NOTE: I don't post to this blog super-duper often anymore, because I'm busy writing, well, books. (Read more about that here.) For more up-to-date, day-to-day ramblings, visit my Facebook page.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Reading Update and a GIveaway!

Since I eschewed apologies at the start of 2015, I have nothing to say in the way of Sorry I've been gone. But, you know ... sorry I've been gone.

Anyway, I've made terrific headway this year on my TBR list, not to mention doing some writing, which is kind of my job, so, good on me. But now that I've read a few fabulous books, I'm ready to pass them on to you in the form of brand-new, Amazon-minted copies. Here are my recs:

title & author: The Forbidden Stone (Book 1 in the Copernicus Legacy Series) by Tony Abbott
pub info: Katherine Tegen Books / HarperCollins, 2014; 423 pp
audience: middle grade (ages 9+)
genre: spy / thriller /bit o' magic
caveats: well, you know, thriller--people do chase each other and get hurt, but nothing major; there's murder, but offstage
Goodreads summary:
It all began when four friends--Wade, Lily, Darrel, and Becca--received a strange, coded email from Wade's uncle Henry shortly before the old man's sudden death. They set off for Germany to attend the funeral with Wade's father, Roald, and discover that Uncle Henry left them yet another baffling message that they suspect is the key to figuring out how and why he died.

The message leads to a clue, and the more clues they discover, the farther they travel down a treacherous path toward an ancient, guarded secret. Soon they are in a breathless race across the globe, running for their lives as a dangerous shadow organization chases them around every corner. Their only hope of saving themselves--and the world that they know--is to find twelve magical relics from a hidden past that will unlock the Copernicus Legacy.
my thoughts:
Readers who love a fast-moving, international adventure sprinkled with bits of magic and a hint of time travel will love this new series by Tony Abbott. It's a little bit Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) without all the churchy bits, and there's a definite Rick Riordan flavor as well. The characters are fun, the pages speed by, and I am all set to read The Serpent's Curse, the next in the series (which I bought only moments after closing the cover of Book #1). Of course, the bummer is that there are only two books out so far, though the third (in a series of six) is due out this August. To make things a bit more confusing, there will also be six Copernicus "archives" (paperback originals), which take place in between the six main novels.  I know, it's complicated. The first takes place immediately after the action closes in The Forbidden Stone, and it's called Wade and the Scorpion's Claw. Now, can you still understand what all is going on if you read only the "main" novels? Maybe. I'm not sure on that one, but my Book #2 seems to explain things just fine. (Note: The "archives" sell for only $3.99 each, but they're not short. Scorpion's Claw is 224 pages.)

find Tony:
Tony Abbott, the author of 100+ books and not to be confused with this PM of Australia, has a nifty website here. His books include the popular series The Secrets of Droon as well as loads of others. He also keeps Facebook and Twitter accounts. The Copernicus Legacy series has its own website here.


title & author: Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
pub info: Feiwel & Friends / Macmillan, 2014; 226 pp
audience: middle grade (ages 9+)
genre: contemporary fiction
caveats: none
Goodreads summary:
Rose Howard has Asperger’s syndrome, and an obsession with homonyms (even her name is a homonym). She gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose’s rules of homonyms, is very special. Rain was a lost dog Rose’s father brought home. Rose and Rain are practically inseparable. And they are often home alone, as Rose’s father spends most evenings at a bar, and doesn’t have much patience for his special-needs daughter.

Just as a storm hits town, Rain goes missing. Rose’s father shouldn’t have let Rain out. Now Rose has to find her dog, even if it means leaving her routines and safe places to search. 
my thoughts:
My thoughts are, READ THIS BOOK. The Goodreads summary doesn't begin to do it justice. Yes, Rose has Asperger's (high-functioning autism), but this isn't a book about autism; it's a book about a girl forced to make some tough choices. She struggles in her classroom, with making friends, and with her father, who doesn't always know what to do with her. But through it all, Rose has her dog, Rain. The beauty of their relationship--and how Rose grows in love and maturity with Rain--is absolutely breathtaking. A beautiful book that won several awards this past year. 

find Ann:
Ann M. Martin has written several books, including the acclaimed series The Babysitter's Club. You can learn more about her and her work on her Facebook page, Twitter account, and the Scholastic Books' site

And now for the giveaway ...

So, two fantastic middle-grade reads! Want one? Tell me your favorite and enter to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don't forget to check out more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Shannon Messenger's blog!

24 comments:

  1. I've had Rain Reign on my TBR list for some time. Your insights renewed my enthusiasm to read it soon. The other book sounds like a great adventure. Hard to pull off unless the characters and world building are top notch. Welcome back, too!

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    1. I agree, and the characters in THE FORBIDDEN STONE are quite good. Thanks for stopping by, Greg (as always)!

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  2. Rain Reign is on our new shelf at the library. I keep saying I'll read it when I have time. Clearly, I need to make time.

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    1. Sue, the book goes superfast. I read it in 2 days without breaking a sweat. The chapters are short and the story moves along so smoothly you aren't even aware that--whoa! 60 pages are gone!

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  4. I've looked at both-- had their moments. I prefer Baskin's Anything But Typical for my go-to book with a character with autism. A bit of a departure for Martin!

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    1. I haven't read ANYTHING BUT TYPICAL, but it's on my list now. I like how Martin interwove the autism and the story of Rain so seamlessly in RAIN REIGN. I also caught myself looking for homonyms!

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  5. I also have had Rain Reign on my TBR list for ages. I really do want to find time to read ait soon. Thanks for the reviews and for the chance to win.

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    1. I'm discussing it next week with my intergenerational book club. I think there will be a lot to talk about.

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  6. I literally just finished Rain Reign about five minutes ago. Would LOVE to add it to my bookshelf!

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    1. Yes--definitely a keeper. I'm glad I didn't check it out of the library.

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  7. I read Rain Reign last year and really enjoyed it, although her dad was really hard to take at times. But that's me reading it from a parent's perspective at times.
    The Forbidden Stone sounds wonderful. I love international stories. I will be definitely checking it out!

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    1. Ugh, I know, the dad ... very hard to take. even knowing how tough it is to parent an autistic child. He did the right thing by Rose in the end.

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  9. Aw, man! That sounds like a really good book! I *really* need to get myself a copy of "THE FORBIDDEN STONE". Or maybe I don't have to--if I win... Oh yeah, and when are you going to post the winners?! I can't seem to wait!

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    1. Cindy, I'll post winners on Tuesday, April 21. You have a good shot at winning, because the pool is small. Good luck!

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    2. Thanks! And did you notice how my comment was duplicated? When you try to publish a comment, it seems like Blogger eats it up and you try to post it again--and THEN it works.

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    3. Yeah, I don't know what's up with that. It happened to a couple of people. Weird, but that's the internet for you. :)

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  10. THE FORBIDDEN STONE looks awesome! I've always loved a good action/adventure. As for RAIN REIGN, I don't know if I'll like it, but I love Ann M. Martin, so maybe I'll give this a shot! Thank you for the reviews!

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    1. I tend to vacillate between fun adventure stories and those serious Newbery contenders.Both of these are wonderful in their own way.

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  11. Rain Reign sounds like a story I'd like to read. Thanks for the chance to win it.

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    1. You're welcome, Janet! Thanks for stopping by.

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  12. Oops, I pressed the enter key on accident before I got to finish my entry for the Rafflecopter. :(
    Oh well, I'll finish it here:

    Both books sound awesome for different reasons. Forbidden Stone sounds like a fun mystery book (which I like), while Rain Reign sounds like an emotional story (which I also like). However, if I had to choose one to win, I would choose Rain Reign, because the synopsis sounds promising, the cover is blue (<3) and the "my thoughts" review makes the book sound simply amazing. :)

    Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

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    1. No worries, Cindy. I'll make sure you're entered. :)

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