Tag Archives: book list

New Releases!

Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks! The Superbowl may have not have been all that super…and the groundhog may be predicting more winter…but we are happy! Why?

We have NEW books to read!

Let’s get to it!

Congratulations, Mixed Up Files Member, Jeniffer Duddy Gill!!!!!

The Secret of Ferrell Savage, by J. Duddy Gill

Middle school romance is hard enough, but cannibalism really gets in the way. This humorous look at first crushes and family secrets is sure to be devoured.

Ferrell Savage is finally twelve, and finally eligible to compete in The Big Sled Race on Golden Hill—the perfect chance to impress Mary Vittles. Mary is Ferrell’s best friend…and maybe, someday, something more.

Except the “more” Ferrell first finds is more information about his family. It turns out that his great, great, great uncle had an encounter with Mary’s great, great grandfather. And the encounter was, well, let’s just say…edible. Sure, the circumstances were extreme, but some facts might just be romantically indigestible. At least now Ferrell understands why his family is vegan.

But even as Ferrell and Mary encounter blackmail, a second sled race, and a particularly enticing bag of beef jerky, Ferrell realizes that he might still have a chance with Mary. If, that is, his family secret doesn’t eat them alive.

Lady Thief: A Scarlet Novel, by A C Gaughen

Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again.Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again.
(If you haven’t read SCARLET, check it out!!!)
snickerIntroducing an extraordinary new voice—a magical debut that will make your skin tingle, your eyes glisten . . .and your heart sing.Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity knows all about things like that; her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart.But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck’s about to change. A “word collector,” Felicity sees words everywhere—shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog’s floppy ears—but Midnight Gulch is the first place she’s ever seen the word “home.” And then there’s Jonah, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity’s never seen before, words that make Felicity’s heart beat a little faster.Felicity wants to stay in Midnight Gulch more than anything, but first, she’ll need to figure out how to bring back the magic, breaking the spell that’s been cast over the town . . . and her mother’s broken heart.

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

In this third book in Marissa Meyer’s bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth.
Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she’s just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.
When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she’d ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

The New Olympians, by Kate O’Hearn

Emily and her companions, including the winged horse, Pegaus, must confront a legion of Olympic enemies in this third book of an action-packed series.

When Emily’s father and the goddess Diana return from a visit to Earth, they bring with them disturbing news. There’s a horse called Tornado Warning that’s winning all the races, with times faster than anyone’s ever seen. What could this mean? Emily, Joel, Paelen, Pegasus, and the sphinx Alexis return to Earth to investigate—and discover a CRU plot to clone Olympians and Nirads using DNA retrieved from their previous time in the human realm.

The CRU has already created dozens of Nirad warriors, Dianas, Paelens, Cupids, and Pegasuses. Now they want to create their own Emily clone—even if the original is killed in the process. Can Emily and her friends put a stop to the CRU’s plans before Jupiter finds out and carries through on his own threat to destroy the Earth?

Timmy Failure: Now Look What You’ve Done, by Stephen Pastis

 
 He doesn’t like to pull rank. To reveal that he’s this guy: Timmy Failure, founder, president, and CEO of the greatest detective agency in town, perhaps the nation. But he is.

And he’s about to crack the biggest case of his generation: a school competition to find a stolen globe. It’s his ticket to bringing home a $500 prize, which is guaranteed to set him up for life. But someone is clearly trying to game the system. Hoodwink. Con. Defraud. So it’s up to Timmy Failure, with the dubious help of Total, his lazy polar-bear partner, and his unlikely new ally, eccentric Great-Aunt Colander, to find a way to avenge these shenanigans. Defeat this injustice.
If he can only get his entry form in on time.

Ice Dogs, by Terry Lynn Johnson

ice dogVictoria Secord, a fourteen-year-old Alaskan dogsled racer, loses her way on a routine outing with her dogs. With food gone and temperatures dropping, her survival and that of her dogs and the mysterious boy she meets in the woods is entirely up to her.

The author Terry Lynn Johnson is a musher herself, and her crackling writing puts readers at the reins as Victoria and Chris experience setbacks, mistakes, and small triumphs in their wilderness adventure.

Great Horse Books for your Horsie Kid!

Now that school’s back in, your horsie child will definitely need some daydreaming material for after school (and perhaps in it, but you didn’t hear that from me!) Doesn’t everyone read horse books instead of doing homework?

No? Well, that was maybe just me.

Anyway, I’m posting (in my opinion) the top horse books out there for younger readers. A caveat: I have read and enjoyed these horse books personally and *I* turned out okay, so don’t worry mom, give that book to your horsie kid and let them have at it! These books are clean with easy print and (for some) great discussion points that can be discussed. (see underneath the list for how you can add your favourites!)

I will not tell you to buy from a particular bookseller. Amazon, B&N, Indie, the choice is yours. This is why I won’t provide links in this article, but don’t worry, you can find them easily.

And now, in no particular order, the list!

War horse
– For older children, (12-ish?) but certainly an excellent book for horse fans. Handles the gritty subject of war and the unique aspect of a horse sent away to be in it.

The Black Stallion series
– This is a nice long series. Some get into the odd region (Flame and the UFO, for one), but the biggest highlight is Alec’s bond with The Black, and the adventures they have. Easy to read and a good length for young readers.

Wild Girl
– Just read this a while ago. Recommended for cultural aspects as well as the horse connection.

Misty of Chincoteague series
– Misty is cannon in horse literature. These are clean books, easy to read with excellent illustrations. You simply cannot go wrong with Marguerite Henry!

King of the Wind
– This is a great retelling of how Sham became the Godolphin Arabian. Wonderful cultural eye-opener, as well. Great talking book!

Gunner: Hurricane Horse
– A great true story, and close to home! Recommended!

My Flicka Flicka (series)
– Another cannon in horse books. These three showcase the wild brilliant difficult western life as it was, with characters you really enjoy and get behind.

Terri Farleys Phantom Stallion Series
– I’ve talked with this author and her Phantom series is great. She puts her money where her mouth is, too – she works with mustang rescues in her home state, and gives back thru SCBWI too!

Black beauty
– EXCELLENT book. Told from “the horse’s mouth”, so to say. Can’t beat it, and the cultural aspects are great as well.

Beauty by Bill Wallace
– A top author, a great person. He understood the horse and dog psyche – and a boy’s – in a unique way. He will be missed!

National Velvet
– Who wouldn’t want The Pie? A great clean book full of action!

A Horse Called Dragon
– A wonderful book that integrates the story of one wild stallion with the breed he helped to create, the Pony of the Americas. A great series!

Summer Pony
– Ah, Ginny and her rent-a-horse. This is a great book!

Justin Morgan had a Horse
– Interesting aspects of breed beginnings from Justin and his morgan horse. Should definitely read!

The Red Pony
– This one is for older children only. Expect to have some talks, as it deals with difficult subjects.

PLEASE NOTE: As I read thru older books (and newer!) that are recommended, I’ll add to this list! So if you have a horse book you’d love to have added, please put it in the comments here and I’ll check it out!

Thank you, and have a great horsie weekend!

—-

Jen K Blom is an author living in Berlin, Germany, where she writes children’s books about all sorts of kids and all sorts of animals. Her award-winning middle grade book POSSUM SUMMER was published in 2010, and her upcoming horse book BLUE APPALOOSA comes in 2013, with others to follow! You can follow her on Twitter, check out her Facebook and visit her blog.

Ordinary Kids, Extraordinary Stories

I love contemporary realistic middle-grade fiction. As a kid, I was delighted to discover Beverly Cleary’s BEEZUS AND RAMONA. Finally, a big sister with an embarrassing little sister, just like me! Judy Blume’s ARE YOU THERE GOD, IT’S ME MARGARET? was a hot topic on the sixth grade playground where my friends and I whispered about scenes in the book and smoothly segued into conversations about ourselves. That’s what I love most about stories featuring ordinary* kids, they reflect on real life and let readers know they are not alone.

Today’s contemporary realistic fiction moves beyond just school and friendship stories, and adds a little extra spark. Is it because today’s readers are more sophisticated? Or that authors are competing with TV, Internet, and video games? Probably both. In any case, the books listed below cover common issues among ordinary kids in a unique way.

HOW TO SURVIVE MIDDLE SCHOOL by Donna Gephardt follows David as he navigates the first difficult year of middle school, loses and gains friends, and deals with bullies–all very common issues for this age. Extra spark: David aspires to be like Jon Stewart on the Daily Show and becomes a local celebrity with his own YouTube videos.

THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z by Kate Messner follows Gianna as she struggles to complete a huge school project and deals with a rival on the track team. Extra spark: Gianna lives in a funeral home and is embarrassed by her father driving to her school in his hearse. Also, she must deal with her grandmother’s diagnosis of dementia.

A CROOKED KIND OF PERFECT by Linda Urban follows Zoe who dreams of playing piano at Carnegie Hall, but is instead stuck with an organ. And her best friend recently deserted her. Extra spark: her father is afraid to leave the house, her mother works all the time, and the boy bully she was afraid of becomes a friend.

THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF GIRLS by Frances O’Roark Dowell follows two best friends as they drift apart in middle school. Extra spark: the story is told in alternating points of view, letting us know neither is the mean girl. They’re both under peer pressure and trying to find their best self.

SCHOOLED by Gordon Korman follows the worst loser in school who is secretly nominated for class president and tortured throughout the school year. Bullying, conformity, peer pressure, check. Extra spark: this year’s nominee is a kid seemingly straight from the sixties, the last kid on a hippy-style commune. His first time attending school is as a complete innocent venturing into the playground jungle.

What are your favorite contemporary realistic middle-grade stories? And what gives them that extra spark?

*By ordinary kids I mean kids with functional families that go to school, as opposed to kids possessing magical abilities or orphans.

Karen B. Schwartz writes contemporary realistic middle-grade fiction, and is currently working on I AM NOT A PINK GIRL about a tomboy, Alex, and her ultra-feminine stepmother-to-be, Dee Dee, who’s determined to make a lady out of Alex. Extra spark: Dee Dee has a murky past full of secrets that Alex is determined to reveal in an attempt to stop the wedding.