Friday, May 31, 2013

All About Middle Grade Interview: Melanie Crowder (author of Parched)

This week, I am very excited to welcome Melanie Crowder, author of Parched, to the blog. Hope y'all will give her a very warm welcome to the blog.

About the author:

Melanie Crowder graduated in 2011 with an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of PARCHED, a forthcoming middle grade novel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013).

A West Coast girl at heart, Melanie now lives and writes in the beautiful (if dry) state of Colorado.

You can haunt Melanie Crowder at-
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | FB |

1. Could you tell us a little about Parched and the setting in which it takes place?

Parched is the story of a girl named Sarel, whose parents are killed and her home destroyed in a water riot. In the smoke-hazed aftermath, she is left alone with the dogs her father bred and trained, a pack of Rhodesian Ridgebacks. It is Nandi, who leads the dog pack, who helps Sarel move past her grief and find the will to survive. This is also the story of a boy named Musa, with a talent for dowsing that makes him vulnerable to the greedy and violent gangs that control the drought-stricken city.

If any of them are going to make it, they have to find water, and they have to find a way to trust each other.

2. Parched definitely sounds like an interesting read. What made you want to write a book about a boy, a girl, a dog and their struggle to survive in a world where water is scarce? 

I didn't really set out to write this book (of course I'm looking for stories everywhere), but Sarel and Musa and Nandi really found me. The book began as an image in my mind; it showed me a setting and a handful of characters, but I didn't know who they were or how they were connected.

I was interested in exploring trauma, and how a person recovers emotionally. I was interested in the fact that all around us, our water and air is being poisoned, yet we are all still blithely going about our lives. I was interested in exploring what it is like for the children caught in the crosshairs of our environmental and social missteps. But what I set out to write is far less important when it comes to story than what Musa and Sarel and Nandi wanted, and it was what they needed that drove the direction of this novel.

3. What was the most difficult aspect of Parched to get down on 'paper'?

The hardest thing by far, was the emotions. I wrote this book in very spare prose, to mirror the parched setting. So had to show a lot of restraint when it came to my characters' feelings in order for them to seem organic to the rest of the story. And there are some intense emotional moments and undercurrents in this story!—I just had to really fine-tune them to get them right.

4. Three authors whose work you recommend?

Kathi Appelt, Franny Billingsley and Rita Williams-Garcia
Why? They write amazing stories for children and teens, full of heart and simply beautiful prose. And, they each wrote lovely quotes of praise for Parched. I am so honored!

5. Since your debut Parched deals with survival, what are two things that you cannot live without?

Stories and good friends to share them with.

6. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 

Storm from the X-men. A little lightning should take care of those pesky robots!

For some reason it keeps ending up sideways.
7. Care to share your writing cave with us (include a picture if you want)?

I have an office, with piles of drafts and plotting charts and corkboards covered with pictures. But my favorite place to write is my backyard, when the weather cooperates. Here is a picture of my writing table this morning. (And no, the weather is not cooperating today!)

8. Any upcoming project that you can share with us?

Right now, I'm working on a YA historical verse novel. It's very different from my debut, and real challenge, which I love!

Melanie, thank you so much for stopping by. Love the picture from your office (admires the snow from afar).

Parched by Melanie Crowder, June 4 2013. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

A mesmerizing debut about a girl, a boy, and a dog struggling to survive in a parched and barren land.
Sarel is a girl with secrets. She knows which tree roots reach down deep to pools of precious water. But now she must learn how to keep herself and her dogs alive. Nandi is the leader of those dogs. She knows they can’t last long without water—and she knows, too, that a boy is coming; a boy with the water song inside him.
Musa is that boy. His talent for finding water got him kidnapped by brutal men, yet he's escaped, running away across the thirsty land that nearly claims his life. And so Sarel, Musa, and the dogs come together in what might be their last hope of survival.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wish List Wednesday

Itch: The Explosive Adventures of an Element Hunter (Itch, 1) by Simon Mayo, April 2, 2013. Published by Splinter.

Thrills. Danger. And world domination. Itch is as action-packed and suspenseful as a middle-grade novel can get!

Fourteen-year-old Itchingham Lofte, nicknamed Itch, has an unusual passion: collecting specimens of every element in the periodic table. So what if that means he's had a few ... mishaps? But when he gets his hands on a suspiciously warm rock made of a new, previously unknown element, things really begin to explode. Soon, a malevolent teacher, an evil-doing corporation, and a top-secret government agency are all after Itch. Can his science know-how keep him one step ahead of everyone...and help him stay alive?
Why: If you've read the synopsis then you'll know why I want to get my hands on this one. Itch just sounds like one fantastic and crazy ride.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cover Reveal: The Cindy Chronicles by RaShelle Workman

Since it was Memorial Day weekend, I have been without internet since last Thursday because the library was closed. So, a day late here is the cover reveal for RaShelle Workman's The Cindy Chronicles. 

About the author:

RASHELLE WORKMAN lives on a mountain with her husband, three children, and three dogs. From her back porch she can see the city lights and imagine... She's the bestselling author of the Dead Roses series (Sleeping Roses is being translated into Turkish, and will be available in print wherever Turkish books are sold in 2014), the Immortal Essence series, and the Blood and Snow series.

You can haunt RaShelle Workman at-
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

The Cindy Chronicles by RaShelle Workman.
Life sucks.
Possessing magic sucks.
What doesn’t suck? Fashion, Cindy's boyfriend Gabe, and her best friend, Snow White.

Cindy (Cinderella…shhh, don’t tell) was born a witch. It’s part of who she is. But there’s more to her than that. She loves deeply. And has a big heart. She’d do anything for those she cares about, including risk her own life to save theirs.

When her fairy godmother demands she leave Salem, Massachusetts and return to the land she was born to rule, she has two options. Tell her fairy godmother no, and seal a death sentence on complete strangers. Or, leave all she’s ever known behind, including the love of her life, for an unknown land she’s fated to save.

So, yeah, life sucks.
But Cindy is determined to change that. 
You can add RaShelle Workman's Cindy Chronicles to your Goodreads shelf.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Emerald Ring Blog Tour: Interview with Author Dorine White

Guys, I am very excited to welcome Dorine White, author of The Emerald Ring, to the blog this week. I hope that y'all will give her a very warm welcome as she talks about the first book in the Cleopatra's Legacy series...which sounds awesome.

About the author:

My first book in The Cleopatra's Legacy series, The Emerald Ring, will be published by Cedar Fort Books on May 14, 2013. It is a middle grade fantasy novel.

 I am a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and the PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writers Assoc.). I highly recommend joining either if you want to become a children's author or illustrator.

You can haunt Dorine White at-
Goodreads | Website | Twitter | FB |


1. Could you tell us a little about the heroine of The Emerald Ring, Sara? Do you think she'll be able to handle the wrenches that the ring will throw here way? 

At first Sara is afraid of the ring. She already has a problem with nightmares, and when she begins having visions about Cleopatra, she really freaks out. But, as time goes on, she grows into her role as protector of the ring. She wants to be like her Grandmother and travel the world in search of adventure. As an eleven year old, she knows that won’t happen anytime soon, but the ring gives her the chance to be brave and have an adventure of her own.

2. Dorine, What made you want to write a MG story that blends modern day with the intrigue of Ancient Egypt? 

I love fantasy and I love history. The chance to combine the two was impossible to pass up. Plus, I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, Ancient Egypt fascinated me in school. Greek and Roman myths were okay, but there was something eerie and magical about Egypt.

3. Ooh, so excited that The Emerald Ring has, well, a magic ring. Speaking for your character, what do you think she'd say is the worst thing the ring is going to throw her way? 

The worst thing is definitely her transformation into a cat. Sara doesn’t know what is happening to her and suffers great pain. She ends up in the hospital with a high fever and perplexed doctors. Cleopatra’s cat appears in a vision and helps Sara make it through. Luckily, the change only hurts the first time.

4. Why a ring from Cleopatra? 

Cleopatra was known for her beauty and her tragic death. I thought it would be intriguing to combine the two in a mystery.

5. Since your book has some Egyptian mythology in it, what is your favorite Egyptian myth? 

Probably the myths about death and the underworld. Mummies always were creepy to me, and the idea that servants and animals would sacrifice themselves as well so that the pharaoh would have his staff in the afterlife blew my mind. Plus, the weighing of souls and a big crocodile that would eat you if you were evil- yikes! 

6. What are three of your favorite MG books that feature mythology? 

Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles for Egypt. Again Riordan’s Percy Jackson for Greece and Rome, and for general myth and fables, The Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull.

7. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 

Have you ever read the Jack Blank series by Matt Myklusch? His main character Jack kicks robot butt!

Note: *Not yet, but it has been on my list of books I need to read* 

8. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?

I write in the living room at the family computer. The old clunky desktop.

9. Any upcoming projects that you can sure with us? 

Right now I am working on book two in the Cleopatra’s Legacy series, The Ruby Pendant. It takes place in New Orleans and involves ghosts, voodoo and of course magic!

Thanks so much, Dorine, for stopping by!!! I must get my hands on the Jack Blank series because it sounds really good.

The Emerald Ring (Cleopatra's Legacy, 1) by Dorine White, May 14, 2013. Published by Cedar Fort INC.

Twelve year old Sara Guadalupe Bogus spends the last few days of summer anticipating middle school and helping her Grandma Dora around the house. Her ordinary life turns upside down when she discovers an emerald ring once belonging to Cleopatra. Touching the ring sends a lightening like zap through her system, while putting the ring upon her finger causes it to stick like glue.
Now strange things are happening to Sara. She has troubling visions, can understand animals and learns to transform herself into an Egyptain cat. However, the worst thing is the strange man that shows up in town. He is hunting for the emerald ring, and will not stop until he acquires it. With the ring stuck on her finger, Sara has no choice. She can be hunted, or become the hunter.

Monday, May 27, 2013

All About Middle Grade Review: Wonder

Wonder by R.J. Palacio, February 14, 2012. 315 pages. Published by Knopf. Source: Library.

I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?
First Sentence:
I know I'm not an ordinary ten-year-old kid.

Friday, May 24, 2013

All About Middle Grade Interview: Laura Golden (author of Every Day After)

I am very excited to welcome Laura Golden, author of Every Day After, to the blog this week to chat about her debut novel. Hope y'all will give her a warm welcome.

About the Author:

Laura Golden is the author of EVERY DAY AFTER, a middle grade novel about a young girl learning to let go and find her own way amidst the trials of the Great Depression. It is available now from Delacorte Press/RHCB and can be purchased through your favorite independent bookseller or online retailer. Find out more about Laura and EVERY DAY AFTER by visiting her website or following her on Twitter and Facebook.

You can haunt Laura Golden at-
Website | Twitter | FB |


1. Laura, why do you think readers will enjoy reading about Lizzie and the challenges that life is getting ready to throw her way?

Lizzie’s story presents many topics that are relevant to today’s kids: bullying, an absent parent, misunderstandings and troubles between friends. Lizzie is also quite self-sufficient, a quality that many latchkey kids exhibit. So while the book is historical fiction, it feels rather modern in subject matter. Kirkus alluded to this in the last line of their review of Every Day After. The book touches on subjects and themes that are always current, no matter what time period you live in.  

2. While writing Every Day After, what did you enjoy the most about writing Lizzie's story? Ever wish that you could reach into the screen/paper and give your character a hug? 

I most enjoyed experiencing Lizzie’s emotions right along with her. As I’ve gone through tens of revisions on the book, a bit of that emotion has waned. Nothing that happens within the story is a surprise to me now. But the roller coaster of emotions I felt as the story appeared on the page is what I most remember.

As to wanting to reach in and hug Lizzie, of course I did. Also, at times, the maternal instinct would come out in me and I’d want to shake some sense into her. I wanted to tell her to stop trying to fix everything herself, to stop being so stubborn, but she had to go through all the trials in the book in order to come out a different person on the other side—as most of us do. 

3. Could you tell us a little about the setting for Every Day After and why you chose it?

Every Day After is set in Alabama in 1932, the height of the Great Depression in the south. I chose this as the setting because the story itself was inspired by my paternal grandparents’ own stories of growing up during the Depression. It couldn’t have been set in any other time or place. 

4. If you had not sold your first book, what do you think you would be doing now? If you could hop on a plane today and travel anywhere in the world where would you like to visit?

If I had not sold my first book, I would have written a second and attempted to sell it. I would still be writing, and refusing to give up. Like Lizzie, I can be stubborn. I think that is a useful trait in certain situations.

If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would visit Paris. I cry when I see it in movies. I’ve always romanticized Paris, and France in general, in my mind. There is a scene in Funny Face starring Audrey Hepburn in which her plane is flying over Paris making its descent. I tear up every single time they show the aerial shots of the city. I can’t help it. I also love the movie Sabrina with Julia Ormond for the same reason. Paris is a beloved character in that film. Adore. 

5. Laura, here's you chance to brag on your home-state, Alabama. So, what do you think is the most unique thing about Alabama?

This is the hardest question ever! Seriously. I was born and raised in Alabama, so everything about this state seems too homey for me to consider it unique or special.

If I had to say, I suppose I love the location. I am a traveler by nature, and it’s easy to make trips to the Gulf and the Smokey Mountains and the east coast. Alabama is convenient to loads of travel destinations. 

And, regarding the world of literature, we get to claim Harper Lee and Fannie Flagg as our own. I’ll never complain about that.

6. If you could travel back in time and hand middle-schooled aged you one book what would it be? Why?

I wouldn’t add or take away a single book I read. Summer of the Swans, Charlotte’s Web, Little House on the Prairie, The Ordinary Princess (my childhood fave), The Black Stallion, The Secret Garden, Black Beauty, King of the Wind, and on and on and on: I needed those stories as a child. The books I’ve read as an adult are books that I needed to read as an adult. The right stories have found their way to me at the right time. I’m thankful for that.

7. Everyone has at least one comfort read that they turn to when nothing else will do, so, I was wondering if you would like to share with readers what your long-time favorite book is? 

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson. This is a book I didn’t read until my twenties. I don’t think I would have appreciated it as much had I read it any earlier. Again, the whole right story at the right time bit. But it’s my favorite book. It’s beautiful and epic and I cry like a baby at the end.

*weird, I just bought and read Jacob, Have I loved last year. Loved it too!*

8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 

Percy Jackson. If he can conquer Greek gods, he can defeat robots.

9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?

My writing cave is actually a very tiny bedroom that has been converted into a very tiny office that I share with my husband. He develops GIS apps for iOS devices, and works largely from home. I would include a picture, but you would be appalled at the disorganized clutter in this room. There are far too many books and not enough bookshelves (read: there are piles of books in the floor), multi-colored sticky notes dotting the walls for a book I am pre-plotting, miscellaneous old family photos littered across my desk for inspiration, piles of phones and gadgets scattered (read: piled) on top of my husband’s desk. It’s not a pretty sight. It’s not a cave that’s very writerly or private. ;) 

10. Any upcoming projects that you can share with us? 

Of course! I’m not very far along, but the next book I’m working on—another historical to be set in 1950—was inspired by the life experiences of my maternal grandmother. I’m still brainstorming and taking notes, so I’ll see where the ideas take me.

Many, many thanks for having me, Orchid! Your questions were fantastic. Fingers crossed that my responses lived up to them.

Your office sounds like my room, Laura. Only one of my four bookcases survived this last move, so, I now have a few hundred books stacked on my bedroom floor. Thank so much for stopping by and answering some questions, Laura. Loved your answers.

Every Day After by Laura Golden, June 11, 2013. Published by Delacorte Press.
Jennifer Holm's fans will root for Lizzie Hawkins. RUTA SEPETYS, New York Times bestselling author of BETWEEN SHADES OF GREY, says: "A beautiful story of acceptance and determination. Lizzie Hawkins reminds us that in the mids of losing something precious we may find something equally important: ourselves."
Trouble has rained down on Lizzie Hawkins. Her daddy has deserted the family, her mama is silent with sadness, and the bank is after their house.
Daddy always said Lizzie was born to succeed, but right now she can't even hold on to her top grades or her best friend, Ben. Bratty newcomer Erin Sawyer has weaseled both away from Lizzie, but Erin won’t be satisfied until Lizzie is out of her hair for good, packed off straight to the nearest orphanage.
Still, Lizzie refuses to lose what's left of her family. With the bank deadline fast approaching, Erin causing strife at every turn, and Mama and Ben slipping away from her, Lizzie finds comfort writing in her journal and looking at Daddy's face in the heirloom locket he left her. She's keeping her head high and holding onto hope that Daddy returns on her twelfth birthday. Still, she can’t help wondering: Why did Daddy have to leave? And can I save us if he doesn't come home?
Times may be tough in Bittersweet, Alabama, but the unsinkable Lizzie Hawkins will inspire readers with her resilience and determination.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wish List Wednesday

Stand Tall by Joan Bauer, June 2, 2005. Published by Speak.
Tree, a six-foot-three-inch twelve-year-old, copes with his parents' recent divorce and his failure as an athlete by helping his grandfather, a Vietnam vet and recent amputee, and Sophie, a new girl at school.

Why: What makes me really want to read Joan Bauer's Stand Tall is that she has a way of creating characters that readers love. I just enjoy the characters, writing, and general story line for her books because they come across so real and natural.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Dogs of Winter

The Dogs of Winter by Bobbie Pyron, October 1, 2012. 320 pages. Published by Arthur A. Levine Books. Source: Blog tour (showed up late).

A small boy, a cruel city, and the incredible dogs who save him.

Based on a true story!

When Ivan's mother disappears, he's abandoned on the streets of Moscow, with little chance to make it through the harsh winter. But help comes in an unexpected form: Ivan is adopted by a pack of dogs, and the dogs quickly become more than just his street companions: They become his family. Soon Ivan, who used to love reading fairytales, is practically living in one, as he and his pack roam the city and countryside, using their wits to find food and shelter, dodging danger, begging for coins. But Ivan can’t stay hidden from the world of people forever. When help is finally offered to him, will he be able to accept it? Will he even want to?

A heart-pounding tale of survival and a moving look at what makes us human.
First Sentence:

I dream of dogs.

Friday, May 17, 2013

All About Middle Grade Interview: Ari B. Goelman (author of The Path of Names)

Can you believe it, we are already into the fifth month of the All About Middle Grade Challenge. *dances* This week I am very excited to welcome Ari B. Goelman, author of The Path of Names, to the blog. Hope y'all will give him a warm welcome.

About the Author:

I’m Ari Goelman.  I write fantasy novels.  Stories, too.

My first novel, The Path of Names, is scheduled to be published by Arthur A. Levine in June, 2013.  It’s a middle grade fantasy set at a  summer camp, a kind of combination murder mystery / ghost story / ‘why did my parents make me go to summer camp?’ story.  I went to summer camp for many years, but this is not based on my personal experiences.  I never saw any ghosts, notwithstanding my heartfelt desire, and numerous experiments with a Ouija board when I was 11.  You can read more about The Path of Names (and a variety of other interesting things) on my blog.

You can haunt Ari B. Goelman at-
Twitter | Website | FB | Goodreads |


1. I love that your main character, Dahlia, enjoys unusual things (magic and math club).  Why do you think readers will enjoy reading about her and her summer camp adventure?

            Dahlia is a pretty unusual person, and certainly has some unusual hobbies.  But in The Path of Names she struggles with issues that I think most readers will find pretty familiar  – fitting in, dealing with nasty people, disembodied spirits who need her help and so on. 
I tried to write The Path of Names so Dahlia is simultaneously dealing with all the usual summer camp stuff – the seemingly arbitrary rules, the mean girls in the bunk, relations with boys – and at the same time is confronted with a supernatural murder mystery.  Hopefully, it’s fun to watch her weave her way through all of that, in the process discovering that she is a bigger and better person than she at first realized.   

2. Why do you think Dahlia is so interested in finding out the answer behind the dreams that start up doing her time at summer camp?

Dahlia is a super curious and rational person. Whereas some people (and I include myself in this category) might be simply freaked out by the dreams and rest (seeing little girls walk through the walls of her cabin and so on), to Dahlia, it’s primarily a mystery to be solved.  On some level, she’s sure it’s a trick, and Dahlia loves figuring out how tricks work.
3. So, Ari, why did you want to have The Path of Names take place at summer camp?

            I spent years at summer camp as a young person, both as a camper and a counselor.  I think it’s a great setting for a coming of age story, because for lots of kids, summer camp is the first time in their lives that they are really free to define themselves outside of the umbrella of their family. 
In some way it’s a really weird institution – with hundreds of kids supervised by only very slightly older kids – there’s a sense that anything can happen.  I think that sense of unreality works especially well with a fantasy story.

4. What ended up being the most enjoyable experience when it came to writing your debut, The Path of Names?

Writing and publishing The Path of Names was a good time in all sorts of way.  It’s hard to choose one.
To begin with, writing the first draft was fun.  I really enjoyed revisiting all my memories of summer camp, and I loved the characters I came up with.  For me, that’s really key in enjoying the writing process – have characters with who you like spending time.
Selling the book to Cheryl Klein at Arthur A. Levine (Scholastic) was hugely thrilling.  Arthur A. Levine is the imprint of Scholastic which published Harry Potter in the United States, and Cheryl is an enormously accomplished editor.  It was a thrill to know I was going to be working with her on my first published novel.
Then, the revision process itself was satisfying.  Going back and forth with Cheryl, working with her to highlight the strengths of the manuscript, and prune the inessential bits out.  At the end of that process, there was something magical about getting the ARC (advance review copy) in the mail, and seeing my book with the beautiful cover designed by Yaffa Jaskolle. 
Finally, I am loving the opportunities to do readings and talk about The Path of Names.  After working on something for so long, it is enormously satisfying to see readers’ reactions and answer their questions in person.

5. Since you have (unfortunately) never experienced ghosts while attending summer camp, what would you say was the scariest thing that happened while attending camp

            That’s easy.   One summer, when I was a counselor, the whole camp was in the middle of nowhere on a hike and got stranded in an open field during a long thunderstorm.  The sun went down, and the buses that were meant to come get the campers never arrived.  We were out there for hours with no shelter except for a tarp or two.  Watching my campers get steadily wetter and more hypothermic was perhaps the most disturbing episode in a decade at that camp.  (I should say, perhaps, that everyone was fine after a good sleep.)  Some of my more attentive readers might notice that I included a reference to a similar event in The Path of Names.

6. Would you rather be lost in a mega hedge maze or marooned on a deserted island? Why?

            A hedge maze, definitely, just because you have to imagine that if there’s a hedge maze, there must be people around somewhere.  At some point you’ll find your way out.  A desert island, on the other hand, you could be there for a long time.  Plus, I saw too many episodes of Lost so on a desert island I’d always be waiting for the bad guys to come and steal my baby or for Sawyer to steal my guns or have a disturbing flashback about his troubled childhood or so on.

7. Since your debut book, The Path of Names, is a mystery (among other things) can you tell us your favorite middle grade mystery book? All-time favorite mystery? 

Okay.  For the middle grade mystery I would say:  the Richard Peck book The Ghost Belonged to Me.  I thought about that book a lot when I was writing The Path of Names.  Not the details (which I’ve almost entirely forgotten) as much as the creepy atmosphere and the very likable main characters.
As for my all time favorite mystery, I’m thinking the Michael Chabon book, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union.  This was lurking in the back of my mind as I wrote The Path of Names, too, what with its alternate reality and imaginary sects of Judaism and reference to Jewish superstitions. 

8. Any upcoming projects that you can share with us? 

            My next book is called Son of a Supervillain and is about Beta McGuire, the teenaged son of a vanished supervillain. Beta lives with his grandparents and mostly manages to stay out of trouble.  That is, until he stumbles over a mind control plot to take over the world, a plot that just might involve his long-vanished father.  Much fun, trouble, and some truly horrible rhyming couplets follow. 

9. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 

            Not to seem horribly self-referential, but I would definitely choose Beta.  He has a way with robots.

10. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?

            I have many writing caves, well distributed among the cafes and libraries of the City of Vancouver.  I
used to write at home pretty regularly, and will probably start again, once my baby twins are a bit older.  (I have a hard time not playing with my babies when I’m ‘working’ at home.) I’ve included a picture of my work space at the Mount Pleasant Library in the Vancouver Public Library system, where I’m writing today. 

Thanks so much for stopping by, Ari. Oh my gosh! The Ghost Belonged to Me, that is one of my favorite books (haven't read it in ages though).

The Path of Names by Ari B. Goelman, April 30, 2013. Published by Arthur A. Levine Books.

Mysteries, mazes, and magic combine in this smart, funny summer-camp fantasy -- like THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY for kids!

Dahlia Sherman loves magic, and Math Club, and Guitar Hero. She isn't so fond of nature walks, and Hebrew campfire songs, and mean girls her own age.

All of which makes a week at Jewish summer camp pretty much the worst idea ever.

But within minutes of arriving at camp, Dahlia realizes that it might not be as bad as she'd feared. First she sees two little girls walk right through the walls of her cabin. Then come the dreams -- frighteningly detailed visions of a young man being pursued through 1930s New York City. How are the dreams and the girls related? Why is Dahlia the only one who can see any of them? And what's up with the overgrown, strangely shaped hedge maze that none of the campers are allowed to touch? Dahlia's increasingly dangerous quest for answers will lead her right to the center of the maze -- but it will take all her courage, smarts, and sleight-of-hand skills to get her back out again.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cover Reveal: All In by Marta Brown

About the Author:
Marta Brown grew up in the Pacific Northwest and was a teenager when Doc Martens, Pearl Jam and flannel were the norm and Dylan loved Kelly forever (Beverly Hills, 90210 shout out).

She still lives just outside Seattle, now with her husband and cat, and loves the rain.

When she’s not writing about cute boys, first kisses and the magic and wonder of being seventeen, she’s watching The CW. And she sleeps in. Late.

You can haunt Marta Brown at-

All In by Marta Brown, May 28, 2013. 

On the picturesque island of Martha's Vineyard, there are two kinds of residents. Locals and Stays.

Local boy, Lane McCarthy, plans on spending his summer working at the country club to save money for college in the fall, while summer stay, Ashley Whitmore, and her elite group of friends are only there to play.

As the summer heat goes up on the island, so does the ante, when both Lane and Ashley must decide what they’re willing to wager in order to follow their dreams… and their hearts.

With stakes as high as the surf, and hopes as high as the midday sun, will they risk everything and go all in?

You can add Marta Brown's All In to your Goodreads shelf.

GIVEAWAY The author is hosting a giveaway for a 25$ Amazon Gift Card to celebrate the cover reveal.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wish List Wednesday

Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Vol. 1 by Magica Quartet, Hanokage. May 29 2012. Published by Yen Press.

In this world, there exist strange creatures who have the power to grant one wish to a chosen girl. However, in exchange, that girl must then become a magical girl and use their powers to fight against witches, evil creatures born from darkness that are responsible for murders and suicides.

In the city of Mitakihara, a schoolgirl named Madoka Kaname and her friend Sayaka Miki are approached by a familiar named Kyubey, who offers to grant each of them one wish in return for making each of them a magical girl. Another magical girl named Homura Akemi tries to prevent Madoka from making such a deal, while Kyubey urges Madoka by telling her she will become the most powerful magical girl. However, contrary to the glamorous notions one would expect, a magical girl finds herself dealing with death, isolation, loss of humanity, agony over the value of her wish, and existential crisis. Madoka, following her friends, soon sees the darker side of being a magical girl, and because of knowing the truth about being a magical girl, she questions if she should become one as well.
Why: Okay, so, I kinda started reading Madoka Magica at the bookstore while everyone else had scattered about the mall. I don't usually read books in store...without buying them, but was bored. Enough rambling. The reason I need/want Madoka Magica is that it was interesting, had nice artwork, and because I have no idea how the volume ended.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, May 13, 2013

ARC Review: In a Glass Grimmly

In a Glass Grimmly (A Tale Dark & Grimm, 2) by Adam Gidwitz, September 22, 2012. 336 pages. Published by Dutten Juvenile. Source: ARCycling.

More Grimm tales await in the harrowing, hilarious companion to a beloved new classic

Take caution ahead--
Oversize plant life, eerie amphibious royalty, and fear-inducing creatures abound.

Lest you enter with dread.
Follow Jack and Jill as they enter startling new landscapes that may (or may not) be scary, bloody, terrifying, and altogether true.

Step lively, dear reader . . .
Happily ever after isn't cutting it anymore.

In this companion novel to Adam Gidwitz's widely acclaimed, award-winning debut, A Tale Dark & Grimm, Jack and Jill explore a new set of tales from the Brothers Grimm and others, including Jack and the Beanstalk and The Frog Prince.
First Sentence:

Once upon a time, fairy tales were horrible.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother Sea Turtles Month

Stephanie Lisa Tara presents Mother Sea Turtle month!  Mothers need to stick together; whether scaly, feathered, furry or skinned! And to celebrate this Mother's Day and the release of her newest turtle book, Stephanie Lisa Tara's Turtle Book—which is the companion follow-up to her first international bestseller, I'll Follow the Moon—Stephanie Lisa Tara is giving away 2 gorgeous, large plush sea turtles (26"L x 8"H x 16"W) to reviewers!

 Dear Turtle Activists,

I want to thank each and every one of you for your tireless dedication and love to our cause! I have written this book FOR YOU! I dedicate this book TO YOU! 120 pages of fotos, facts and fun!

Stephanie Lisa Tara's Turtle Book has a primary goal: SAVING SEA TURTLES FROM EXTINCTION. A portion of proceeds from this book go to charitable organizations like the Turtle Foundation (;) of whom my first turtle book, I'LL FOLLOW THE MOON—is a proud sponsor.

If you are new to us—please join with us, for together, holding hands, we can effect change. Yes—really! xoxo. SAVE GREEN SEA TURTLES on Facebook (;) is our hugely popular hang-out—tens of thousands of Activists-strong. Please join us!

NOW—prepare for something totally new and amazing!

Stephanie Lisa Tara's Turtle Book is not your typical scientific turtle book: my special book is all about having FUN! Enjoy the mini FLIP-BOOK in the corners and create a movie of your own! Click the ebook pages—or thumb through manually in the paperback—YOUR CHOICE!

I've written these chapters in a fun, chatty voice—you know, the one YOU use when talking up your favorite topics! Don't be surprised if you find yourself giggling as you turn pages! Enjoy breathtaking photography, incredible facts, and way-out wow'ing surprises that these millennium-old creatures have to share.

AND: TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE! Yep! Stephanie Lisa Tara's Turtle Book is my second turtle book—it's a perfect TWIN to my first international bestseller, I'LL FOLLOW THE MOON: buy BOTH TOGETHER for your shelf. Two little twins; one a fable, one fotos, facts & fun.

So, in closing...please accept this deeply personal gift from me, your faithful sea turtle leader, the turtle-lady, or Stephanie Lisa Turtle - as I was renamed recently by a fan—from my heart to yours.


I've always believed that magic hides in special places. As a child, people would often stare at my bright red hair, which was very, very bright indeed.
Unfortunately, I developed a bad habit of making up rhymes about all of them, and they soon became funny characters. I didn't have much time to think about being different; fanciful lyricisms danced in my head, and no one was safe!
Since then, I've come to believe that storytelling has the power to inspire a deep love of language and learning. Words tripping off the tongue in somersaults that stick to your thoughts like taffy-- those are the things that stay forever in the mind.
I've lived in many special places: on a farm, in a city skyscraper, on a tropical beach, and in the beautiful country of France. Now I live in northern California, between the redwood forests and the sea. Even though I'm an adult, I'm still as silly as ever.
Many nice words have been used to describe my books, such as fun, engaging, delightful, and whimsical. Some folks say that I deliver timeless messages of love for kids and parents to share again and again; this makes me very happy. I hope that you'll enjoy my stories, too. Captivating children with language is something that I believe in, and I strive to live my life with this always.
--Stephanie Lisa Tara

Cause pages (each supports a book's vision):
Stephanie Lisa Tara's Personal Sites:


15 lucky people will win a copy of Stephanie Lisa Tara's Turtle Book. You must be 13 or older to enter. Open to US addresses only.  Giveaway runs from May 12th to June 12, 2013
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Two lucky reviewers will win a Melissa and Doug Giant Plush Stuffed Sea Turtle that retails at $34.99 and measures 26"L x 8"H x 16"W.  You must review Stephanie Lisa Tara's Turtle Book on Amazon to enter.  This giveaway runs from Mothers Day, May 12th to June 12th, 2013.

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And you can still enter to win a Kindle Fire! 

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