MMGM for September 21, 2020

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Click on a fall-leaves-clip-art-15 to reach a blogger’s site

fall-leaves-clip-art-15At ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I have a review of ROOSEVELT BANKS—GOOD KID IN TRAINING by Laurie Calkhoven.

fall-leaves-clip-art-15Natalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles has an interview with debut author Laura Stegman and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Summer of L.U.C.K. 

fall-leaves-clip-art-15June McCrary Jacobs at Reading, Writing, & Stitch-Metic hosts a blog tour stop for Trouble Blows West. Included is an excerpt, guest post, and giveaway sponsored by the author.

fall-leaves-clip-art-15Sue Heavenrich is over at Sally’s Bookshelf today with a review of Ways to Make Sunshine, by Renée Watson.

fall-leaves-clip-art-15Matt Sweeney at Woodpecker Books features the second book in the Train to Impossible Places series- The Great Brain Robbery. 

fall-leaves-clip-art-15Jenni Enzor takes us to the animal world of Zanzibar by Catharina Valckx.

fall-leaves-clip-art-15Alex Baugh at Randomly Reading has a review of Not Your All-American Girl by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang.

fall-leaves-clip-art-15Maria Antonia at OF BOOKS, PHOTOGRAPHY, AND TEA shares some thoughts about Dog Lost by Ingrid Lee.

fall-leaves-clip-art-15Patricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal reviews The Case of the Bad Apples by Robin Newman, the third chapter book in the Griswold and Wilcox Mystery series.

fall-leaves-clip-art-15Rosi Hollinbeck reviews A Slip of a Girl by Patricia Reilly Giff. Rosi also shares three helpful links for her writing friends.

fall-leaves-clip-art-15Karen Yingling at Ms. Yingling Reads always has a great MMGM review. Check it out along with her other features last week including a look at THREE KEYS.

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun and get your own spot in the parade, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring 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 please don’t forget to say what book 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.
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)
*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 MMGM Links | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Roosevelt Banks—Good-Kid-in-Training

I’ve spent the majority of my free time during this strange year reading MG books with heartbreaking themes: Opioid abuse, Divorce, Parental Neglect, Kids in Comas, and I could go on. They were all great stories, but they pulled me down even lower than the nightly newscast.

But then, appearing at the top of my review pile was this happy looking cover:

I’d only read a few pages when this line appeared and a smile returned to my MG loving face:

Mom took a deep breath. Parents and teachers do that—a lot. I guess when you’re old you need extra air.

The narrator is ten year old Roosevelt Banks. He has loving parents, a younger sister named Kennedy, and Millard Fillmore the dog (Yes, his parents have a thing for Presidential names).

Roosevelt has a kid size problem. His two best friends are leaving him out of an upcoming bike ride and camping trip. How could they? It was his bike that got destroyed helping one of them out with a science experiment. A deal with his parents could make everything right. They’ll get him a new bike if he can be good for two weeks. A big challenge for Roosevelt.

Filled with humorous insights and fast moving scenes through 120 pages, you just know this is going to have a happy ending. Getting there will for sure bring a smile to your face and little break from the world around you. A perfect starter for any new MG reader, especially those in 3rd and 4th grade.

FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT ROOSEVELT BANKS—GOOD-KID IN-TRAINING

  1. Excellent illustrations throughout. The one with four kids in the principal’s office should be hanging on every principal’s wall.
  2. No children, pets, or neighbors were harmed in the plot of this story.
  3. What? No sequel? We need more Roosevelt Banks please.
  4. A diverse cast of friends. There’s Asian-American Josh and African-American Tommy.
  5. I appreciated the short doses of presidential trivia thrown in.

FROM THE AUTHOR

I always loved books and reading, and I guess I always wanted to be a writer.  But I didn’t know you could be such a thing.  So the first thing I thought I wanted to be was a librarian. 

I remember walking into the library for the first time and being totally amazed and awed — shelf after shelf of books, all waiting to be read. I can’t remember the title of the first book I read through all by myself, but I remember closing it and then starting all over again at the beginning.  I read as much as I could.

For more about Laurie Calkhoven visit her author web site.

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I received a copy of the book for my honest review. Please comment below.

Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

THE SCIENCE OF DEFYING GRAVITY

If you missed L.G. Reed’s guest post yesterday on her Favorite Middle Grade books you can check it out here. I’ve taken the blog back today to review her new book—

Eleven-year-old Cassie Williams wants to a be an astronaut and make movies in space. Problem is she doesn’t like science and it’s a needed component. With a science fair in her future she vows to get a scholarship or win the top prize and use the award money to attend Space Camp. First though she’ll have to change her attitude toward science.

This STEM novel will enlighten readers with what it takes to have a top notch science fair project, even if you can’t afford the materials. Cassie’s dad has lost his job so her project on how the four forces of flight affect an airplane has to be no cost. She has to get past a jerk of a older brother who is out to destroy any progress she makes.

Her best friend Wylie might be more than a best friend, but he has his own project to create. Cassie learns you have to work hard to attain her goals, but will it be enough to gain a free ticket to Space Camp?

She is coaxed and inspired by her science teacher and mentor Elizabeth, an engineer. This was a nice turn to have females in science helping Cassie rather than the usual male presence. The third person narration through 26 chapters flows nicely. A bonus section of back material is not to be missed for future science fair participants and those aspiring to an engineering career.

A fun and enlightening story for anyone who is less than enthusiastic about science or for those who need to see the big picture of how to increase effort and attain excellence.

THE SCIENCE OF DEFYING GRAVITY is available now!

About the Author

Author and publisher, L. G. Reed believes stories that provide an artistic or relationship story along with a science focus can be an effective way to hook girls into STEM, especially at the earliest ages. She targets middle school because research has shown that these years are crucial to establishing girl’s interest in STEM topics.

Reed’s background in science and technology came from her career as an aerospace engineer, and her latest book THE SCIENCE OF DEFYING GRAVITY reflects that. She insists, however, that the book isn’t just about science. It’s about perseverance and curiosity — because every kid has those traits. Her goal is to spark their interest and get them to think that science and tech is something they can do.

Reed’s debut novel, The Maiden Voyage of the Maryann won the Cygnus Awards 1st Place – Women’s Fantasy/SciFi Category. Her second book, a middle-grade fantasy titled Sydney Porter: Dog Girl was an Amazon best seller.

Adding to her writing, she is channeling her love of books and writers into Keyes Canyon Press, an independent publisher focusing on middle grade and young adult fiction, and poetry for all ages.  Keyes Canyon Press seeks outstanding manuscripts that encourage reading and learning. Un-agented authors are encouraged to submit.

www.keyescanyonpress.com

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

All you have to do is blog about a middle grade book on a Monday (contests, author interviews, or anything middle grade related also count). 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 please don’t forget to say what book or author 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.
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)
*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, New Release | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Guest Post by Author L.G. Reed

I’ll be posting a review tomorrow of L.G. Reed’s new middle grade book, THE SCIENCE OF DEFYING GRAVITY. Today she is taking my place at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE with her insights on FAVORITE MIDDLE GRADE BOOKS. Take it away, L.G.

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In 1968 I was ten years old. No internet. Living in Wauwatosa Wisconsin. Most of the books I read were non-fiction books on horses. I loved horses. Was going to live on a horse ranch in Wyoming. At least that was how I saw my future. Between dogs and horses, I was animal crazy.  

It isn’t a wonder then that my favorite fictional book growing up was Black Beauty. In today’s parlance, Black Beauty might have been considered a fantasy, as the narrator is a horse, speaking anthropomorphically as if he had the emotions and reactions as the human characters.  I’ve always loved escapism in my reading, though Black Beauty had an animal rights current that raged through the story and effected real change when it came out in 1877.

Today my reading is more varied, though I still love to escape. As I write this, some of my favorite Middle Grade novels are the Harry Potter series and Neil Gaiman’s stories, most recent being The Graveyard Book. Both have a bit of the bewitching in them that takes me out of my day-to-day life and into a world that is different. One of the things I find special about Gaiman’s books are the way he makes me see the world in a new, unexpected way.

I want to give a shout out to the books that combine graphic novels and fictional prose. Timmy Failure It’s the End When I Say Its’ the End by Stephan Pastis is a wonderful example of the style and hooked me right into the delusional world of Timmy Failure, which the kid in me found hysterically funny and the adult found poignant.

Though I love fantasy, I also love books where girls are resourceful, strong characters who don’t rely on others to accomplish great things. They may be normal, un-fantastical things, but they are done by the smart, courageous girls, rather than any male characters in the story. The Science of Unbreakable Things by Tae Keller is a recent favorite.

My latest book incorporates a smart, quirky female character and the four forces of flight (lift, thrust, gravity, drag) in what I’m calling Fictionalized Science. The Science of Defying Gravity has real science and a made-up story. Not SciFi, as the story takes place in a non-magical, current time setting, but incorporating real science into a fictional story where the twelve-year-old female protagonist reaches her goals on her own. I hope it will become a favorite book in home libraries.

About the Author

Author and publisher, L. G. Reed believes stories that provide an artistic or relationship story along with a science focus can be an effective way to hook girls into STEM, especially at the earliest ages. She targets middle school because research has shown that these years are crucial to establishing girl’s interest in STEM topics.

Reed’s background in science and technology came from her career as an aerospace engineer, and her latest book THE SCIENCE OF DEFYING GRAVITY reflects that. She insists, however, that the book isn’t just about science. It’s about perseverance and curiosity — because every kid has those traits. Her goal is to spark their interest and get them to think that science and tech is something they can do.

Reed’s debut novel, The Maiden Voyage of the Maryann won the Cygnus Awards 1st Place – Women’s Fantasy/SciFi Category. Her second book, a middle-grade fantasy titled Sydney Porter: Dog Girl was an Amazon best seller.

Adding to her writing, she is channeling her love of books and writers into Keyes Canyon Press, an independent publisher focusing on middle grade and young adult fiction, and poetry for all ages. Keyes Canyon Press seeks outstanding manuscripts that encourage reading and learning. Un-agented authors are encouraged to submit.

www.keyescanyonpress.com

Posted in Reading, Writing | Tagged , | 1 Comment

MMGM for September 14, 2020

             MMGM

Click on the red book to reach a blogger’s site

happy bookAt ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I have a review of MY LIFE IN THE FISH TANK by Barbara Dee.

happy bookJune McCrary Jacobs at Reading, Writing, & Stitch-Metic returns with a feature on Bubba & Squirt’s Mayan Adventure by Sherry Ellis. There’s a a guest post and GIVEAWAY to one U.S. resident.

happy bookJenni Enzor has a triple header: The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict and The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of the Ages

happy bookCOMPLETELY FULL BOOKSHELF features Displacement by Kiku Hughes. Fans of When Stars Are Scattered will love this book!

happy bookMaria Antonia at OF BOOKS, PHOTOGRAPHY, AND TEA tells us about Until Niagara Falls by Jennifer Maruno.

happy bookPatricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal reviews her favorite read this year, the beautifully written Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes.

happy bookMatt Sweeney at Woodpecker Books finishes up the Unicorn Chronicles’ series with a review of book 4, THE LAST HUNT by Bruce Coville.

happy bookRosi Hollinbeck has a review and GIVEAWAY of Bubba & Squirt’s Mayan Adventure by Sherry Ellis. Rosi also shares three helpful links for her writing friends.

happy bookAndrea Mack returns this week with a great middle grade adventure story: RED FOX ROAD by Frances Greenslade.

happy bookKaren Yingling at Ms. Yingling Reads always has a great MMGM review. Check it out along with her other features last week including a look at NUBBY’S STORY.

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun and get your own spot in the parade, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring 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 please don’t forget to say what book 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.
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)
*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 MMGM Links | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

MY LIFE IN THE FISH TANK

Mental illness is a theme most often seen in YA or Adult books. It’s a tough topic to convey when your audience is 9-13. No need to worry here as the characters and story will win you over.

Told from the viewpoint of twelve-year-old Zinnia Manning, there are no chapter numbers. Instead each chapter heading describes the time period conveyed in that section. Titles like February 21, Six Months Earlier, The Day After, and many more give you a flavor of what to expect. It’s a perfect way to share the difficult year Zinnia is having.

As the third child with a college age brother, a high school sister, and a younger brother in third grade, Zinnia is in the middle of it all when older bro Gabriel has a car accident leading to a bi-polar diagnosis. He’s sent to a treatment center and the parents request that their children keep this private. Hard to do when it leads to broken friendships and confused feelings.

Heartfelt and bold, you’ll be glad you spent time with Zinny and her family. It’s a hard to put down story that you just might end up reading in one sitting.

Here’s the OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS

When twelve-year-old Zinnia Manning’s older brother Gabriel is diagnosed with a mental illness, the family’s world is turned upside down. Mom and Dad want Zinny, her sixteen-year-old sister, Scarlett, and her eight-year-old brother, Aiden, to keep Gabriel’s condition “private”—and to Zinny that sounds the same as “secret.” Which means she can’t talk about it to her two best friends, who don’t understand why Zinny keeps pushing them away, turning everything into a joke.

It also means she can’t talk about it during Lunch Club, a group run by the school guidance counselor. How did Zinny get stuck in this weird club, anyway? She certainly doesn’t have anything in common with these kids—and even if she did, she’d never betray her family’s secret.

The only good thing about school is science class, where cool teacher Ms. Molina has them doing experiments on crayfish. And when Zinny has the chance to attend a dream marine biology camp for the summer, she doesn’t know what to do. How can Zinny move forward when Gabriel—and, really, her whole family—still needs her help?

FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT MY LIFE IN THE FISH TANK by Barbara Dee

  1. Relationships with family and friends frame the life of a child in middle school. Barbara Dee is an expert at revealing the conflict inherent with each person Zinny has in her life. Great character arcs abound.
  2. Hurray for the teachers who are at Zinny’s side. Her science teacher and counselor are true believers in this confused kid.
  3. The comparison of Zinnia’s troubles to that of life in a fish tank is a brilliant method to provide the connection to healing.
  4. Young readers will grow in their empathy and understanding of bi-polar disorder. Discussion possibilities are wide ranging.
  5. A realistic story you won’t soon forget.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Barbara Dee is the author of eleven middle grade novels published by Simon & Schuster, including My Life in the Fish Tank, Maybe He Just Likes You, Everything I Know About You, Halfway Normal, and Star-Crossed. Her books have earned several starred reviews and have been named to many best-of lists, including the The Washington Post’s Best Children’s Books, the ALA Notable Children’s Books, the ALA Rise: A Feminist Book Project List, the NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, and the ALA Rainbow List Top Ten. Barbara lives with her family, including a naughty cat named Luna and a sweet rescue hound named Ripley, in Westchester County, New York.

(For more about Barbara and her books visit her website)

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I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. Be sure to leave a comment below if time allows.

Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Bubba and Squirt’s MAYAN ADVENTURE

Bubba and Squirt were first introduced to readers in Big Dig to China. With a magic shovel they end up digging a hole and landing themselves on an adventure to the other side of the world.

You’ll be fine jumping in with this new book if you haven’t read the first. At 96 pages, it’s more of a novella, but one reluctant readers will enjoy. It’s also a great fit for a read-aloud. This time Bubba and his older sister, Squirt, end up in Belize.

Here’s the official summary:

An ancient Mayan civilization! That’s what Bubba and Squirt find when they travel through the mysterious vortex for another wild adventure. there they meet archaeologists who are unearthing priceless artifacts.

But someone is stealing them. And an encounter with the Tate Duende awakens magic within Bubba. Throw in the mysterious Alux and a new discovery and things get sticky.

Will Bubba and Squirt solve the mystery, or will thy be stuck forever in the jungles of Belize?

There is the often amusing sibling banter which never overwhelms the story and a lot of action that keeps the plot moving. Along the way you’ll learn about the Mayan civilization and their beliefs. Likeable characters, an appealing story, and learning about other cultures should garner many readers.

The excellent back material includes an interesting few pages on the Mayan Indians and their ceremonial center, Altun Ha. Next comes two delicious sounding recipes for Fry Jacks and Chicken Tortilla Soup. Yes, I’m heading to the kitchen.

Learn more about Sherry Ellis here.

Bubba and Squirt’s Big Adventure Website.

For more about the series and to order either or both books go here.

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

All you have to do is blog about a middle grade book on a Monday (contests, author interviews, or anything middle grade related also count). 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 please don’t forget to say what book or author 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.
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)
*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

MMGM for September 7, 2020

                labor-day-clipart-labor1

Click on a star to reach a blogger’s site.

REDAt ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I have a review of THE CANDY MAFIA by Award winning author, Lavie Tidhar.

WHITEMatt Sweeney at Woodpecker Books reviews The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate. A cute follow up to Ivan.

BLUEJenni Enzor is back this week with a review of Daring Darleen, Queen of the Screen.

REDMaria Antonia at OF BOOKS, PHOTOGRAPHY, AND TEA shares some insights about Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos & David Teague

WHITEPatricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal reviews Wondrous Rex by Patricia MacLachlan.

BLUERosi Hollinbeck has a review of THE LIST OF THINGS THAT WILL NOT CHANGE by Rebecca Stead. Rosi also shares three helpful links for her writing friends.

REDAlex Baugh at Randomly Reading features Stealing Mt. Rushmore by Daphne Kalmar.

WHITEKaren Yingling at Ms. Yingling Reads always has a great MMGM review. Check it out along with her other features last week including her opinion of  THE CANDY MAFIA.

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun and get your own spot in the parade, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring 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 please don’t forget to say what book 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.
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)
*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 MMGM Links | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

THE CANDY MAFIA

Award winning author, Lavie Tidhar, takes a break from his usual adult books to pen his first middle grade story. To be honest, during the initial pages I had a tough time getting into this one.

A town makes candy illegal and groups of middle grade gangs compete to distribute stashes of banned chocolate. They are mafia to the core complete with front boys and girls there to protect their equally underage bosses. Tons of nastiness go on between the kids, but I’m glad I stayed with it.

The savior was the main character, Nelle Faulkner. She’s a detective (or sorely wants to be one) and even dresses the part. Nelle’s not involved in the underground candy world until she is pulled into it by a young friend. The mystery has shady adult detectives, an unsuspecting butler, and a closed candy factory. An occasional full page illustration are well done and often amusing. The page turning climax has Nelle in the middle of an epic candy filled battle.

BOOK BIRTHDAY: September 1, 2020 Pages: 256

Here’s the official Synopsis:

In a city where candy is a crime and sugar is scandalous, Nelle Faulker is a 12-year-old private detective looking for her next client.

When notorious candy gangster Eddie de Menthe asks for her help to find a missing teddy bear, Nelle Faulkner is on the case. But as soon as the teddy turns up, Eddie himself goes missing! As a seemingly innocent investigation unravels into something more sinister, Nelle and her friends quickly find themselves swept up in a shady underworld of sweets smugglers, back alley deals, and storefront firebombs.

If Nelle has any hope of tracking down her missing client, first she’ll have to unmask the true faces behind the smuggling ring. Can Nelle and her friends find a way to take the cake? Or will they come to a sticky end…?

Five More Candy Loving Things to like about THE CANDY MAFIA by Lavie Tidhar

Great character arcs for the secondary characters. This includes Eddie, Bobbie, Sweetcakes, and Waffles.

Had the feel of an old detective movie. I needed my own stash of candy and popcorn as I followed the plot.

A good mystery keeps you guessing and The Candy Mafia does just that. I went from the obvious to the least likely as the main culprit.

Full of action and eye opening scenes.

Nelle. I’d welcome her back for a sequel as this is her story.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lavie Tidhar is the World Fantasy Award winning author of Osama (2011), The Violent Century (2013), the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize-winning A Man Lies Dreaming (2014), and the Campbell Award-winning Central Station (2016), in addition to many other works and several other awards. He works across genres, combining detective and thriller modes with poetry, science fiction and historical and autobiographical material. This is his first book published for children. He lives in England.

A Side Note From The Author

I had a ridiculous amount of fun writing THE CANDY MAFIA. Though it ended up to be very much Nelle Faulkner’s book, not just mine. Nelle is named after (Nell) Harper Lee, who not only wrote the great TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, of course, but was herself a detective of sorts, traveling with Truman Capote to investigate notorious crime in the 1960s. I wanted some of that curiosity and some of that integrity for Nelle, and I wanted to write a book that was both a lot of fun, and a parody of the hardboiled detective novels I love.

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I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Comments are welcome below.

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

ResQ Takes on the Takhi

The second book in the ResQ series comes on the heels of the initial story, ResQ and the Baby Orangutan. The theme in both books is rescuing endangered species.

I started with the second book and had no trouble catching up with the main characters. Eleven year Wheaton is an engineering/inventor genius and is already in grad school. His cousin Stowe is twelve and has a passion for the environment. Together they work for the ResQ organization traveling to far away locations when the need arises.

There are several cool inventions sure to capture the attention of young readers as will learning about the Takhi, a Mongolian wild horse. The story moves along at a steady pace and I especially enjoyed Stowe’s journal entries that occur every few chapters. A wealth of information is contained in each—focusing on the environment, geography, and the species they are trying to save. Grandmother Ariella is along for the ride and is not very successful at keeping her grandchildren in one place. These two kids love to explore.

Here’s the Official Synopsis:

A harem of takhi—Mongolian wild horses—has wandered out of a national park and into danger. Engineering boy genius Wheaton and his naturalist cousin Stowe shuttle to Mongolia on this second mission for ResQ, their organization to save endangered animals. Against wolves and weather, by helicopter and on horseback, and helped by their new Mongolian friend Sarnai, they struggle to guide the lost horses back into the park before winter sets in.

Science and animal lovers have a unique adventure to enjoy and one that will get many thinking about their own future career. ResQ Takes on the Takai released this past June and hopefully we’ll see more adventures in the future.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eva J. Pell is a plant pathologist who studied the effects of pollution on plant growth. She has served as Senior Vice President for Research at Penn State University and Under Secretary for Science at the Smithsonian.

(For more about Eva and her books be sure to check out her author website)

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

All you have to do is blog about a middle grade book on a Monday (contests, author interviews, or anything middle grade related also count). 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 please don’t forget to say what book or author 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.
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)
*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