Monday, August 22, 2016

Book Spotlight- Hundred Percent by Karen Romano Young

Welcome to Middle Grade Monday! Today I am spotlighting a new release from Chronicle Books, Hundred Percent, by Karen Romano Young.

Blurb-
The last year of elementary school is big for every kid. Christine Gouda faces change at every turn, starting with her own nickname—Tink—which just doesn't fit anymore. Christine navigates a year's cringingly painful trials in normalcy—uncomfortable Halloween costumes, premature sleepover parties, crushed crushes, and changing friendships. Throughout all this, Tink learns, what you call yourself, and how you do it, has a lot to do with who you are.

Praise-

"A lovely, lovely tale full of warmth, humor, and intelligence."-Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Perfectly captures the emotions of middle schoolers and their evolving friendships and familial relationships."-School Library Journal, starred review


About the Author-
Karen Romano Young-  author, illustrator, science communicator, comic creator, and deep sea diver. Her works include graphic novels and science articles, young adult and middle grade novels, and books about the ocean and animals. You can find out more about her at www.karenromanoyoung.com 


Buy it now-




Monday, August 15, 2016

The Ministry of Ghosts by Alex Shearer

Welcome to Middle Grade Monday. Today I am looking at the novel, The Ministry of Ghosts, by Alex Shearer.

The Story-
The Ministry of Ghosts is a long, forgotten building on bric-a- brac street in London. Nobody every goes there and work is always the same. That is until Mr. Beeston from the Department of Economies decides that the Ministry should be shut down for lack of ghostly evidence in the last 100 years.

The staff decide they need to hire weekend persons to help them prove the existence of ghosts, or they'll end up working at the Department of the Sewers. Thruppence and Tim apply to their advertisement in the window and begin ghost hunting. They have three months to find proof of spirits, or the Ministry will be shut down forever.

My Thoughts-
This is a very unconventional book. The main characters are not introduced until mid way through  and the whole story is told by an omni-present narrator.

When I first started reading I was drawn into the story by the odd happenings at the Ministry of Ghosts. The four employees are all very detailed and have distinctive characteristics. The villain, Mr. Beeston, is also well-written, giving the reader a sense of immediate dislike for him and his bull headed ways. However, as I read on and on about their doings, I began to wonder where the story was going. I started to wonder if perhaps the Ministry itself was the protagonist. When Thruppence and Tim arrived I thought we were going to go places. Though the two of them are fun together, there is only one real adventure in a graveyard, and I wanted so much more.

Now, without giving the ending away, I was not satisfied. When they finally find their "evidence", I could only think, why wasn't there any more around? There should have been more "evidence" about, and why didn't they end up searching for more? Why not make the Ministry a fully running office?

So, I'm afraid I'm half and half with the story. It was fun, and I think most kids will be surprised at the ending, however I wanted more. On a side note, I learned from experience that the writing on the cover of the book glows in the dark! 3 stars!


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Cover Reveal and Giveaway! Blessed Knights by Mary Ting

COVER REVEAL- The BLESSED KNIGHTS
Release Date- Oct. 28



Eli, Lucia's half-demon love interest, has been stabbed with a true-cross dagger and captured by Cyrus, master of the possessor demons.

The Chosen Knights must work together once again not only to save Eli, but also to decipher a clue to find the second missing page of Jacques de Molay's journal. Meanwhile, Uncle Davin informs Crossroads Divine Elders of the danger ahead and learns there is much more to fear.

Countless children are being taken from all over the world to be turned into demons.

Michael, one of the Divine Elders, has no choice but to intervene. The Chosen Knights track down Mortem, the demon who is the key to finding Cyrus, and learn they must travel deep into the pit of a Hawaiian volcano.

When they astral travel to the past in search of a clue and follow Jacques de Moley to Roselyn Chapel in medieval Scotland, what they find will rewrite history.


In case you missed it... Book 1- Angel Knights- a novella

Friday, August 5, 2016

Shadows of Asphodel by Karen Kincy

YA time! Today I am reviewing a YA Steampunk, Shadows of Asphodel, by Karen Kincy.

The Story-
Ardis is a mercenary, she fights where ever the guild of Mages sends her, and knows her way around a war. She also knows it is stupid to rescue anyone off of a battle field, but for some reason she does. It turns out he is a Necromancer, someone who can bring back the dead and control them with his powers. Wendel pledges his life to hers as an offer of thanks. Too bad Necromancers are despised and shunned by the rest of the world.

Ardis is on a quest to find her missing father. All she has left of him is a magic sword and the details of a tattoo on the back of his neck. Strangely, Wendel has a very similar tattoo. Ardis and Wendel grow close, and she is drawn into his world. She grows unafraid of his magic, and learns that he is actually on the run from a murderous assassins guild. Their fates become tied together, and blood and mayhem, with a touch of romance follow.

My thoughts-
This is a fun, steampunk romp through an alternative pre- WWI Europe. Definitely meant for older readers, with a bit of sex. Ardis is a strong female lead, who is often underestimated. She takes it all in stride and gets her jobs done. Wendel used to be a noble, and acts with an air of refinement and knowledge. They are a strong match, and yet sometimes I wished that Wendel was a bit more dominant, just so there was a bigger spark.

The plot is easy to follow and really includes only a sub plot about Ardis's father, which later ties into the main plot. The world building is solid,with great steampunk add-ins. The alternative history is detailed enough that you can compare it to our own history and see where events diverge. This is an easy and fun read that will entertain you with action and magic. 4 stars!

Giveaway- There is a Giveaway going on right now on Goodreads. LINK

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Manuscript Wishlist Update 8/2

Looking for an agent or editor? Don't forget to check out #MSWL on twitter. Here's a round-up of recent manuscript wishlishts.

I want some SF with a hero(ine) with the rank of Commodore -- a captain with a mini-fleet of sister ships. ALSO: write me some SF inspired by "Thence we came forth to rebehold the stars."

I want a MG like Netflix's Stranger Things. Please!

Please send me your funny, commercial women’s fiction! I want to laugh and cry, then cry while laughing!

Looking for romances with western settings,where the west is an essential element. Contemp, Historical, YA, Inspy.

I'd die for a girl gang queer YA Ocean's Eleven.

I would love to read about a love story between a doctor and a hypochondriac. Who are happy. Mostly.

Everyone's kids seem to be at awesome sleepaway camps and I'm feeling nostalgic! Would love to find a good camp-centered mg or YA

!!! Someone base a YA or romance heroine on this awesome Muslim Olympic fencer & SEND TO MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE - U.S. Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad:
  Jul 25
I want manuscripts that feel like Dr. Jillian Holtzmann...Smart, weird, ridiculously loveable.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Everything Sports from National Geographic Kids


Welcome to Middle Grade Monday. I love adding a bit of non-fiction to my site, and National Geographic Kids keeps me up to date with their recent releases. With the Olympics coming up, they sent me Everything Sports.


Why do I love National Geographic? The photo's blow my mind. They are full color spreads that put you right in the moment. This book does the same with glorious images of sports and athletes.First off, they tell you the definition of sport, so that you'll know what you will find in this book. Then they go on to talk about the world of sports and fun tournaments, including the Olympics.

This will be a fun book for kids to look at, but I don't see it being one that will be read over and over. It doesn't focus on one sport in particular, so this is a broad view that will help children understand what is out there, and perhaps encourage them to find something new to play.

My favorite page, and one I bet others will enjoy (because this fascinated me as a kid too) is called Sports Balls- The Inside Scoop. I always wondered what was inside the balls I played with, and this spread shows them all. From bowling balls to golf balls, this page shows balls split in half and what resides inside. So cool.

Then the book moves on to common, but classic games such as basketball, baseball and football. Equipment is detailed, history of the sports is given and terminology discussed. From there we move on to other sports and finally to the extreme sports. Tons of fun facts are given, weird trivia and comparable statistics make this book a hit. Great for kids who want to know what is out there and some facts to make them knowledgeable on the subject. 4 stars!


Friday, July 29, 2016

Matefinder by Leia Stone

Welcome to YA Friday! Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer. I haven't been blogging too much as I enjoy my summer reading :) But, today I have a YA paranormal that I picked up on Kindle that I'd like to share, Matefinder by Leia Stone.

The Story-
Aurora is one tough chick who survived a violent childhood and now runs a domestic abuse shelter. She gets into a car accident and is saved from death by Kai, an alpha werewolf. As Aurora adjusts to her new world, she learns that werewolves are few in number because they can only have children with their true mates, which are rarely found. She also learns that other paranormal creatures, such as witches and vampires, exist.

As a changed wolf (versus a natural born wolf) Aurora will gain a power with her first full change. To the surprise of everyone, she discovers that not only is she Kai's true mate, but is also the matefinder, a werewolf who has visions that show the location of other wolves true mates. Now Aurora's life is in danger as outside werewolves seek to own her and control her power.

My Thoughts-
I can't seem to get enough of paranormal stories, if they are well written, and this one was. In fact, as soon as I finished it, I purchased books 2 and 3. Aurora is a determined girl who is frustrated to suddenly be placed into an automatic relationship with a male. Her past looms large in her head, and she  can't seem to committ to Kai, even though she knows he is her other half. The situation adds a bit of tension, and the author does a good job in not making Aurora's fears too over the top, which allows the reader to feel that the relationship will work, they just have to keep reading.

I enjoyed Kai as the dominant male that growls, "mine", but allows Aurora all the time she needs. The romance is fun and flirty, without being too intense. In fact, you have to wait until the later books for the sex, and even then it isn't written about. But still, I felt like there was good chemistry and enough passion involved in the story.

The world of the werewolves is well built and brought to life with color. We learn about Kai's pack first. They don't determine things by fighting, but by forcing the submissive to not return a stare. So, it is a bit of a shock when you learn that not all packs are like his, but have continual infighting. I also found it a bit odd that some other packs treated their women as property, especially since women werewolves were semi-rare. You'd think they be treasured, but alas no.

I really enjoyed this book, actually all 3 books in the series. I'm giving it 5 stars.