Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

A Dash of Dragon

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

A Dash of Dragon, The Mystic Cooking Chronicles, (Aladdin, 2017) by Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski is an interesting mix of fantasy, cooking, and adventure.

Thirteen-year-old chef Lailu has apprenticed to Master Slipshod and they have opened a restaurant together. However, she didn’t know how her master had gotten the money. Not only has he put Mystic Cooking at risk, but he has promised Mr. Boss he and Lailu will work for him forever if they can’t pay. Hunting the dangerous meat for their menus–kracken, basilisk fish, and more–isn’t nearly as scary as some of their customers or the escalating problems that Lailu confronts. Will she lose her freedom or her life?

There are three books in this series. Book two, A Hint of Hydra, came out in 2018, and book three, A Pinch of Hydra in 2019.

Learn more about this team of authors–they’re sisters–here. This fall the pair has another book coming out. Whispering Pines is an “eerie heart-pounding mystery” according to the publisher. Read more here.

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Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Mightier Than the Sword

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

If you’re looking for humor, check out Mightier Than the Sword (Penguin Random House, 2019) by Drew Callender and Alana Harrison with illustrations by Ryan Andrews. There’s a lost Prince S, flying pizzas, dangerous dust bunnies, a big ball of poop, rubots (no that is not a typo), a pegataur, and all kinds of creatures and adventures in Astorya to make one laugh. But you get to save the day with your mighty pencil.

Like the Thursday Next novels for adults, this books takes the reader into the fictional world. It is told in second person and encourages “you” to add to the book, which is great for personal copies, but maybe not for library copies. 😉 However, it is in paperback so more affordable for kids to be given their own personal tomes.

Turns out there’s already a sequel out called Mightier Than the Sword: The Edge of the Word. Will have to check it out too.

Authors Drew and Alana are a husband and wife team. Read about them here.

Ryan Andrews is an illustrator and cartoonist. Read about him here and see some of his other work here.

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Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Library of Ever

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The Library of Ever (Imprint, 2019) by Zeno Alexander is a blast of a read. In some ways it makes me think of the Thursday Next novels, but written for children instead of adults. Or is it a cross between that and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? Prepare for robots, time machines, tardigrades, bowler hats, forces of darkness, and even a kitten.

Lenora is an unhappy rich girl and is BORED, BORED, BORED. But then her nanny takes her to the library where she escapes and discovers a secret archway into the ultimate library. She enters and a librarian tells her she’s not allowed in because she doesn’t work there. An unusual interview follows and Lenora is hired. In her work and adventures, and promotions, she discovers she must save the library.

The book was named a best book of the year by Kirkus Reviews and the exciting part is there’s a sequel, Rebel in the Library of Ever, coming out in April.

Read about the author here.

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Posted in Award Winners, MG Novels, So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Allies

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Allies (Scholastic Press, 2019) by Alan Gratz is an amazing story of diverse parts of D-Day over the course of 24-hours through the eyes of seven different characters. Soldiers, paratroopers, medics, resistance fighters, a girl retrieving a forgotten bathing suit–so many in an impossible situation. Somehow the author fits it all together.

The story starts with sixteen-year-old Dee, a US soldier, who has a secret–one he can’t let his best friend discover. Will he survive the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944? Will the others we meet?

Bestselling author Alan Gratz has written many books for young readers, including four more set in this time period–Grenade, Refugee, Projekt 1065, Prisoner B-3087. Read about all his books here. Read about the author here.

Read more about Allies, including awards, here.

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Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Ogre Enchanted

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

If you’ve read Newbery Honor Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, you’ll know you’re in for a treat with Ogre Enchanted (Harper, 2018). (And if you haven’t read Ella, you should.)

This is a gender reversed Beauty and the Beast inspired story. Read more what the author has to say about that here.

Fifteen-year-old Evie is enchanted when she turns down a marriage proposal from her best friend, Wormy. Now she has 62 days to accept a new marriage proposal or remain an ogre for ever. What will all her patients do?

The book is funny and keeps one guessing. Is that tingle because Evie the ogre loves the guy or that she thinks he’ll taste good? The countdown of days adds to the tension.

Read about Gail Carson Levine here and check out her other books here.

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