Thursday, January 31, 2013

THE YEAR OF SHADOWS Cover Reveal Week - Day 3– Final Cover and First Page


Hello and Welcome to today's exciting cover reveal for Claire Legrand's THE YEAR OF SHADOWS! I know, I'm extremely excited about being able to team up with Claire and Simon Kids to reveal this lovely cover today on both Mundie Moms and Mundie Kids! Why delay any longer, check out this cover!


 What do you think of the cover?  Isn't it a lovely cover? I love the look on the cat's face. I wonder where that stair case leads to. I can't wait to see this cover out in stores! Guess what else I have for you today, a giveaway and a sneak peak of the first, along with a guest post from Claire!

This is our exclusive sneak peak into page #1. I am already in love. I seriously love that there's a silhouette of the cat on this page *must get book*.



THE YEAR OF SHADOWS Flap Copy

Olivia Stellatella is having a rough year.

Her mother left, her neglectful father—the maestro of a failing orchestra—has moved her and her grandmother into his dark, broken-down concert hall to save money, and her only friend is Igor, an ornery stray cat.

Just when she thinks life couldn’t get any weirder, she meets four ghosts who haunt the hall. They need Olivia’s help—if the hall is torn down, they’ll be stuck as ghosts forever, never able to move on.

Olivia has to do the impossible for her shadowy new friends: Save the concert hall. But helping the dead has powerful consequences for the living . . . and soon it’s not just the concert hall that needs saving.

Giveaway Details

To celebrate cover reveal week, Claire is giving away seven awesome prizes – seven prizes for seven different winners!


To win one of these prizes, simply comment on this post! The giveaway begins today and ends Thursday, February 7th. U.S./Canada only. Also, for more chances to win, don’t forget to comment on the first two cover reveal week posts at Icey Books and The Book Smugglers!


**Please note that though the cover reveal is happening on both sites, any comments left on this blog will be entered with those left on the MM's cover reveal post as well. Thank you! - Katie

********

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Kids and Claire Legrand for being apart of Mundie Moms today. 

About The Book:


By: Claire Legrand
Published by: Simon & Schuster
To Be Released On (around): August 27th, 2013
Soon to be available for Pre-Order on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

12-year-old Olivia Stellatella and her father have sold all their belongings to keep her father's orchestra from going bankrupt. Now, they live out of suitcases in the back rooms of Emerson Hall, where the orchestra performs.

Olivia hates it there.

She hates her squeaky cot and shabby clothes. She hates her father, too, for being so obsessed with music that he drove Olivia's mother out of the house and got them into this mess. Most of all, Olivia hates the orchestra. It's the orchestra's fault that her father's the way he is. She can't wait for it to fail.

Until the ghosts come.

They're lonely, frightened, and stuck in our world. Only if Olivia and the 12-year-old usher, Henry, can help the ghosts solve the mysteries of their deaths -- deaths that are somehow related to the Hall's past -- will they be able to move on and find peace. But time -- and money -- is running out. The mayor wants to bulldoze the Hall to the ground, which would put Olivia and her father out on the streets and trap the ghosts in our world permanently. And other ghosts -- bad ones -- will do anything to keep them here. As the “ghosts of Emerson Hall” craze sweeps the city, Olivia faces life-changing family secrets and must fight for her life when her world, and the world of Death, collide.

THE YEAR OF SHADOWS is a middle grade ghost story about loss, magic, music, and the power of friendship - quoted from 
Goodreads

About The Author:


Claire is a Texan living in New York City! She writes fantastical stories, and her daemon is an ocelot but sometimes a unicorn. When presented with the choice to high five or not to high five, she will always choose TO HIGH FIVE. Her first novel, THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS, due out August 28, 2012 fromSimon & Schuster BFYR, will probably give you nightmares. Or at the very least make you buy a nightlight. Her second novel, THE YEAR OF SHADOWS, due out Fall 2013, also from S&S, involves several ghosts, a girl who lives in a haunted music hall, and a rather insouciant cat. Her third novel,WINTERSPELL, due out in Fall 2014, also from S&S, is a young adult retelling of The Nutcracker, full of faeries, bloody swordfights, and forbidden romance. 

Follow Claire via her: Blog | Website | Twitter | GoodReads | Facebook | Tumblr

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Exile by Shannon Messenger / Island of Fire by Lisa McMann


I'm just as big of a fan of Middle Grade books as I am Young Adult. I'm really excited about some of this year's upcoming MG releases. These two books featured today are from series I have completely fallen in love with. Plus, check out their stunning covers. Here are two Aladdin (Simon Kids) books I can not wait to get my hands on.


By: Shannon Messenger
Published by: Aladdin
To Be Released on: October 1st, 2013
Series: Keeper of the Lost Cities #2
Pre-Order from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Sophie Foster thought she was safe. Settled into her home at Havenfield, surrounded by friends, and using her unique telepathic abilities to train Silveny--the first female alicorn ever seen in the Lost Cities--her life finally seems to be coming together. 

But Sophie's kidnappers are still out there. And when Sophie discovers new messages and clues from the mysterious Black Swan group, she’s forced to take a terrifying risk—one that puts everyone in incredible danger. 

As long buried secrets rise to the surface, it’s once again up to Sophie to uncover hidden memories—before someone close to her is lost forever. 
In this second book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must journey to the darkest corners of her luminous world in a sequel that will leave you breathless for more - quoted from Goodreads

Oh Keeper! This is one of those stellar series for kids that adults can enjoy just as much as younger readers. Shannon's debut, Keeper of the Lost Cities was one of my favorite MG from last year. I'm anxiously awaiting this books release. I need to know what happens next. You can read my review for Keeper here


By: Lisa McMann
Published by: Aladdin
To Be Released on: September 3rd, 2013
Pre-Order from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

If you've not yet picked up The Unwanteds, I highly recommend that you do! I LOVE this series. You can read my reviews for the 1st and 2nd book in this series. I can't wait to find out all that happens in book #3. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Book Review: Amelia Bedelia 50th Anniversary Edition


By: Peggy Parish
Illustrated by: Fritz Siebel
Published by: Harper Collins
Originally Released on: 1963
50th Anniversary Edition Released on: 1/29/13
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
5 stars: I loved It!
Ages: 5 & up

When Mrs. Rogers leaves Amelia Bedelia alone in the house on her first day of work, anything can happen. And it does!

With a list of what is to be done before her, Amelia Bedelia sets about her duties. And no one could possibly accuse her of not following directions—for that is precisely what she does. But when Amelia Bedelia draws the drapes or dresses a chicken, the results are hilariously different than might be expected!

Peggy Parish knows what strikes children as side-splittingly funny and Fritz Siebel has drawn Amelia Bedelia and her literal-minded actions to perfection. A hearty welcome to Amelia Bedelia—and long may she reign!

This commemorative fiftieth anniversary edition features the jacket, artwork, and story from the original 1963 edition of Amelia Bedelia. Also included are seven additional pages of archival photographs, sketches, and anecdotes and recollections about the inception and creation of America's beloved literal-minded housekeeper, Amelia Bedelia! quoted from Harper Collins

I grew up a huge fan of Amelia Bedelia. I remember being in elementary school when this story was first read to me, and I immediately fell in love with it. There's something lovable about Amelia. For me, she's more than that. Her story is a piece of my childhood, and one of the books that shaped me into the reader I am today. When this book arrived last week from Harper Collins I immediately sat down and read the book, which took me back for a brief moment to the time when I was sitting in 2nd grade having this story read to me. Though Amelia has changed her looks over her 50 years, her stories always carry that same lovable voice. This 50th Anniversary Edition is a must have for any Amelia fan! The artwork and the jacket are replicas of what the original book looked like. The extras that are included in the story was just as rewarding as the rest of the book. I highly recommend picking up this beloved classic children's storybook! You won't be disappointed that you did. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Book Review: The 13th Sign by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb


By: Kristen O'Donnell Tubb
Published by: Feiwel and Friends
Released on: January 8th, 2013
Source: arc from author/publisher to review
4 stars: I Really Enjoyed It!
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

What if there was a 13th zodiac sign? 

You’re no longer Sagittarius, but Ophiuchus, the healer, the 13th sign. 

Your personality has changed. So has your mom’s and your best friend’s. 

What about the rest of the world? 

What if you were the one who accidentally unlocked the 13th sign, causing this world-altering change—and infuriating the other 12 signs?  
Jalen did it, and now she must use every ounce of her strength and cunning to send the signs back where they belong. Lives, including her own, depend on it. - quoted from Goodreads


A journey rich with mythology, brimming with magic, and rip with lore, The 13th Sign is a story with an exciting adventure readers of all ages can enjoy. I really enjoyed the concept of this book. Not only does it entail something that's not been common in MG (middle grade) and YA (young adult) books, but the over all storyline connected with me. I remember being addicted to finding out what horoscope was when I was in middle school. I can't remember which magazine it was, but one of the teen magazines (back in the day) always had a spot for the horoscopes, and of course being that it was big back then to read those, I became obsessed. Like to the point I wondered who my horoscope was referencing to when it mentioned something about a new crush. Outside of being taken back to my tween days, I really enjoyed the story itself. 

This is Kristen's third book, and the third one I've read of hers. Each time I've read her books, I've loved the way she's allowed me to fall in love with her characters. It's not just her main character Jalen that I enjoyed reading about. Kristen's characters how ever great or small of a role they play, always have a sense of purpose and reason for being in her story, and I love that. For me that makes the story that much more in-depth. Another thing I enjoy about Kristen's book is the sense of family. Jalen's on a quest to do whatever it takes to protect her family. To me that makes her a hero in her own right. I also loved the zodiac characters and seeing them morph from people at the beginning of Jalen's into their true forms during her journey. Huge props to Kristen for making these characters stay true to their zodiac personalities/traits. They're what kept me hooked with this book. Through their cunning ways, Jalen for me grew more into a character I came to like.

Let's talk about Jalen. Jalen was a character I didn't like at first. I felt she was to, I don't even know. She just didn't connect with me, and I was at a point where I kept reading, because I wanted to find out which zodiac character she was going to run into next. Something surprising happened, at least for me. Somewhere along her quest, Jalen became much more than an annoying character I didn't like. She became a fearless hero who wasn't going to let her fears get the best of her. She wasn't going to give up hope when things seemed impossible. She became a hero of a different sort. She was going to do whatever it took to succeed at her challenge, and fulfill her destiny. By the time the story came to an end, I greatly admired Jalen. She grew up a lot. She learned to trust in herself. In doing so she grew into the character she needed to accomplish what she set out to do. 

If you're looking for a fun, fast paced reading with an unique concept, and unforgettable characters, I'd recommend picking this one up!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book Review: Take Two by Julia deVillers and Jennifer Roy


Written by: Julia deVillers and Jennifer Roy
Publisher: Aladdin
Release Date: December 21, 2010
Series: Identical Twin Series (Book 2)
Ages: 9 and up
Source: Purchased
Buy: Barnes and Noble | amazon | IndieBound

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - I loved it!

Synopsis: Twin sisters Payton and Emma have learned that "trading faces" can lead to "twin-dentical" chaos, and they've promised never to do it again. But just to be sure that they've really learned their lesson, the school counselor has a punishment in store, and they're not going to be sitting through detention -- or hyperventilating through detention, in Emma's case. Instead, Emma's tutoring a math-hating eight-year-old boy who brings a creepy reptile to every lesson. Meanwhile, Payton has to keep an eye on his brother and help the drama club with their musical -- but she's not going to be onstage, she'll be under it! Oh! And the boys? They're identical twins too....

When things start spinning out of control, will it take another twin switch to sort it out? And just how many switches are going on at once? In the end, it's good to have a twin who's got your back as well as your face!

Okay, MundieTween and I have a new series that we love. What I enjoyed about this story is that the reader gets to see the consequences of the twins trading places scenario from the first book. And oh what consequences there are! The girls have to watch over a set of twin boys who are more than a handful.

The lesson that Payton and Emma learn at the end is a powerful one -- your best ally is your sister. When you're in trouble, shouldn't your sister step in for you? I'd like to think so.

My oldest daughter loves these stories and I think she's beginning to understand that the sisterly bonds between her and her little sister are important ones. For me, stories about family members helping each other out are always the best kind of stories whether I'm ten years old or, er, a few decades older.

In case you wanted to know, yes, we've picked up book 3 in the series, Times Squared, and we're looking forward to reading it soon.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Keeper of the Lost Cities: Exile


By: Shannon Messenger
Published by: Aladdin (Simon & Schuster Kids)
To Be Released on: October 1st, 2013
Series: Keeper of the Lost Cities #2

Sophie Foster thought she was safe. Settled into her home at Havenfield, surrounded by friends, and using her unique telepathic abilities to train Silveny--the first female alicorn ever seen in the Lost Cities--her life finally seems to be coming together. 

But Sophie's kidnappers are still out there. And when Sophie discovers new messages and clues from the mysterious Black Swan group, she’s forced to take a terrifying risk—one that puts everyone in incredible danger. 

As long buried secrets rise to the surface, it’s once again up to Sophie to uncover hidden memories—before someone close to her is lost forever. 
In this second book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must journey to the darkest corners of her luminous world in a sequel that will leave you breathless for more. -quoted from Goodreads


I am in LOVE with this cover! I don't know what it is about children's book covers, but wow, sometimes they just blow me away with how seriously stunning they are. Yes, I will admit that I'd seriously pick up a children's book based on the cover alone. I loved Keeper, and I am really looking forward to going back to the world Shannon created it. I can't wait to read this one!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book Review - Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman


Written by:Nail Gaiman
Illustrated by: Adam Rex
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Release Date: 1/8/2013
Reading Level: Ages 4 - 8
Source: Purchased
Buy: IndieBoundamazon | Barnes and Noble 

Synopsis: Chu is a little panda with a big sneeze.

When Chu sneezes, bad things happen.

Will Chu sneeze today?

I bought this, okay I'll be very honest, mostly for me. I adore Neil Gaiman and when I heard he was writing a childrens book, I knew I had to buy it for our family. Much to my surprise, I wasn't the first one to read it. Nope. It was my teen who grabbed it and read it with my second grader. And then not to be outdone, the fourth grader nabbed after they finished it and read it herself.

I watched their frenzy while passing the book around and remembered why picture books are important even when children have outgrown them -- they are quick reads and the illustrations make us think and laugh and share our perspectives on what we think is going on in them.

This book is a perfect reminder of all those moments. And yes, it tells the story of what happens when Chu sneezes and tells it in typical Neil fashion. I encourage you to pick it up whether or not you have young children around. It'll remind you of that moment of childhood wonder when you first opened a  well told, well illustrated book.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Review: The Great Unexcepted by Sharon Creech


By: Sharon Creech
Published by: Harper Collins Childrens
Released on: September 4th, 2012
Source: book from publisher to review
Ages: 10 & older
4 stars: I Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound


I had big thoughts to match the big wind. I wondered if we find the people we need when we need them. I wondered if we attract our future by some sort of invisible force, or if we are drawn to it by a similar force. I felt I was turning a corner and that change was afoot.

In the little town of Blackbird Tree live two orphan girls: one Naomi Deane, brimming with curiosity, and her best friend, Lizzie Scatterding, who could talk the ears off a cornfield. Naomi has a knack for being around when trouble happens. For she knows all the peculiar people in town--like Crazy Cora and Witch Wiggins and Mr. Farley. But then, one day, a boy drops out of a tree. The strangely charming Finn boy. Then the Dingle Dangle man appears, asking all kinds of questions. Curious surprises are revealed--three locked trunks, a pair of rooks, a crooked bridge, and that boy. Soon Naomi and Lizzie find themselves zooming toward a future neither could ever have imagined. Meanwhile, on a grand estate across the ocean, an old lady whose heart has been deceived concocts a plan. . . .
As two very different worlds are woven together, Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech celebrates the gossamer thread that connects us all, and the great and unexpected gifts of love, friendship, and forgiveness
.
-quoted from Goodreads

I LOVE this cover! It's enchanting and absolutely beautiful. It's one of those covers that draws you in, much like the story itself. I'm not the type of middle grade book reader who's fallen in love with many realistic contemporary stories, but Sharon Creech has written an truly remarkable story with The Great Unexpected. Once I started reading this book, there was no stopping until I was done. I loved it. It's book that has these fun, unique, extraordinarily unforgettable characters who take you along their adventures, mishaps, and journey into making amends, coping with heartbreak, and moving one. Above all this story is about friendship, love, and forgiveness. It's a story that encompasses realistic emotions that young readers can relate to and understand. Sharon's writing is beautiful, moving, and boy did she suck me right into this strangely, enticing story. I can see why Sharon's won a Newberry Medal before, and I'd be shocked if this, her newest release didn't win a medal this year.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Night The Moon Ate My Room Blog Tour

The Night the Moon Ate My Room Blog Tour
 I'm thrilled to be the next stop on the The Night The Moon At My Room blog tour. You can find a complete tour schedule here. Today's post features an excerpt from author Jesse Wilson, along with a giveaway.
Excerpt from “The Night the Moon Ate My Room!” 
by Jesse Wilson
Prologue

I started playing the violin for my class today… but I forgot the music. I mean, it just wouldn't come to me!
Everyone laughed at me.
I tried playing the music again… they laughed even harder.
I walked off the class stage, I was so embarrassed.
On my way home, I told myself I would never, ever, play the violin, ever again.
It was the worst day of my life.
I was so angry, I punished myself. I decided not to eat my own dinner.
“Eat!” Mom said.
“Eat!” Dad said.
“No!” I said. “I stink. I’m the world’s worst violinist!”
“I was just about to ask, how did the recital go?” Dad asked.
“Awful!” I said. “Worse than awful!” I marched myself up to my own bedroom without even saying goodnight to mom and dad, and slammed the door shut.
I couldn’t sleep, I was so angry. I stayed angry for a very long time…
    It felt like it was really late at night. I stared up at the stars. Or where the stars should have been, because there weren’t any. It wasn’t even foggy out. That was kind of weird. But the moon was bright and full that night, bigger than I could ever even remember it.
Maybe because it was moving towards me…
Was I going out of my mind?
It kept moving towards me, getting bigger and bigger… And then it was right in front of my window!
    The moon kept coming, getting bigger and bigger… and biggerbigger… oh man, was that moon huge! And then, craters and all, it was right in front of my window. 



    It just floated in front of the window, staring at me. I stared back at the moon, my mouth as open and as wide as the moon. Suddenly, the moon began to shake and quiver... then, like a volcano about to erupt, it opened its giant moon mouth. Instantly, light poured out of the moon's mouth into my room. Squinting from the light, I saw that it had huge, jaggedy moon rocks for teeth. “This is it,” I thought. “It’s been a nice life on this planet until now… Goodbye Mom and Dad…” Like a vacuum cleaner switched on, my entire room slowly rolled into the moon’s mouth… gulp!
    The moon ate my room whole!
    I shut my eyes tightly, too scared to breathe. Well, now I was a goner.
    A few minutes passed. Opening my eyes, peaking over the covers, I saw my entire bedroom sparkling white. Like taking a bath without the water, I was in a world of warmth. I felt tingly all over. I couldn’t see anything except for the glinting moonlight. Once my eyes adjusted to the brightness, I looked out my bedroom window... From the inside of the closest moon crater, I saw that I was flying, flying above my home... far above the city... above the dark clouds... Flying, flying… Now, I was looking down at the face of the Earth. I knew you couldn’t breathe in outer space, but for some reason, I could breathe just fine inside my room... inside the moon.
    Inside the moon, I saw a lot of insides of other craters, and discovered they were like telescopes, and that's when I saw the close-up views of other people sleeping inside their bedrooms. When I looked longer at them, I was able to look inside their dreams... It was like looking inside a ton of paintings at a museum. Many dreams were beautiful, and many were scary.
Suddenly, the moon spoke to me. “How ya doin’?”
“Fine,” I replied. “Uh… How are you?” I mean, what are you supposed to say to the moon after it eats your room? The moon sounded friendly enough, though. That was a relief. Its voice was big and echoey, but only because it was really big in there. Mainly, its voice sounded cool. It sounded like a friend.
The moon said, “You don’t seem fine.”
“Well… I guess I’m not,” I said.
“Why?”
The words just burst out of me. “Well, I played my violin horribly in Ms. Fletcher's class, and I’d been practicing for ever and I sounded awful and everyone laughed at me. I’m a failure.”
“Well, I can certainly see why you’re so angry,” the moon said. “But did you know that some of the greatest things in life come from what you call ‘failure?’ How would you like to hear some stories that will maybe make you feel better about playing the violin again?”
“Sure,” I said, although I was pretty sure I wasn't ever going to play the violin again. (I couldn’t possibly imagine saying “No” to the moon. That would have been rude. )
“Long before you were born, I’ve been up in the sky, watching… Many things have happened on this planet, and I’ve seen it all,” the moon explained. “If you think about all the people in the world, at one time or another, they have looked at me. It’s a neat thought, if you really think about it.”
It occurred to me that the moon had been there for a pretty long time, and that it probably knew what it was talking about.
    I'm positive that everybody in history has looked at the moon.
    Dinosaurs have roamed beneath the moon.
    Great battles have been fought beneath the moon.
    Baseball games have been played beneath the moon.
    Symphonies, plays, operas and ballets have been performed beneath the moon.
People have laughed and cried beneath the moon.
    “I've always been up here,” the moon said. “I’ve also been here when pirates flew across the night sky instead of the sea, you know…”
    “What?!” I exclaimed. That really got my attention.
    “Oh yeah,” the moon said. “I've lived in real worlds and dream worlds. I’ve also been here when strange, winged creatures lived on other planets. I’ve been here when lonely galaxies yearned for the majestic beauty of other galaxies. I’ve been here when a painter saw his future in a blank canvas... and I’ve been here when a boy thought he would never dream again. Do you have any idea who that might be?”
I didn’t say anything. Of course, I knew who that was.
Shining on the wall now, I saw the images of lot more people. And do you know what? They were behaving very childishly. I saw painters angrily destroying their paintings! I saw writers throwing their writing out their windows! I saw musicians smashing their instruments to smithereens (I could relate to that one—I wanted to do that to my stupid violin). I saw people who wrote music (they were called composers) tear up their music. It actually was sort of funny. I saw a lot of people doing a lot of very silly things. But then, in one flash on the wall, I also saw all these people turn their anger into symphonies, plays, operas, and ballets…  
And now on the wall, I saw audiences laughing and crying and clapping their hands beneath the moon.
“Imagine if all those artists had given up because they were angry,” the moon said.
I didn’t say anything, but I thought that was pretty cool.
“More?” the moon said.
“Sure,” I said. I really did want to see more. I wasn’t just saying that to be nice to the moon.
    “All those people you see on your wall had dreams,” the moon said. “Your dreams are always inside you. Even if you can’t see them, your dreams are still there. Whether you remember them or not. Just like me, the moon. But the older we get, the harder it is to remember our dreams are still there. We forget that they are the greatest things in us...”
And that’s when the moon shared with me its first story.


About the Book:
The moon was bright and full that night, bigger than I could ever even remember it. Maybe because it was moving towards me... After giving the worst violin recital of his life, and being laughed at by the entire school, the boy vows to never play music again. Later that night, when the moon swallows up his bedroom, it shares the secrets of being a true artist, helping the boy re-claim his self-confidence, overcome the pitfalls of perfectionism, and believe in his own dream. Each of the five stories in The Night the Moon Ate My Room! is designed for young readers to experience the joy of self-discovery, valuable life lessons, and the adventure of turning their greatest dreams into reality.

 Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Book Depository

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jesse Wilson is an author, motivational performer, illustrator, and teacher. A life-long involvement with theatre and film as both performer and writer began early, growing up in Hollywood, CA, where he performed in plays, TV shows and commercials. A graduate of the LA High School for the Performing Arts, Jesse traveled east to attain a BFA for theatre in the prestigious Juilliard School. Remaining in New York, and later Philadelphia, he developed material for his one-man shows, performed throughout the region. 

His most recent production, “Face the City,” written for high school and college audiences, combines visual and animation projections in a multimedia presentation of the artist's journey to find themselves in the "real world." “The Night the Moon Ate My Room!” written and performed with music for young audiences to experience self-discovery, is created with the support of The Kennedy Center’s Imagination Celebration and Pikes Peak Library District. 

Coming soon this year, building upon the success of “The Night the Moon Ate My Room!” a series of empowering books for children, written and illustrated by Jesse Wilson, will be published under the title “Brilliant Mistakes!”

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment along with your email address to be entered to win an ebook! For the GRAND PRIZE giveaway, Enter to win a signed paperback copy of The Night the Moon Ate My Room along with an "11 x 15" custom illustration!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Book Review: Twin-Tastrophe by Sienna Mercer


Written by: Sienna Mercer
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: January 2012
Series: My Sister the Vampire (Book #9)
Reading Level: Grades 3 - 5
Source: Purchased
Buy: amazon | Scholastic

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - I loved it!!!

Synopsis: This ninth adventure from the popular and funny series is full of drama! Olivia and her vampire twin sister, Ivy, are facing some tough situations. Olivia's in charge of the school dance, but some bullies are trying to take over, and they want to ban Goth girls like Ivy from the dance! Ivy's got problems of her own. Her Transylvanian grandparents want to send her to a special vampire boarding school to learn to control her growing vampire powers, and she's not allowed to tell Olivia about it! Can the sisters find a way to help each other handle it all?

I picked up the ninth book in this series for my fourth grade daughter because it's one of those stories, she keeps returning to in between her other reads. The cover has been changed in the U.S. version to the one here on the right. The U.K. cover is the one pictured above (along with the different name, Twin Spins). I point this out, because in preparing the review for this book, it appears that it may be tricky to find; I'm not sure if it's being re-packaged by Scholastic or by Harper Collins (the original U.S. publisher). Either way, the amazon link I posted above has used copies available.

In this installment the girls are in danger of being separated into different schools while Olivia is in charge of an upcoming dance. The bullies take control of the dance when Olivia skips a meeting because of a family vacation and they ban goths from attending the dance.

Olivia and Ivy find a compromise suggested from a surprising source. And the all pink decor for the dance gets turned into something that even goths would respect.

This series surprised both my daughter and myself with a twist we didn't see coming. A good story about inclusion and standing up for yourself. We both hope the series will continue with more installments.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Book Review: Oopsy Daisy by Lauren Myracle


Written by: Lauren Myracle
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: August 1, 2012
Series: The Flower Power series (Book 3)
Ages: 9 and up
Source: Purchased
Buy: Powell's | Barnes and Noble  | amazon

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars - I loved it! I can't wait for book 4!

Synopsis: The Flower Power books follow the funny fifth-grade adventures of four girls with little in common but their flower names who, nevertheless, blossom into the greatest of friends.

Life for the Flower Power girls is never boring. With Milla still madly in crush with sweet Max, Katie-Rose is left wondering why everyone doesn’t find fifth-grade boys as disgusting as she does. Especially pesky, annoying Preston, whose new favorite pastime is throwing erasers at Katie-Rose’s head and who always seems to be around at Katie-Rose’s most embarrassing moments. Yasaman isn’t quite ready for a boyfriend either, but she does have a brilliant matchmaking plan for two of her favorite people, and she recruits the other girls to join. The targets: beloved teachers Mr. Emerson and Ms. Perez, who are meant for each other, even if they don’t know it. The goal: to bring those lovebirds together at their school’s “Lock-In,” a teacher-chaperoned evening of fun, fabulosity, and possibly even romance. The trouble? Ms. Perez isn’t planning on coming. And when the fourth flower friend, Violet, mysteriously pulls out, too, it seems as if the Lock-In will be no fun at all. But these flowers don’t wilt so easily . . .



Here's what MundieTween said, "You know how these books are fiction but they can relate to girls everywhere?" I answered, yes and she just sighed. To say that my daughter loves this series is to underestimate the amount of passion she has for it.

According to my daughter, this story deals with the "ups and down of fifth grade" and most of all those moments of puppy love. You remember them, don't you? Those first crushes before things become too dramatic in middle school (and let's not even discuss high school dramarama levels).

The plot centers around the "Lock In", a chaperoned, overnight shindig with all the possibilities of a little romance. But pizza fights occur, new iPhones are used and Project Teacherly Lurve may result in a love match. And we get to see why Violet pulls out of the Lock-in.

This book is a must-read for fans of the Flower Power series. As a fan of Lauren's YA writing, I'm so grateful she wrote a series that my daughter can enjoy. Now, judging by my daughter's love of these characters and their adventures, you can probably guess where I'll be today. That's right, at a bookstore because Awesome Blossom's release day is, you guessed it, today.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Book Review: Liberty Porter First Daughter, New Girl in Town


Written by: Julia DeVillers
Illustrated by: Paige Pooler
Series: Liberty Porter series
Ages: 8 - 12 years
Publisher: Aladdin
Release Date: July 6, 2010
Source: Borrowed from public library
Buy: Powell's | Barnes and Noble | amazon

Rating: 4.5 stars - I really liked it!

Synopsis: Liberty Porter is your average eight-year-old girl. Except for the fact that her dad is the newly-elected President of the United States. She just moved into her new house--the White House. And she's about to start at her new school. It’s hard being the new girl at school and Liberty’s first few days don’t go as smoothly as she’d like. Having to bring a bodyguard to school? Not cool. Answering a history question about her new home wrong? Really not cool. Not knowing if kids want to be her friend just because she’s the First Daughter. Totally not cool! But if anyone can turn “not cool” into something “cool” it’s Liberty the “coolest” first daughter ever! Join Liberty as she finds true friends, and navigates her way through the corridors of her new school and the White House.

First days of school can be very awkward when you're the New Girl. Imagine though, if you're not only the New Girl, but also the New First Daughter. Awkward time!

She's getting to know her new school as well as her new house -- umm, that just happens to be the White House. Both MundieTween and I loved reading how Liberty could go down to the chocolate shop in the White House and add chocolate to her lunch.

Liberty is quite a spunky, true-to-life character. While she takes a proper first day of school photo for the staff photographer, she's like most kids and makes a face when her dad (that's the PotUS) snaps a pic.

At school, Liberty finds life more awkward. During a field trip to the Smithsonian, she reflects on all the past presidents' portraits and the First Ladies' inauguration gowns. MundieTween and I enjoyed watching Liberty realize her own place in history. However reality isn't always full of reflective moments, it's full of this-can't-be-happening-to-me minutes, too. It doesn't matter that your family will play a significant role in U.S. history if you have to sit between your assigned Secret Service agent and the White House Head of Staff instead of by a new friend who asked you to sit by her.

Julia brings to life the moments of social awkwardness that most fourth graders experience in such a real way that my daughter and I found ourselves giggling over her predicaments. Another great story from Julia and yes, we're both looking forward to more.
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~