Saturday, August 29, 2015

Inspirational Reading Posters

Kids in the middle grades often still like to read, but also often need reminders to do so. They don't like it when adults tell them what to do, so we have to find more subtle ways to get our message across. Consider some of these beautiful posters:



Most of these are 100% original artwork. Please check out the artist's store and purchase your favorites!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

#FREE read! 'The DANGER! Kids' by Carlos R. Malbrew


Blurb:

They'll never be bored again. Join Kevin and Mike as they team with Army, Smooth, and Sal to form the most exciting club in kid history... The DANGER! Kids! When Kev's mom gets kidnapped they leap into action. Can Kevin's leadership, Mike's patience, Army's skill, Sal's toughness, and Smooth's raps turn them into heroes? Or will the start of The DANGER! Kids also be their end!

Read an excerpt:
Chapter 7: “Threats come true?”

Sal’s mom continued to scream from the upstairs window. 
“Fire is hot and our drama don’t stop,” Smooth rapped. 
“Really Smooth? At a time like this?” Army scolded. 
“Army do something.” Sal pleaded: “There has got to be a way to save her. The flames are closing in fast. And the house could collapse at any second.”

Army took his grabbling rope and threw it into the window. Its hook caught onto something and Army began climbing the wall… 
Meanwhile Sal grabbed the water hose and sprayed the door.

“Smooth, here,” she said passing him the hose. “Give me a chance to get in there.” 
“Got you,” Smooth said.

He blasted the flames with the hose and Sal leaped into action running right into the house. 
She saw the stairs. They didn’t look like they could hold her weight, but she had to save her mom. If she didn’t - the threat would come true!

... Army almost reached the second floor climbed when a flame leaped out at him! In his haste, Army slipped off the rope, and fell right into the bushes below him.

Meanwhile Sal ran up the stairs thinking: “I’m going to make it!”

But she relaxed too much, for when she had almost reached the top, the stairs collapsed! She leaped in the air and somehow caught the edge of the floor. Her legs dangled above the flames as she pulled herself up. Sal crawled on the floor to her mom’s bedroom where she found her unconscious. Sal grabbed her mother.

“Mom!” Sal screamed as her adrenaline kicked in. Sal grabbed her mom’s arms and pulled her to the window. She knew that they had to make a jump for it, but what would she use to support the fall? She remembered the bushes outside her mother’s window. 
“Out of the way!” Sal shrieked at Army and Smooth. She clasped both arms around her mom’s stomach, closed her eyes, and jumped out of the window. Sal landed on the bushes on her back with her mom safely on top of her. Sal’s mom coughed as her daughter got up from the bushes. Sal took a long look at her mother.

“She’s ok,” Sal said aloud to herself.

“You’re bleeding,” Smooth said to Sal. 
“Yeah and now it’s Pierre turn. He crossed the line. I’m going get him.” Sal said, letting her anger take over.

“I hear the sirens,” Smooth told them. “Let’s wait for the fire department and the…

“You can wait,” Sal said as she walked towards her neighbor’s yard.

“Army,” she called. “Can you start this motorcycle?” 
Army pulled out a screwdriver.

“Step aside,” he said.

Sal backed up. In a few moments she heard the bike’s engine roar. 
“Do you know how to ride?” Smooth asked. 
Sal ignored him, hopped on the bike and took off. 
“Now YOU’RE welcome,” Army commented.

“Sal’s got a temper/ heart colder than December,” Smooth rapped.

But Army was serious with his reply: “I thought the adventure was almost over. But now…now all I see is… danger!

http://amzn.to/1eC7moJ
FREE for Kindle through 7/8
Always free for Prime members and on Kindle Unlimited!


Monday, June 29, 2015

'Diary of a Minecraft Iron Golem & His Pig' by Christopher Craft


Blurb:

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a Minecraft Iron Golem? Or maybe the Pet Pig of an Iron Golem? What is the pig thinking? Find out today!

This Hilarious Adventure Series will crack you up!

In the first book of this Crazy Minecraft adventure series, you get to travel along with a Real Iron Golem and his Pet Pig! This Hilarious Adventure series will have you laughing so hard you may pee your pants!

This Iron Golem and his pet pig will have you screaming for more. You will be rooting them on in their CRAZY & Exciting Adventures! A great and fun read for all ages.

Diary of a Minecraft Iron Golem and his Pet Pig is an Epic Adventure and a must-read for any kid who loves Minecraft.

http://amzn.to/1SQKGAc

Author bio:

Christopher Craft loves gaming! He has played a ton of them. He loves letting his imagination run wild when he is building in Minecraft or defending against attacks in Clash of Clans.

Also when gaming he holds nothing back, just like in his adventures! So come along and immerse yourself in these epic adventures that will take you into realms only limited by your imagination.

All these amazing stories came about from things he would dream about and decided to share with the world. From Minecraft to Clash - From Angry Birds to League - there are no limits.

The Obsidian Knights Adventure Series will take you on a fantastical journey into realms with Intergalactic Dragons. Knights from an ancient order. Worlds formed before the foundations of time.The universe you know is not all that there is, as you will soon find out!

But even with your imagination...you can't get there without the Talisman!

Join Christopher Craft and all the Characters in their Amazing Adventures.

Minecraft Fan Fiction Parodies are one of his favorites! He has always wondered what they might try and tell us if they could. So come along and venture into galaxies and alternate game realities. Fit for all ages.

Grab a book or two and you will be hooked into the mind of Christopher Craft.

Friday, June 26, 2015

'Diary of a Minecraft Enderman's Apprentice' by Christopher Craft


Blurb:

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a Real Enderman's Apprentice? What it takes to become a Master Enderslayer? This Diary will take you on that journey!

In the first book of this Crazy Minecraft adventure series, you get to eavesdrop over the shoulder of an Enderman's Apprentice! Wow! This is the real diary of an actual Enderman's Apprentice. Take a peek at what is really going on when no one is watching. Learn how the apprentice really feels. 

Is it fun? Is it too hard to become a Master Enderman? Will he ever get a white cape?

Are Enderman really different from us? You'll be surprised at what you reveal in his secret diary.

Come grab a limited copy and discover today!

Diary of a of an Enderman's Apprentice is a must-read for any kid who loves Minecraft. Kids ages 7+ can't wait to experience these exciting Minecraft adventures! 
http://amzn.to/1e8J4T0
Get more of Christopher Craft's books here!

Author bio:

Christopher Craft loves gaming! He has played a ton of them. He loves letting his imagination run wild when he is building in Minecraft or defending against attacks in Clash of Clans.

Also when gaming he holds nothing back, just like in his adventures! So come along and immerse yourself in these epic adventures that will take you into realms only limited by your imagination.

All these amazing stories came about from things he would dream about and decided to share with the world. From Minecraft to Clash - From Angry Birds to League - there are no limits.

The Obsidian Knights Adventure Series will take you on a fantastical journey into realms with Intergalactic Dragons. Knights from an ancient order. Worlds formed before the foundations of time.The universe you know is not all that there is, as you will soon find out!

But even with your imagination...you can't get there without the Talisman!

Join Christopher Craft and all the Characters in their Amazing Adventures.

Minecraft Fan Fiction Parodies are one of his favorites! He has always wondered what they might try and tell us if they could. So come along and venture into galaxies and alternate game realities. Fit for all ages.

Grab a book or two and you will be hooked into the mind of Christopher Craft.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

'Magical Charms for Breakfast (Fairy Tales & Magical Adventures #1)' by Merriweather Hope


Blurb:

In bestselling author Merriweather Hope’s “Magical Charms for Breakfast,” All the kids in nine-year-old Stefan’s school have gone crazy for Magical Charms, the new cereal especially for kids they’ve been advertising on TV. Not only is Magical Charms colorful and pretty tasty—every box comes with its own unique surprise!

Stefan begs his mom to buy a box and can hardly wait to see what his prize is.

But unlike his friends, who get cool prizes like mini wands, teeny-tiny swords, and super-small unicorns, Stefan gets a boring miniature lamp that looks a lot like Aladdin’s, but can’t do anything special—or so Stefan thinks!

It isn’t until he accidentally wishes for something while holding the little lamp that Stefan realizes his prize is more than meets the eye.

A beautiful quirky girl - genie named Jinn lives inside, and she’s ready and willing to grant Stefan’s every wish! At first Stefan is ecstatic. How amazing it is to have everything he could possibly want right at his fingertips!

But he soon realizes that having a genie of his own just might be more trouble than it’s worth….

And then there’s the fact that Jinn has a mission from the Fairy Queen that she just can’t remember….

“Jinn, are you listening to me?”

“JINN! PAY ATTENTION! This is important!”

“Huh, what? Oh yeah. uhh. Sorry, Your Majesty,” said Jinn to the Fairy Queen as she sleepily rubbed her eyes. “A very important mission…don’t worry, you can count on me. Must…save…magic…” Jinn’s voice trailed off as her eyes grew heavy and gave way to sleep.

“JINN!” shouted the Fairy Queen “JINN! Remember the mission and focus on it!”

But it was no use, Jinn was fast asleep. The Fairy Queen shook her head in despair. But what choice did she have at this point? It was all up to Jinn now.

Click below to get your copy of “Magical Charms for Breakfast” to find out what happens next…

http://amzn.to/1KWjygH

Find more of Merriweather Hope's books on her Amazon Author page:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Review of 'Choose Your Own Death' by Marianna Shek


Choose Your Own Death

by Marianna Shek


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

Goultown. The sort of place where kids could walk down the street in the middle of the night. Or accept sweets from strangers because strangers were just friends you hadn’t met yet. A place where grown-ups got tattoos of smiley faces and if kids graffitied, they were sure to do smiley faces too.

That was before the murders began. After Sally Ellerson drowns at the chocolate factory, you know there’s something weird going on. It’s time to take charge.

Choose Your Own Death is a path-picking adventure where every wrong turn unleashes an eldritch evil. If you don’t solve the mystery soon, the next death could be yours.

Read an excerpt:
Jessica draws back with a look of hurt in her eyes. You feel bad but instead of apologising, you slide open the drawer. Something leaps onto your face. Your cheeks are burning. You reach up and touch something smooth and hard as a nut.

One look at Jessica’s horrified expression and you start screaming, ‘Get it off! Get it off!’

You pinch at the nut-shaped creature and hurl it across the room with all your strength. Wisps of spun glass tangle in your hands. Angry welts appear where the fine threads touch your skin.

Thud. Shluuuuurrrrp.

It hits the wall and slides to the floor leaving a black smear on the paisley wallpaper. It looks like a prehistoric beetle, with golden pincers and bronze plates down the length of its body. For a moment, you think it’s over. You’ve killed it. Then, its spiny body rolls over and scuttles towards you. The others scream and leap out of the way. There’s no time for bug spray. You grab the scissors from the sewing kit and run towards the creature with a battle cry. There’s a loose nail in the floorboard.

‘Ooopfff!

You hold out your hands to break your fall. The scissors drive up into your stomach. As you lie there wheezing and gasping your last breath, you hear a reproachful voice.

‘Mummy doesn’t like it when you run with the good scissors.’

**My thoughts**

I absolutely ate up Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid. I mean, what could be better than a book you can read again and again and have it be a different story almost every single time? My favorite took place at a creepy carnival funhouse.

I haven't seen these books in years, so was very excited to see the idea resurrected by a new author. It does follow the basic format. You're introduced to the storyline, make a grisly discovery, and then have to make a choice about what to do. Choose wisely, and your story continues. Choose the wrong path, and you find out about your demise. There seemed to be countless ways to die.

A few things in this version were different than the ones I remember. While most of the book is written in second-person, addressing the reader as "you," sometimes the characters do call you by name. The main character, yourself, is called Drew. I always liked it better where there was no name attached, because then I really felt like myself going through the adventures. Other readers are going to enjoy becoming this other character.

Another difference is that when you reach your death, you are referred back to the page where you made the deadly choice, instead of being sent back to the beginning. That struck me as a bit odd, because I would prefer to go back to the beginning and try to make better choices. Then again, after you have read the beginning a certain number of times, being referred back to that page does save you some time. 

I also thought that I remember the other books having much longer, varied paths throughout the story. With this one, the story gets longer and longer as you figure out which paths lead to certain death and avoid them in future readings.

So, while this book isn't exactly like those adventures that I so fondly remember from the 1980s, it is still a fun throwback that some kids are going to enjoy.


Buy links:


And now a word from the author... on the appeal of scary books for the middle grade reader.

No one can answer this question better than Anne Shirley. I’ve taken an extract from the movie script based on Lucy Montgomery’s book Anne of Green Gables. In this scene Anne and her best friend Diana are walking through the dark woods…

ANNE: There's supposed to be a white lady who walked along the riverbank by Mr. Hammond's sawmill, wringing her hands and wailing. The men never actually saw her.

DIANA: Oh, Anne, don't.

ANNE: Perhaps she is now accompanied by Mr. Hammond who is looking for his lunch. No, I shouldn't have said that. He may follow me here.

DIANA: Oh, Anne, I'm scared.

ANNE: So am I. Deliciously scared.

There lies the answer. Kids love being deliciously scared. Then somewhere between being a kid and being grown up lurks the horror genre. Horror films, horror games, horror books. This sort of fear is not delicious. It’s adrenaline pumping, it’s terrifying, it’s horrible!

There’s a line between enjoying macabre, gothic, dark humour and horror. Neil Gaiman is one. Stephen King is the other (although of course Stephen King writes for other genres as well). As a reader and a writer, I never wish to cross this line.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Marianna Shek is a writer, reader and ideal eater. She took a ridiculously arduous route to get there, dabbling in pharmacy before switching to animation and finally settling down as a writer. She has a wonderful day job as a researcher and producer. You can follow some of her crazy art and film projects at: www.theunreliablenarrator.com.au

She rambles specifically about books and creative writing at:
www.rockonkitty.com.au


https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13726368.Marianna_Shek

http://www.amazon.com/Marianna-Shek/e/B00VACIMCA

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/marianna-shek

Marianna Shek will be awarding 1 Choose Your Own Death book mark and 4 postcards by the illustrator Tara Brown (can be sent internationally) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and 1 Choose Your Own Death book mark and 4 postcards by the illustrator Tara Brown (can be sent internationally) to a randomly drawn host. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A conversation with Mindy and George from 'Tillie's Tale' by Mindy Mymudes


The characters from Tillie's Tale decided to stop by to share their insight into why middle grade readers love spooky stories. :)

Mindy:
I think middle grade readers love spooky stories. If they are in scouts or do any group camping, stories about ghosts are told over a fire in the inky darkness. It’s so easy to see one forming…

George:
Well I think I was asked this question. You are just my secret-ary. I hired you to handle the keyboard on the computer, since that’s a distinctly Peep form of prejudice. Not that dogs need to write to prove our perfection. However, Peeps can’t interpret dog language, so we have to do all the work and learn Peep. We are very good.
Dogs are excellent characters in middle grade books. What’s not to like about us? When our Girl and Boypeeps are afraid, we are there to take care of them. Dogs aren’t worried about ghosts. Or even of horrible Hodags. When our young packmates are sad, we snuggle up to them and let our fur soak up their tears.
We enjoy walks with them, so we all get exercise. Dogs are excellent teachers. When we’re out on our walkies, our poo is important, so our young Peeps pick it up in special bags. Responsibility is very important to learn. Since we don’t have fingers, they have to feed and give us water.
Besides, we’re cute, give kisses with our magical drool, and our fur is very soft to pet. Lastly, we’re are very smart, and I’m the smartest dog of all. Basset hounds are perfect, and I’m not only a basset, but also a magical familiar.
I think I’ve made my point. Dogs should be the main character in all books, not just young Peeps.

Mindy:
<Sigh> I guess George covered everything. Thanks for having me.

George:
<Cough> Thanks for having me.


Tillie’s Tale – Magical Drool Mysteries

by Mindy Mymudes


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

Who is the mysterious ghosty haunting puppygirl Tillie? And why? George, the magical basset hound familiar is on the trail.

It’s not often a basset hound puppy is haunted by an unhappy ghost, but George’s packmate, Tillie, manages to attract one. George and Tillie need to find out how to help the ghost before she turns into a poultry-ghost.

Read an excerpt:
“Wrrrrttttle.”

Tillie’s tail is spinning in circles. She’s staring at a filmy thing sitting on the steps of an old, rough-brick building. I know it’s really a large Peeps’ den, but since it’s bad to be in the dog house, I assume it’s bad to be in a house. Why don’t they just call it a den if houses are so bad? From the smelltaste of cooking, Peeps, dust, skin, and the other stuff Peeps like, there are many small dens inside. Tillie “wrrrrrtttles” again and adds a soft “wuff.” Her front goes down into a play bow. The thing she’s trying to get to play is shimmery and clear, with thick and thin spots swimming on the surface.

“Snoof. Snuffle” I lick my lips. There’s a disturbing smelltaste of dustmoldlightningozone.

Oh mousefleas.

It’s a ghosty.

http://amzn.to/1AGrYRC

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I've worked in a hazardous waste lab, where under the sign for the Right To Know law, was added: if you can figure it out. I've been a metals tech, a bakery clerk, a professional gardener, taught human anatomy and ran two university greenhouses. Along the way I picked up my Master's Degree in Biology, specializing in the population genetics of an endangered plant. I am also a top breeder, handler, trainer of English springer spaniels, with three in the equivalent of the National Club's (ESSFTA) hall of fame. Every time I think I know dogs, another dog comes along and proves my beliefs are totally wrong.


Links:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Mindy-Mymudes/486126501426333

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6702514.Mindy_Mymudes

Website: http://mindymymudes.weebly.com

Blog: http://bassetbones.wordpress.com


Mindy will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Follow along for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway