Sunday, January 15, 2017

Clayton Stone, Facing Off -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:

“Making people believe the unbelievable is no trick; it’s work. … Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an
abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything.” 
~ Stephen King ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
We all make mistakes, but mistakes in our writing life can be really costly. Adventures in YA Publishing has a good post HERE written by editor Emma D. Dryden that will help you avoid the most common mistakes writers make. 

Dear Editor has a tiny hint, but a powerful one, HERE. I like it! 

Alex Limburg has a guest post on Kristen Lamb’s blog HERE that will tell you How to Make EVERY Page of Your Story Interesting. 

Last week I offered a copy of Orphan Trains: Taking the Rails to a New Life by Rebecca Langston George to one of you. This week's winner is Nancy Kelly Allen. Congratulations, Nancy! If you don't know Nancy, she is a Kentucky children's writer with over thirty books out there. (My personal favorite is Barreling Over Niagara Falls. Check it out!) You can learn more about her HERE. Nancy, I will get your book out to you this week. For the rest of you, I have another giveaway, so please keep reading. 

Just a little heads up before I get to business. I am going to New York this week to spend a few days with my daughter Maggie. I seriously doubt I will get around to posting next weekend, so if I'm MIA, that's the reason. 

I have mentioned Greg Pattridge's blog before. He writes really intriguing book reviews and when he says something is worth a look, I always pay attention. You can find his blog HERE. It's always worth a look. Anyway, he reviewed and recommended the first two books of the Clayton Stone series on his blog sometime back, and they sounded like terrific books. I checked my reviewing options and was able to pick up Clayton Stone, Facing Off by Ena Jones for the Manhattan Book Review. What a fun read! Here is the review I wrote.

Clayton Stone is happy at his middle school. His lacrosse team is destined for the playoffs, and all is right with his world. But his grandmother tells Clayton he needs to go undercover at a rival middle school. It’s necessary. The president’s only child, Kyle, also a lacrosse player, goes to that school, and chatter has been picked up that is deemed to be a threat. Clayton is disguised and sent to the new school where he can play on the lacrosse team and try to make friends and stay close to Kyle. But when a bully starts making everyone’s lives miserable and a mysterious boy shows up as a new student, things get pretty interesting. 
Tweens and teens as secret agents and spies aren’t uncommon in kidlit, but, for the most part, they end up sounding and often acting like they are thirty-five. Not this time. Author Ena Jones has created a spunky young character who tells his story in a pitch perfect twelve-year-old boy’s voice. Clayton is smart and funny, with just the perfect amount of wonder at his secret-agent grandmother and all the spy toys he gets to use. Don’t miss this!
Ena Jones
I have a gently-read hardback for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.
Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Orphan Trains: Taking the Rails to a New Life -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“If I had nine hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the 
first six sharpening my ax.” 
~ Abraham Lincoln ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
I get lots of email from Writer’s Digest and now and then they send a link to an interesting post. HERE you will find 5 Helpful Lessons for Writing a Novel. 

From Gotham Writers comes this interesting article HERE on Enlivening Passive Characters. Enjoy. 

Janice Hardy talks about the importance of context HERE. Worth your time. 

I hope you all had wonderful holidays filled with family time and love. I know I did. My two daughters and two grandchildren and I spent a few lovely days at Lake Tahoe. This was the view from the deck of our rented condo. 

Ah. It truly is God's country up there. Okay, be jealous, but not for too long. We have books to talk about. 

I hope my last-minute shopping suggestions were helpful to some of you. They were all books I thought had merit. There was no giveaway, so on to the review. 

The Orphan Trains are a fascinating chapter in our country's history. I have run across a few books about it and have enjoyed them all. Orphan Trains: Taking the Rails to a New Life by Rebecca Langston-George is a wonderful addition to the small canon of this topic. Here is the review I wrote for the San Francisco Book Review

In the mid-nineteenth century, more than 30,000 children lived alone in New York City, with no parents or other relatives to care for them. Orphanages didn’t have enough room to hold them all, and many lived on the streets, making their way by selling newspapers or apples. A local minister, Charles Loring Brace, took note of this problem and vowed to find ways to help. He founded the Children’s Aid Society, and part of their work included placing children with farm families in the Midwest and West. Over the years, into the twentieth century, thousands of children, including some babies, were loaded on railroad trains and sent west to be looked over and chosen by families looking for help working farms and filling out families. Some had great experiences, some had terrible ones. 
Author Rebecca Langston-George follows the lives of seven children, including
Rebecca Langston-George
all the good and the bad that happened to such children. Many have photographs as well. Included is a follow-up section that tells what happened to the children later in life. This well-researched and beautifully written book will be a treasure for middle-school teachers and students and any who love history.
I have a gently-read paperback for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.

Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Last Minute Shopping List

Thought for the Day:
"Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t
edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your
most intense obsessions mercilessly." 
~ Franz Kafka ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Janice Hardy did a guest post HERE on The Seekers blog that is soooooo good. I especially like the section on narrative distance, but the whole thing is terrific. 

I love this post at The Mixed Up Files of … Middle-Grade Authors HERE that talks about how writers get ideas for stories. 

Rhay Christou guest blogs on Writers in the Storm about Diving Deep into Deep Point of View HERE. These are great tips.

Last week, I offered a copy of The Best Man by Richard Peck to one of you. This week's winner is Liz! If you don't know Liz Steinglass, she is a wonderful poet and blogs HERE, although I think she is on a break right now. Congratulations, Liz. I will get your book out to you this week. 

This is my annual LAST MINUTE SHOPPING SUGGESTIONS. There is no giveaway, just some hopefully helpful information. This is a shock -- all my suggestions are books! Here is this year's list. If you click on the title, it will take you to a review of the book or the link on Barnes and Noble. The San Francisco Book Review and Manhattan Book Review had a terrible crash this year and some reviews were lost, so no way to link to them. 

CHILDREN'S PICTURE BOOKS

Stories from Bug Garden by Lisa Moser, illustrated by Gwen Millward
When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Julie Morstad
Now You See Them, Now You Don't by David L Harrison, illustrated by Giles LaRoche
A Friend Like You byAndrea Schomburg and Barbara Rotten, Illustrated by Sean Julian 






MIDDLE GRADE AND TWEEN BOOKS
Mayday by Karen Harrington
Sweet Home Alaska by Carole Estby Dagg
Dragonolia by Chris Barnardo



YOUNG ADULT -- Okay, I just didn't read many of these this year, but all the ones in the MG and Tween category would be great for YA.
P. S. I Like You by Kasie West




ADULT


Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinley
The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church
Drinking from the River by Chip Dameron
by Bryan Kozlowski

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukka, Happy Kwanza, and/or Delightful Winter Solstice and a Happy New Year. I hope this was helpful to you for your last minute shopping. I will be taking a couple weeks off to relax and spend time with family. If you need a shopping break, my daughter Maggie Hollinbeck's first TV show will air Wednesday, Dec. 21. It is an episode of Investigation Discovery called Grave Secrets. (She will, I believe, be brutally murdered, but, hey, it's a paying gig.) I will be back here after the first of the year with more reviews and giveaways. Hope to see you here. And don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's blog HERE for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday links. 



Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Best Man -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It's like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals--sounds that say listen to this, it is important.
So write with a combination of short, medium, and long sentences. Create a sound that pleases the reader's ear. Don't just write words. Write music."
~ Gary Provost, author of 110 Ways to Improve Your Writing ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Writers Helping Writers always has great stuff. The post HERE on how to stay organized during a revision is great. 

Kristen Lamb has the best stuff on her blog. The post HERE is a guest post by Alex Limberg with three tips to create more real characters. 

Janice Hardy at Fiction University has an interesting post entitled Which Character is the Heart of Your Novel HERE. It might be a surprise to you. 

Last week I offered an ARC of Things That Make You Go, Yuck!: Crooked Critters by Jenni Dlugos and Charlie Hatton. This week's winner, who always shares my link for extra chances, is Danielle Hammelef. Those extra chances pay off! Congratulations, Danielle. I will mail your book this week. For the rest of you, another giveaway. Please keep reading.

I had some good things happen recently I want to share. Last Monday, Sue Heavenrich posted an interview with MOI on Group Blog HERE about my experiences being a book reviewer. I have been included a few times on Michelle Heidenrich Barnes wonderful poetry blog, Today's Little Ditty. Michelle put together an anthology of poems from her blog, and one of mine was included. Her book is The Best of Today's Little Ditty, and you can see more about it HERE. Lastly, I received an email this week from Highlight's Magazine and they are purchasing a poem of mine called "Sky Zoo." I don't know when it will be published, but you can be sure I will let you know. Very exciting for me!

On to this week's subject. If you read the interview on Group Blog, you will see I read about 30 blogs a week. One of those I never miss is Greg Pattridge's Always in the Middle (HERE) because Greg has such great reviews, and it often informs my decisions about what I will read. When I read about The Best Man by Richard Peck on Greg's blog back in October, I checked with the San Francisco Book Review to see if I could get a review copy. I could, I did, and I loved it. Here is the review I wrote for them. 

When we meet Archer Magill, he is remembering a time he was five and suffering through an embarrassing incident at a wedding where he meets Lynette, new girl in town, who becomes his best friend. But the heart of the story takes place during Archer’s fifth-grade year. He has a close family and striking maturity allowing him to truly appreciate strong role models in his architect grandfather, car-restorer father, sophisticated uncle, and, most recently, first male teacher in the history of his school. All these men are heroic in their own ways, and all teach Archer lessons about loss and what love really means. The book ends with another wedding, more meaningful and less embarrassing for Archer.e bing in middle

“It was a little like being in middle school a year early.
You’re drop kicked into new territory. I was wondering
how much change you have to go through 
before your voice does.” 

Author Richard Peck is a great storyteller and has assembled a great group of well-realized characters who believably suffer through and overcome, for the
Richard Peck
most part, realistic problems. The story is told in first person narrative (with a couple of diversions to Lynnette’s point of view) in the voice of Archer. For the most part, it is a believable voice for a very mature fifth-grader. With important themes of anti-bullying, friendship, loss, and love, this is a winner.

I have a gently-read hardback for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.

Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Things That Make You Go Yuck!: Crooked Critters -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“The question is whether or not you choose to disturb the world around you, or if you choose to let it go on as if you had never arrived.” 
~ Ann Patchett ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Jennifer Louden has a good post at Writers in the Storm HERE with 6 Ways to Increase Your Productivity as a Writer Without Burning Out. 

I keep finding posts about words one should take out of one’s writing. If I read enough of these maybe I can get rid of about 20,000 flabby words hanging on my fat manuscript. Melissa Allen has a guest post on Fiction University HERE that has 14 Words that are Hurting Your Writing.

Beth Lewis has a guest post HERE on The Writer’s Dig with Tips for Creating Voice in Your Character. It’s got some great ideas. 

Last week I offered a gently-read hardback copy of Jubilee by Patricia Reilly Giff to one of you. This week's winner is Greg Pattridge, middle-grade writer and middle-school teacher (brave soul!) from Colorado who blogs at Always in the Middle. Check it out HERE. He writes great book reviews and has other interesting stuff on his blog. Congratulations, Greg! I will get your book out soon.

The book I am highlighting this week is a really fun non-fiction book. I love science books with a fun twist. This is that. Here is my review for the San Francisco Book Review for Things that Make you Go Yuck!: Crooked Critters by Jenni Dlugos and Charlie Hatton.
Imagine a fungus that can attach itself to a living being and not only cover the being with pointy spikes but invade the being and dissolve its organs and kill it as well. With ants, the fungus can actually release a chemical into the ant’s brain that turns it into a zombie. That’s nasty! And that is just one example of the many, many rude, crude, and murderous critters in this fun volume. This is part of a series of four books that examine the yuck-factor found throughout nature. Filled with plants and animals that spit, strangle, suffocate, slather, and otherwise threaten, injure, and kill other critters will fascinate young (and older!) readers. 
There is little the middle-grade crowd, especially boys, likes better than a book with a very high yuck-factor. This book, as the title implies, is going to be a big hit with the middle-grade readers. Authors Jenn Dlugos and Charlie Hatton have gathered some of the most fun facts in the natural world to keep youngsters reading and learning. The writing is crisp and the accompanying photographs are up-close and a little terrifying. This book is a real winner!
I have a gently-read ARC for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.
Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Jubilee -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“I have written a great many stories and I still don’t know how to go 
about it except to write it and take my chances.” 
~ John Steinbeck ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
We all get a lot of writing tips. Some are great and helpful, some — not so much. Anne R. Allen has a terrific post HERE on Stupid Writing Tips. Check it out. 

Some great reminders in the article HERE on Bookfox that will tell you 25 Terrible Ways to Start a Novel. 

Writers Helping Writers always has great stuff. I don’t post links to their posts as often as I should, but I try to spread the love a little. Anyway, they have a TERRIFIC post HERE on inner conflict by Michael Hauge. Don’t miss this one. 

I hope all of you had a spectacular Thanksgiving. I had a lovely day with my daughter's family and she did most of the cooking! Then my 15-year-old grandson and I hopped in the car and drove to Seal Beach (south of L.A.) to visit friends. It was a great weekend, but the drive was ridiculous (pouring rain through the Grapevine -- yuck!), and I am ready to sleep for a week. It was a great weekend, though. So much fun!

Last week I promised one of you an ARC of The Poet's Dog by Patricia MacLachen. This week's winner is Susan Olson, a North Carolina writer and blogger and lover of time travel stories. She blogs HERE at Time Travel Times Two and always has great reviews. Check it out. Susan, I will get the book out to you this week. Now you won't have to wait for the library! For the rest of you, I have another giveaway so please keep reading.

As I have said before, I keep my eye open for certain authors when I am choosing books for review. When I saw that Patricia Reilly Giff had a new book coming out, I snagged it for review for the San Francisco Book Review. This is the review I wrote for them of Jubilee, her latest book, a middle-grade novel. 

Judith is called Jubilee by her Aunt Cora who took her in when Jubilee’s mother dropped her off like a load of laundry when she was quite small. Jubilee hasn’t spoken a word since that time, communicating only through drawings and gestures. She and Aunt Cora live on an island, which Jubilee loves to explore while watching the wildlife. When she starts fifth grade, she is no longer in a special class but is in a regular class with a new teacher who has some different ideas about learning. It is there Jubilee meets Mason, who is sloppy and talks too much, but he doesn’t mind that Jubilee doesn’t talk as the other children do. They become fast friends. On Aunt Cora’s birthday, she receives a card from Jubilee’s mother, and Jubilee discovers her mother is nearby. She decides to go and see her.

When Patricia Reilly Giff has a new book out, it is cause for celebration among
Patricia Reilly Giff
readers. This lovely, lyrical book has everything a reader would want — strong, believable characters, an interesting setting, and a well-crafted story full of conflict and drama. This will surely garner readers beyond the intended middle-grade audience.

I have a gently-read hardback copy for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.
Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Poet's Dog -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“You have to write at least a hundred pages of crap before your
writing starts getting good. So you may as well start now.”
Joe Haldeman

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
A couple years ago, a writer friend mentioned he had decided to enter contests. He thought his work was good enough to garner some notice. I thought about that and decided to do the same. I looked for small, local contests that wouldn’t receive several thousand entries (like the Writer’s Digest contests) and ended up winning or placing in a half dozen contests or so. Honestly, I didn’t keep track. I ended up with probably $300 in winnings and some nice certificates to hang on my wall and remind me some people think I write some pretty good stuff. HERE is a post that will give you some hints about doing what it takes to win contests. Hope Clark has a great newsletter (free) that always has some contests listed as well as a wealth of other writing information. If you don’t receive it, check HERE to get on her list. She also has a newsletter that has lots more information in it, but you either need to pay a small fee or buy one of her books (they are good, fun mysteries) to get that one for free. Some of the contests that sent me money were from her newsletter! Check it out. 

I found a really, really great post at Adventures in YA Publishing HERE that lists 30+ Words to Watch Out for as You Write. Everyone will benefit from this. 

It’s always nice to get some advice from those who have gone before you on this frustrating journey of writing. HERE are tips from 29 published writers. 

We had a great weekend in NYC. My daughter Maggie was magnificent in Richard III at Bridge Productions (if you are near NYC, go see it!). My daughter Sara and granddaughter Gracie saw Lion King and Mathilda and loved them both. The three of us saw School of Rock. The kids performances were outstanding! I also saw Something Rotten. Hysterical! I loved it. Anyway, I'm back and thanks for being patient while I took some time off. 

Two weeks ago, I offered a gently-used copy of Leslie Connor's outstanding book, All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook to one of you. This week's winner is Tudy! Congratulations, Tudy. I will get the book out to you this week. I do have another giveaway this week, so please stay tuned.

When I saw a new book by Patricia MacLachan on the list of review books, I snagged it right away. Especially with the title -- The Poet's Dog -- I just had to have it. I was NOT disappointed. Here is the review I wrote for the Manhattan Book Review

Two young children, Nick and Flora, are lost in a blizzard, having left the car where their mother had to leave them to go and get help. A dog, Teddy, comes upon them and, speaking softly to them, leads them to a cabin in the woods where Teddy had lived with his master, a poet named Sylvan. But Sylvan is gone. Yes, the children understand the dog as he speaks to them. Teddy had been told by Sylvan that only poets and children can understand dogs when they speak. Now Teddy knows this to be true. The children and Teddy stay together in the cabin for several days as the blizzard rages around them. They help each other to keep the fire going and to find and cook things to eat. 
Patricia MacLachlan reminds readers why she won a Newbery Medal. This
Patricia MacLachllan
enchanting story has a very old-fashioned, folktale feel to it. The characters are absolutely charming, the writing is spare and lyrical, and the story satisfies in every way. Younger middle-grade readers will especially enjoy being able to read such a rich story on their own, but everyone reading it will be equally charmed.                        
This is truly a story of love, friendship, hope, and redemption all packed into a coming-of-age novel that will capture readers’ hearts. The characters are rich and complex, the setting is unusual and will fascinate young readers. The writing is superb and the storytelling is terrific. This book deserves a wider readership than the middle-graders for whom it is intended. A real winner!
I have a gently-read ARC for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.
Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.



Sunday, November 6, 2016

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” 
~ Orson Scott Card ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
At our critique group meeting recently, we talked a lot about authentic dialogue. Word choice is so important. What I would have said as a teenager has nothing to do with what today’s teenagers would say. We certainly need to be cognizant of this in all our writing, not just dialogue. Anne R. Allen has a terrific post HERE, with tons of great links, on finding the right words. 

Most of us have thought of hiring an editor to help finish the work on a novel. Heck, some of us have even done it and been disappointed with what occurred. (Yes, that would be me.) Bookfox has a good post HERE about how a developmental editor can help and what to expect. 

I know I always struggle with titles. Alex Limberg posted an article HERE with hints for good titling from 17 fiction writers. 

Next week I will be in New York City seeing my daughter Maggie in a production of Richard III, one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. Maggie is playing Queen Elizabeth, a pretty juicy role, and I'm excited to be able to go and see her. My other daughter, Sara, is also coming to NYC and bringing my granddaughter Gracie for a girls' weekend filled with theatre and shopping. That is all my way of telling you that I am taking another week off next week, but will be back the next week. 

Last week I offered an ARC of Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom by David Neilsen to one of you. This week's winner is Danielle Hammelef. Congratulations, Danielle! I will get your book out to you this week. For the rest of you, I do have another giveaway this week, so please keep reading.

When I first heard about All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor, I knew it was a book I had to read. I requested it from the San Francisco Book Review and was able to get a copy. I LOVE this book! Here is the review I wrote for the SFBReview.
Perry T. Cook was born in prison. That’s not so uncommon, but a smart, kindly warden takes him on as her foster child and allows Perry’s mother to raise him in the small, minimum-security prison in Surprise, Nebraska, where he is loved and raised right by a large, extended family. Everything is fine until a new DA comes to town and discovers this unusual arrangement. The DA is a do-gooder who decides Perry would be a lot better off with the DA and his family, and Perry’s mother hasn’t really properly served her time since she was allowed to have her child with her. When Perry gets a school assignment that allows him to tell the stories of some of the prisoners and finally learn his mother’s whole story, it changes everything.
This is truly a story of love, friendship, hope, and redemption all packed into a
Leslie Connor
coming-of-age novel that will capture readers’ hearts. The characters are rich and complex, the setting is unusual and will fascinate young readers. The writing is superb and the storytelling is terrific. This book deserves a wider readership than the middle-graders for whom it is intended. A real winner!
I have a gently-read hardback copy for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.
Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.