MMGM for September 26, 2022

Click on each star to reach a blogger’s post.

At ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I have a review of HAVEN JACOBS SAVES THE PLANET by Barbara Dee.

Natalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles reviews The Other Side of the River by Alda Dobbs and giving away an ARC.

Brenda at Log Cabin Library tells us about Cat Ninja: Welcome to the ‘Burbs by Matthew Cody, Illustrations by Chad Thomas, Warren Wucinich Colorist.

Jennifer Bohnhoff has a great post on Stories about Living During the Vietnam War Era for Middle Grade Readers

Max at Completely Full Bookshelf recommends Besties: Work It Out, written by Kayla Miller and Jeffrey Canino and illustrated by Kristina Luu. 

Carol Baldwin has an outstanding MG picture book: EVICTED! The Struggle for the Right to Vote. Included is a GIVEAWAY!

Patricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal shares her views on Unicorn Island: Secret Beneath the Sand by Donna Galanti.

Maria Antonia @ of books, photography, and tea reviews NO VACANCY by Tziporah Cohen.

Rosi Hollinbeck has a review of I WILL PROTECT YOU by Eva Mozes Kor. Rosi also shares 3 links of interest for her writing friends.

Valinora Troy has an update on her writing (and dog!).

Alex Baugh is back with us this week and has a review of Haven Jacobs Saves the Planet by Barbara Dee. Did she like it as much as I did?

Karen Yingling at Mrs. Yingling Reads always has a fantastic MMGM book to share. Be sure to check it out along with Saturday”s review of Postcards from Summer.

———————————————————————

(Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring)
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
Posted in Book Lists, Middle Grade Book Reviews, MMGM Links | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

HAVEN JACOBS SAVES THE PLANET

Haven Jacobs is a 7th grade girl whose emotions are out of control over one topic: climate change. It’s effecting her mental health along with falling grades, sleep, and friendships. She wonders why adults aren’t doing anything about the crisis we face in the world.

A science fair project brings her closer to the environmental damage on display in her town. A class study of the local Belmont River shows it has changed tremendously in the past three years. There are no longer any frogs and chemical imbalances are occurring.

She wonders if the source of the problem is a new factory in the area. It’s not easy to accuse when she has no solid proof. It’s even trickier because her dad works for the factory and a classmate is the son of the owner. But she must do something.

Fortunately she has a supportive family with both parents and an older brother who she is beginning to see as more of an ally than an enemy. There is plenty of friend drama and the route Haven takes to save the planet is perfect and believable.

I’ve really enjoyed Barbara Dee’s novels and HAVEN JACOBS SAVES THE PLANET is no exception.

BOOK BIRTHDAY: September 27, 2022 PAGE COUNT: 304

FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT– HAVEN JACOBS SAVES THE PLANET by Barbara Dee

  1. The dialogue pieces shine and are true to the voice of middle grade kids these days.
  2. The labeling of “eco-anxiety” about climate change is real and I’ve witnessed many tweens and teens battling the same feelings. It was encouraging that Haven’s parents had her talk to a therapist who helped Haven move forward and feel like she was doing something positive to elicit change.
  3. Haven doesn’t really save the planet but provides inspiration for others to take charge in their own communities. The novel will also serve as a springboard for kids to decide what they can do.
  4. Sister and brother relationships are often negative in the teen years but slowly change. It was heartwarming how Carter and Haven began to see themselves as friends.
  5. Yes, climate change is real and seeing more books about this topic are an encouraging sign. Haven Jacobs serves as a positive start for saving the world we know. I’ll be sharing more MG titles about our climate crisis in the coming weeks.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Barbara Dee is the author of eleven middle grade novels published by Simon & Schuster, including MY LIFE IN THE FISH TANK (2020), MAYBE HE JUST LIKES YOU (2019), EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT YOU (2018), HALFWAY NORMAL (2017) and STAR-CROSSED (2017). Her books have earned several starred reviews and have been named to many best-of lists, including the Washington Post’s Best Children’s Books, the ALA Notable Children’s Books, the ALA Rise: A Feminist Book Project List, the ALA Rainbow List Top Ten, the NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, the Bank Street Best Children’s Books, and Project Lit. Barbara lives with her family, their sweet rescue dog Ripley, and naughty cat Luna, in Westchester County, NY.

Barbara Dee’s web site

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Be sure to visit the other Marvelous Middle Grade Posts and Comments about my post are welcome below…

Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

GOODNIGHT STORIES FOR REBEL GIRLS—100 Inspiring Young Changemakers

Readers will celebrate well-known activists Greta Thunberg and Mari Copeny and meet new names like inventors Riya Karumanchi, who developed a smart cane for the visually impaired, and Xóchitl Guadalupe Cruz López, who used recycled materials to build solar-powered water heaters for families who lacked hot water. Each story is told in a whimsical fairy tale style and is paired with a bold, full-page portrait drawn by a female or nonbinary artist. In addition to showcasing the stories of incredible young people, the book features the work of young authors, artists, and editors. (FROM AMAZON and the RG WEBSITE)

*********************

Girl Power on display here! They range in age from preteens on up through girls in their twenties. What they are doing with their lives is inspiring for all. Each story is a page long and on the opposite page is a illustration of the individual and a quote. I liked this one from 13-year-old inventor and entrepreneur, Cassidy Crowley:

I learned to just go for it because you never know unless you try.

A large portion of the featured stories are unfamiliar names, but you will find famous profiles like Bindi Irwin, Billie Eilish, and Zendaya. You can go through the pages in any order. The last part of the book has more profiles of girls who didn’t make the top 100, but each get a paragraph and illustration of their brave and often exciting pursuit. Also included are pages to write your own story with an illustration.

A fantastic additional feature are QR codes that lead to audio stories in the Rebel Girls app. Great extensions to an already great set of stories. This newest volume is perfect for elementary and middle grade girls. Each may be motivated to become another changemaker.

******************************************

Blogging about middle grade books or authors next week? Join the celebration.

Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

MMGM for September 19, 2022

Fall is in the air and officially begins this Thursday. Prepare for the new season with any or all of the suggested reads below.

Click on to reach a blogger’s post.

At ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I have a review of THE TILTERSMITH by Amy Herrick.

Natalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles has a guest post by debut author Stacy Nockowitz and a giveaway of her historical MG The Prince of Steel Pier.

Sue Heavenrich is over at Archimedes Notebook with one for upper MG readers: Animal Allies: 15 Amazing Women in Wildlife Research.

June McCrary Jacobs at Reading, Writing & Stitch-metic has a blog stop and a giveaway for Author Susan Count, ‘Abby’s Pony Love.’ 

Max at Completely Full Bookshelf recommends Clash by Kayla Miller.

Andrea Mack is back and she has a review of Haven Jacobs Saves the Planet by Barbara Dee.

Patricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal reviews another MG novel in Healer & Witch by Nancy Werlin.

Maria Antonia @ of books, photography, and tea features OVER AND OUT by Jenni L. Walsh.

Rosi Hollinbeck has a review of Louisa June and the Nazis in the Waves. Rosi also shares 3 links of interest for her writing friends.

Valinora Troy review the rest of The Green Ember series by S.D. Smith (rabbits with swords! 😊 ) 

Karen Yingling at Mrs. Yingling Reads always has a fantastic MMGM book to share. Be sure to check it out along with Saturday”s review of Billion Dollar Girl.

———————————————————————

(Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring)
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
Posted in Book Lists, Middle Grade Book Reviews, MMGM Links | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

THE TILTERSMITH

Edward was dreaming. He was trying to pick something up with a spoon. The thing, which was going to lead him to a brilliant scientific discovery, kept slithering away like a worm. Then, just as he thought he’d finally nabbed it, there was a tremendous kaboooooom! and he woke up.

=======================

With that intriguing first paragraph, we meet Edward (far left on the cover). Not long after we are introduced to the group: Danton, Feenix, and Brigit (pictured clockwise). Their personalities are wildly different, but in middle school they are drawn to each other.

The third person narration gives equal time to all whether individually or in pairs. This is actually the second story for these characters after first being introduced in 2013’s THE TIME FETCH. The new plot laid out for THE TILTERSMITH is a separate story so no worries if you read this one first.

Climate change is all around us and our next generation is already gearing up for the world they will be dealing with as adults. It gets the full treatment here.

The setting of Brooklyn, New York is a perfect backdrop for a Spring that can’t escape from Winter’s grip. The groups’ science teacher believes climate change is the reason but soon they learn of magical forces at work. The strange appearance of Superintendent Tiltersmith at their school is weird enough, but he has taken an interest in the four and they are soon in a battle of wits and courage.

It seems The Lady of Spring is trapped in an underground prison and it is up to these four eight graders to try and release her or winter will never end. Than balance of nature will be forever changed.

A fast moving 41 chapters make for a plot best for grades 6-8th. Most of the chapters end in an enticing cliffhanger. It’s also a study of climate change and myths with the appealing foursome in the middle of it all.

BOOK BIRTHDAY: April 5, 2022 PAGE COUNT: 320

FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: THE TILTERSMITH by Amy Herrick

  1. It’s hard enough to give a single character a voice but here you get four strong ones.
  2. Aunt Kit with her cooking classes and kind nature to the group provided an adult character you also care about.
  3. The memories of the four protagonists was a plot point bonus. Middle school kids can be forgetful but here the magic makes it even worse.
  4. The concept of global warming was seamlessly woven into the plot and not in a preachy way. Mr. Ross, the science teacher is a true teaching gem.
  5. The ending hints at a sequel. Hopefully it won’t take another 9 years to see one!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Herrick grew up in Queens, New York, and attended SUNY Binghamton and the University of Iowa. She lives in Brooklyn, where she has raised two sons, taught pre-K and grade school, written books, and kept company with her husband and numerous pets. A retired teacher, she loves traveling, learning Spanish, and above all reducing her carbon footprint.

(For more about Amy visit her author website)

Be sure to visit all of the other Marvelous Middle Grade Posts!

Comments are welcome below.

Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

CRABGRASS COMIC ADVENTURES

Not so long ago cell phones and the internet didn’t exist to fill a child’s spare time. Instead you got together with your best friend and wandered around the neighborhood looking for fun. The Crabgrass comic strip relives those moments with Miles and Kevin. Two boys with an unmistakable bond.

This past year the comic arrived at national syndication. You can see a sample of the 4 panel strip here.

But now there is also a book filled with the adventurous episodes of two buddies. Friendship books about two boys are somewhat rare in the MG world. This collection begins to fill that void.

Miles is the more cautious of the two, but match him up with Kevin and there is sure to be fireworks (or a firecracker in this story). There are also blow up swimming pools, Atomic Fireball candy, and challenging bike stunts.

The parents also provide comic moments and brief heartwarming scenes always lead to more adventures. Perfect for travel or to escape the present. Crabgrass Comic Adventures will for sure bring a smile or even a laugh to your day.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tauhid Bondia is a cartoonist and illustrator from Kentucky. His comics began appearing on Gocomics.com in 2019 and in newspapers in 2022 after being selected for distribution by Andrews McMeel. Crabgrass has also enjoyed a healthy following on various social media platforms and has been embraced by audiences of all ages.

**************************************

Coming up next week is another edition of MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY! It’s here I share highlights from other individuals blogging about middle grade books. Many of the posts will have reviews, interviews, and tips on writing. Take a look at PAST MMGM POSTS.

It’s easy to join the lineup. All you have to do is email me the title of the book or feature and a link to your blog at gpcolo[at]gmail[dot]com

Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and don’t forget to say what you’re featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.

*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews | Tagged , | 3 Comments

It’s a Numbers Game! Football Blog Tour

Welcome to the It’s a Numbers Game! Football Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of the newest addition to the It’s a Numbers Game series AND the start of football season, this week blogs across the internet will be featuring special excerpts from It’s a Numbers Game! Football by Eric Zweig with a foreword by NFL superstar Patrick Mahomes.  Join us each day this week as we explore the stats, digits, and dimensions of the game.  And be sure to have a pencil and paper ready to try your hand at some fun gridiron calculations!

Don’t Pass Out

PASS PATTERNS 

Right angles, acute angles, obtuse angles, degrees—it’s all math, or, more specifically, geometry. But what does this have to do with football? You may be surprised to learn just how much geometry is involved in running pass patterns. A great pass receiver needs strong hands. It helps to be fast, too. It also doesn’t hurt to throw in a few fake moves to make the defense think you’re going the other way. But even receivers who aren’t very speedy or shifty can be effective if they can run precise patterns. That means making their cuts at the proper angle—and angles are what geometry is all about. Check out these basic pass patterns with various angles.

OUT: Sometimes known as a down and out or a square-out. The receiver runs straight for a fixed distance, usually 10 yards, and then makes a sharp 90-degree cut to “the outside” toward the sidelines.

IN: Sometimes known as a down and in or a dig route. The receiver runs straight for a fixed distance, usually 10 yards, and then makes a sharp 90-degree cut to “the inside” toward the middle of the field.

POST: Post routes are used for longer pass plays. The receiver runs straight for about 10 or 20 yards, then cuts at a 45-degree angle into the middle of the field and runs toward the goal posts. That’s how this route got its name.

CORNER: Sometimes known as a flag. This is a similar route to the post but in a different direction. The receiver runs straight for about 10 or 20 yards, then cuts at a 45-degree angle toward the corner of the end zone and runs toward the flags there.

HOOK: Sometimes known as a hitch or a button hook. This is a short pass play. The receiver runs straight for 10 yards or less and then abruptly stops and turns to run back toward the quarterback. The ball should arrive almost as soon as the receiver has made his turn.

FLY: Sometimes called a streak route or a go route. The receiver runs straight up the field toward the other team’s end zone. There are no cuts or angles in this route. Passes like these are sometimes referred to as bombs or long bombs. Late in a game, a team might send three or five receivers to run a fly route, hoping to get a lucky catch. When they do that, the play is often known as a Hail Mary pass.

*****

TRY THIS! 

Think about the angles of the patterns described and see if you can come up with your own patterns. Consider some zigzags or combining different cuts with several different angles. Sketch them out on a few pieces of paper first. You can even come up with names for your plays. It could be something as simple as a description of the moves you want done. For example, an out pattern with an extra 90-degree cut upfield could be an “out and up” or a “down out and down.” You can get more creative, too. A zigzag move could be called a “lightning bolt,” or a play designed for a specific friend to run, like your buddy Teddy, could have his or her name or nickname used as the name of the play—the Teddy Bear!

When you’re ready, find yourself a football, a friend, and a field. Then test out your pass patterns. (Don’t forget to ask permission from an adult before you head out!) You’re probably not as good a quarterback as Tom Brady— yet—and your plays might not actually work in an NFL game, but if you can get your geometry right, you might score some touchdowns!

*****

HISTORY BY THE NUMBERS

Where did the quarterback name come from? Think about coins. A quarter—25 cents—is worth one-quarter or 25 percent of a dollar. The player who lined up in the backfield the farthest behind the line of scrimmage was known as a “fullback”. The player who lined up halfway between the line of scrimmage and the fullback was known as a “halfback.” So it was decided that the player who was positioned between the halfback and the line of scrimmage should be known as the “quarterback.”


BuyGoodreads

Do you know how to calculate a quarterback’s completion percentage? What was the score of the highest scoring Super Bowl game? Become a football fanatic and learn all about the numbers and math behind this popular sport.

With every throw, tackle, and kick, numbers are being calculated on the football field. Get ready to learn all the ways digits and math factor into the game, from the countless statistics used to measure an individual player’s performance to the numbers used in defensive formations. Read about the greatest players from football history and get fascinating facts, like the price of a Super Bowl commercial. Discover which NFL team defenses have allowed the fewest points and check out cool graphics that show the angles in different pass patterns. Also features a er

Jam-packed with sports trivia, awesome photos, and fun activities at the end of every chapter, this number-focused look at the game is a definite touchdown.

About the Author

Right: Young Eric as quarterback!

Website

Originally from Toronto, ERIC ZWEIG grew up as a fan of the CFL’s Argonauts, the NHL’s Maple Leafs, and the MLB’s Blue Jays. When he broke his wrist as a young boy, Eric got Argonauts quarterback and future NFL star Joe Theismann to sign his cast. Eric has been writing professionally about sports and sports history since 1985. He worked for a small Toronto-based publisher affiliated with the NHL for more than 20 years, and has written more than 40 books for adults and for children since 1992. Eric currently lives in Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada.


GIVEAWAY

  • Five (5) winners will receive the 4-book It’s a Numbers Game! series, including Football, Soccer, Basketball, and Baseball
  • US/Canada only
  • Ends 9/25 at 11:59pm E
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter below
  • Visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Blog Tour Schedule:

September 12th Bookhounds ​​​​​​

September 13th Mama Likes This

September 14th — Always in the Middle

September 15th Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

September 16th — A Dream Within A Dream

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

MMGM for September 12, 2022

Start your stack of books from the suggested ones below.

Click on the happy boy and his book haul to reach a blogger’s post.

At ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I have a review of THE AREA 51 FILES by Julie Buxbaum..

Brenda at LOG CABIN LIBRARY reviews Can You Survive the Wonderful Wizard of Oz?: A Choose Your Path Book by Ryan Jacobson.

Carol Baldwin welcomes back teen reviewer, Elliott, and his review of two titles: DAUGHTER OF THE DEEP and 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA.

Maria Antonia @ of books, photography, and tea features THE TERRIBLE TWO’S LAST LAUGH by Mac Barnett & Jory John.

Rosi Hollinbeck has a review of THE NATURAL GENIUS OF ANTS by Betty Culley. Rosi also shares 3 links of interest for her writing friends.

Patricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal is reviewing Haven: A Small Cat’s Big Adventure by Megan Wagner Lloyd.

Valinora Troy shares her thoughts on ESCAPE ROOM by Christopher Edge.

Karen Yingling at Mrs. Yingling Reads always has a fantastic MMGM book to share. Be sure to check it out along with yesterday’s review of BEST WISHES.

———————————————————————

(Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring)
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
Posted in Book Lists, Middle Grade Book Reviews, MMGM Links | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

THE AREA 51 FILES

Area 51 is the military facility located in southern Nevada and managed by the U.S. Air Force. Conspiracy theories have piled up over the years that extraterrestrial life is a part of this iconic place. The humans there may not appreciate the extra attention the first title in this new series will bring, but middle grade kids won’t care and should thoroughly enjoy a fun mystery.

For starters you meet Sky, the 12-year-old narrator, as she describes her first moments at Area 51. Grandma can’t take care of her anymore after moving to a retirement community and now it’s up to Uncle Anish to take over. He lives inside Area 51 and once there you can never leave.

It’s not long before Sky realizes there are aliens everywhere (or as they are called inside Area 51: Break Throughs). They include her new friend Elvis, who looks like a normal boy about her age but appears different to each human interacting with him. Together they try and discover who helped a group of Break Throughs escape. All signs point to Sky’s Uncle but she feels certain it has to be someone else.

Full of puns and jokes, the tale moves along at a nice pace. Text is enhanced with creative illustrations like the one on the cover. Images inside the pages of THE AREA 51 FILES will for sure make you smile. The mystery is wrapped up nicely by the end, but more alien/human fun will be forthcoming in a book 2.

Lighthearted and perfect for those needing a break from the more serious novels.

BOOK BIRTHDAY: September 13, 2022 PAGE COUNT: 304

FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: THE AREA 51 FILES by Julie Buxbaum

  1. Humorous names for the adult characters and alien groups are a perfect draw for middle grade readers. Flatulence is the key here, need I say more?
  2. A great entry into the world of science fiction books for young readers.
  3. Family and friendships are a central component. Sky’s own thoughts about the mother she never knew were written beautifully.
  4. Looking beyond your initial perceptions of others and learning the truth is an important thread throughout.
  5. Silly and different, exactly what we need more of in books for kids.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie Buxbaum is the New York Times best selling author of Tell Me Three Things, her young adult debut, What to Say Next and most recently, Hope and Other Punchlines. She’s also the author of two critically acclaimed novels for adults: The Opposite of Love and After You. Her work has been translated into twenty-five languages. Julie’s writing has appeared in various publications, including The New York Times. She is a former lawyer and graduate of Harvard Law School and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two children, and more books than is reasonable. Visit Julie online at www.juliebuxbaum.com and follow @juliebux on Twitter.

******************

Comments are welcome below. Be sure to visit all the other MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY Posts!


Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

MAVEN & REEVE MYSTERY Duology

I first reviewed Australian author, A.L. Tait’s books back in 2020 with THE BOOK OF SECRETS and THE BOOK OF ANSWERS. She returns with a new series that offers more rich character depiction and amazing world building. The main characters are 15 and 16 years old so I’d recommend this for 6th – 10th graders (ages 12-16).

The first book is THE FIRE STAR. It all begins with this interesting first line sure to make one read on:

Of all things I’d imagined might stop us from reaching Rennart Castle by nightfall, goats had not even made the top fifty.

Maven is the one speaking here. Not only does she have to deal with the goats but also the squire boy (Reeve) haplessly trying to corral the animals. This first meeting leads to the duo running into each other again. Maven serves as a maid to Casssandra who is engaged to Sir Garrick and his new squire happens to be young Reeve.

This series is done in alternating viewpoints. Although that isn’t uncommon in books for tweens and teens, here it is done with Maven’s first person narration while Reeve’s is third person. It takes a little getting used to, but the more I read the more I liked this technique.

Maven is a great female character with determination, wit, and likeability. She is a servant girl in a Medieval fantasy world where girls and women served while their intellect was ignored. Independence is something she wants and the secret Beech Circle is where she meets other girls and women who are smart and there to provide help when needed. These are women who “…choose to ask questions.”

Reeve is an aspiring knight who faints at the sight of blood. He is smart and capable but prefers to stay unnoticed. This makes him at first a rather odd match to Maven’s character, but together they thrive, helping each other conquer villains and solving the mystery.

As these two teens’ friendship grows so does their focus on solving the mystery of a missing gem (The Fire Star) and uncovering who killed an innocent man. They only have three days to do so. The emphasis is on friendship rather than romance which is not usually the case in a full blown YA book. That’s why I see this as upper MG.

The plot points in this first story are wrapped up nicely. The Fire Star is set in a world unlike the present but with many similarities. Perfect for good readers who love a great mystery.

Next up is the Wolf’s Howl. You can read this one without having read The Fire Star, but you’ll get a fuller understanding of the growing friendship by reading them in order. Once again there is no love interest between the two—just a bond of helping each other.

Set a week later, the title comes not from any wolves but from the howling wind blowing across the landscape around Glawn Castle. What a great setting as Maven and Reeve are thrown into another mystery involving a missing cook. A mystery full of questionable political alliances and secrets packed with danger and page turning surprises.

The appeal of Maven only grows. She’s witty with a powerful voice in a world where women have no voice. She relies on the ever amusing Reeve for support along with the Beech Circle. If they fail it will mean the end of their alliance with the lord and lady. A sentence of treason could also follow.

Another satisfactory conclusion will have you longing for a book 3.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allison Tait (A.L. Tait) is the internationally published bestselling author of middle-grade adventure series The Mapmaker Chronicles  the Ateban Cipher novels, and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries.

Her latest novel THE WOLF’S HOWL (A Maven & Reeve Mystery #2) is out now in Australia and the USA!

A multi-genre writer, teacher and speaker with many years’ experience in magazines, newspapers and online publishing, Allison is co-host of the top-rating Your Kid’s Next Read podcast and former co-host of the So You Want To Be A Writer podcast.

She lives on the south coast of NSW (Australia) with her family.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Coming up next week is another edition of MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY! It’s here I share highlights from other individuals blogging about middle grade books. Many of the posts will have reviews, interviews, and tips on writing. Take a look at PAST MMGM POSTS.

It’s easy to join the lineup. All you have to do is email me the title of the book or feature and a link to your blog at gpcolo[at]gmail[dot]com

Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and don’t forget to say what you’re featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.

*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

Posted in MG Fantasy, Middle Grade Book Reviews | Tagged , , | 2 Comments