Sunday, January 26, 2014

Lord & Lady Bunny: Almost Royalty -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."  ~Thomas Edison~

Some Gifts for My Writer Friends:

Is your TBR list in need of some more books? Click HERE for a link to books being made into movies this year, so if you want to read them first, now is the time. 

The Writer’s Almanac (which I love) published a poem on Jan. 21 every writer and reader will enjoy. Click HERE to read it.  

Kathy Temean wrote a wonderful post on her blog about world building. This is important for all books, not just fantasy or dystopian. Don't miss this one. Check it out HERE.

I want to give y'all a heads up that things might change a bit around here. I have had several requests to do picture book reviews and, frankly, I LOVE picture books and read tons of them. I have decided I will be adding those to my reviews now and again. I also will be reviewing some Young Adult books now and then and will likely be having some giveaways in that category, so stay tuned. Just don't be too surprised when you see some new things going on here.

When last I wrote, I promised a copy of the wonderful Will in Scarlet to one of my readers who left a comment. The winner is someone new to this blog -- Suzanne Warr, a writer from the Carolinas. You can get to know her by clicking HERE.  Congratulations, Suzanne!! WooHoo. I will be sending Will in Scarlet to you this week.If you didn't win, hang on! I will have another great giveaway at the end of this post. Keep reading.

I read a middle-grade novel and wrote a review for the San Francisco Book Review recently, and it was quite an interesting book for a middle-grade. The name of the book is Lord and Lady Bunny - Almost Royalty! by Polly Horvath. I enjoyed reading the book. It was funny and there were lots of interesting adventures for the characters. That said, the characters were not children! Even the bunnies were not children. The youngest character, Madeline, worked part-time as a waitress and is concerned about setting up a savings program for her college. Some times these adult characters say some pretty adult things (“‘Shut the #%!@ up,’ Said Mrs. Bunny, thus blowing any shot at the nonexistent NBA. But that never occurred to Mrs. Bunny.”) and do some pretty adult things, but it is definitely being marketed as a middle-grade book. The writing is excellent and the story is clever, but I can't help but ask myself is it really a middle-grade book? Would my eight-year-old granddaughter, a third-grader find this book to her liking? And I keep coming to the same answer. No, I think it's misplaced, but that's just me. I have a nice ARC of Lord and Lady Bunny -- Almost Royalty! here to give away to someone who leaves a nice comment and is a follower of this blog. If you would like an extra chance in the drawing, spread the word on Twitter or your own blog or Facebook or some such and let me know. You will have your name in the had an extra time -- just like Suzanne Warr did. )

Check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog for more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday books. You can find it HERE.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Will in Scarlet -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:

“Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.”  ~ Ray Bradbury~

Some Gifts for My Writer Friends: 

Barbara Krasner of The Whole Megillah is possibly the best author interviewer I've ever run across. Seriously. She recently did a fantastic interview with author Neal Bascomb that can be found HERE. This is really worth your time. 

Click HERE to find a list and links to the 62 top writing articles from 2013 in Writer’s Digest. 

A great post on character flaws can be found by clicking HERE.This is the blog of Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman who have written The Emotion Thesaurus and other great resources for writers. If you aren't following their blog yet, I do recommend it.

Last week, I offered a copy of The Ghost in the Glass House to one of my readers who left a comment. Cue the spotlight! Our winner is Morgan Mussell! WooHoo! Morgan is a writer and publishes a most incredible blog. Click HERE and hop on over to The First Gates. There is always something interesting on his blog. Morgan, I will get your book to you this week. If you didn't win, read to the end. I have another fabulous book to give away.

Sometimes I run across a book for middle-schoolers that is so smart and fun that it is a true joy to read. Recently I read Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody, and it is just that kind of book. I LOVED it. Here is the review I wrote for the San Francisco Book Review.

Everyone knows the story of Robin Hood, but until now, no one was aware how badly his unrequited love for Maid Marion affected him. This is really the story of Will Shackley, age thirteen, whose father went off to the Crusades with Richard the Lion-Hearted and was captured and held, with Richard, for ransom. Will has to grow up in a hurry. Prince John is intent on usurping the throne and sends Sir Guy to take over the castle of Shackley with the help of the Sheriff of Nottingham. Will escapes and finds himself with a bunch of Merry Men in the Nottingham Forest, who would like to ransom him. He convinces them he can lead them to a great treasure, but he really plans revenge on Sir Guy.
“Prince John’s since given the stewardship of Shackley Castle over to Sir Guy. But the truth of the matter is, I don’t care. John, Richard, or King Fart the Great, they’re all the same to us out here in the wild.”
The surprises come one after another in this terrific page-turner for middle-grade boys, but since there is a little romance hinted at and such amazing action, girls and, heck, everyone will want to read this.

Matthew Cody started creating comics for Marvel and DC Comics, but has made a seamless move to middle-grade author. This could be the beginning of a series, and, if so, it will be a blockbuster.

One of you will be lucky enough to win a nice gently-read hardback copy of this wonderful book. Please leave a comment. If you want more than one chance to win, spread the word by posting this link on your blog or on Facebook or some other social media or tweet out the word and let me know. I will put your name in the hat for every place you post this. This drawing is for U.S. addresses only. 

To find other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday books, stop by Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog which you can find by clicking HERE. She always has a great list of blogs posting MMGM reviews and giveaways.