to be desired. One said “Newbery Honor Winner” just above the author’s name and below the title, which might leave the impression that this book was a Newbery Honor winner. Wouldn’t it be more honest to say Newbery Honor writer? And it was in 1984 – 28 years ago. I find that a little disingenuous. The second book doesn’t tout it on the cover, but on the jacket flap it describes the author as “an acclaimed poet and the Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator …” So the author of this book won an award for illustrating – not for writing – and he didn’t illustrate the book I reviewed. Someone else illustrated it.

Now I bring this up because both of these books were soooooo disappointing to me. Both were published in hardback by big houses in New York. And here is where I lay some of the blame. I have the impression, especially with the book mentioning the Newbery Honor, that there was little or no editing going on. I guess the editor assumed the honor-winning writer didn’t need any help. Reading that book, kids will be confused by so much, especially the overly-long list of characters who are all much the same. The book could easily have been pruned by about 30% and would have been a much better book for it. It is being sold as a book for kids 7-9 years old, but I doubt many would make it through. The other book was written in rhyme – often forced rhyme – with little metrical structure. The book came in at just over a hundred pages and is illustrated. Normally, I would read a book like that in an hour or so. It took me all day because I had to keep taking breaks due to the pounding headache it gave me. Not kidding. The sad thing is it had a great story that would have been quite wonderful written in prose. Did an editor actually look at this and okay it? I know publishing companies are cutting back in a lot of areas, but, for heaven’s sake, don’t let books go out unedited! That is not a recipe for success.

On the other hand, I’m reading wonderful early novels – books that are just knocking my socks off – some of which I’ve reviewed on this blog, like Three Rivers Rising, May B., and One for the Murphys. If you click on the titles, you will be taken to my reviews of them. This week I picked up a book – wish I could remember where I heard about it, but I can’t – that I just fell in love with. It’s called Eight Keys, and I suggest you run right out and find a copy. This is only the second book by Suzanne LaFleur, and I haven’t read her first book, but I guarantee I will read it as soon as I can. Eight Keys is simply one of the most engaging books I’ve read in a long time and ranks right up there with the other books I mentioned in this paragraph.

Elise lives with her Aunt Bessie and Uncle Hugh and has since her father died when she was three. Her mother died in childbirth. (“Oh, no,” I hear you saying. “Not another dead-mother book!” But wait. This one is really, really good!) Elise has been best friends with a neighbor boy, Franklin, for just about forever. They have lots of fun playing together. He’s really smart and a great friend. They are as comfortable as a pair of old bedroom slippers. But summer is ending and they must go off to the big middle school that is fed by four or five elementary schools.

Suzanne LaFleur
Elise is pretty nervous about all the kids she won’t know and fitting in and having lots of different teachers she doesn’t know and all those things that are scary about changing schools. She is assigned to share a locker with a girl who is pretty, popular, and a flat-out bully. She sets out to make Elise’s life a misery and is pretty successful at it. Elise and Franklin start to grow apart, and Elise does nothing to nurture their friendship. In fact, she does a lot to damage it. She also has a great deal of trouble making the academic transition to middle school, struggling with the work and giving up easily.

At home, Elise discovers a mysterious key that leads her to a journey of discovery about whom she is and helps her to do a lot of growing up.  She has a great support system of family and friends of her father who all help her find her way without doing everything for her. She is allowed to make mistakes and find herself. The cast of characters is just the right size for a middle-grade novel, each interesting and really necessary to the story. The writing is as smooth as polished granite, and the story is engaging, uplifting, and compelling. Not only will the target audience of middle graders like this book, but others will as well. I loved every word and highly recommend it. Suzanne LaFleur is a great new writer! I also suspect there was a really good editor involved who did his or her job on this one!

Now for the giveaway. I wish I had a copy of Eight Keys to give away, but I don’t. So I’m offering your choice of A) one of the best picture books I’ve ever read – Neville written by Norton Juster and illustrated by G. Brian Karas (you can read my Sacramento Book Review write-up by clicking HERE) or B) May B., the middle-grade book in verse written by Caroline Starr Rose I mentioned earlier in this post. (You can read my SBR write-up of May B. by clicking HERE.) Just leave a comment by midnight next Tuesday, April 17. You can receive an extra chance in the drawing if you post a link to my blog on Facebook or your blog. Just let me know and I’ll give you two chances in the drawing. Oh, and please tell me which book you would prefer to receive.

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. Let the games begin!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tell Me a Story -- Narration in Today's Writing. Book Reviews and a Give-Away

If you are reading this in your email, don’t forget to click on the headline to go to my blog. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please do. And please leave a comment. If you have trouble leaving a comment, please click on the title of the post and comments should pop up at the bottom. If you don’t have one of the accounts they ask for or don’t want to use that, please use Anonymous, but let me know who you are. Thanks. I love to hear from you.

First of all, for my writer friends, two great links. The first is to remind you why it’s probably a really bad idea to ask for advice on your writing:
If I posted this before, forgive me. I look at it now and then just ‘cause it makes me laugh out loud.

I know the SCBWI Spring Spirit Conference is coming up very soon her in the Sacramento area, and I'm sure there are spring conferences all over the place, so here is a blog post with some important reminders:

Second order of business is WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER!!  The winner of the drawing for my own ARC of One for the Murphys is SHANNON HITCHCOCK! Yay for Shannon. I am contacting her for a snail mail address and soon she will be reading this wonderful book. We have another give-away today, with TWO winners, so make sure you read to the end.

Today I’d like to talk about the return of narrative. For as long as I have been seriously writing, I have heard and read that we have to show, don’t tell. Dialogue and action reign over all. Narration should be nearly non-existent in our writing. Actually, I think it’s pretty good advice a lot of the time, but great writing sometimes happens when a story is told – narrated – just like stories have been told for thousands of years.

A few months ago, I reviewed a book for the Sacramento Book Review that really stuck with me. I thought about it a lot and was amazed that it was published in the publishing environment that exists today, because it is almost totally narration. That book is An Elephant inthe Garden by Michael Morpurgo. You can see my review by clicking HERE. It is a wonderful story based on a true happening from Europe in World War II. Morpurgo strays far from the original happening, but good historical fiction often does.

What is amazing to me is how Morpurgo structured the story. It begins with a woman who works as a nurse at a home for elderly people. The woman has to bring her young son Karl along one Saturday when she is working because she doesn’t have anyone to leave him with. She pretty much tells us (narration) her part of the story. While there, Karl wanders into the room of Lizzie, one of the patients. Karl protests when his mother drags him out that Lizzie was about to tell him the story of the elephant. His mother tells him there is no elephant, just the imaginings of an old woman. Lizzie asks about Karl and Karl comes to see her again. She begins to tell (narration) the story of an elephant in her garden, many years ago during World War II when she was a child in Germany and how that elephant helped her family escape from both the Nazis and the Russians at the end of the war. It is an incredible adventure and a love story all wrapped up together. Lizzie tells (narration) Karl and his mother this story over a couple of visits and there is narration by the nurse between visits to break Lizzie’s long narration.

I loved the story and the writing. It was a real treat to lose myself in the idea of simple, old-fashioned storytelling. Come on. We all love to have a good story told to us, so why is there so much writing angst about narration? Clearly, Michael Morpurgo isn’t suffering from that angst. He has tons of books published. (No. Seriously. I mean TONS. Look at his website books page by clicking where it says "books page." He has written wonderful, popular books like this one and War Horse, which I haven’t read yet, but I will. Today I read another of his books – Kaspar the Titanic Cat – and, guess what? It is TOTAL narration. I liked it every bit as much as An Elephant in the Garden. What can I say? I just love having a story told to me. I’m a kid at heart. And since Morpurgo writes books for kids, he just might be on to something.
Kaspar the Titanic Cat is a lovely story of an orphan boy who finds himself, true friendship, and a family because of a prince of a cat. It’s fanciful, but totally believable. Johnny Trott works as a bell-boy at the Savoy Hotel. He is befriended by an opera singer, Countess Kandinsky, who comes to stay at the hotel for three months with her cat Kaspar. Johnny is chosen to care for the cat, walking him during his breaks and making sure he is fed and cared for when the Countess is away at practices and performances. When the countess is killed in a traffic accident, Johnny tries to take care of Kaspar, but the cat will not eat and hardly even drinks water. He loses weight and his coat dulls. A wealthy American family, the Stantons, comes to stay at the Savoy for a couple of months prior to their up-coming trip on the wonderful, new ocean liner, the Titanic. The Stanton’s young daughter, Lizziebeth, discovers Kaspar and is able to get him to eat again. They become great friends and Lizziebeth becomes friends with Johnny as well. Johnny ends up saving her life and the Stantons reward him. When it is the time for them to leave, Johnny gives Kaspar to Lizziebeth, and the Stantons take Johnny along to the Titanic to help them settle in on the ship. Johnny decides to stow away and go to America. Remember now – this is the Titanic. This entire book is Johnny Trott telling (narration) his story.
Michael Morpurgo
Narration has its place in writing. Few writers would take on this kind of complete or nearly complete narration these days, but when done well, it works. I think Michael Morpurgo does it very well. I’d like to offer two of you the chance to see what you think. I am going to give away my gently-read copies of An Elephant in the Garden and Kaspar the Titanic Cat. You can win one of them. You will get your name in my blog hat (from which my eminently honest granddaughter Gracie will choose two names) if you leave a comment here on the blog, and tell me what you think about narration angst or anything else on your mind and which of the books you would prefer. Because I am trying to drive more traffic to my site, I will put your name in a second time if you put a link to my blog on your blog or even on Facebook and let me know that. The person whose name is chosen first will receive the book of his or her choice. The second name drawn will receive the other book. That drawing will take place next Wednesday – April 11 – so have your comments in by midnight , Tuesday, April 10. These are both wonderful books and I know you will enjoy either. So, please leave a comment and let the games begin!