July New Releases

Happy July!  Hope you are all doing well and keeping cool.  Why not take a break under the nearest shade tree and lose yourself in a new book? Here are a few great ones to take a look at — they release this month!

 

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The Land of Stories: Beyond the Kingdoms  by Chris Colfer  (Little, Brown BFYR)

The Masked Man is on the loose in the Land of Stories, and it’s up to Alex and Conner Bailey to stop him…except Alex has been thrown off the Fairy Council, and no one will believe they’re in danger.  Fairy tales and classic stories collide in the fourth adventure in the bestselling Land of Stories series as the twins travel beyond the kingdoms!

 

 

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Rober Beatty (Disney- Hyperion)

Disney Hyperion presents an exciting new novel for children & adults: a spooky historical mystery-thriller about an unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate. “Never go into the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul.”

Serafina’s hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear. There she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic, one that is bound to her own identity. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek the answers that will unlock the puzzle of her past.

 

 

The School for Good and Evil #3: The Last Ever After
by Soman Chainani  (Harper Collins)

In the stunning conclusion to the New York Times bestselling School for Good and Evil trilogy, everything old is new again, as Sophie and Agatha fight the past as well as the present to find the perfect end to their fairy tale. Former best friends Sophie and Agatha thought their ending was sealed when they went their separate ways, but their storybook is about to be rewritten—and this time theirs isn’t the only one. With the girls apart, Evil has taken over and the forces of Good are in deathly peril. Will Agatha and Sophie be able to work together to save them? Will they find their way to being friends again? And will their new ending be the last Ever After they’ve been searching for?

 

 

Power of the Fire Dragon: A Branches Book (Dragon Masters #4)  by Tracey West 

The Dragon Masters are going to visit Queen Rose’s kingdom. But Rori and Drake must stay behind. Then a four-headed dragon attacks the castle–and Maldred is riding it! How is Maldred controlling this giant dragon? Will Rori and Drake have to battle the dark wizard on their own?

 

 Who Is J.R. R. Tolkien?  by Pamela D. Pollack (Grosset & Dunlap)

Best known for his epic Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien was born in British-occupied South Africa. His early life was full of action and adventure. Tolkien spent his childhood roaming the British countryside with his family and could read and write by age four. He was naturally gifted with languages and used this skill as a signals officers in World War II as well as in his fantasy writing. By creating alternate universes and inventing languages in his work he demonstrated that imaginary realms were not just for children. Fondly remembered as the “Father of High Fantasy,” Tolkien’s books have inspired blockbuster movies and legions of fans.

 

 Who was Beatrix Potter?  by Sarah Fabiny (Grosset & Dunlap)

Born into wealth in 1860’s London, Beatrix Potter always had a vivid imagination. Her early interests included natural history and archaeology, and Potter delighted in sketching fossils and fungi. After briefly illustrating Christmas cards with her brother, Bertram, Potter wrote and illustrated her well-known book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The book was rejected by several publishes until Frederick Warne eventually took a risk and published the story in 1902 – a risk that paid off. Peter Rabbit was a huge success and readers loved hearing about Peter’s mischevious adventures in the lush English countryside. As she got older, Beatrix Potter became a proud conservationist, working hard to defend the landscape she loved so well against industrialization and logging. Now over one hundred years old, Peter Rabbit and his animal friends have become cultural touchstones and continue to delight readers of all ages.

 

 

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly  (Henry Holt & Co. BFYR)

Callie Vee, Travis, Granddaddy, and the whole Tate clan are back in this charming follow-up to Newbery Honor-winner The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.
Travis keeps bringing home strays. And Callie has her hands full keeping the wild animals-her brother included-away from her mother’s critical eye. Whether it’s wrangling a rogue armadillo or stray dog, a guileless younger brother or standoffish cousin, the trials and tribulations of Callie Vee will have readers laughing and crying and cheering for this most endearing heroine.

 

 Daniel X: Lights Out by James Patterson (Little, Brown & Co.)

In this sixth and last installment of the Daniel X series, the alien-hunting hero is finally ready to take on the biggest threat in the galaxy: The Prayer–the same beast that brutally murdered his parents long ago. But even with his incredible ability to create almost anything, Daniel will have to push his powers beyond the brink in order to bring down a monster that has the powers of a god. This epic showdown of good versus evil is a thrilling finale to this #1 New York Times bestselling series.


The Golden Specific (The Mapmakers Trilogy) by S. E. Grove    (Viking Children’s)

The eagerly-awaited sequel to the best-selling The Glass Sentence — a historical, fantastical adventure perfect for fans of Philip Pullman!

It is the summer of 1892, one year since Sophia Tims and her friend Theo embarked upon the dangerous adventure that rewrote the map of the world. Since their return home to Boston, she has continued searching for clues to her parents’ disappearance, combing archives and libraries, grasping at even the most slender leads. Theo has apprenticed himself to an explorer in order to follow those leads across the country—but one after another proves to be a dead end.


Indie Spotlight: Stone Alley Books, Galesburg IL

We’re talking today with Ben Stomberg, founder-owner- manager of Stone Alley Books & Collectables (www.facebook.com/stonealley)  one of  a growing number  of small town independent bookstores created  by people who simply believe their town should have a bookstore you can visit in person.  I’m especially grateful for this one because it’s in the town where I grew up, which always had at least one bookstore that served Galesburg and surrounding smaller towns until a certain chain came in, outcompeted the locals, then failed and closed.  You know, that story.

Stone Alley logoMixed-up Files: Everybody who opens an independent bookstore has a bookstore dream, and that’s what makes each one unique. What was/ is yours?
Ben
: When I moved back to Galesburg in 2007 I thought, “It’ll be OK. There’s a bookstore and a Starbucks. I’ll Be Fine.” Then the bookstore closed and the Starbucks followed. Finding a better coffee shop wasn’t difficult, but living in a town of thirty-some thousand with no bookstore was more than I could handle.

MUF: Stone Alley is the only full bookstore in the area. How does knowing that shape what you do?
Ben:
When we first opened, I wanted Stone Alley to be a universal bookstore with a little bit of something for any kind of reader. But being a small brick and mortar shop in a small town, it’s difficult to have a deep enough selection in every genre. I began to specialize more in fiction and Young Adult and Kids Stone Alley, too many booksbooks. We lean on special orders and a loyal customer base that prefer to order through us instead of on line.

MUF: Congratulations on your move to a bigger store on Main Street this year. What have you added and changed in the process?
Ben:
When we moved to Main Street, Stone Alley merged with the local gaming store, For The Win. So we have added a wide selection of board games and card games such as Magic: The Gathering and YuGiOh. These things compliment our selection of comics that has grown steadily over the past 5 years. We’re a One Stop Geek Shop now.Stone Alley new front?

MUF: How do you help connect readers with books they will enjoy? Ben: I rely heavily on suggestions from my other customers. Nothing has ever interfered with my personal reading time like owning a bookstore has! So, even though I try to follow reviews and sales trends, my best tool is my customers. Being in such a small town, all of my regulars tend to “review” their last purchase when they come back in. That’s what I lean on the most when customers ask about titles or authors that I haven’t read.

MUF: Since we’re middle-grade authors, we have to ask: what titles, old or new, fiction or nonfiction, Stone alley drogdo you find yourself recommencing to readers aged eight to thirteen these days ?Stone Alley Magic Treehousestone alley blume
Ben:
Besides You Will Call Me Drog?
Honestly, the kids around here know exactly what they want before they walk in, or they’ve given their
grandparent/parent/aunt/uncle a specific list of titles lite Wimpy Kid, Captain Underpants, Magic Treehouse or Junie B Jones.Stone Alley.  SilversteinWhenever someone needs more direction than that, I lean toward the classics. I don’t have children of my own and my only real experience is with what I grew up reading. But, parents love to find the books they loved to share with their kids. It’s hard to go wrong with Judy Blume, Shell Silverstein, Dr Seuss or Charlotte’s Web.Stone Alley new interior

MUF: If a family from out of town visited Stone Alley Books, would there be family-friendly places nearby to get a snack or meal? And if they could stay awhile are their some unique places and activities in Galesburg that they shouldn’t miss?
Ben:
The Landmark Cafe and Creperie and Q’s Cafe are both within a block of the shop. There is also the Discover Depot Children’s Museum and the Galesburg Railroad Museum. We host the Railroad Days festival on the 4th weekend in June and the National Stearman Fly-In every September.

Thanks, Ben , for telling us  about your store.  Best wishes for your continuing success.  Readers, do visit Stone Alley Stone Alley logo #2if you’re in that neck of the woods, especially if you have a geek in tow!

Sue Cowing is the author of the puppet-and-boy novel, You Will Call Me Drog,  Carolrodha Books 2011, Usborne UK, 2012

Winner

Our winner of “The Mothman’s Curse” is

Laura Shovan

Prepare to get creeped out, Laura! And many thanks to all who left comments.