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

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

Orphan Island

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Orphan Island (Walden Pond Press, 2017) by Laurel Snyder is an unusual tale that had me asking so many questions.

Nine orphan children live on the island. And every year, on one specific day, a boat comes. Inside the boat is a new orphan who is here to stay. The oldest orphan on the island gets in the boat and it leaves. None of them know how the boat works.

Jinny doesn’t want the Change to happen. She doesn’t feel ready to become the Elder, to lose Deen who has been her constant companion, to take up her Care–the newest orphan. Why do they have to follow the rules anyway?

I think you’ll find the story fascinating as I did. It’s an award winner–see all the details on the author’s site.

Laurel Snyder is a middle grade and picture book author. You can read about her here and check out all her books here.

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Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Spark

For Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, I’ve got a fantasy, Spark (Clarion Books, 2019) by Sarah Beth Durst, to recommend.

Quiet twelve-year-old Mina is anxiously waiting for her egg to hatch and find out which storm beast she’ll have. Will it be a rain, wind, or sun beast? Everyone knows she doesn’t have the temperament for a lightening beast. But when Pixit hatches everyone is surprised at the creature Mina is bonded with. Maybe she’s not meant to be a guardian. When Mina learns that their wonderful life in Alorria is hurting others, she has to decide whether to tell the truth or not.

I love that this novel shows quiet girls can be heroes too!

Sarah writes for kids, teens, and adults. Check out her website here where you can discover she’s authored 19 books!

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