Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Clackity

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The Clackity (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2022) by Lora Senf is an eerily spooky book.

Twelve-year-old Evie Von Rathe is used to ghosts and strange things. After all, she lives with Aunt Desdemona, the paranormal expert in Blight Harbor, the seventh most haunted town in America. But when her aunt goes missing in the abandoned slaughterhouse, it’s up to Evie to save her. The strange creature The Clackity gives her a set of rules–she must go through seven houses in order and bring him/it the ghost of John Jeffrey Pope a serial killer. Will she be brave enough to get through all the houses without being caught by Pope or tricked by The Clackity and save Aunt Desdemona?

This is a compelling read–I just don’t want to see a movie if it’s made as it would be too scary for me.

Lora Senf says, “I write for kids who like their books a little dark and a little scary – and for the adults they grew up to be. But dark and scary is no fun without some light and hope as well, so you’ll find them both in my stories.” This book is the first in a planned series set in Blight Harbor. Read more about the author here.

Posted in So Many Good Books, Writing Life, YA Novels

The Kingdom of Back

The Kingdom of Back (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2020) by Marie Lu is such an unexpected story–history and fantasy–about the other Mozart. The sister.

It’s 1759 and Nannerl Mozart wants to be recognized as a musical prodigy. She doesn’t want to be forgotten. Her younger brother Wolfgang is getting more and more attention. While she helps him with his compositions, she is secretly composing herself. But when a stranger from a dream promises she’ll be remembered, things go oddly wrong.

This is Marie’s first historical novel. And is a standalone book. Most of her other books are series. Read about all her titles here. Read about The New York Times bestselling author here. I’m really looking forward to her newest title coming next April: Stars and Smoke.

Posted in So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Winterwood

Winterwood (Simon Pulse, 2019) is another winner by Shea Ernshaw the author of The Wicked Deep.

Each month at full moonrise, Nora Walker enters the woods in search of lost things. “The things that are lost at Jackjaw Lake in summers past are once again found in the woods. Appearing as if the forest is giving them back.” But she never expected to find a body.

I found this spooky romantic book unputdownable. There’s a fun trailer on the author’s website for this book.

Read about NY Times bestselling author Shea and her other books here. I’ve got more books to read! 🙂

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Pay Attention, Carter Jones

I loved Pay Attention, Carter Jones (Clarion Books, 2019) by Gary D. Schmidt so much.

The book lives up to the opening line: “If it hadn’t been the first day of school, and if my mother hadn’t been crying her eyes out the night before, and if the fuel pump on the Jeep had been doing what a fuel pump on a Jeep is supposed to be doing, and if it hadn’t been raining like an Australian tropical thunderstorm – and I’ve been in one, so I know what it’s like – and if the very last quart of one percent milk hadn’t gone sour and clumped up, then probably my mother would never have let the Butler into our house.”

How could anyone not read on? Told from the viewpoint of 6th-grader Carter, the story is full of humor and grief. Read to find out why Mr. Bowles-Fitzpatrick–a British gentleman’s gentleman–has come. And what the real family problems are. Plus you’ll get to learn about cricket.

This is definitely a read-again-book. Don’t miss it!

Here’s an interview with Gary about the book–how it came to be and more. If you’ve never read anything by him before, you’ve missed out. Read his bio and check out this award winning author’s books.

Posted in PB, So Many Good Books

When Your Daddy’s a Soldier

Perfect Picture Book Friday

National Veterans and Military Family Month

When Your Daddy’s a Soldier (Viking Books for Young Readers, October 2022) by Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan and illustrated by EG Keller is a wonderful picture book. I wish I’d had it when my grandsons were little and their dad was deployed.

This book is an honest look at what it’s like to be a military child. There’s the sweetness of a boy imitating his father and wanting to be just like him and the sadness when Dad has to go away for what might be “a maybe-forever long time.” I love the interactions between the family.

But don’t limit this book to military kid readers–this hopeful book will help all children with separations, or just to understand what it is like to worry about a parent being gone.

This is author Gretchen’s fifth picture book. You can read about her here–she was a military child herself–and see her other books here.

I love the warmth of EG Keller’s illustrations. And having a diverse family is lovely. See some of his other artwork here and read about him here. You can find Gerald’s other books here.