SMASHER for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

I enjoy reading and writing books with a contemporary, realistic feel. That doesn’t mean I can’t go outside my comfort zone every few months and delve into other genres. This time science fiction was my chosen destination and SMASHER the perfect choice.  It provided excitement along with time travel, kind of a sub-genre that gets a different focus in this one.smasher-small

The story is another boy saves the world adventure but with a twist. Twelve-year-old Charlie is from the 1500s and he travels to 2042. Awaiting him there is the evil Gramercy Foxx who plans to take control of every living mind. Many of the 70 chapters are short in length and the third person narrative bounces back and forth from Charlie to his nemesis. I’d have preferred a first person focus staying with Charlie the entire time, but that’s just me wanting to understand more about how Charlie’s mind works. What we are told did not go deep enough.

The only other concern I had was Charlie took to being transferred 500 years in the future all too easily. His acceptance of the new world around him seemed like a stretch. I’d be awestruck by computers, elevators, helicopters, and skyscrapers. Charlie took it all in stride like he’d just gotten off a plane and was visiting this new place.

Anyway, tech loving kids should gravitate to this one. It’s an exciting ride from the startling opening to the fantastic finish.

PUBLICATION DATE:2014   WORD COUNT: 46,651   READING LEVEL: 4.2

FULL PLOT (From Amazon):

In thirty days, a cold-hearted corporate tycoon will unleash a deadly biological computer virus on the entire world. As the public eagerly awaits his invention that promises ultimate relaxation, harmony, and community, the evil big-business sorcerer plans to put an end to freedom.

Can he be stopped? The world’s only hope is if Charlie, a math genius with otherworldly skills, and Geneva, a robotic girl from the future, can team up to track down some very dark secrets. With a method that uses atomic particles, Geneva and Charlie use “Smasher” to break through the walls of time. They travel to find an unlikely solution. But will it work?

FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT SMASHER by Scott Bly

  1. SMASHER. What a great title for a book with a cover to match.
  2.  Geneva is Charlie’s robotic helper from the future. The story of her past was just as intriguing as Charlies. I’d welcome a book with her as the main protagonist.
  3. I always enjoy a story where you know what is going to happen next, and then something totally different takes you by surprise. There were quite a few moments like this and all were page turning.
  4. The spider robots. I’m not a big fan of spiders but these were electric.
  5. The author works in the tech industry and his knowledge of it showed. Don’t expect to understand it anymore but just accept that it’s happening. Technology drives the story but doesn’t overwhelm it to the point you wouldn’t understand the plot.

FAVORITE LINE:

He wanted to scream, but he couldn’t because of the frog in his mouth.

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Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.

MMGM2

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , | 16 Comments

CYBILS Public Nominations Announced

Cybils-Logo-2014-Nominated Thanks to Karen Yingling for the nudge to participate in the nominations that closed yesterday. Karen’s the chair of the MG Fiction category and her blog is a place I visit several times a week. MS. YINGLING READS is where it’s at. She post wonderful insights from a librarian’s perspective. Many of her reactions to story lines are very amusing.

I immediately headed over to the Cybils nomination page to toss in my choice. You only get one, so you have to be sure its worthy. Carefully reviewing my favorite books released since October 16, 2013, I chose five:

ABSOLUTELY ALMOST by Lisa Graff

THE KEY THAT SWALLOWED JOEY PIGZA by Jack Gantos

SORRY YOU’RE LOST by Matt Balckstone

THE PET WAR by Allan Woodrow

NICKEL BAY NICK by Dean Pitchford

I was a bit slow joining the party so most of my choices had already been nominated. I chose the fantastic NICKEL BAY NICK in the MG Fiction category.Jacket+Nickel+Bay+Nick

Now you can head on over to see all the nominees. It’s like MG literary heaven looking through the selections and my TBR list is now officially out of control. Can’t wait to hear who the winner is, but I’ll have to wait until Valentine’s Day 2015. Gives me plenty of time to read a large number of nominees. Below are the links to all three MG categories.

MG FICTION NOMINEES

MG SPECULATIVE FICTION NOMINEES

MG NON-FICTION NOMINEES

Categories: Book Lists | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

THE BLOSSOMING UNIVERSE OF VIOLET DIAMOND for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

This is a charming, heartwarming tale of discovery for a biracial girl who lives with her white family but is very curious 817ummDbaaLabout the other side of her roots. It is a quiet story (Translation: Not many boys will be flocking to this one), but it does present an issue not often explored in MG books.

Yes, Violet is wanting more than anything to get a connection to her African-American side. That’s the meaning of the title. My reason for choosing this story was in wanting to learn about Violet’s feelings. I know several bi-racial boys and girls who never express any interest in their heritage. For her it seemed right to have this quest, but for many other bi-racial youngsters at this age, they’re just busy being kids while growing up in a loving family.

PUBLICATION DATE: 2014   WORD COUNT: 39,914   READING LEVEL: 4.3

FULL PLOT (From Amazon):

Violet is a smart, funny, brown-eyed, brown-haired girl in a family of blonds. Her mom is white, and her dad, who died before she was born, was black. She attends a mostly white school where she sometimes feels like a brown leaf on a pile of snow. She’s tired of people asking if she’s adopted. Now that Violet’s eleven, she decides it’s time to learn about her African American heritage. And despite getting off to a rocky start trying to reclaim her dad’s side of the family, she can feel her confidence growing as the puzzle pieces of her life finally start coming together. Readers will cheer for Violet, sharing her joy as she discovers her roots.

FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT THE BLOSSOMING UNIVERSE OF VIOLET DIAMOND  by Brenda Woods

  1. Violet. She narrates the story so if you didn’t connect with her nothing else would matter. She excels on all counts with her constantly questioning mind. Violet also keeps a list of words she’s never heard before so she can learn what they mean and use them herself.  I love when kids do something like this.
  2. The realities of being a mixed race child. The white world thinks of you as black while the black world thinks of you as white. That alone would make a great discussion starter on ethnicity.
  3. Violet’s best friend is Greek and her sister speaks French. Nice to see these other cultures tossed in as Violet is learning about her African-American side.
  4. The biggest change comes perhaps not from Violet but from her ‘new’ Grandmother, Bibi. It’s the heart of the story as change often takes the support of several individuals. The relationship between these two made me smile.
  5. How could you not love that cover? The sparkle in Violet’s eyes and the light shining above her head says a lot about how this story turns out.

FAVORITE LINES:

The next thing he almost whispered. “So what’d you come down here for … tryin’ to learn to be black?”

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Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.

MMGM2

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

ELIZA BING IS (NOT) A BIG FAT QUITTER for Marvelous Middle Grade MIDWEEK

After posting my last thoughts on Joey Pigza, little did I know another ADHD main character was to follow with this bonuseliza-bing-jkt review. A friend with twin 8-year-olds was looking for recommendations for a first MG book after they had exhausted the chapter book selections. I thought of many Beverly Cleary titles to get them started, but soon after found ELIZA BING…  and I promptly read it over a four day period.

Eliza is on meds for her ADHD, but it’s a much calmer and sweeter story than what you’d find in Joey Pigza’s world. There aren’t really chapters but section headings as Eliza narrates the story in the same way she thinks. Issues of friendship, sticking to a task, and preparing for middle school would give a new MG reader an nice introduction to this contemporary genre. Older MG readers may pass on this one, but girls diagnosed as ADHD might benefit from checking this one out. You get a clear understanding that ADHD doesn’t have to control everything you do in life.

PUBLICATION DATE:2014   WORD COUNT: 34,250  READING LEVEL: 4.1

FULL PLOT (From Amazon):  In this uplifting novel about determination and the rewards of hard work, a preteen girl struggling with ADHD must stick with a summer taekwondo class to prove that she s dedicated enough to pursue her true passion: cake decorating.

FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT ELIZA BING… by Carmella Van Vleet

  1. It’s fast paced with Eliza stating an initial thought for each scene, then taking us through what got her to thinking that way. Some are a few lines while other last several pages.  An interesting approach to get us into the mind of Eliza.
  2. Yes, an actual two parent family. Lately, I’ve been wondering if that doesn’t happen in MG books. Here it is portrayed with an honest look at a Mom who is working while the Dad is changing careers. They both love Eliza with their own unique relationship.
  3. Eliza has an older brother. She’s 11 and he’s 15. Many families share this dynamic. You see the realistic balance of disdain and friendship these two siblings go through. Yes, they often aren’t the others favorite person, but when needed they are there to rescue each other.
  4. You’ll understand the range of subtle to striking differences that come with an ADHD child. Eliza learns to persevere and find other ways of succeeding.
  5. With taekwondo featured throughout the story, you learn not only about the discipline it takes to learn, but also many Korean words. There’s a nice glossary in the back covering all of their meanings

FAVORITE LINES:

Heads up: I’m switching channels. I do that sometimes.

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Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

THE KEY THAT SWALLOWED JOEY PIGZA for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

In 1998 I came across a new book with an odd title, JOEY PIGZA SWALLOWED THE KEY. I read it out loud to my 9780374300838classroom of 11-13 year olds. The story of a wired boy labeled as ADHD with a tough family life grabbed the attention of a few Joey’s I had sitting in front of me that year. With head shakes and laughter, they truly connected with this character. Sixteen years later Joey is back for the fifth and final book in the series, THE KEY THAT SWALLOWED JOEY PIGZA.

Joey is still the wired and funny kid I got to know, but perhaps this is the darkest of the stories. It might be a bit much for the 10 and under crowd. If you haven’t read the others and begin with this one, you’ll get snippets of what happened in the other volumes: an emotionally abusing grandmother, a mentally unstable mother, Joey’s first kiss with Olivia who is blind, a home schooling disaster, and a dad who is in and out of the home and just as wired as Joey.

Nothing lasts very long in the Pigza family, but what author Jack Gantos does to end the story made me smile: There’s hope for the Joey’s of the world. I bet there is a tinge of sadness for the author as he closes the file on a unique boy, Joey Pigza. It’s been a fun and interesting ride.

PUBLICATION DATE:2014   WORD COUNT: 36,453  READING LEVEL: 5.4

FULL PLOT (From Amazon):  The fifth and final book in the groundbreaking Joey Pigza series brings the beloved chronicle of this wired, wacky, and wonderful boy to a crescendo of chaos and craziness, as everything goes topsy-turvy for Joey just as he starts to get his feet on the ground. With his dad MIA in the wake of appearance-altering plastic surgery, Joey must give up school to look after his new baby brother and fill in for his mom, who hospitalizes herself to deal with a bad case of postpartum blues. As his challenges mount, Joey discovers a key that could unlock the secrets to his father’s whereabouts, a mystery that must be solved before Joey can even hope that his broken family might somehow come back together—if only it doesn’t pull him apart first.

FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT THE KEY THAT SWALLOWED JOEY PIGZA by Jack Gantos

  1. The voice. That’s what I remember the most. It’s a first person emotional roller coaster ride through the thoughts and feelings of this boy on and off meds.
  2. It can be hilarious and sad all on the same page. Only a gifted writer can pull this off and Jack Gantos is at the top of his form.
  3. The way Joey transforms into a boy who is more mature in his handling of life’s big bumps in the road than the adults in his life. Joey wants to be the man of the household and he is.
  4. Food is woven into the storyline and it makes for a nice sidelight to the issues facing Joey.
  5. The unique chapter headings tell much about what’s ahead and the turmoil going on in Joey’s head.

FAVORITE LINES:

My favorite teacher, Mrs. Maxy, had quit. Everyone said I did her in. One year of having me spin around in my seat all day while yelling out “Can I get back to you on that? Can I get back to you on that?” really tried her patience.

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Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.

MMGM2

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments

The First Page

You may be 95% there – a compelling storyline, memorable characters, and an ending that makes a reader wanting more. But it’s the first 5% that counts the most. Unless those words on page one hook the reader, don’t expect them to stay long enough to find any of those gems on later pages. That’s the way it works.iStock_000024086772Large

Those first 250 words are a daunting task. It often takes me several (more like a dozen) drafts to get it right. I often envision myself standing in the aisle of a bookstore reading my first page and thinking Would I want to keep reading?

So… just where should you begin your opening scene? Let’s take a look at published works to find out how MG books initially engage their young readers. I kept a tally of what happens in those opening moments from the 50+ MG books I’ve read this year. Here are the percentages in rank order:

  1. MC at home in bedroom or kitchen or backyard upset at something 28%
  1. Involved in a task that becomes the focus of the story 20%
  1. Action scene (with MC often in a perilous situation) 19%
  1. Classroom scene 18%
  1. Nothing but telling and backstory 15%

The results support the theory that you must gain the attention of your audience from the get go. A middle grader is beginning to question many aspects of life (#1), doing more things on their own (#2), spends a good part of their time in a classroom or school setting (#4), and gravitates like most of us to something immediately happening in a story (#3).

When I first began writing, my first page was more like #5, but now I tend to stick with the top three.

Take a look at your first page and see if you fit in to what’s on the shelf.

 

 

 

Categories: Writing | Tags: , | 4 Comments

SHIPWRECK ISLAND for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

I was strolling through the bookstore last month with gift card in hand. I’d already found one title and had enough left to grab one more. On the new releases shelf was SHIPWRECK ISLAND beckoning me. Looked intriguing. I read the inside51-k20Rj0LL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ book jacket and got pulled in more: A contemporary story about a newly formed blended family taking a vacation to get to know each other. I held on to it tightly and headed to checkout.

A week later after getting about 75% through the book, the light bulb appeared… there were too many story lines to be resolved in the remaining pages. I’d been tricked. There’s not one word in the book or book jacket that this the first in a series. I only found that out by going to the author’s website. I quickly read the remaining pages and sure enough, not a single plot point was resolved. It was all set-up. Should have done my research.

Okay, enough ranting. I did enjoy the adventure, but I’m not sure I would invest any more time by reading future volumes. The two main characters (12-year-old  Sarah and Marco) were not memorable enough to warrant more of my attention. But… you never know. I said the same thing about a similar ship wreck/island series from Gordon Korman back in 2001. Sometimes the pull to know the ending is enough to keep you reading through multiple volumes.

PUBLICATION DATE:2014   PAGE COUNT: 184

FULL PLOT (From Amazon):

Sarah Robinson is deeply troubled in the wake of her dad’s second marriage. She now has to deal with a new stepmom and two stepbrothers, Marco, who is her age, and Nacho, who’s younger. Even though they’ve all moved from Texas to California to start life as a new, blended family, none of the kids seem remotely happy about it. Sarah’s dad and stepmom then decide to take the whole family on a special vacation in order to break the ice and have everyone get to know one another. They’ll fly to Tahiti, charter a boat, and go sailing for a few days. It’ll be an adventure, right?Wrong. Dead wrong.

FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT SHIPWRECK ISLAND by S.A. Bodeen

  1. Nacho. Ten-year-old little brother. He’s a minor character who provides more insights and help to the dire situation than anyone else. I can see him taking a bigger role in future books.
  2. The third person POV alternated between Sarah and Marcos. It was good reading to listen to their different insights and what they thought of each other in their inner thoughts.
  3. If you want a guide about poor decision making by an adult, look no further than the dad. Some of his actions were laughable and far from being safe.
  4. The first part of the book while the family was on the ship is thrilling and I couldn’t wait to read the next chapter.
  5. If you loved SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON or more recently on the airwaves, LOST, then this one will be one to follow. You’ll just have to wait awhile before the whole story is available.

FAVORITE LINES:

…Sarah found herself sitting on her floor beside her bed, wishing she could do something about the fact that she was about to embark on a trip with the new family she wanted nothing whatsoever to do with. And she was furious because she knew there was absolutely nothing she could do to keep it from happening.

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Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.

MMGM2

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

One Ultra Wash For My Manuscript

washMy car had gotten to the point of no return. It was dirty both inside and out and was beyond what a few weekend hours could solve. I don’t do this more than once every few years, but I treated my car to one of those supreme ultra washes. It’s like a mini-spa for cars. They vacuum, polish, and make everything shine. It’s a brand new car when completed.

So I paid my $35 (with coupon) and prepared to wait the 50 minutes for the magic to happen. As I watched other cars getting their final rub-down, my thoughts wandered to where its been parking itself lately – back to the current story I’ve written. I envisioned my rough draft like the car. Not too long ago my 40,000 words also needed an ultra wash to show its true colors. Unfortunately, it takes longer than an hour to polish a manuscript.

Starting off, I let my first draft sit for a month before going in and making revisions. Let her sit for another 3 weeks before revisiting and strengthening. Then I sent it to a few trusted critique partners who completed reading in a week and sent me their notes. The feedback was positive with only a few minor concerns. One highlighted areas that needed more emotion (“You men always need a push to bring those emotions into your writing. Just do it and the you’ll see it works for the better.”), and the other had questions about maybe deleting one character.

I got off easy or maybe I’m catching many of the mistakes I’ve already made in the past. Still though it’s a long road. Two months to write and now two months into the revisions. I’m pleased with the progress but know its not quite sparkly enough to be driven off the lot yet. I’ll go through it one more time, and then let a new set of eyes look it over.

When I get to this point in a story’s journey I write a book jacket blurb. It helps me focus on the big picture of whether it sounds like a story I’d want to read. It’s almost as challenging as writing the story itself.

 

SAVING BIG AND LITTLE

CK Kalani is an impulsive eleven-year-old whose passion is saving the earth. Throwing trash where you shouldn’t? Not cleaning up after your dog? Expect a late night visit from EARTH LOVER (CK’s self created alias) and a note urging you to respect Mother Earth. You’ll find the message attached to a three-foot high reminder of your polluting ways.

When CK’s mom signs him up for a mentor from Big Brothers, Henry, an environmental videographer from a local news station, is the perfect match. Henry discovers CK’s alter ego along with a better way for him to make a difference – taking on the powerful Parks and Rec director in hopes of stopping the city’s use of pesticides. Henry helps CK plan a rally to inform the citizens of Legacy Flats, but the director’s aggressive response intends to keep it from happening.

As the day of the rally nears, CK and Henry face more challenges – all seemingly caused by the park’s dishonest top man. There’s also an untimely family decision that could end CK’s friendship with Henry. If true change is to happen, CK must decide what is most important… saving the environment, his family, or the mentor he adores. With his reckless ways roaring back into high gear, CK won’t get the chance unless he first saves himself.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Editing, Writing | Tags: | 3 Comments

RILEY MACK STIRS UP MORE TROUBLE for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

It’s the start of another year of reviews for MMGM here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE and time to announce the winners of my first giveaway. As announced last week ROSI HOLLINBECK won the first part of the contest and a $25 Visa Gift Card. You can catch Rosi’s fun and informative blog at THE WRITE STUFF.

Here are the results of the drawing for part two of the ARE YOU KIDDING? contest:

A Dozen Hardback MG Books: SA LARSEN (Find her blog here)

$25 Visa Gift Card: MARCIA STRYKOWSKI (Find her blog here)

$25 Amazon Gift Card: MICHAEL GETTEL-GILMARTIN (Find his blog here)

Congratulations to all and once you send me your address, I’ll send out your prize. What’s next? I’m planning already!

Now, let’s jump into this week’s review. I’m a bit late getting to this series as it has been buried on my TBR list for a year. I chose to read the second book (The first, RILEY MACK AND OTHER KNOWN TROUBLEMAKERS was released in 2012). It didn’t matter that I’d missed that one as character backgrounds are slipped in along the way.

Okay, let me get a few things out of the way. The plot is far-fetched as are many of the adult and child characters. I was shaking 9780062202970_p0_v2_s260x420my head a few times at the unbelievable dialog on many of the pages. Similar to the recent GREAT GREENE HEIST, I moved beyond those concerns  and just enjoyed the story. The tale borders on the impossible in more ways than one, but it’s fun following Riley Mack as he attempts to make right too many wrongs.

PUBLICATION DATE:2013   PAGE COUNT: 324

FULL PLOT (From Amazon):

Briana Bloomfield, the talent Jake Lowenstein, the genius “Mongo,” the muscle Jamal Wilson, the fifth grader —and—Riley Mack, the fearless leader

Together, these five are the Known Troublemakers, stirring up trouble in the name of justice. Wherever a wrong needs righting or an innocent kid needs protecting, Riley and his friends will be there, ready to use their problem-causing expertise for the greater good.

Only this time, injustice strikes a little too close to home. School’s out for the summer, and somebody’s polluting the gang’s favorite swimming hole. And if that wasn’t enough to ruin the vacation, one of the Troublemakers is in serious trouble, and all of Riley’s efforts to help are only making things worse. With ten thousand dollars and the fate of his friends and family on the line, Riley will have to think fast if he hopes to pull off his most daring caper yet!

FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT RILEY MACK STIRS UP MORE TROUBLE by Chris Grabenstein

  1. Riley has a touching relationship with his dad who is stationed in Afghanistan. It’s what so many kids have to go through in the U.S. as a parent they adore is so far away. Riley mimics his dad’s army way of communicating, especially in the few opportunities they get to talk with each other.
  2. The humor had me laughing several times. Most of it comes from Riley’s mom or one of the other adult characters. The gags might go over a young reader’s head. For example, would they giggle at Mrs’ Mack’s request of a screwdriver (the kind used for screws) and everyone mistakenly assumes she’s ordering a drink by that name. I doubt it, but it was funny.
  3. Despite failing numerous times, Riley keeps coming up with new ideas. Success can only happen if you keep trying.
  4. The mystery in the story does its job. The outcome will have you guessing until that AHA moment when the various subplots come together to make a satisfying whole.
  5. Plenty of technology here for tech loving kids.

FAVORITE LINES:

Riley Mack’s extraordinary awesome talents weren’t the kind he could showcase on TV or at a school talent show.

If he did, he might end up in detention hall.

For life.

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Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.

MMGM2

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

A Year of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! Are You Kidding?

photoFifty-two reviews in one year. It’s been a fun ride and one that will continue. This week though it’s time to celebrate with my first ever monster-size giveaway. But first a look back at the titles…

  1. IDA B
  2. DEAD END IN NORVELT
  3. BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE
  4. FAKE MUSTACHE
  5. RUNAWAY TWIN
  6. OUT OF MY MIND
  7. RULES
  8. GRAVE IMAGES
  9. THE WEDNESDAY WARS
  10. THE GIVER
  11. SCHOOLED
  12. LIAR & SPY
  13. WHEN YOU REACH ME
  14. OKAY FOR NOW
  15. JACKIE AND ME
  16. THE SEVENTH LEVEL
  17. THE YEAR THE SWALLOWS CAME EARLY
  18. THE PET WAR
  19. 33 MINUTES…
  20. PHINEAS L. MACGUIRE ERUPTS
  21. FREAKIE FAST FRANKIE JOE
  22. ROAD TRIP
  23. THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER
  24. FURIOUS JONES AND THE ASSASSIN’S SECRET
  25. ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER
  26. THE KINDLING
  27. TURN LEFT AT THE COW
  28. HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL
  29. I AM NOT JOEY PIGZA
  30. BOOM
  31. DESTINY REWRITTEN
  32. CHARLIE JOE JACKSON’S GUIDE TO NOT READING
  33. THE ADVENTURES OF BEAN BOY
  34. BETTER TO WISH
  35. THE 9 LIVES OF ALEXANDER BADDENFIELD
  36. ANDI UNEXPECTED
  37. CHASING THE MILKY WAY
  38. THE GREAT GREENE HEIST
  39. MIDDLE SCHOOL- HOW I SURVIVED…
  40. THE LAST BEST DAYS OF SUMMER
  41. JACK STRONG TAKES A STAND
  42. SOPHIE HARTLEY AND THE FACTS OF LIFE
  43. SORRY YOU’RE LOST
  44. NICKEL BAY NICK
  45. THE SPY CATCHERS OF MAPLE HILL
  46. EVERYBODY BUGS OUT
  47. THE SHORT SELLER
  48. ABSOLUTELY ALMOST
  49. IT’S NOT JUST A DOG
  50. DIEGO’S DRAGON: SPIRITS OF THE SUN
  51. A HITCH AT THE FAIRMOUNT
  52. RILEY MACK STIRS UP MORE TROUBLE (Holding this review for next week)

Now on to my first “Are You Kidding” contest to thank past, present , and new readers. It’s actually two contests. One is complete (Yes, I’m sneaky at times). For the past year I’ve been holding a secret contest that only I knew about. The winner is my most frequent visitor, the loyal reader who commented more than anyone else. Congratulations to this active follower who will receive a $25 Visa Gift card! Drum roll…

****Rosi Hollinbeck****

Pause while she screams “ARE YOU KIDDING?” No, I’m not.

The second half of the “Are You Kidding” contest begins today and will run all week until 8 p.m. Eastern, Sunday, September 21st. The winners will be announced on Monday, Sept. 22nd.  To enter just add your name to the comments on this post and you don’t even have to say anything intelligent. An “I’m in” is fine. Yes, Rosi, you’re also eligible for this contest.

I’ll assign a number for every entry (one per person) and throw the number into a giant twirling metal cage.

wheel

Okay, maybe not as impressive in picture form, or as clean as a Rafflecopter drawing, but I like the sound when it spins around.

The winner will receive all 12 middle grade hardbacks:

bookcontest

Yes, every last one! The pages have only been opened once, so they are like brand new. You could fill a shelf and the stories will keep you occupied for the rest of the year – probably longer.

If you don’t snag the GRAND PRIZE. I’ll twirl the cage for two more numbers. The 1st runner-up will get a $25 Visa Gift Card and the 2nd will be enjoying a $25 AMAZON gift card. And I’m still not kidding.

Good Luck and Happy Reading!

I can’t stay any longer. I’ve got to devour that cupcake and start on my next set of 52 reviews.

Categories: Book Lists, Contests, Reviews | Tags: , , , | 17 Comments

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