Monday, April 29, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: MADHATTAN MYSTERY, by John J. Bonk--and a giveaway!

Okay, I promised an MMGM guest post today--and this time I made time to put it together. Huge thanks to the ever-awesome  Deb Marshall for covering for me.  And she's chosen to feature MADHATTAN MYSTERY, by John J. Bonk.


Here's how the publisher describes it:

All set to spend their summer in New York City with their aunt while their father is honeymooning with his new wife, Lexi and her younger brother Kevin discover their snoozy summer plans turn into high-stakes adventure when Lexi overhears a plot to steal Cleopatra's famous jewels from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Joining forces with budding investigative journalist Kim Ling Levine, they ditch day camp to track down the thieves and rake in the reward money. Can Lexi, Kevin, and Kim find out who's behind the jewel heist without getting into too much trouble themselves?

For fans of Chasing Vermeer, comes a hilarious who-done-it that will keep readers guessing to the very end.

And like always, here's Deb explain for herself why all of us need to read this one. Take it away Deb!
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I am here to say that I totally agree with this being a book I would hand to fans of Chasing Vermeer. I’d also give it to readers who enjoyed When You Reach Me, mostly for the absolute wonderful development and representation of a New York setting. Add in a likeable main character, a mystery complete with Egyptian artifact thieves and an utterly annoying, New York savvy, smart aleck, know-it-all fourteen year old sidekick and you have a book that you will sink further and further into with each page turn. There’s even an uber cool, actress aunt. Oh. And the kids are attending a music camp, which they sort of kind of skip out of. All this while the mc is trying to still deal with the death of her mother and her dad off on a honeymoon with the new wife a.k.a stepmom. Lots of things happening in this book and initially I was wondering if maybe there were too many things going on. Too many things introduced. But as I read everything blended so well together that it wasn’t an issue, in fact I found it really appealing to my ten year old self who would have loved this. Life is full and crazy sometimes and kids going through a difficult time can also find themselves in the midst of an adventure. Young fans of From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler might quite enjoy this one, too. Happy to have Madhattan Mystery on my bookshelves and looking forward to book talking it to my before and after school group!
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Wow--this one sounds amazing. I actually *blush* hadn't heard of it until today--sounds like I need to grab myself a copy . Thanks so much for pointing it out, Deb!

And in the meantime, I'm giving away a copy to one of you guys!  To enter, make sure you leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm PST on Sunday May 5th. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Monday, May 6th. International entries welcome.

For more awesome middle grade recommendations, check out these other MMGMs floating around the blogosphere.*

-11-year-old Xander is back with a feature on FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER. Click HERE to see what he thought. 
- Akossiwa Ketoglo is interviewing author Geoff Rodkey--with an ARC GIVEAWAY of his new book, NEW LANDS. Click HERE for details.   
- Gina Carey is intrigued by LIAR AND SPY. Click HERE to see why. 
- Katie Fitzgerald is cheering for FAMILY TREE #1: BETTER TO WISH. Click HERE for her review.  
- Andrea Mack is gushing about SINKING DEEPER: OR MY QUESTIONABLE (POSSIBLY HEROIC) DECISION TO INVENT A SEA MONSTER.  Click HERE to see why. 
- Flash, the Feline Extraordinaire, (and Professional Mews to Cindy Strandvold) recommends A WHOLE 'NOTHER STORY. Click HERE to see what that's all about.   
- Rosi Hollinbeck is featuring THE TRUTH OF ME--with a *double* GIVEAWAY of an ARC and a writing book. Click HERE for details.  
- Mark Baker is spotlighting THE DOG DAYS OF MARGARET HAYES. Click HERE for his review. 
- Michael Gettel-Gilmarten is cheering for BETTER NATE THAN EVER. Click HERE to see what he thought.  
- Dorine White has an interview with author Adam Sidwell--with a GIVEAWAY!. Click HERE to see what they talk about.     
- Wendy McDonald is raving about THE WESTING GAME. Click HERE to see why she loves this classic. 
- Deb Marshall is an MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week. 
- Michelle Isenhoff is always part of the MMGM fun. Click HERE to see what she's talking about today.  
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week. 
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome!    
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week!
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week. 

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (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 SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so I see it)

NOTE: I used to not have a cut-off time for adding links to the post, but with how insane my schedule is right now, if you don't email me by Sunday evening (usually around 11pm PST is when I put the links together) I can't guarantee I'll have a chance to add you. BUT, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you!


*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 posts 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 ahead of time

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bookanista Feature: Recent Awesome Reads


I promised myself I was going to be more regular about my Bookanista posts. But alas, this month got away from me with all of my events and travel. So I thought I'd use today's post to highlight THREE books I've read and loved recently, instead of only one. 

And btw, I've noticed that I now have quite a variety of ages reading this blog (and yes, I have seen all of your amazing emails, even if I haven't had time to reply yet!). So I'm listing the age range of each of these awesome books and I hope that you'll all please keep in mind that some of them may be too old for you--for now, at least. 

Okay, onto the books!

Ages: 13 and up

Goodreads Description: Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

I had a feeling I was going to love this book, because I'm a huge fan of the movie SLIDING DOORS. But I was still blown away by how MUCH I loved it. The way Kasie plotted both stories and wove them together was absolutely amazing (I have no idea how she pulled that off!). I'm afraid to say more than that and risk giving anything away. So I'll just say: read it. It's seriously amazing!

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Ages: 14 and up

Goodreads description: Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

I absolutely loved this book. In fact, it surprised me how much I loved it, because I'm not a big dystopian fan and I generally struggle with suicide books because of my own personal experiences with it. But Suzanne's writing is addictive, and the way she showed Sloane's struggle both in and out of the Program was absolutely brilliant. I can't wait for book 2 and I'm so excited that people will finally get to read book 1 (comes out April 30--go get yourselves a copy!)

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Ages: 12 and up

Goodreads description: Katarina Bishop and W.W. Hale the fifth were born to lead completely different lives: Kat comes from a long, proud line of loveable criminal masterminds, while Hale is the scion of one of the most seemingly perfect dynasties in the world. If their families have one thing in common, it's that they both know how to stay under the radar while getting-or stealing-whatever they want. No matter the risk, the Bishops can always be counted on, but in Hale's family, all bets are off when money is on the line. When Hale unexpectedly inherits his grandmother's billion dollar corporation, he quickly learns that there's no place for Kat and their old heists in his new role. But Kat won't let him go that easily, especially after she gets tipped off that his grandmother's will might have been altered in an elaborate con to steal the company's fortune. So instead of being the heir-this time, Hale might be the mark. Forced to keep a level head as she and her crew fight for one of their own, Kat comes up with an ambitious and far-reaching plan that only the Bishop family would dare attempt. To pull it off, Kat is prepared to do the impossible, but first, she has to decide if she's willing to save her boyfriend's company if it means losing the boy.


For those who don't know, this is the third book in the Heist Society series--which is one of my favorite series. And this time Ally decided to give her readers exactly what we want: a whole book centered around Hale! You'd think with that kind of set-up it'f be a no brainer that I'd love it--but sequels are HARD. Fortunately Ally seems to be a master of them. Each book just keeps getting better and I'm really hoping there's going to be more. I will never get enough of Kat and Hale. 

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I could keep going--I've had a lot of time on planes where I've actually been able to read. But I think three is enough and I'll save the rest for another day. And if you'd like more awesome book recommendations, be sure to check out what my fellow Bookanistas are talking about:


Katy Upperman  ponders LOVE AND OTHER PERISHABLE ITEMS by Laura Buzo
Kimberly Sabatini wonders at WHEN YOU WERE HERE by Daisy Whitney
Elana Johson  falls for THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green
Tracy Banghart  loves LACRIMOSA by Christine Fonseca
Corrine Jackson adores the ARCADIA BELL series by Jenn Bennett
Rebecca Behrens delves into CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein
Lenore Appelhans raves about THE RULES by Stacey Kade
Stasia Ward Kehoe wraps up National Poetry Month with THE POETRY TEACHER’S BOOK OF LISTS by Sylvia Vardell
Christine Fonseca  celebrates UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi
Jessica Love hails THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE by Jennifer E. Smith

Monday, April 22, 2013

MMGM Links (4/22/13)


Sigh. I know I keep promising an MMGM, and I keep failing. I even had a guest post lined up today--and she even sent it to me on time. But Teen Book Con in Houston was a whirlwind of awesome that wiped. me. out. Pair that with major jetlag and I don't have the brain energy to assemble a proper post. So the guest post will be NEXT week. And today I just have links. 

(Also: I went to bed way earlier than I normally do, so if you're one of the people who send me their links later at night you won't be on the list. SORRY. Feel free to leave it in the comments)
- Joni Peterson joins the MMGM fun with a feature on GILDA JOYCE. Click HERE to welcome her to the group. 
- 11 year old Xander joins the MMGM fun too--with a feature on KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES (I just died of the happy). Click HERE to welcome him to the group.  
- Andrea Mack is gushing about THIS JOURNAL BELONGS TO RATCHET. Click HERE to see why. 
- Mark Baker is cheering for THE LAST MUSKETEER: DOUBLE CROSS. Click HERE for his review. 
- Akossiwa Ketoglo is soaring for THE MAGICIAN'S TOWER--with a GIVEAWAY. Click HERE for details. 
- Michael Gettel-Gilmarten is singing praises for THE BFG. Click HERE to see why he loves this classic.  
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing IVY IN THE SHADOWS--with a GIVEAWAY. Click HERE for details.   
- Michelle Mason is rooting for LIAR AND SPY. Click HERE for her review.   
- Rebecca Behrens is championing MIRA'S DIARY: HOME SWEET ROME. Click HERE to see why.  
- Barbara Watson is giving a shout out to THE HUMMING ROOM. Click HERE to see what she has to say. 
- Sue Heavenrich is part of the Privateers Apprentice Blog tour with an author interview. Click HERE for all the fun.
- Dorine White has an interview with author Suzanne Selfors. Click HERE to see what they talk about.    
- Flash, the Feline Extraordinaire, (and Professional Mews to Cindy Strandvold) recommends NEIL FLAMBE AND THE MARCO POLO MURDERS. Click HERE to see what that's all about.    
- Deb Marshall is an MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week. 
- Michelle Isenhoff is always part of the MMGM fun. Click HERE to see what she's talking about today.  
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week. 
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome!    
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week!
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week. 

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (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 SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so I see it)

NOTE: I used to not have a cut-off time for adding links to the post, but with how insane my schedule is right now, if you don't email me by Sunday evening (usually around 11pm PST is when I put the links together) I can't guarantee I'll have a chance to add you. BUT, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you!


*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 posts 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 ahead of time