Sunday, November 12, 2017

MMGM (11/13/2017): Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

For MMGM, I am recommending Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan.




Here's the publisher's description:

Lost and alone in the forbidden Black Forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.

Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives, binding them by an invisible thread of destiny. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. How their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck.

Richly imagined and structurally innovative, Echo pushes the boundaries of form and shows us what is possible in how we tell stories.

This Newbery Honor Book is incredible! One of the best things about it is the vivid portrait of the time and its hardships that it paints. The book is intertwined with subjects such as the Nazis, Japanese internment camps, orphanages, and fighting in the war. Every issue that occurs in the book, from Friedrich being pressured to take part in a Nazi-required surgery to prevent him from having kids due to a large birthmark on his face, to Mike discovering that his new adoptive mother plans to give him and his brother up, to Ivy dealing with having a sibling fighting in the war while visiting the home of a family currently in a Japanese internment camp, is handled deftly and touchingly. Every character is complex, even minor ones, and readers will root for the three major ones until the end of the book, which features an uplifting ending. The book's nearly-600 pages are not filled with text and go by quickly, making Echo one of the rare books that can teach about the past, emotionally impact its readers, and move quickly and be enjoyable to read!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

MMGM giveaway winners!

I've finally gotten around to choosing the two winners of my giveaway of The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron, and here they are! The winners are . . .


Danielle H.


and


Greg!


Congratulations! If you are one of the above winners, check your email (including spam or junk folders) and reply to my email with a mailing address within 48 hours. Thanks to all who have entered in my giveaway (I noticed some new entrants as well as some familiar ones), and be on the lookout for my upcoming holiday giveaway, which will feature several signed MG and YA books!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

MMGM (11/6/2017): Fly Away by Patricia MacLachlan

As you may have noticed, I have taken an unusual amount of breaks from blogging recently. I decided that, this week, I needed to post a review. However, this week, I (of course) got sick, so I apologize in advance if this review is a mess! Before my recommendation (which is for Fly Away by Patricia MacLachlan, author of the famous novel Sarah, Plain and Tall), however, I would like to remind my readers that my giveaway of two signed copies of The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron closes this Tuesday, so be sure to enter here if you haven't already.




Here's the publisher's description:

From the Newbery Award–winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall comes a story about one brave girl who saves her family from losing everything. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly calls this lyrical tale “melodic, poetic, and enchanting.”

Everyone in Lucy’s family sings. Opera. Rap. Lullabies. Everyone, except Lucy. Lucy can’t sing; her voice won’t come out.

Just like singing, helping Aunt Frankie prepare for flooding season is a family tradition—even if Frankie doesn’t want the help. And this year, when the flood arrives and danger finds its way into the heart of Lucy’s family, Lucy will need to find her voice to save her brother.

Fly Away is a short book with large font (aimed at younger readers), but it still packs in much meaning and emotion. Every character is distinct and rich, from Lucy, who is upset that she is a bad singer and wants to write poems, and Gracie and Teddy, Lucy's younger siblings with their own personalities and development, to the adults in the story, such as the siblings' Aunt Frankie. The setting of Aunt Frankie's house is vivid and well-described, and, although Fly Away may seem simple at first, every moment is touching and vital to the story. From moments where we learn more about a character or how s/he has changed to simple events of everyday life, every part of this book is incredible. Although my mind refuses to think of anything more to say, Fly Away is an amazing book that everyone will come out of with hope and positive thoughts.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

MMGM Giveaway: (10/30/2017): Win one of two signed copies of The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron!

I have no review for MMGM today, but to make up for it, I am giving away not one, but two signed copies of The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron!




Here's the publisher's description:

In the tradition of Edward Eager and E.L. Konigsburg, a novel about the excitement—and the dangers—of wishing.

Tess and her brother, Max, are sent for the summer to their aunt’s sleepy village in the English countryside, where excitement is as rare as a good wifi signal. So when Tess stumbles upon an old brass key that unlocks an ornately carved gate, attached to a strangely invisible wall, she jumps at the chance for adventure. And the world beyond the gate doesn’t disappoint. She finds rose gardens, a maze made of hedges, and a boy named William who is just as lonely as she is.

But at William’s castle, strange things begin to happen. Carnival games are paid for in wishes, dreams seem to come alive, and then there’s William’s eerie warning: Beware of the hawthorn trees. A warning that chills Tess to the bone.

In a magical, fantasy world that blurs the line between reality and imagination, readers are left to wonder exactly what they’d wish for if wishes could come true. Perfect for fans of Half Magic and The Secret Garden—and for anyone who’s ever wondered if magic is real.

If this book sounds interesting, then enter the giveaway below! To allow more than one person to win a signed copy, the winner of the giveaway will win one copy only. Two winners will be chosen randomly from those who enter the contest by filling out the Google Form below. Entries in any other form, such as by comment, will NOT be accepted. Comment-based entries will be deleted for your privacy. Your email address will not be published; it will only be used to, if you win, alert you and request your mailing address. Your nickname (which does not need to be your real name) WILL be published on this blog to announce who has won the giveaway. To protect the entrants' privacy, all entries will be deleted after the giveaway ends. I will close the giveaway entry form on the morning of Tuesday, November 7, 2017 (in Central Time). All entries placed before the form is closed will be accepted. If a winner does not respond with a mailing address within 48 hours after I send an e-mail requesting one, I will choose a new winner and alert the former winner. Be sure to check your spam or junk folder if you do not see my request! (P.S. When you submit, the confirmation will be at the top, so scroll up!)

 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

MMGM (10/23/2017): Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

For MMGM, I am recommending Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate.




Here's the publisher's description:

In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, New York Times bestselling author Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There's no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He's large, he's outspoken, and he's imaginary. He has come back into Jackson's life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.

This book is incredible! I should say now that this book is much sadder than many of the others that I have recommended recently. However, that, of course, does not diminish how touching it is. Crenshaw deftly portrays a financially troubled family, with children very aware of what their parents are not telling them. As Jackson, the narrator, both describes what is happening to his family presently and their past experience of living in their car, readers will understand, more than ever, what this family and similar ones in the real world are going through. Crenshaw, Jackson's realistic imaginary friend from the past who returns during the book, adds a touch of humor and warmth to the novel, as do Jackson's family members and friend, Marisol. Crenshaw is a book that everyone should read for its incredible depiction of real-life struggles, compelling characters, and sheer display of hope in the world.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

MMGM (10/16/2017): The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo, with illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline

For MMGM, I am recommending The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (author of other books I have enjoyed, such as those here and here), with illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline.




Here's the publisher's description:

Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who treated him with the utmost care and adored him completely.

And then, one day, he was lost.

Kate DiCamillo takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the top of a garbage heap to the fireside of a hoboes' camp, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. And along the way, we are shown a true miracle -- that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again.

THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER is now available in paperback! This timeless tale by the incomparable Kate DiCamillo, complete with stunning illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline, honors the enduring power of love.

This book is simply incredible! When I first bought it, I promptly read it in 2 hours. While looking at it again for this review, I found myself sucked in and deeply touched by the end (even more so than when I first read it). The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is very fast-paced, but an incredible amount of impact is packed into each place where Edward ends up. Some places Edward enjoys, some he does not, and some he cares deeply about. One of the best parts of this book is simply how true the depictions of love and the loss of someone are. Many books try valiantly, but few convey the same amount of emotion that this book does. However, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is not so depressing that you can’t keep reading. The plot also helps pull the reader through, with an abundance of cliffhangers that will most likely force you into reading this book as quickly as I did! Everyone who reads The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane will come out of it deeply changed, making it a perfect book for any age, from young child to old adult!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

MMGM (10/9/2017): A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass

For MMGM, I am recommending A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass.




Here's the publisher's description:

An award-winning book from the author of Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life and The Candymakers for fans for of Wonder and Counting by Sevens

Mia Winchell has synesthesia, the mingling of perceptions whereby a person can see sounds, smell colors, or taste shapes. Forced to reveal her condition, she must look to herself to develop an understanding and appreciation of her gift in this coming-of-age novel.

I love this book! One of the best parts of this book was getting to learn about the rare condition of synesthesia. The book is clearly well-researched, and readers will learn about synesthesia’s qualities, both good and bad. The book also has interesting characters with strengths and flaws. Although Mia makes mistakes throughout the book, she is still a good person who readers will like. The book deals with many complex themes, such as how people deal with death and how much people can care about pets. The book never slows down, with various events constantly happening that affect Mia in different ways, changing her immensely by the end of the book. Different parts of the book may show Mia’s relationship with her siblings or her friends, her dealing with synesthesia, or her dealing with the loss of her grandfather. This book is both heartbreaking and incredibly enjoyable, and every reader will love it by the end!