Guest Blogger: Michaela MacColl, Author of Always Emily (Giveaway)

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Emily and Charlotte Brontë are about as opposite as two sisters can be. Charlotte is practical and cautious; Emily is headstrong and imaginative. But they do have one thing in common: a love of writing. This shared passion will lead them to be two of the first published female novelists and authors of several enduring works of classic literature. But they’re not there yet. First, they have to figure out if there is a connection between a string of local burglaries, rumors that a neighbor’s death may not have been accidental, and the appearance on the moors of a mysterious and handsome stranger. The girls have a lot of knots to untangle—before someone else gets killed.

What’s Up with That Title? by Michaela MacColl

This week my new book Always Emily comes out. It’s the next novel in my series of literary mysteries – this one is about the Bronte sisters.  Charlotte Bronte (who would write Jane Eyre) is 18 and her sister Emily (of Wuthering Heights fame) is 17. The sisters get involved in a mystery on their very own moors – a mystery that threatens their peace of mind, their brother and father and even their lives.

If my story is about two sisters, what’s up with that title? Always Emily? I’ve had lots of  people ask me (especially my husband who gets this book mixed up with my last one about Emily Dickinson).  The truth is this book was originally written in alternating chapters, first Charlotte then Emily. These sisters, despite having an identical upbringing, were completely different from one another.

Charlotte was the eldest sister and she assumed responsibility for the family. She’s the one with the plan – to keep the family solvent, to find employment and to get the sisters published.  Emily, on the other hand, had zero ambitions other than to wander the moors and write her wild, uninhibited poetry and stories. Naturally Charlotte wrote about the repressed and moral Jane Eyre, while Emily penned a gothic melodrama of illicit love and revenge.

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Ultimately I found the alternating narration way too confining. It didn’t seem fair to the reader to leave Charlotte locked in a trunk about to suffocate and then shift to Emily doing the most mundane of chores.  So I switched to a third person, but let each sister own their own chapters.  It worked so much better but I had to answer that pressing question, who is the main character?

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I’m the eldest in my family and I’m the one who likes to plan – so my preference was Charlotte of course. But Emily was so much more fun! And if there’s to be a romance (and in these literary mysteries there is always a hint of some love in the air) Emily seems the more likely candidate. So Emily won out by a hair – Charlotte has adventures, but Emily is the main player.

Charlotte quite reasonably resents her sister’s lack of responsibilities. And how aggravating that Emily is the sister that attracts the masculine attention that Charlotte craved. More than once Charlotte mutters, “Emily, it’s always Emily.”

My editor and I liked this as a title because it sounds so romantic – but really it’s the lament of the plainer, older, duller sister. It’s always Emily!

Thanks for reading. I’d love to have you visit at www.michaelamaccoll.com , or follow me on Twitter at @MichaelaMacColl or check out Author Michaela MacColl on Facebook.

 

Read an excerpt at http://www.scribd.com/doc/198642656/Always-Emily

CCSS-Aligned Discussion/Teacher’s Guide at http://www.chroniclebooks.com/landing-pages/pdfs/AlwaysEmily_DiscussionGuide_FINAL.pdf

Win a signed copy of Always Emily!

Leave a comment, including your email address, for a chance to win an autographed copy of Always Emily by Michaela MacColl!

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

  • By entering, you confirm you are 18 years of age or older and reside in the U.S. or Canada.
  • Giveaway ends 11:59 PM EST on May 1, 2014.
  • Winner will be notified by email and have 72 hours to claim the prize.
  • Prize will be shipped directly to the winner by the author or her representative.
  • This blog is not responsible for items lost or damaged in shipment.
  • Void where prohibited.

 

The Maisy Files: Maisy and the Missing Mice by Elizabeth Woodrum

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Young mystery lovers will want to read this imaginative and funny story about a fourth grader with a special skill for solving mysteries.

Maisy and the Missing Mice by Elizabeth Woodrum is the first book in The Maisy Files series. It features Maisy, a fourth grader who loves black and white mystery movies, cherry lollipops, and her dog, Reesie. She also has a knack for solving mysteries. In Maisy and the Missing Mice, Maisy must follow the clues to discover who stole the school’s mascots and the stash of cherry lollipops she keeps in her locker.

This is the best book. I loved everything about it: the way Maisy was introduced, how the case unfolded, the way Maisy is admired by her peers and the staff of the school for her mystery-solving skills, and how everything turns gray when she’s working a case and then returns to normal colors once she’s solved the mystery. The ending of the book also hints at what the next book in this series will be about, similar to how Sam from the show Quantum Leap would leap into the next time period as soon as he fixed what was wrong; giving viewers a glimpse at what would come next.

Woodrum shows off her skills as an educator by being in tune with what kids will enjoy. With Maisy and the Missing Mice she has created an easy and fun to read story for your young mystery lover. Though the detective is a girl, there are several male characters whose actions will capture the attention of boys, and they’ll delight in figuring out the mystery right along with Maisy.

Highly recommended!

Series: The Maisy Files
Paperback: 74 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (October 14, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1492922056
ISBN-13: 978-1492922056

BUY THE BOOK AT AMAZONElizabeth Woodrum

Discuss this book at the PUYB Virtual Book Club on Goodreads by clicking HERE.

Elizabeth Woodrum is a full time elementary teacher. Originally from Indiana, Elizabeth currently resides near Dayton, Ohio with her two pets: a cat named Butterscotch and a dog named Reese Cup. 

You can view more about Elizabeth Woodrum at www.elizabethwoodrum.com

 

I received a copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Tours. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

 

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Book Spotlight: Dead Dreams by Emma Right

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Eighteen-year-old Brie O’Mara has so much going for her: a loving family in the sidelines, an heiress for a roommate, and dreams that might just come true. Big dreams–of going to acting school, finishing college and making a name for herself. She is about to be the envy of everyone she knew. What more could she hope for? Except her dreams are about to lead her down the road to nightmares. Nightmares that could turn into a deadly reality.

Book Title: Dead Dreams, Book 1, a young adult contemporary psychological thriller and mystery

Print Length: 170 pages

Publisher: Right House Books; 2013 First edition

(August 26, 2013)

Format: Kindle

ASIN: B00ESVEVBQ

Purchase at Amazon!

Music video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uM7MI_3vqyo

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Emma Right is a happy wife and Christian homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast of the USA. Besides running a busy home, and looking after their five pets, which includes two cats, a bunny and a Long-haired dachshund, she also writes stories for her children. She loves the Lord and when she doesn’t have her nose in a book, she is telling her kids to get theirs in one.

Right worked as a copywriter for two major advertising agencies and won several awards, including the prestigious Clio Award for her ads, before she settled down to have children.

Social Links:

Email Address: emmarightmarketing@gmail.com

Website: http://www.emmaright.com

Twitter link @emmbeliever

Facebook link https://www.facebook.com/DeadDreamsEmmaRight

Goodreads User:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18396455-dead-dreams

https://plus.google.com/u/0/111644513292318573575/posts

http://pinterest.com/emmaright/

https://twitter.com/emmbeliever

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7036571.Emma_Right

http://www.librarything.com/profile/emma.right.author

http://www.shelfari.com/emmaright

http://www.freado.com/users/35467/emma-right

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Emma-Right/e/B00BD7C4A8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

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New Books for Review

seesawClavis sent me a group of books to review, which you’ll be seeing soon. Here’s a list of what arrived this week:

 

The Seesaw and Good-bye, Fish by Judith Koppens,

Circus 123 by one of my favorites, Guido van Genechten,crypto

A Big Book of Face Painting by Charlotte Verrecas,

Kevin’s Big Book of Emotions by another favorite, Liesbet Slegers.

 

I also purchased a copy of The Crypto-Capers in The Peacock Diaries by Renee Hand. I’ve been following this series since the beginning, so I sure don’t want to miss out on any of them.

Overdue is my review of Soccer Dreams by Clare Hodgson Meeker, but it’s coming soon. I promise.

 

New and Upcoming Indie MG and YA Titles

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Jake’s plan for a carefree holiday at a musical performing arts camp in the Windy City hits a sour note when he stumbles upon a long-hidden message from his mother, art historian Karen McGreevy. She had traveled to Chicago thirteen years earlier on a dream assignment, never to return home. With his violin and his mother’s mysterious letter in hand, Jake, his best friend Julie, and new pals Ben and Natalie are heading west, where they will follow the clues and uncover the truth about a missing masterpiece, the meaning of friendship, and the enduring bond between a mother and her son.

Coming in November from MB Publishing!

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A thrilling graphic novel adventure that unlocks the mysteries of ancient Egypt!

The Egyptian capital of Cairo is a buzzing hive of treasure hunters, thrill-seekers, and adventurers, but to 12-year-old Ronald “Rocket” Robinson, it’s just another sticker on his well worn suitcase. But when Rocket finds a strange note written in Egyptian hieroglyphs, he stumbles into an adventure more incredible than anything he’s ever dreamt of.

Rocket and his friends soon run afoul of master criminal Otto Von Stürm, who’s planning the theft of the greatest treasure in history—an ancient pharaoh’s fortune, secretly hidden for centuries. To stop him, they’ll have to de-code an ancient riddle, solve a cryptic puzzle, face off hungry crocodiles, and navigate a centuries-old labyrinth full of traps. All while staying one step ahead of Otto’s bloodthirsty goons.

The streets of Cairo come alive in Sean O’Neill’s lively, vibrant, full-color illustrated pages. Young fans of ancient Egypt will immediately be drawn in by the references to hieroglyphics, mummies, pyramids, and pharaoh’s tombs, all lavishly illustrated in O’Neill’s fun, accessible style.

Coming in October from BoilerRoom Studios.

survivors

The Survivors: Body & Blood is the third installment of The Survivors Series!

How many answers you seek are just a part of you, waiting to be found?

The game has changed.

Fresh from her first brush with mortality, a fragile Sadie Matthau is playing human with Cole Hardwick while the Survivors endure unimaginable tragedy. Wrought with the first deaths of their own kind, a tyrant who will torture them, and an opponent more terrifying than anyone could have foreseen, the Survivors are facing their end.

Told from three points of view, The Survivors: Body & Blood is a bloodcurdling, mind-bending, heart-stopping ride. As Sadie and the Winters uncover more enemies, more history, and more answers, they find themselves brought closer together and ripped further apart. And all the while, a haunting Alexander Raven lurks at the edge of Sadie s lifeline, at the darkening fringes of her mind.

As the Survivors descend into chaos, Sadie realizes a painful truth: the deepest of secrets leave the darkest of marks.

Caught between a terrifying fantasy and her own grim reality, Body & Blood is the story of Sadie s dance with her demons, future, past, and present.

Released July 2013 from Chafie Press, LLC.

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Filled with terrific suspense and budding romance, Daughter of Camelot is a fast paced adventure set against the turmoil at the end of the Arthurian era.

Raised in the shadow of a fort dedicated to training Knights of the Round Table, Deirdre thirsts for adventure.

Instead, at 14, she is sent to court to learn the etiquette and talents of a young woman.

Court life, however, is more fraught with danger than she expected, and Deirdre finds herself entangled in a deadly conspiracy that stretches deep into the very heart of Camelot.

All Deirdre thought she knew and believed in—loyalty, love, bravery—is challenged when she embarks on a quest to defy Fate and save the King.

Coming in September 2013 from Mabon Publishing.

 

 

Best of Summer 2013 Kid Lit Giveaway Hop

Best of Summer 2013 Kid Lit Giveaway Hop - Button

The Best of Summer 2013 Kid Lit Giveaway Hop is hosted by Mother Daughter Book Reviews and Youth Literature Reviews. Kid lit bloggers, teen lit blogger, authors, and publishers are coming together to share their favorite books of the summer!

The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection is giving away a hardcover copy of Nobody’s Secret, a novel of intrigue and romance by Michaela MacColl. This is the first book in a MacColl’s new series that imagines great literary figures as teenage crime solvers.

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One day, fifteen-year-old Emily Dickinson meets a mysterious, handsome young man. Surprisingly, he doesn’t seem to know who she or her family is. And even more surprisingly, he playfully refuses to divulge his name. Emily enjoys her secret flirtation with Mr. “Nobody” until he turns up dead in her family’s pond. She’s stricken with guilt. Only Emily can discover who this enigmatic stranger was before he’s condemned to be buried in an anonymous grave. Her investigation takes her deep into town secrets, blossoming romance, and deadly danger. Exquisitely written and meticulously researched, this novel celebrates Emily Dickinson’s intellect and spunk in a page-turner of a book that will excite fans of mystery, romance, and poetry alike.

Enter for your chance to win this book

Leave a comment answering the following statement: “My favorite children’s book is….”

Rules:

  • This giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada who are 18 years of age or older.
  • Prize will be shipped to the winner via USPS.
  • Only comments including an email address are eligible to win.
  • Giveaway runs from 12:00 AM EST on August 25, 2013 to 11:59 PM EST on September 6, 2013.
  • Winner will be notified by email. Winner has 72 hours to respond with mailing address before a new winner is selected.
  • The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection is not responsible for items lost or damaged in shipment.

Good luck!

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Don’t Let the Wind Catch You by Aaron Paul Lazar on Sale!

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Don’t Let the Wind Catch You, the latest young Gus LeGarde book by Aaron Paul Lazar, is on sale this weekend (Friday, August 23 and Saturday, August 24) for only 99 cents!

When young Gus LeGarde befriends Tully, a cranky old hermit in the woods who speaks to an Indian spirit, he wonders if the man is nuts. But when the spirit rattles tin cups, draws on dusty mirrors, and flips book pages, pestering him to find evidence to avenge her past, things change fast. What Gus doesn’t understand is why his mother hates Tully and forbids him to see the old man. What could Tully have possibly done to earn this distrust?

Faced with long-buried family secrets and danger, Gus summons courage beyond his years in this poignant and powerful telling of the sultry summer of 1965.

Don’t miss your chance to pick up this fascinating novel that some are comparing to Stand By Me and To Kill A Mockingbird. Hope you’ll visit us again on Monday, when my review of this novel is posted.

PURCHASE HERE!

Tremolo: cry of the loon by Aaron Paul Lazar

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A beautifully written, richly detailed mystery for young adults and adults comes to you from the talented pen of Aaron Paul Lazar. Tremolo: cry of the loon features a young Gus LeGarde living at the family camp in the woods of Maine. Set in 1964, Gus and his friends (twins Elsbeth and Siegfried) run their boat aground and are forced to swim to shore. Trudging back to camp, Gus comes face-to-face with a bloody and frightened Sharon Adamski, who quickly disappears into the woods. Little does Gus know, what he sees puts him in extreme danger.

I own several books by Lazar, but haven’t had the chance to read any until now. Of course, now I know what I was missing. In this novel, Lazar creates a coming-of-age mystery with a setting that is so much a part of the story that it is almost a character itself. Tremolo: cry of the loon is filled with numerous engaging characters: from Gus’s parents and grandparents to the twins to the camp staff and a mysterious guest who arrives to stay in Cabin Fifteen. Witnessing the developing relationships among all the characters is wonderful.

From the moment I began this book I was captivated. I didn’t want to put it down until I read the last page. The twists and turns kept me engaged, while watching Gus’s mettle being put to the test made me root for him to come out victorious. Also, as a child of the 60s and 70s, the numerous historical references allowed me to feel right at home.

Tremolo: cry of the loon is the perfect summertime read. It takes that dreaded summer camp experience and turns it into an exciting, suspenseful mystery.

File Size: 531 KB
Print Length: 236 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1933353082
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Twilight Times Books (August 15, 2006)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B0042RULTM

 

I purchased a Kindle version of this book so I would be caught up with the young Gus LeGarde series when the author tours next month with the second book, Don’t Let the Wind Catch You. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Goodbye Is Forever by Mary Jean Kelso

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Lynne Garrett’s life changed forever as a result of a horrific car accident that required one of her legs to be amputated. Not wanting to join her family for a trip to Disneyland, Lynne decides to visit her Aunt Pat in the historical area of Virginia City, Nevada. Pursued by strange men she saw on the plane, Lynne must uncover a mystery that threatens her life.

Mystery and history blend together in this suspenseful young adult novel from award-winning author Mary Jean Kelso. Relying on her vast knowledge of the area, Kelso creates an adventure story filled with historical tidbits and locales. The author was wise to make Lynne new to the area, so other characters had a reason to share those tidbits. I enjoyed learning more about the area, too. It was also good to see Lynne having more than the mystery to focus on. She is adjusting to life after her accident while also trying to stay one step ahead of the men who seem determined to harm her. Twists and turns lead to a surprising ending that satisfies.

Goodbye Is Forever is a quick summer read.

Rating: :) :) :) :)

File Size: 520 KB
Print Length: 148 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Wings ePress (April 1, 2010)
ISBN 978-1-59088-511-6 (e-book)
ISBN 978-1-59088-542-0 (paperback)

I received an electronic copy from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Interview with Michaela MacColl, Author of Nobody’s Secret

imagesCAVTYJWPMichaela MacColl studied multidisciplinary history at Vassar College and Yale University, which turns out to be the perfect degree for writing historical fiction. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and three extremely large cats in Connecticut. To learn more about her work, please visit www.michaelamaccoll.com 

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Albany NY.

When did you begin writing?

I began writing about 12 years ago. I was traveling with my young kids in Italy and trying to get them interested in the places we were seeing (with poor results). I started to think about writing historical fiction about particular places. My goals and style evolved – but I still consider setting to be an important “character” in my work.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I hate this question! I wish I was more disciplined than I am. I basically write to deadlines. I have a wonderful critique group who meet weekly. That’s my impetus most weeks. Of course now I have contracts and deadlines with my publishers. But guilt is usually my driver!

What is this book about?

Nobody’s Secret is a literary mystery starring Emily Dickinson. I started with the premise that Emily might be a brilliant natural detective – she’s a born observer (just read her poems about nature) and she questions authority. She feels passionately about life and knows how to mourn death. I knew that if I gave her something to care about, a mystery to solve and an injustice to right, she would never ever stop.

What inspired you to write it?nobody

It’s based on a poem, “I’m Nobody, Who are You? Are you Nobody too?” It’s one of my favorites of hers. The poem seems to sum up all her frustration with being the daughter of a important person when all she wants is anonymity. When she meets a handsome stranger, who also desires anonymity, they are immediately attracted to each other. Mr. Nobody, as Emily calls him, is just the kind of hero that Emily might fall in love with.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

Well, I loved writing Emily. It’s such a daunting task to try and write a character based on a true person – particularly a brilliant writer like Emily. But once I found a voice for her that I liked, it was easy! On the other hand, I was a little bit in love with Mr. Nobody.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

When I had the idea to write a literary mystery with Emily Dickinson, I first envisioned a series of books with her as my “detective.” To be honest, I was hoping to cut down on the amount of research I had to do with every book. I pitched the idea to my very very smart editor, Victoria Rock. She responded by suggesting that Emily might not be sustainable as a series – but what did I think of a series of mysteries about different writers, with their own settings, time periods and of course literary style. In other words, four times the research!

I’ve finished the next one already, a novel about the Bronte sisters. And as she usually is, Victoria was right. It was a delight to learn about these writers and immerse myself in their work. Hopefully readers will find the idea as fun as I do.

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

There is a really fun trailer for Nobody’s Secret. You can find it on my website, www.michaelamaccoll.com.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

It was a long time between starting to write in 2000 before being published in 2010 (to be fair, I sold the book in late 2008). You have to be stubborn and keep writing. And reading. Consistent writing and reading is the best way to improve your craft.