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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Guest Post with Kurt Dinan, author of Don't Get Caught


My 6 Favorite Caper/Heist Books, Movies, and TV Shows


By day I’m a mild-mannered high school English teacher with a wife and four kids. But in an alternate reality, I’m a suave jewel thief or well-mannered con man, cleverly stealing treasures and fortunes from underneath the noses of society’s worst citizens. I mean, let’s be honest--books have movies have done a great job romanticizing crime, especially when it comes to showing ensemble casts relying on their wits to pull off complicated heists. And me, I’ve bought in completely. Now am I really going to rob a bank or steal the crown jewels? Not likely, nor would I tell you if I was. But I live vicariously write about such things and did in my novel Don't Get Caught, using teenagers to execute intricate pranks and capers in their school. During the writing of the novel, I revisited many of my favorite caper and heist stories for inspiration. Here are a few of my favorites.

 
Film: Ocean’s Eleven 

 

If you don’t have a lot of experience with heist films/books, then this is where you start. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and nine others conspire to rip off three casinos in one night. Suspenseful, funny, and just downright cool, you’ll watch this and start planning your own bank robbery. The sequels are just as cool and fun, but neither matches the awesomeness of this first film.
 
 
Novel: Heist Society by Ally Carter 
Ally Carter has written a pure heist novel here. The set-up is simple: Kat has two weeks to put together a crew to steal back the paintings her father is accused of heisting, or he’ll be killed. The characters in this novel each have specific jobs, there’s a clear target and motivation, and it all goes wrong pretty quickly as it should. Throw in a little romance, the presence of real danger, and some hilarity, and you have the perfect gateway drug into heist novels.

TV Show: Leverage


This TV show is one of my favorite things in the entire world, and shockingly I wasn’t aware of it until I was finishing Don't Get Caught. In each episode, a mastermind, a thief, a grifter, a thug, and a techno geek right wrongs for people in need. How can you not love a show with the tagline: “Sometimes bad guys make the best good guys.” It’s sooo much fun. The series lasted five seasons and is available on Netflix. Some of the most fun you can have binge watching.

Novel: Con Academy by Joel Schreiber 

Joel Schreiber’s novels are some of the smartest, high-octaned, fun reads out there. In Con Academy, Will and Andrea, two con artists attending the same private school, agree to a contest to see who can scam a designated mark out of fifty thousand dollars. The loser has to leave the school forever. Fast-paced and filled with humor and twists, Schreiber’s novel, like his others, doesn’t disappoint.

Film/Novel: The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton 


 
This was my initiation into the heist genre, courtesy of my oldest brother. Set in 1855 England, this is based on the true story of Edward Pierce and Robert Agar scheming to rob a train of its shipment of gold. Along the way they must steal a series of keys, deal with double-crosses, and outsmart authorities who have been tipped off to the caper. Not only a great book, but also a great movie, which is directed by Crichton as well. Filled with fun con man terms and language, this is one of those books you just feel smarter after you finish.

 

Film: Sneakers
One of my favorite all-time movies. Robert Redford leads a team of specialists who are hired by companies to test their security systems. After successfully stealing a device for the government under threat of arrest, Redford and his team realize they’ve been lied to, and must steal back the machine which they discover is capable of breaking any encryption. What makes this film great is the odd cast of characters: the blind computer expert, the conspiracy nut, the ex-CIA agent, and in one of his final films, River Phoenix as a young genius. The film has a wonderful sense of humor and a clever, twisting plot.
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About the Author
Kurt Dinan has taught high school English for over twenty-one years, and while he’s never pulled any of the pranks detailed in this novel, he was once almost arrested in college for blizzarding the campus with fliers promoting a fake concert. He lives and works in the suburbs of Cincinnati with his wife and his four children he affectionately refers to as “the Crime Spree.” Don’t Get Caught is his first novel.  
About the Book
Goodreads 
10:00 tonight at the water tower.  Tell no one.   —Chaos Club

When Max receives a mysterious invite from the untraceable, epic prank-pulling Chaos Club, he has to ask: why him? After all, he’s Mr. 2.5 GPA, Mr. No Social Life. He’s Just Max. And his favorite heist movies have taught him this situation calls for Rule #4: Be suspicious. But it’s also his one shot to leave Just Max in the dust…

Yeah, not so much. Max and four fellow students—who also received invites—are standing on the newly defaced water tower when campus security “catches” them. Definitely a setup. And this time, Max has had enough. It’s time for Rule #7: Always get payback.

Let the prank war begin.
Oceans 11 meets The Breakfast Club in this entertaining, fast-paced debut filled with pranks and cons that will keep readers on their toes, never sure who’s pulling the strings or what’s coming next.
 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Cover Reveals - Young Adult (73)



Boy Robot by Simon Curtis
Goodreads
Boy Robot is the first in a planned science fiction trilogy that follows a group of synthetic cell human teens with special abilities as they fight against the government organization that created them and now wants to destroy them.

The Cat King of Havana by Tom Crosshill
Goodreads
Rick Gutierrez is . . . the Cat King of Havana! A cat-video tycoon turned salsa-dancer extraordinaire, he’ll take Cuba by storm, romance the girl of his dreams, and ignite a lolcat revolution!

At least that’s the plan.

It all starts when his girlfriend dumps Rick on his sixteenth birthday for uploading cat videos from his bedroom when he should be out experiencing the real world. Known as “That Cat Guy” at school, Rick isn’t cool and he knows it. He realizes it’s time for a change.

Rick decides joining a salsa class is the answer . . . because of a girl, of course. Ana Cabrera is smart, friendly, and smooth on the dance floor. Rick might be half-Cuban, but he dances like a drunk hippo. Desperate to impress Ana, he invites her to spend the summer in Havana. The official reason: learning to dance. The hidden agenda: romance under the palm trees.

Except Cuba isn’t all sun, salsa, and music. There’s a darker side to the island. As Rick and Ana meet his family and investigate the reason why his mother left Cuba decades ago, they learn that politics isn’t just something that happens to other people. And when they find romance, it’s got sharp edges.

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid
Goodreads
Red Queen meets The Hunger Games in this epic novel about what happens when the galaxy’s most deadly weapon masquerades as a senator’s daughter and a hostage of the galactic court.

A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for.

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.

The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera
Goodreads
THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES

Mami, for destroying my social life

Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal

Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal

This supermarket

Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father's credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

The Graces by Laure Eve
Goodreads
In The Graces, the first rule of witchcraft states that if you want something badly enough, you can get it . . . no matter who has to pay.

Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They’ve managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they’re rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She’s different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. And what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident.

This fabulously addictive fantasy combines sophisticated and haunting prose with a gut-punching twist that readers will be dying to discuss. Perfect for fans of We Were Liars as well as nostalgic classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 1996 movie The Craft, The Graces marks the beginning of a new wave of teen witches.

Just Kill Me by Adam Selzer
Goodreads

Megan Henske isn’t one to heed warnings…

When the last letters in her alphabet cereal are D, I, and E, she doesn’t crawl right back into bed. When her online girlfriend won’t text a photo, she just sends more of herself.

And when she realizes that Cynthia, her boss at a Chicago ghost tour company, isn’t joking about making stops more haunted by killing people there, she doesn’t quit her job—she may even help.

But who is responsible for the deaths of prominent figures in the murdermonger industry? Could it be the head of the rival tour company? Or could it be someone near and dear to Megan?

Soon after she learns that she has an uncanny resemblance to a flapper who disappeared in 1922, Megan receives a warning she can’t ignore: the next ghost on the tour might be her…

The Infinity of You & Me by J.Q. Coyle
Goodreads
What if every life-altering choice you made could split your world into infinite worlds?

Almost fifteen, Alicia is smart and funny with a deep connection to the poet Sylvia Plath, but she’s ultimately failing at life. With a laundry list of diagnoses, she hallucinates different worlds—strange, decaying, otherworldly yet undeniably real worlds that are completely unlike her own with her single mom and one true friend. In one particularly vivid hallucination, Alicia is drawn to a boy her own age named Jax who’s trapped in a dying universe. Days later, her long-lost father shows up at her birthday party, telling her that the hallucinations aren’t hallucinations, but real worlds; she and Jax are bound by a strange past and intertwining present. This leads her on a journey to find out who she is while trying to save the people and worlds she loves. J.Q. Coyle’s The Infinity of You & Me is a wild ride through unruly hearts and vivid worlds guaranteed to captivate.

A Million Times Goodnight by Kristina McBride
Goodreads

One night. Two paths. Infinite danger.

On the night of the big spring break party, seventeen-year-old Hadley "borrows" her boyfriend Ben's car without telling him. As payback, he posts a naked picture of her online for the entire senior class to see.

Now Hadley has a choice: go back to the party and force Ben to delete the picture or raise the stakes and take his beloved car on a road trip as far away from their hometown of Oak Grove, Ohio, as she can get.

Chapters alternate to reveal each possible future as Hadley, her ex-boyfriend, Josh, and her best friends embark on a night of reckless adventure where old feelings are rekindled, friendships are tested, and secrets are uncovered that are so much worse than a scandalous photo.

Like a teen Sliding Doors, A Million Times Goodnight is a fast-paced romantic contemporary thriller for fans of Just Like Fate and Pivot Point.

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

Shutter by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Goodreads
THE FACTS
• Julian Roman, age sixteen, is an escapee from the Fairmount County Juvenile Detention Facility.
• His parents, Michael Roman and Jennifer Roman, are dead.
• Julian is wanted for murder.

THE QUESTIONS
• Why is Julian Roman on the run?
• Just how dangerous is he?
• And who did kill Michael and Jennifer Roman, if not Julian?

Seventeen-year-old Day Baker views life through the lens of her camera, where perspective is everything. But photographs never tell the whole story. After Day crosses paths with Julian, the world she pictures and the truths she believes-neatly captured in black and white-begin to blur.

Julian is not the "armed and dangerous" escapee the police are searching for, but his alibis don't quite add up, either. There is more to his story. This time, Day is determined to see the entire picture . . . whatever it reveals. Did he? Or didn't he?

Day digs deeper into the case while Julian remains on the run. But the longer her list of facts becomes, the longer the list of questions becomes, too. It's also getting harder to deny the chemistry she feels for him. Is it real? Or is she being manipulated?

Day is close to finding the crack in the case. She just needs time to focus before the shutter snaps shut.

The Stranger Game by Cylin Busby
Goodreads
The Stranger Game is a dark, suspenseful, and twisty young adult novel—perfect for fans of Lauren Oliver and E. Lockhart—about fifteen-year-old Nico Walker, whose sister returns home after a four-year disappearance.

When Nico Walker's older sister mysteriously disappears, her parents, family, and friends are devastated. But Nico can never admit what she herself feels: relief at finally being free of Sarah's daily cruelties.

Then the best and worst thing happens: four years later, after dozens of false leads, Sarah is found.

But this girl is much changed from the one Nico knew. She's thin and drawn, where Sarah had been golden and athletic; timid and unsure, instead of brash and competitive; and strangest of all, sweet and kind, when she had once been mean and abusive. Sarah's retrograde amnesia has caused her to forget almost everything about her life, from small things like the plots of her favorite books and her tennis game to the more critical—where she's been the last four years and what happened at the park on the fateful day she vanished. Despite the happy ending, the dark details of that day continue to haunt Nico, and it becomes clear that more than one person knows the true story of what happened to Sarah. . . .
A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom
Goodreads
In the vein of It’s Kind of a Funny Story and All the Bright Places comes a captivating, immersive exploration of life with mental illness.

For sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to conceal her diagnosis by keeping everyone at arm's length. But when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and upend her shaky equilibrium.

As the walls of Mel’s compartmentalized world crumble, she fears the worst—that no one will accept her if they discover what she’s been hiding. But would her friends really abandon her if they learned the truth? More importantly, can Mel bring herself to risk everything to find out?

Pasadena by Sherri L. Smith
Goodreads

Award-winning author Sherri L. Smith returns with a riveting, noir-style thriller, perfect for fans of E. Lockhart

Bad things happen everywhere. Even in the land of sun and roses.

When Jude's best friend is found dead in a swimming pool, her family calls it an accident. Her friends call it suicide. But Jude calls it what it is: murder. And someone has to pay.

Now everyone is a suspect--family and friends alike. And Jude is digging up the past like bones from a shallow grave. Anything to get closer to the truth. But that's the thing about secrets. Once they start turning up, nothing is sacred. And Jude's got a few skeletons of her own.

In a homage to the great noir stories of Los Angeles, award-winning author Sherri L. Smith's Pasadena is a tale of love, damage and salvation set against the backdrop of California's City of Roses.

Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse
Goodreads

Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.

Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?
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Do you have a favorite recent new cover? Or a favorite from this list? Let me know in the comments!






Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Guest Post & Giveaway with Y.S. Lee, author of The Agency series


I'm happy to be taking part in this blog tour to celebrate the new covers of Y.S. Lee's four books in The Agency series! Not only is this series one of my absolute favorites - Victorian London? A street smart female spy? A bit of romance? Yes, please! - the new covers are fantastic! Check out the guest post from author Y.S. Lee below, in which she share 4 sources of inspiration for the books, then enter to win a set of all four books.

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4 Sources of Inspiration for
The Agency

1. Laura Tabili’s "Women of a Very Low Type"

An article about mixed-race families in late-Victorian Liverpool. The women were typically Irish-born, the men Lascars – that is, Asian sailors.

2. The Great Stink of 1858.

When modern urban-industrial pollution met an intense heat wave. The stench of the River Thames was so intense that Benjamin Disraeli fled the House of Commons with a handkerchief clapped across his nose.
3. London itself. 
While living in Bloomsbury and researching my doctoral thesis at the British Library, I fell in love with the city. I just had to write something that reflected my feelings.
4. An endnote in Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White... 
...which claims that St. John's Wood was just the type of area in which a Victorian man would stash his mistress. It made me wonder what other kinds of women might live in St. John's Wood. Spies, obviously!
________________________________ 

GIVEAWAY


1 winner. US only. Ends 5/17/2016.
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About the Author
Y.S. Lee has a Ph.D. in Victorian literature and culture and says her research inspired her to write Book One of The Agency trilogy. “Women’s choices were grim in those days, even for the clever,” she says. “The Agency is a totally unrealistic, completely fictitious antidote to the fate that would otherwise swallow a girl like Mary Quinn.” Y. S. Lee lives in Ontario, Canada.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Fantastic Five: On the Road / Road Trips in YA



We're about to enter the months in which I do a lot of driving. Some of you probably know that I'm a bookseller, but you might not know that, because I work remotely (from 3 hours away!) much of the time, I travel often between the store and home. Plus, I'm headed to a few different conferences in the next few months (BEA, ABA Children's Institute, nErDcampMI, and, if all goes as planned, ALA)! So, travel - especially road trips - are on my horizon!

So, in honor of the road tripping in my future, I'm sharing some of my favorite YA novels that feature epic road trips. I've probably covered this topic on The Hiding Spot before, but it's one of my favorites!


After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.



Recklessly loyal.

That’s how seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley has always thought of herself. Caring for her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But lately she’s grown resentful of everyone—including her needy best friend and her absent mom—taking her loyalty for granted.

Then Arden stumbles upon a website called Tonight the Streets Are Ours, the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter, who gives voice to feelings that Arden has never known how to express. He seems to get her in a way that no one else does, and he hasn’t even met her.

Until Arden sets out on a road trip to find him.

During one crazy night out in New York City filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn’t exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn’t exactly who she thought she was, either.

If Almost Famous were a YA novel . . . a raw, honest debut celebrating music, friendship, romance, and life on the road.

Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like . . . until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything

Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen hearthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.

Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule . . . Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?

‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’

Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going, California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down again. 



Maybe it was wrong, or maybe impossible, but I wanted the truth to be one thing. One solid thing.

Quinn is surrounded by women who have had their hearts broken. Between her mother, her aunt, and her grandmother, Quinn hears nothing but cautionary tales. She tries to be an optimist -- after all, she's the dependable one, the girl who never makes foolish choices. But when she is abruptly and unceremoniously dumped, Quinn starts to think maybe there really are no good men.

It doesn't help that she's gingerly handling a renewed relationship with her formerly absent father. He's a little bit of a lot of things: charming, selfish, eccentric, lazy...but he's her dad, and Quinn's just happy to have him around again. Until she realizes how horribly he's treated the many women in his life, how he's stolen more than just their hearts. Determined to, for once, take action in her life, Quinn joins forces with the half sister she's never met and the little sister she'll do anything to protect. Together, they set out to right her father's wrongs...and in doing so, begin to uncover what they're really looking for: the truth.

Once again, Deb Caletti has created a motley crew of lovably flawed characters who bond over the shared experiences of fear, love, pain, and joy -- in other words, real life.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Interview with Liesl Shurtliff, author of Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood



Each of your books offers readers a spin on a classic tale. How do you decide which stories to retell? Do you find you focus more on the main characters of the classics or the overall story?  
I feel like I stumbled upon these fairytales, rather than consciously choosing them. My first idea for Rump actually had nothing to do with Rumpelstiltskin. I got this idea to create a world where names are your destiny, and then I connected that idea to the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, as his name is very key to that story. Jack and Red both came to me as I was writing Rump. I find that I focus more on the characters as I write, what they’re thinking and feeling. For me, all story flows from character, their desires and their choices.  

 Tell me a little bit about your writing process: Do you outline? Start at the beginning? The middle? The end?  
My process is probably not really a process, more like a free-for-all. I love the promise of possibilities at the beginning of a story and I don’t want to limit myself too soon. I outline just enough to get a basic structure of the story and then I start writing. I usually start at the beginning, but don’t necessarily write chronologically. I skip around and discover a lot as I go. It’s not the most economical way to write; I frequently write myself into corners and have to backtrack, but it’s what works for me.

Inspiration comes in many forms. Share three people, places, or things that inspire your creativity.  
1. My family

2. The mountains and nature in general

3. Delicious food


My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Name a notable book that provided you with a hiding spot.  
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. This was my first favorite book and I read it many time. I still have my childhood copy and I love it even though the cover has been torn off.

What can readers look forward to next?  
I’m currently working on a Snow White retelling, but told from the perspective of one of the seven dwarves. It’s a viewpoint I felt was missing from this story and I’m having a blast writing it.
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About the Author


Liesl Shurtliff was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, with the mountains for her playground. Just like Rump, Liesl was shy about her name, growing up. Not only did it rhyme with weasel, she could never find it on any of those personalized key chains in gift shops. But over the years she’s grown to love having an unusual name—and today she wouldn’t change it for the world!

Before she became a writer, Liesl graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in music, dance, and theater. She now lives in Chicago with her husband and three young children, where she still dreams of the mountains. Rump was her first novel. 
About the Book
"Red is the most wonder-filled fairy tale of them all!”—Chris Grabenstein, New York Times Bestselling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library.

Red is not afraid of the big bad wolf. She’s not afraid of anything . . . except magic.
But when Red’s granny falls ill, it seems that only magic can save her, and fearless Red is forced to confront her one weakness.

With the help of a blond, porridge-sampling nuisance called Goldie, Red goes on a quest to cure Granny. Her journey takes her through dwarves’ caverns to a haunted well and a beast’s castle. All the while, Red and Goldie are followed by a wolf and a huntsman—two mortal enemies who seek the girls’ help to defeat each other. And one of them just might have the magical solution Red is looking for. . .

Liesl Shurtliff weaves a spellbinding tale, shining the spotlight on a beloved character from her award-winning debut, Rump. 
 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Cover Reveals - Middle Grade (72)



Applesauce Weather by Helen Frost
Goodreads
In a touching poetic novel, a fall apple ritual—along with some inventive storytelling—brings a family together as they grieve the loss of a beloved family member.

When the first apple falls from the tree, Faith and Peter know that it’s applesauce weather, even though Peter is getting a little old for such things. It also means Uncle Arthur should be here to tell his stories, with a twinkle in his eye as he spins tales about how he came to have a missing finger. But this is the first year without Aunt Lucy, and when Uncle Arthur arrives, there’s no twinkle to be found and no stories waiting to be told. Faith is certain, though, that with a little love and patience, she and Peter might finally learn the truth about that missing finger. Paired with warm, expressive illustrations by Amy June Bates, this heartfelt tale by award-winning poet Helen Frost highlights the strength of family and the power of a good story.

Beautiful Blue World by Suzanne LaFleur
Goodreads
Beautiful Blue World  is a thrilling and moving story of children who become the key to winning a war.

Sofarende is at war. For twelve-year-old Mathilde, it means food shortages, feuding neighbors, and bombings. Even so, as long as she and her best friend, Megs, are together, they’ll be all right.

But the army is recruiting children, and paying families well for their service. If Megs takes the test, Mathilde knows she will pass. Megs hopes the army is the way to save her family. Mathilde fears it might separate them forever.

This touching and suspenseful novel is a brilliant reimagining of war, where even kindness can be a weapon, and children have the power to see what adults cannot.

Enter a Glossy Web by McKenna Ruebush
Goodreads
Twelve-year-old George has no idea what to expect when she’s sent to stay with eccentric relatives following the disappearance of her brother. Soon after her arrival, she learns that Uncle Constantine has been kidnapped. George sets off to recover him and is joined by two orphaned boys along the way and Cavendish, a talking map. Together they visit magical worlds full of monsters, witches, and dragons as they attempt to find Constantine--the Timekeeper--a man of great significance. If he’s not rescued, events will cease to happen at their designated times, disrupting the unfolding of the universe. Can this ragtag crew save the future before being outwitted by evil captors?

Dear Poppy by Ronni Arno
Goodreads
When twelve-year-old Poppy moves to the country, she discovers a secret stash of letters that give her a unique connection to her late mother in this M!X novel about friendship, first crushes, and family drama.

City girl Poppy has always wanted a best friend, but never felt enough of a connection with anyone to gain BFF status. Even without a BFF, Poppy is horrified when her father decides to move her and her older brother out to the family farm. Away from her beloved city and away from memories of her late mom—a fresh start for everyone.

And after a weird first week at her new school, Poppy is convinced she is destined for a boring year—until she finds a stack of letters from 1985 hidden in the barn of the old farmhouse that they move into. Even better? Those letters are addressed to Poppy...from her mom. Poppy doesn't know what supernatural event brought these letters to her, but she doesn't care. All she knows is that she finally has the connection she yearns for. Plus, her mom seems to understand everything that Poppy is going through: not quite fitting in, the desire to put down roots, and the heartbreak of losing a loved one. Has Poppy discovered the friend—and acceptance—she’s always wanted?

The Wolf Keepers by Elise Broach
Goodreads
Twelve-year-old Lizzie Durango and her dad have always had a zoo to call their home. Lizzie spends her days watching the animals and taking note of their various behaviors. Though the zoo makes for a unique home, it's a hard place for Lizzie to make lasting friends. But all this changes one afternoon when she finds Tyler Briggs, a runaway who has secretly made the zoo his makeshift home. The two become friends and, just as quickly, stumble into a covert investigation involving the zoo wolves who are suddenly dying. Little do they know, this mystery will draw them into a high-stakes historical adventure involving the legend of John Muir as they try to navigate safely while lost in Yosemite National Park.

Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry by Susan Vaught
Goodreads

A mysterious note takes Dani Beans into the secrets of Ole Miss and its dark past in this compelling new middle grade novel from the author of Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy.

“Sooner or later, we’re all gonna be okay.”

That’s what Dani’s Grandma Beans used to say. But that was before she got Alzheimer’s. Lately, Dani isn’t so sure Grandma Beans was right. In fact, she isn’t sure of a lot of things, like why Mac Richardson suddenly doesn’t want to be her friend, and why Grandma Beans and Avadelle Richardson haven’t spoken in decades. Lately, Grandma Beans doesn’t make a lot of sense. But when she tells Dani to find a secret key and envelope that she’s hidden, Dani can’t ignore her. So she investigates, with the help of her friend, Indri, and her not-friend, Mac. Their investigation takes them deep into the history of Oxford, Mississippi, and the riots surrounding the desegregation of Ole Miss. The deeper they dig, the more secrets they uncover. Were Grandma Beans and Avadelle at Ole Miss the night of the Meredith Riot? And why would they keep it a secret?

The more Dani learns about her grandma’s past, the more she learns about herself and her own friendships—and it’s not all good news. History and present day collide in this mystery that explores how echoes of the past can have profound consequences.

The Sweetest Sound by Sherri Winston
Goodreads
Shy ten-year-old Cadence grapples with an overprotective father, a mother who's skipped town to pursue stardom, and what to do when a recording of her amazing voice leaks before she's ready to share it with the world.

The Mighty Dynamo by Kieran Crowley
Goodreads

Noah Murphy loves soccer. He's pretty much the best player at his school. However, when suspicious events unfold, which Noah maintains were not his fault, his principal bans him from competing for his school.

With no tournament and no chance to play in the World Cup, Noah is hopeless that he might never get the prize money he needs to help his family. He's willing to do anything to find a way to play, even if that means pairing up with some female players who, Noah finds, are as good at soccer as any boy.

Noah, his best friend, and a few other underdogs form a group who are desperate to participate and win the tournament.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Goodreads

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule--but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her--even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.

The acclaimed author of The Witch’s Boy has created another epic coming-of-age fairy tale destined to become a modern classic.

Dory Fantasmagory: Dory Dory Black Sheep by Abby Hanlon
Goodreads
Dory the rascal tackles friendship, losing teeth, and learning to read in a hilarious new chapter book that is perfect for readers of Ivy and Bean
 
School has been pretty good so far. Dory has made a real true friend whose imagination and high spirits as are big as her own. Reading is proving to be a challenge, but having a loose tooth makes her feel special. Suddenly, Mrs. Gobble Gracker, Dory's imaginary enemy, starts appearing in unlikely places. Dory and her friend can only imagine that she’s there to prevent the Tooth Fairy from visiting. This calls for some heroic plans worthy of this high-spirited and comical character who is one-of-a-kind.

Fans of Junie B. Jones and Judy Moody will rejoice in this laugh-out-loud funny series.

Hundred Percent by Karen Romano Young
Goodreads
The last year of elementary school is big for every kid. In this novel, equal parts funny and crushing, utterly honest and perfect for boys and girls alike, Christine Gouda faces change at every turn, starting with her own nickname—Tink—which just doesn't fit anymore. Readers will relate to this strong female protagonist whose voice rings with profound authenticity and absolute novelty, and her year's cringingly painful trials in normalcy—uncomfortable Halloween costumes, premature sleepover parties, crushed crushes, and changing friendships. Throughout all this, Tink learns, what you call yourself, and how you do it, has a lot to do with who you are. This book marks beloved author Karen Romano Young's masterful return to children's literature: a heartbreakingly honest account of what it means to be between girl and woman, elementary and middle school, inside and out—and just what you name that in-between self.
Mabel Jones and the Doomsday Book by Will Mabbitt
Goodreads
Delivering belly laughs and heart-stopping action in equal measure, this third installment of the Mabel Jones saga is an excellent family read-aloud.

Trapped in the Noo World, Mabel Jones is determined to make the most of her time in this strange future run by animals. Her next mission: find the Doomsday Book, a guidebook used to wipe out humanity. If Mabel can find out what happened to her species, there's a chance she can prevent its extinction. But an elusive creature known as Von Klaar is also after the book . . . and her intentions reek of malice.

Join Mabel and her crewmates as they race Von Klaar to the sacred city of Otom. Hoomankind depends on it!

The Terrible Two Go Wild by Jory John & Mac Barnett
Goodreads

From superstar authors and friends Mac Barnett and Jory John comes the third installment in their smart and funny New York Times bestselling Terrible Two series, The Terrible Two Go Wild. Everyone’s favorite pranksters and founders of the International Order of Disorder are at it again! Miles and Niles find themselves marooned for the summer at Camp Good Times, which is all about peace and good vibes. (Can you say BOR-ING?) With no clear prank-ortunities, the Terrible Two fail to see what about all of this is so good. But when kids from the nearby Yawnee Valley Yelling and Push-Ups Camp raid Good Times’s super-secret candy stash, the campers look to Miles and Niles for help. Will our heroes break free from the feckless feel-goodery of Camp Good Times? Are their sharp minds and close friendship a match for the fists of the rival campers? And why has Stuart changed his name to Tree? All these questions, plus some other ones you haven’t thought of yet, will be answered in The Terrible Two Go Wild. With short chapters and plenty of illustrations, the Terrible Two series engages reluctant readers and appeals to a wide range of kids—both pranksters and not—as they laugh out loud.

Night of the Living Shadows by Dave Coverly
Goodreads

After sleeping off his adventure battling the evil Nightcrawlers, Speed Bump joins Slingshot on a quest to earn their Scavenger Hunt badge. Once they complete their last challenge, they'll no longer be Bird Scouts--they'll be Eagle Scouts! But, as is always the case with these two birds, their adventure turns into a misadventure when they end up at a shopping mall--fun by day, scary by night! Trapped inside, what crazy scheme will they come up with to get out?

Here's the much anticipated second book in this fun new chapter book series.
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Do you have a favorite recent new cover? Or a favorite from this list? Let me know in the comments!