Coming in October: Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Welcome back to the irresistible world of Greenglass House where thirteen-year-old Milo is, once again, spending the winter holidays stuck in a house full of strange guests who are not what they seem. There are fresh clues to uncover as friends old and new join in his search for a mysterious map and a famous smuggler’s lost haul.   This exciting sequel to a beloved book that was praised in a starred review as “an enchanting, empowering read” is sure to thrill both fans and newcomers. Like its predecessor, it’s a smart, suspenseful tale that offers ghosts, friendships, and a cast of unforgettable characters, all wrapped up in a cozy mystery.

Age Range: 10 – 12 years
Grade Level: 5 – 7
Lexile Measure: 800
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Clarion Books (October 3, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 054499146X
ISBN-13: 978-0544991460

Pre-order at Amazon!

In the Mail and Blog Goals for 2014

Every year I receive numerous unsolicited books for review. Sometimes I read them, oftentimes I don’t. As we move into 2014, I’m setting new goals for all my blogs. The largest change is that I will be participating in fewer virtual book tours next year. I’ve been blogging since 2007; and while I enjoy new reading material, at this point I have more than I could read in five years. I also want the freedom to read for pleasure instead of sticking to a strict blogging schedule. While I will definitely keep blogging–I truly love it–I want to share more posts that interest me (and hopefully you) than promote books being featured on dozens of other blogs at the same time.

To get the new year started off right, I am going to make a brief mention of some of the unsolicited books I’ve received lately. You might see reviews of some popping up later in 2014, but for now I simply want to share them and then move forward.

mne_HK_We Love Each Other_Cov_z_Layout 1Love is everywhere! And it’s not just us humans. From birds to elephants, rabbits to turtles, there is love and togetherness on every page.

Very young readers will enjoy the surprises in this cheerfully inventive little book.

*

A stunning reworking of the classic tale.h & g

Once upon a time, there lived a poor woodcutter with his wife and two children, Hansel and Gretel …

And so begins the thrilling story of two children relying on their wits to survive in a hostile world. Sybille Schenker’s evocative and exquisite illustrations bring a unique beauty and graphic excellence to this enduring fairy tale.

Blogger’s note: I realize the story of Hansel and Gretel is a classic, but it is such a frightening story (made even more so by this black cover). The artwork is beautiful and the book’s design unique, but if I had read this to the girls when they were younger they would have nightmares for days.

*

guinea piugsFuzzy and Coco are guinea pigs who live with their kindly owners, Ben and Henrietta Bliss. Coco likes to spend her days pampering herself and listening to harp concertos. Fuzzy is much more down to earth – he is a passionate cook who wants nothing more than to learn to make delicious meals for Ben and Henrietta.

So when Fuzzy spots an ad run by glamorous local chef Scarlet Cleaver stating ‘Guinea Pigs Wanted’, he is enormously excited – what a chance to learn some cooking skills! Coco warns him that the ad is not what he thinks, but he won’t listen; when she’s not looking, he sneaks off to find the restaurant.

And so Coco has to get online to try track Fuzzy down. But when Micespace reveals that guinea pigs from all over town have been taken away in a van by Scarlet Cleaver herself, Coco must set off on a rescue mission to prevent Fuzzy from ending up as main course on The Meat Cleaver’s menu!

A captivatingly funny story that will delight readers age 5+.

*

ghosts

Frightfully Friendly Ghosties, described as “exciting, charming and ridiculous,” by The Guardian, is a hilarious book for young readers about the adventures of a funny, charming, and terribly polite group of ghosts who just want to get along with their housemates. The cast of classic characters, brilliant one-liners, and clever plotting will delight children and parents alike.

Tabitha Tumbly, Charlie Vapor, Rusty Chains, and their friends can’t understand why the still-alives in their house are so mean. The friendlier the ghosties are—whether hiding under beds and rushing out to read the still-alives a bedtime story or swooping down the chimney just to say hello—the meaner the still-alives become!

When the still-alive family puts garlic around the house and calls in a priest, however, the ghostie gloves come off. Tabitha and Charlie decide to invite The Ghoul to sort out the still-alives once and for all. But could the terrifying Ghoul prove to be more trouble than the ghosties bargained for?

*

zoo

Sammy Feral is a lucky boy. His family run a zoo and so he spends his spare time hanging out with orangutans, crocodiles and snakes. But his luck has just run out – his entire family has been infected with a werewolf virus! Now his mum, dad and sisters are howling at the moon, craving raw meat and, worst of all, trying to infect Sammy! Luckily, Donny and Red – a crack team who investigate animals that don’t exist – are on hand to help. But with an evil professor determined to take over Feral Zoo and no known cure for the virus, things aren’t looking good for Sammy!

*

Meet the Rat: A dancing, football-playing gangster-baiting ten-year-old. When she foresaw her father’s death, she picked up her football and decided to head for New York.Unhooking the Moon

Meet her older brother Bob: Protector of the Rat, but more often her follower, he is determined to find their uncle in America and discover a new life for them both.

On their adventures across the flatlands of Winnipeg and through the exciting streets of New York, Bob and the Rat make friends with a hilarious con man and a famous rap star, and escape numerous dangers. But is their Uncle a rich business man, or is the word on the street, that he something more sinister, true? And will they ever find him?

Hughes has created a funny, warm, unique world that lives and breathes. Like I Capture the Castle, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Curious Incident, Hughes’ story and characters will resonate for many and for years to come.

A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat by Beverly Stowe McClure

pirate-blockade-runner-cat-200x300A perfect, not too spooky, ghost adventure that kids will enjoy is the latest novel from award-winning author Beverly Stowe McClure.

Erik Burns is stuck in South Carolina with his mother and Aunt Molly after he finds a black lace bra in the glove compartment of his dad’s car. Whoops! Kept away from all his friends and the sport he loved to play in Texas, Erik is willing to do whatever it takes to get back home.

When Starry and Stormy Knight, a set of weird twins that live down the block, try to convince Erik that people have seen a light radiating from the deactivated lighthouse and a ghostly pirate ship prowling the harbor, he wants nothing to do with it. But when he witnesses these occurrences, he can’t deny the proof before him. That’s when he hatches a plan to help the ghosts rest in peace in exchange for a personalized haunting that will send his mother rushing back home to Texas so Erick can get his life back.

Beverly and I are in the same critique group, so I had the pleasure of watching this story unfold before it was published. Talented in the areas of contemporary and historical fiction, I am always amazed by how diverse her ideas are while staying true to her fan base. A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat should be another big winner for her. Why? Because in a nutshell, no matter what Beverly is writing, she knows what relates well to her readers.

In this story, Erik has been uprooted. Not only is he away from all his friends and baseball, he’s pretty ticked his dad hasn’t tried to contact him since the move. Those emotions work their way into the unfolding stories of Major Stede Bonnet, Blackbeard, and the ghost residing in the deactivated Morris Island Lighthouse. Not only that, Erik’s mom is trying to get him to befriend a couple of odd twins, when all he wants is to be reunited with his friends in Texas.

This paranormal middle grade/tween novel has a lot to offer. A great read any time of the year, it will definitely get you in the mood for Halloween.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

File Size: 410 KB
Print Length: 265 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing (January 9, 2013)
ISBN 978-1-77127-219-3
Available in numerous digital formats. Visit the publisher’s website for more information.

 

I received a free digital copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

 

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First Chapter Review: A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat by Beverly Stowe McClure

TC&TBC

Today starts the virtual book tour for Beverly Stowe McClure’s A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat. My first chapter review of this middle grade/tween paranormal is part of that tour. The author had sent me a copy of this book when it was first released.  It’s high time I read it.

pirate-blockade-runner-cat-200x300BLURB: Thirteen-year-old Erik Burks’ life is falling apart. When he discovers a lace bra in the glove compartment of his dad’s car, his mom leaves his father and drags Erik from being king of the hill in Texas to the bottom of the pits in South Carolina. No Dad, no baseball, no friends, just Starry Knight (a girl who reads minds) and her equally weird brother, Stormy, the twins that live down the block.

Just when Erik thinks life can’t get any worse, while hanging out at the beach one evening, he and the twins notice lights radiating from the lighthouse. The only problem is the lighthouse was deactivated years ago. Stranger still, a ship materializes in the moonlit harbor. Curious, the twins and a reluctant Erik investigate and discover the ghost of a blockade runner, a phantom cat, and a pirate who prowls Charleston Harbor, all searching for rest.

A former nonbeliever in the existence of ghosts, Erik cannot deny the proof before him. And he has a revelation: The ghosts may be the answer to his desire to return home. Erik soon makes a deal with the ghosts. He’ll help them find what they’re looking for so their spirits can rest in peace. In return, the ghosts will scare Erik’s mother so she’ll be on the next flight back to Texas. Star thinks his plan stinks, but Erik wants his life back, even at the cost of his mother’s sanity.

COVER: This publisher has a lot of great covers, but I have to admit this is one of my favorites. The color, the fonts, the images, they all work together nicely. Kudos to the cover artist.

FIRST CHAPTER: Erik is feeling sorry for himself. His mom has uprooted him and moved to South Carolina where he’s got no Dad, no baseball, and no friends. There are those two freaky twins, Stormy and Starry Knight, but Erik is not having a grand time. He’s kind of tired of hearing about the light coming from the lighthouse–which is not likely since the lighthouse was deactivated years ago. Then when what looks like a ship appears, he’s had enough.

KEEP READING: I had the privilege of seeing this story in the pre-published stage, so I have to admit I knew I would keep going. What McClure has always done well is capture the emotions of her characters. Here’s this thirteen-year-old boy with a great life and great friends in Texas, maybe even a girl to admire, and suddenly he’s pulled from all that and brought to South Carolina where all he has is a set of freaky twins to hang out with. His mom keeps telling him he’s going to love it, but Erik isn’t convinced. Change can be hard for children, especially a move away from friends, and McClure captures that so well with Erik.

The ending of this chapter hints at what is to come, even if Erik isn’t ready to buy into anything yet. This makes for a smooth transition into the next chapter, as Erik walks home and contemplates what Stormy and Starry are telling him about the lights and the ship. I’m definitely eager to continue. I don’t know what additional edits have been performed since I first read this book, but everything I’ve read from this author has been fantastic.Beverly Stowe McClure photojpg

Pages  240

ISBN  978-1-77127-219-3

I received a free copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Beverly Stowe McClure, a former teacher, is now enjoying a second career: writing. She never planned to be a writer, but in the classroom she and her students did such fun activities in art and science that she decided to write about some of them. Luckily, a few magazines liked what she sent them, and her articles have appeared in Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Ladybug, Focus on the Family Clubhouse, Jr., and others. Nine of her stories have been published as books, the latest one a MG/Tween eBook: A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat. She also has two stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies.

Beverly enjoys discovering her ancestors in her genealogy research. She plays the piano. (Thank you, Mom, for making encouraging me to practice.) She takes long walks where she snaps pictures of wildlife and clouds, and of course she reads, usually two books at a time. She teaches a women’s Sunday school class. Watching baseball (Go Rangers) is another of her favorite activities. Retirement is fun.

You can learn more about Beverly Stowe McClure at http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com or follow her blog at http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com.

 

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Guest Book Review: A Pirate, a Blockade Runner and a Cat by Beverly Stowe McClure

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BOOK REVIEW: A PIRATE, A BLOCKADE RUNNER AND A CAT by Beverly Stowe McClure

File Size: 410 KB

Print Length: 265 pages

Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited

Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing (January 9, 2013)

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Language: English

ASIN: B00AZ9JRR8

Age group: 12-13 (tweens)

RATING:  4 STARS

Just how bad can one kid’s life get? When 13-year-old Erik Burks discovers a black lace bra in the glove compartment of his dad’s car his life falls apart. Totally! His mom leaves his father and drags Erik from being king of the hill in Texas to the bottom of the pits in South Carolina. No Dad, no baseball, no friends, just Starry Knight (a girl who reads minds) and her equally weird brother, Stormy, the twins that live down the block.

Just when Erik thinks life can’t get any worse, while hanging out at the beach one evening, he and the twins notice lights radiating from an old, deactivated lighthouse. Stranger still, a ship materializes in the moonlit harbor. On closer inspection, the kids discover the ghost of a blockade runner, a phantom cat, and a pirate who prowls Charleston Harbor, all searching for rest. The ghosts may be the answer to his desire to return home. Erik wants his old life back and he wants answers from his dad. He makes a deal with the ghosts. He’ll help them find what they’re looking for so their spirits can rest in peace. In return, the ghosts will scare Erik’s mother so she’ll be on the next flight back to Texas.

What a great tween adventure. This book has everything for kids who like action, mystery, pirates, and ghosts. Author Beverly Stowe McClure very cleverly intersperses real piratical and nautical facts between her fictionalized account of the feud between (historical figures) Major Stede Bonnet and Edward Teach aka Blackbeard. Danger abounds when Erik and his friends board the pirate ghost ship and set sail on their quest to resolve the ghosts’ issues. Magic and mayhem keep the action going, without being too scary. I liked the author’s handling of Erik’s inner turmoil, his confusion over his father’s behavior, and his longing for his life and friends back in Texas. A subtle theme is how children deal with parental break-ups. The author creates a lovely character in Erik, which kids will relate to very well. Storm and Star were less well-developed, but no less entertaining. Very enjoyable. Recommended.

First reviewed Fiona Ingram for Readers’ Favorite

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.

Interview with Janet K. Brown, Author of Victoria and the Ghost

janet (3)Janet K. Brown lives in Wichita Falls, Texas with her husband, Charles. She began writing while her three daughters were kids but did not study the craft or submit her work until she retired  in October,2005. Writing became a second career.

4RV Publishing released Janet’s debut novel, an inspirational young adult, Victoria and the Ghost, July 25, 2012.

She studies her three grandchildren for help with teen expressions and actions.

Pen-L Publishing released Janet’s non-fiction book, Divine Dining Dec. 6, 2012. It’s a 365 devotion book to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness.

Janet belongs to such writing groups as ACFW, OWFI, CWFI, and RWA and continues to write short stories for teens and adults.

She and her husband love to travel with their RV, visit with family, and work in their church.

Contact Janet at:

Website: http://www.janetkbrown.com

Or E-mail: Janet.hope@att.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Janet-K-Brown-Author/143915285641707

Twitter: https://twitter.com/janetkbrowntx

Thank you for joining us today, Janet. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

Through the years of rearing my three daughters and supporting my husband’s success, I wrote as therapy for depression despite my busy hours. I loved my life, but because of my own choice, as with most mothers, I hid my desires and reveled in those of my family. In 2005, I realized time was passing for me to enjoy my oldest granddaughter, so I retired from my job as medical coder and bookkeeper for a pulmonary doctor and set out to enjoy grandkids and write.

I joined a local RWA chapter, studied everything they threw at me, wrote, and submitted to one publisher after another. Thank God, I improved over those first efforts, and thanks also, for Vivian Zabel and 4RV Publishing for offering me my first contract, only 6 years after I started, a proverbial short time in trying to sell your first book. God does give us the desires of our heart.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I love to write. My first story came in junior high. My English teacher that year dished out more aggravation to me than to any of my fellow students. At the end of the year, she told me she did that because she saw promise in my writing. Imagine that, a little Texas girl who was so shy she trembled at walking into class every day.

Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?

Years ago, I wrote a coming-of-age novel about a college girl. It was my princess falls for a criminal and saves him from himself piece. Victoria and the Ghost was my first teen story. I’ve always loved writing for teenagers. I think I never quite grew up. I’ve written teen short stories for several years. I discovered Clara Cemetery, the real place for part of my setting for Victoria and the Ghost about the time my granddaughter was going through her rebellious teens. The two things just clicked in my feeble brain.

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

Favorite part – It’s just plain fun. You have the freedom to say things an adult wouldn’t say for fear they’d offend someone. Giggle.

Greatest challenge – Hands down, it’s keeping up with the latest technology  that’s commonplace with teens. Also keeping abreast of the “in” sayings. Thank God for my grandkids’ help and kids in my church. They never realize how much I study them.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

At fifteen, Victoria, a city girl, loses her mother’s love and copes with country isolation, no friends, and no one who cares, until she meets a ghost.

When her mother leaves the family to become a Dallas trophy wife, Victoria’s dad moves her and her sister to a North Texas farm to herd cattle and raise chickens. Refusing to believe this is more than a temporary set-back, Victoria tries to make new friends which isn’t an easy task. The first one stabs her in the back with gossip and a sharp tongue. Meanwhile, her new stepsister takes Victoria’s place in her mother’s heart. Rejection and anger stalk Victoria like a rattlesnake in the cemetery. Good thing she makes friends with a ghost and through him, a good-looking teenaged cowboy.

What inspired you to write it?Victoria and the Ghost - Cover

As I said, the real Clara Cemetery caught my attention, a well-maintained area on the lonely plains, like a Garden of Eden in the midst of desert. Another thing, that brought that inspiration was my granddaughter left a huge high school to go to graduate from a much smaller one with only 100 in her graduating class. She called it “that hick school.” Funny, but that made me think how traumatic something like that is to a teen.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

You can purchase it from my publisher at:

http://www.4rvpublishingcatalog.com/janet-brown.php

It can also be found on Amazon. The link is:

http://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Ghost-Janet-K-Brown/dp/0983801878/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=

What is up next for you?

I’m 2/3 through with a sequel to Victoria and the Ghost. For those who read that one, they will remember Victoria’s irritating friend/enemy, red-headed Shelley. This will be her story of a country girl who must move to the city without friends or horses.

Her father gets a job as a janitor at the old Collin County Courthouse. When he fights alcoholism, Shelley covers his job for him. I explore the ghost legend at the old courthouse at McKinney, Texas. My working title for the manuscript is A Ghost for Shelley.

I plan on once again pitching it to Vivian Zabel at 4RV Publishing. I can only keep my fingers crossed.

Thank you for spending time with us today, Janet. We wish you much success.

Thank you so much, Cheryl, for allowing me to tell you and your readers about my story.

 

Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island by C.K. Volnek

You’ll find a fascinating story that taps into a more than 420-year-old mystery in Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island by C.K. Volnek.

Twelve-year-old Jack Dahlgren is angry that he and his family have moved onto Roanoke Island away from the life they used to have. As a hurricane makes a beeline for the island–and Jack’s new home–he is soon put on a course that leads him to the mystery of the lost colony and a hateful campaign of revenge.

My family and I have visited the Outer Banks of North Carolina many times over the last 20 years. The Lost Colony is a centuries old unsolved mystery involving colonists who settled on Roanoke Island and then disappeared with barely a trace. Into this mystery, author C.K. Volnek has woven a story that seeks to provide a possible answer for what happened to Virginia Dare and the rest of the colonists. Rich in detail and filled with Native American mysticism, this story will captivate readers from start to finish. Crammed with adventure, middle grade readers will enjoy following Jack along his journey to unravel the mystery and halt a beast bent on revenge.

What I feel Volnek did a superb job with is keeping the tension level high. There weren’t a lot of valleys in this story. With numerous storms, the fractured relationship between Jack and his father, and the suspense of the mystery, readers will be on the edge of their seats most of the time. My one tiny nitpick, and it is very tiny since it didn’t take away from the story at all–the author focuses too much on the eyes. Everyone is staring, looking, gazing, etc. While eyes are very expressive, so are other body parts. I would have liked to see a more balanced approach.

The Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island is middle grade ghost story worth every penny. The adventure, mystery and historical elements blend together to create a superb read.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • File Size:338 KB
  • Print Length:218 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:0615568351
  • Simultaneous Device Usage:Unlimited
  • Publisher:MuseItUp Publishing (September 18, 2011)
  • Sold by:Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language:English
  • ASIN: B005O0K8ZI
  • SRP: $5.50

I received a free copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinion, for which I have not been compensated in any way.