Two for Tuesday! (new #mglit releases for May 14th)

Somehow I missed book one in the York series but it sounds so good I’m going to start at the beginning and then move on to the one that released today. Seems perfect for a flight to Chicago, right? Yes!

And my 14 year old just finished World War Z. Our conversations have reminded me how much I loved that book! So naturally…middle grade zombies.

Happy Reading, Friends!

York: The Clockwork Ghost, by Laura Ruby

It was only a few weeks ago that the Biedermann twins, Tess and Theo, along with their friend Jaime Cruz, followed the secrets of the Morningstarrs’ cipher further than anyone had in its century-and a-half history—and destroyed their beloved home in the process.

But the Old York Cipher still isn’t solved. The demolition of 354 W. 73rd Street only revealed the next clue in the greatest mystery of the modern world, and if Tess, Theo, and Jaime want to discover what lies at the end of the puzzle laid into the buildings of New York by its brilliant, enigmatic architects, they will need to press on.

But doing so could prove even more dangerous than they know. It is clear that the Morningstarr twins marshaled all the strange technology they had spent their lives creating in the construction of the Cipher, and that technology has its own plans for those who pursue it.

It’s also clear that Tess, Theo, and Jaime are not the only ones on the trail of the treasure. As enemies both known and unknown close in on them from all sides and the very foundations of the city seem to crumble around them, they will have to ask themselves how far they will go to change the unchangeable—and whether the price of knowing the secrets of the Morningstarrs is one they are willing to pay.

Project Z: A Zombie Ate My Homework, by Tommy Greenwald

From the hilarious mind behind the Crimebiters series comes a new trilogy that fans of The Last Kids on Earth will love to pieces (literally). 

Arnold Z. Ombee has escaped a secret government lab that’s developing zombies. Young, scared, and alone, he is found by the Kinders, a warmhearted couple who take him in. 

The Kinders decide Arnold will become part of their family. They help him disguise his undead appearance and teach him how to act like a human boy. After a lot of practice, he’s ready for the ultimate test: 

Fifth grade!

Two for Tuesday (new #mglit releases for April 30th)

I’m a sucker for dog books (which is weird because I don’t have a dog, just two temperamental diva cats) & books that feature mysterious libraries (because libraries are the center of the universe and all good mysteries should begin in one).

This week I want to highlight one of each. What luck!

A Dog’s Porpoise, by MC Ross

When a bad storm throws Bangor, a harbor porpoise, off course, he finds himself all alone in the harbor of Ogunquit, Maine. And he’s not the only one who’s lost in these wayward waters: Lars, a rowdy pup, is knocked overboard a nearby boat. With the help of a girl named Natalie, Bangor rescues Lars, and they become fast friends.

But not everyone in the small town approves of this unlikely friendship. Some find Lars a nuisance to the community, and it isn’t safe for Bangor to remain in the harbor. It’s up to Natalie to convince the town to locate Bangor’s pod and return him safely home — even if it means saying goodbye to her new friend.

Full of humor and heart, A Dog’s Porpoise asks readers to consider what it means to be a good friend, especially during tough times.

The Library of Ever, by Zeno Alexander

With her parents off traveling the globe, Lenora is bored, bored, bored—until she discovers a secret doorway into the ultimate library. Mazelike and reality-bending, the library contains all the universe’s wisdom. Every book ever written, and every fact ever known, can be found within its walls. And Lenora becomes its newly appointed Fourth Assistant Apprentice Librarian.

She rockets to the stars, travels to a future filled with robots, and faces down a dark nothingness that wants to destroy all knowledge. To save the library, Lenora will have to test her limits and uncover secrets hidden among its shelves.

Two for Tuesday! (new #mglit releases for April 16th)

Today is all about Ali! I loved The Thing About Jellyfish so I’m excited for the new one from Ali Benjamin. Also, I got a chance to read an advanced copy of August Isle, new from Ali Standish and trust me, you don’t want to miss this one!

The Next Great Paulie Fink, by Ali Benjamin

When Caitlyn Breen begins her disorienting new life at the rural Mitchell School–where the students take care of real live goats and study long-dead philosophers, and where there are only ten other students in the entire seventh grade–it seems like nobody can stop talking about some kid named Paulie Fink.

Depending on whom you ask, Paulie was either a hilarious class clown, a relentless troublemaker, a hapless klutz, or an evil genius. One thing’s for sure, though: The kid was totally legendary. Now he’s disappeared, and Caitlyn finds herself leading a reality-show-style competition to find the school’s next great Paulie Fink. With each challenge, Caitlyn struggles to understand a person she never met…but it’s what she discovers about herself that most surprises her.

Told in multiple voices, interviews, and documents, this funny, thought-provoking novel from the bestselling author of The Thing About Jellyfish is a memorable exploration of what makes a hero–and if anyone, or anything, is truly what it seems.

August Isle, by Ali Standish

Fans of Sharon Creech and Rebecca Stead will be captivated by this story filled with warm humor, mystery, whimsy, and characters you can’t let go. A modern classic in the making!

For years, Miranda has stared at postcards of August Isle, Florida. The town where her mother spent her summers as a girl. The town that Miranda has always ached to visit. She just never wanted it to happen this way.

When she arrives on the Isle, alone and uncertain, to stay the summer with an old friend of her mother’s, Miranda discovers a place even more perfect than she imagined. And she finds a new friend in Sammy, “Aunt” Clare’s daughter.

But there is more to August Isle than its bright streets and sandy beaches, and soon Miranda is tangled in a web of mysteries. A haunted lighthouse. An old seafarer with something to hide. A name reaching out from her mother’s shadowy past.

As she closes in on answers, Miranda must reckon with the biggest question of all: Is she brave enough to face the truth she might uncover?

Two for Tuesday! (new middle grade releases for April 2nd)

It’s #newreleases #mglit Tuesday – best day of the week, if you ask me. Two I’m looking forward to reading.

The Last Last-Day-of-Summer, by Lamar Giles

Otto and Sheed are the local sleuths in their zany Virginia town, masters of unraveling mischief using their unmatched powers of deduction. And as the summer winds down and the first day of school looms, the boys are craving just a little bit more time for fun, even as they bicker over what kind of fun they want to have. That is, until a mysterious man appears with a camera that literally freezes time. Now, with the help of some very strange people and even stranger creatures, Otto and Sheed will have to put aside their differences to save their town—and each other—before time stops for good.

Trace, by Pat Cummings

Trace Carter doesn’t know how to feel at ease in his new life in New York. Even though his artsy Auntie Lea is cool, her brownstone still isn’t his home. Haunted by flashbacks of the accident that killed his parents, the best he can do is try to distract himself from memories of the past.

But the past isn’t done with him. When Trace takes a wrong turn in the New York Public Library, he finds someone else lost in the stacks with him: a crying little boy, wearing old, tattered clothes.

And though at first he can’t quite believe he’s seen a ghost, Trace soon discovers that the boy he saw has ties to Trace’s own history—and that he himself may be the key to setting the dead to rest.  

Two for Tuesday! (new #mglit releases for March 19th)

I went through a time when I devoured everything related to Henry VIII so I’m super excited for Kathryn Lasky’s new book. And Kevin Henkes wrote one of my favorite picture books, Kitten’s First Full Moon, which I read about 8000 times to my kids. I can’t wait to see what his middle grade fiction holds!

(Next week I will be in Japan so there will be no Two for Tuesday – I’ll be back the following week!)

Tangled in Time: The Portal, by Kathryn Lasky

For fans of the Royal Diaries series and Gail Carson Levine, Newbery Honor-winning author Kathryn Lasky delivers the first enchanting adventure in a compelling new middle grade series about a newly orphaned girl who finds herself time-travelling between the present day and the court of the two most memorable English princesses in history.

Life used to be great for Rose: full of friends, a loving mom, and a growing fashion blog.

But when her mother dies in a car crash, Rose is sent away to live with astrange grandmother she hardly knows and forced to attend a new school wheremean girls ridicule her at every turn.

The only place Rose finds refuge is in her grandmother’s greenhouse. But onenight she sees a strange light glowing from within it. She goes to investigate…and finds herself transported back five hundred years to Hatfield Palace, whereshe becomes servant and confidant of the banished princess Elizabeth, daughterof King Henry VIII.

Rose soon discovers something else amazing—a locket with two mysterious images inside it, both clues to her own past.Could the greenhouse portal offer answers to the mysteries of her family…and their secrets?

Sweeping Up the Heart, by Kevin Henkes

Amelia Albright dreams about going to Florida for spring break like everyone else in her class, but her father—a cranky and stubborn English professor—has decided Florida is too much adventure.

Now Amelia is stuck at home with him and her babysitter, the beloved Mrs. O’Brien. The week ahead promises to be boring, until Amelia meets Casey at her neighborhood art studio. Amelia has never been friends with a boy before, and the experience is both fraught and thrilling. When Casey claims to see the spirit of Amelia’s mother (who died ten years before), the pair embarks on an altogether different journey in their attempt to find her.

Using crisp, lyrical, literary writing and moments of humor and truth, award-winning author Kevin Henkes deftly captures how it feels to be almost thirteen.

Two for Tuesday! (new #mglit releases for March 5th)

I absolutely adored The Mad Wolf’s Daughter and cannot wait until my copy of the sequel, The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter, shows up! If you have a historical #mglit reader in your life, this series is a must read!

My second selection for today draws from Greek mythology. I’m a sucker for Mt. Olympus stories and this one looks like a lot of fun.

Maybe add these two titles to your TBR list?

The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter, by Diane Magras

In this Scottish medieval adventure, after attempting a daring rescue of her war-band family, Drest learns that Lord Faintree’s traitorous uncle has claimed the castle for his own and convinced the knights that the lord has been slain . . . by her hand. Now with a hefty price on her head, Drest must find a way to escape treacherous knights, all the while proving to her father, the “Mad Wolf of the North,” and her irrepressible band of brothers that she is destined for more than a life of running and hiding. Even if that takes redefining what it means to be a warrior.

Wings of Olympus, by Kallie George

High on the slopes of mighty Mount Olympus, among the sun-splashed meadows and sparkling waters, glide the winged horses of the ancient gods. Here up high is normally no place for a lost, parentless girl like Pippa. But once every hundred years, the gods and goddesses descend to the mortal realm to choose jockeys for their winged horse race—and Pippa is one of the lucky children chosen to ride.

With her undersized, impetuous winged steed, Zephyr, by her side, Pippa has to confront the greatest challenge of her life: achieving victory in a race across the sky.

No one expects Pippa and Zephyr to win, or even finish, this death-defying race. A poor orphan who’s spent her life working in stables, Pippa doesn’t seem to belong in the world of the gods. And while she loves Zephyr with all her heart, he’s smaller than the other winged horses racing. But if Pippa and Zephyr don’t find a way to win, the gods will separate them—forever.

To stay with Zephyr, Pippa will have to work harder, train longer, and dare more bravely than her competition. In a race filled with petty, jealous gods and goddesses and a host of ruthless riders, Pippa must prove that love is greater than might.

This stirring adventure series by beloved author Kallie George is perfect for fans of the Percy Jackson books and The War That Saved My Life.

Creepy! Scary! Chilling!

I love scary books and movies and I hate scary books and movies. At the same time. For example, I’m watching The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix but I’m mostly doing it through my fingers which are plastered over my eyes because I’m too afraid to look. I bet I’m not alone in this.

Scary books have a way of soaking into your life. This morning I woke up to a loud banging outside my bedroom window. Of course, my mind went immediately to wicked witches, ghouls with ghastly intentions and spiteful spirits. My heart raced. Sweat broke out on my forehead. It was the unlatched gate to my front walkway, of course. And a little wind. Still….

But scary is fun, isn’t it? I’m sure there is a good psychological explanation for why but maybe, in this Halloween season, let’s just go with it. To that end, something for your middle grade readers that like a little creepiness baked into their reading. (all book descriptions lifted from Amazon/GoodReads)

(And if you are an adult or have an advanced reader, I recommend Shirley Jackson, the master of modern horror.  We Have Always Lived in the Castle  is so freaky and one of my all time favs.)

The Gravedigger’s Son, by Patrick Moody (Sky Pony Press)

Ian Fossor is last in a long line of Gravediggers. It’s his family’s job to bury the dead and then, when Called by the dearly departed, to help settle the worries that linger beyond the grave so spirits can find peace in the Beyond.

But Ian doesn’t want to help the dead—he wants to be a Healer and help the living. Such a wish is, of course, selfish and impossible. Fossors are Gravediggers. So he reluctantly continues his training under the careful watch of his undead mentor, hoping every day that he’s never Called and carefully avoiding the path that leads into the forbidden woods bordering the cemetery.

Just as Ian’s friend, Fiona, convinces him to talk to his father, they’re lured into the woods by a risen corpse that doesn’t want to play by the rules. There, the two are captured by a coven of Weavers, dark magic witches who want only two thing—to escape the murky woods where they’ve been banished, and to raise the dead and shift the balance of power back to themselves.Only Ian can stop them. With a little help from his friends. And his long-dead ancestors.

Equal parts spooky and melancholy, funny and heartfelt. 

The Rise of the Jumbies, by Tracy Baptiste (Algonquin Young Readers)

Corinne LaMer defeated the wicked jumbie Severine months ago, but things haven’t exactly gone back to normal in her Caribbean island home. Everyone knows Corinne is half-jumbie, and many of her neighbors treat her with mistrust. When local children begin to go missing, snatched from the beach and vanishing into wells, suspicious eyes turn to Corinne. To rescue the missing children and clear her own name, Corinne goes deep into the ocean to find Mama D’Leau, the dangerous jumbie who rules the sea.

The Mesmerist, by Ronald L. Smith (Clarion Books)

Thirteen-year-old Jessamine Grace and her mother make a living as sham spiritualists—until they discover that Jess is a mesmerist and that she really can talk to the dead. Soon she is plunged into the dark world of Victorian London’s supernatural underbelly and learns that the city is under attack by ghouls, monsters, and spirit summoners. Can Jess fight these powerful forces? And will the group of strange children with mysterious powers she befriends be able to help? As shy, proper Jess transforms into a brave warrior, she uncovers terrifying truths about the hidden battle between good and evil, about her family, and about herself.

The Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, by Jonathan Rosen (Sky Pony Press)

Twelve-year-old Devin Dexter has a problem. Well, actually, many of them. His cousin, Tommy, sees conspiracies behind every corner. And Tommy thinks Devin’s new neighbor, Herb, is a warlock . . . but nobody believes him. Even Devin’s skeptical. But soon strange things start happening. Things like the hot new Christmas toy, the Cuddle Bunny, coming to life. That would be great, because, after all, who doesn’t love a cute bunny? But these aren’t the kind of bunnies you can cuddle with. These bunnies are dangerous. Devin and Tommy set out to prove Herb is a warlock and to stop the mob of bunnies, but will they have enough time before the whole town of Gravesend is overrun by the cutest little monsters ever? This is a very funny “scary” book for kids, in the same vein as the My Teacher books or Goosebumps. (and don’t miss the sequel, From Sunset till Sunrise! Vampires!)

Guest Blogger and Debut author Lisa Schmid talks GHOSTS!

by Lisa Schmid

There is no such thing as ghosts. Right? I must admit when it comes to the subject, I’m a bit conflicted.

I love visiting “haunted” places like the Whaley House in San Diego.  Rumored to be the most haunted house in the United States, I have toured it a couple of times, hoping to see a chandelier sway or a spectral vision glide across the room. No such luck. But, to be perfectly honest, if I did see a ghost, I’d probably Scooby Doo it right out of there.

Another fun fact about me, I don’t want to see ghosts on my home turf or where I am spending the night.

For example, a couple of years ago I attended the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) conference at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. The first night while serving up scary banquet food, our waiter served up scary stories about ghosts who inhabit the hotel. One tale, in particular about a creepy ghost girl residing on the ninth floor totally freaked me out. Why? Because I, of course, was staying on the ninth floor. Go figure. So I did what any brave soul would do, I slept with the lights on. All. Four. Nights. 

Continue reading “Guest Blogger and Debut author Lisa Schmid talks GHOSTS!”

Jake Burt talks about The Right Hook of Devin Velma

Greetings from Witness Protection, Jake Burt’s debut middle grade novel, walks the line between funny and poignant so perfectly, I couldn’t put it down. That same light touch shines in his second novel for middle grader readers, The Right Hook of Devin Velma. In this story of friendship, anxiety, families and basketball, Burt creates characters who struggle with some of the harsher aspects of modern American life and yet come out stronger for the experience.

(Buy the book: Amazon, B&N, IndieBound or purchase from your local indie bookstore!)

Continue reading “Jake Burt talks about The Right Hook of Devin Velma”

A chat with debut author Lija Fisher, author of The Cryptid Catcher

What I love about The Cryptid Catcher is how much of a mess Clivo’s life is but he grits his teeth and perseveres anyway. This boy just can’t catch a break. His father has recently died, he’s stuck living with a kooky aunt and, as it turns out, he really doesn’t know much about his family. As the story unravels, with wild adventure and edge of your seat tension, the pieces begin to fall into place and Clivo starts to understand his purpose. I read this in one seating and can’t wait for the sequel.

(Buy the book: Amazon, B&N, Indiebound)

How about some questions for this debut author, yes?

Continue reading “A chat with debut author Lija Fisher, author of The Cryptid Catcher”