Monday, December 9, 2013

MMGM -- Diego's Dragon

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and "Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays" was born.


Diego's Dragon, Book One: 

Spirits of the Sun  


An eleven-year-old Latino boy wins a district-wide writing contest for sixth graders. When an author visits his school to award his prize, Diego Ramirez has no idea how much his life is about to change.Nathan Sullivan hands Diego his statue, a handsome, glistening black dragon. He shakes his hand and leaves him to his friends. The students crowd around Diego, asking for permission to hold it.After hearing the name Magnifico spoken aloud by family and friends, Diego awards it to his new dragon. If he only knew how fitting the name was, he might have known what lay ahead. 

Magnifico is the leader of the Sol Dragones, dragons that live within the magical fires of the sun. Nathan Sullivan is the earth's connection to the mysterious creatures. It is his task to find Magnifico's guide.As Magnifico comes to life he becomes quite mischievous, playing tricks on Diego to embarrass him. As he discovers his bloodline, however, Diego assumes greater control over his dragon and his destiny. In the climactic journey, he frees his people and suffers a terrible loss by guiding Magnifico to their goal.

Those of you who follow Project Mayhem may remember my post, "For the Love of Dragons", inspired by my daughter's obsession with dragon books. When presented with the opportunity to review Diego's Dragon, I jumped at it. Needless to say, my daughter was the first to read it. And now Kevin Gerard is her new favorite author! For a voracious reader like my daughter, that is the highest of compliments, especially considering her love for Erin Hunter's Warrior Cats series. Her enthusiastic commentary about book one, and her pleading for book 2, had me eager to read it for myself. All I can say is . . . my daughter was right.

For any fans of middle grade adventure or fantasy or dragons or boy books or epic awesomeness, this is the perfect story. It is unique in its storyline, vivid in its imagery, and gripping in its characterization. Magnifico the dragon is truly magnificent. My daughter is not alone in her enthusiasm for Diego or its author. Diego's Dragon will be a 5 book series--don't miss it!

I can tell you from personal experience that Kevin Gerard is a warm and very approachable author. He's a book blogger's dream. I have no doubt that he would be delighted to do interviews or guest posts for any of your blogs, possibly even a book giveaway. I emailed him about my daughter's love of his books and shared with her his responses to me. She positively ADORES him, and I know others will as well. In fact, we purchased copies of Diego's Dragon for her two best friends and her teacher for Christmas! 

Author Kevin Gerard: Gerard lives in San Diego, California, with his wife and four children. He teaches sociology and statistics for the California State University. After running three companies and working a variety of jobs, Mr. Gerard enrolled in school and earned a master's degree in sociology from Humboldt State University. He returned to San Diego after completing the program and worked with two professional research organizations over the next seven years. In 2004, Mr. Gerard resigned from the second position in order to pursue a writing career. While still teaching at the university, he spends the bulk of his time writing for publication. The Conor and the Crossworlds series provided the main impetus for his decision to permanently extricate himself from formal employment."

Where to find Diego's Dragon

Monday, December 2, 2013

MMGM -- Creature Department

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and "Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays" was born.

Creature Department
Robert Paul Weston

"The Creature Department is sure to appeal to those middle graders who like a lot of silliness, a bit of rickum rockery, and a giggle of grossness jumbled together in their stories. The scattered black and white drawings nicely complement the amusing text."
—New York Journal of Books

It’s a tentacled, inventive, gooey world in there…
Elliot Von Doppler and his friend Leslie think that nothing ever happens in Bickleburgh, except inside the gleaming headquarters of DENKi-3000 – the world’s eighth-largest electronics factory.
Beneath the glass towers and glittering skywalks, there’s a rambling old mansion from which all the company’s amazing inventions spring forth. And no one except Uncle Archie knows what’s behind the second-to-last door at the end of the hall.
Until Elliot and Leslie are invited to take a glimpse inside.
They find stooped, troll-like creatures with jutting jaws and broken teeth. Tiny winged things that sparkle as they fly. And huge, hulking, hairy non-humans (with horns). The Creature Department is unlike anything they’ve ever seen.
But when Chuck Brickweather threatens to shut down the DENKi-3000 factory if a new product isn’t presented soon, the creatures know they are in danger. And when Uncle Archie vanishes, it’s up to Elliot, Leslie, and every one of the unusual, er, “employees” to create an invention so astonishing it will save the Creature Department.
Yes, this book is every bit as fun as it looks, and so are the awesome websites and videos they have put together based on the character Gugor--SO awesome.  If you haven't already picked this one up, I suggest that you do. It's a middle grade masterpiece!
Fun Spots to Visit: 

  • Trailer: HERE
  • The Creature Department Website: HERE
  • Gugor's vlog on Essences: HERE
  • Gugor's vlog on Creatures: HERE
Robert Paul Weston is the author of Zorgamazoo, a novel entirely in rhyme, which was an E.B. White Read Aloud honoree and a “natural descendant of the works of Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl.” It was also a Booklist starred top ten debut of 2008 as well as a recipient of the California Young Reader’s Medal, the Silver Birch Award, and the Children’s Choice Award.
Weston’s second novel was the hardboiled fairy-tale Dust City, which was nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Young Adult Mystery.  Prince Puggly of Spud and the Kingdom of Spiff published in February 2013.
Gugor/Illustrator interview: 

All of Zack Lydon's time is devoted to drawing things. When he is not drawing a blank, he is probably drawing a bath. Part of Zack's daily routine involves drawing attention to things that look pretty, smell curious, or sound eerie. Zack seldom draws attention to himself, because he dislikes drawing crowds - too many details.

Zack is currently a designer at Framestore NY where he draws a good deal of inspiration from the talented folks around him, and subsequently, draws pictures. At Framestore, Zack has worked as the illustration and animation lead for the campaign, an info graphic for Motive, and the concept artist for the Wikileaks documentary “We Steal Secrets,” among other campaigns.
Using drawings to tell an original story was an amazing experience for Zack, and he intends to do it for the rest of his life.

Friday, November 15, 2013

BLOG TOUR -- The Dark Talisman


The Dark Talisman
by Steven M. Booth

She's been banished from her home without a word of explanation. Assassins are hot on her tail, and she's fleeing without a plan. On the whole, her future looks pretty grim. Then again, it's nearly impossible to catch a dark elf. And even tougher to kill one.

Meet Altira. She set out to rob a sultan, and ended up stealing the deadliest gem in the world. Her mistake could cost Altira her life -- or save her race, and possibly the world as she knows it.

As Altira struggles to triumph over the vast forces arrayed against her, she acquires (mostly against her will) a rich cast of unexpected allies -- perceptive dwarves, giant Phoenix birds with mysterious powers, and ephemeral creatures made from nothing but air. Together they must find a way to defeat the army of assassins set against her, overcome the wrath of three nations, and forge allegiances with despised enemies, to reveal the truth to a people kept in the darkness for millennia.

The first installment in The Guardian Chronicles, Dark Talisman takes us into the magical land of Salustra, where ageless Guardians are locked in an eternal battle with their mortal enemy: a Dark Lord intent on destroying their world.

Those who've followed my reviews for a while know that I can't resist a good fantasy story. Dark Talisman has enough unique qualities to keep readers intrigued and sets up the rest of the series in a thoroughly satisfying way. I love the whole "dark elf" storyline. For fans of YA fantasy, I recommend this one.



About the Author:

STEVEN M. BOOTH works with artists in the film industry to create some of the most spectacular effects and animation on the silver screen. He has worked as a software developer, programming the production and artist tools used to convert 2D to 3D films, on films such as Transformers 3, The Green Lantern, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Smurfs.

Steven combined his love of the natural world with his ability to think outside the box, developed after working in computer software for over 30 years, to imagineer the fantasy world of his first novel, DARK TALISMAN.

Steven has been a competitive equestrian rider in dressage, a championship-caliber amateur ballroom dance competitor, is a certified SCUBA diver, likes flying helicopters, and enjoys sailing, photography, and all things Disney. He currently lives in San Diego.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Did Someone Say . . . FREE?

Don't Miss Out on this FREE book opportunity!

The Goblin Wars series by Kersten Hamilton is on of my favorites. I reviewed the first two books in the series here on my blog,  HERE and HERE.

The third and final book in the series, When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears, was recently released and is receiving great reviews. Because of that, the publisher decided to do a fun promotion to celebrate!

 Tyger Tyger is the book of the week at APPLE
Oct. 29th -- Nov. 5th
It will also be free for Kindle readers at Amazon  
and Nook readers at Barnes and Noble.
This is one of the MG series I most highly recommend. I hope you'll all take advantage of this opportunity!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Blog Tour + Giveaway -- Supernova by Elizabeth Sharp

Bookopolis Blog Tour

by Elizabeth Sharp

On Cleo’s first day at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Academy, things get pretty weird pretty fast. After being confronted by a strangely hostile boy, she meets two girls and instantly bonds with them. Before long danger threatens the entire student body, in the form of a soul eating possessor fae. When her brother is savagely beaten and left in a coma, the girls decide to use their fae powers to become superheroes and stop the possessions.
They quickly learn things are a lot more complicated than they had ever imagined. A government plot that had begun when they were infants endangers them all, and a demented former soldier bent on revenge is after them. The line between friend and foe has become so blurry, Cleo has no idea who she can trust. Will their superhero plot help them save the day, or just get them killed?

About the Author

Elizabeth has a near crippling Facebook addiction, dwarfed only by her need for Dr. Pepper. A self-proclaimed techno geek, she loves cell phones, computers, tablets and all things technological. The internet has to be the greatest invention since the wheel, in her opinion. She lives in a quiet subdivision with her husband, one-year-old son, three cats, and far too many electronics. It’s quite possible she has some raccoon in her DNA, because she loves glitter and anything that sparkles. She enjoys making jewelry and costumes. Halloween is her favorite holiday since it’s the one day of the year that you can be whatever you want. But her first love will always be writing. Otherwise, hearing voices in her head would make her feel schizophrenic.

Where you can stalk her:


Friend Her:

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* The full tour schedule can be found HERE

* And be sure to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway HERE

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