Sunday, December 25, 2016

MMGM (12/26/2016): Howard Wallace, P.I. by Casey Lyall

Firstly, I hope everyone:
  • is having/has had a merry Christmas.
  • is having a happy Hanukkah.
  • is having/will have a happy Kwanzaa.
  • has had a happy winter solstice.
  • has had/is having/will have a happy [fill in other holiday].
Before the recommendation, I would like to show you just how many books I have gotten over the holidays (about 14.8125 inches tall):

(Caption: 😄😄😄!!!)

Finally, for MMGM, I am recommending Howard Wallace, P.I. by Casey Lyall.

Here's the publisher's description:

“What’s with the get-up? Is that the company uniform or something?”
“This? All P.I.s wear a trench coat.”
“Dude, that’s a brown bathrobe.”
I shrugged and straightened out my sleeves. “First rule of private investigation, Ivy: work with what you’ve got.”

Twelve-year-old Howard Wallace lives by his list of rules of private investigation. He knows more than anyone how to work with what he’s got: a bathrobe for a trench coat, a makeshift office behind the school equipment shed, and not much else—least of all, friends. So when a hot case of blackmail lands on his desk, he’s ready to take it on himself . . . until the new kid, Ivy Mason, convinces him to take her on as a junior partner. As they banter through stakeouts and narrow down their list of suspects, Howard starts to wonder if having Ivy as a sidekick—and a friend—is such a bad thing after all.
(Note: The text at the beginning that is in normal print was formerly italicized.)

This book is great! The main characters, Howard and Ivy, have many facets. Howard has a sarcastic, busy personality that hides the fact that he is friendless, while Ivy is happier and more impulsive, often doing things that Howard usually wouldn't. The mystery of who is behind the blackmail can be somewhat easy to predict, but there are several suspects until the actual mastermind is revealed. The book does a good job of making the villain not seem evil by giving her/him a rational (yet still wrong) motive. One nice touch of the book is Howard's list of "Rules of Private Investigation." These rules are often referenced and serve as part of a small conflict. Finally, the plot moves constantly, making the story always interesting. Howard Wallace, P.I. is a great book for everyone!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

MMGM (12/19/2016): The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

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One of the best parts of the holidays is new books! (My Christmas list has 18 books on it!) However, to get through this next week, for MMGM, I am recommending The Candymakers by Wendy Mass.

Here's the publisher's description:

In the town of Spring Haven, four children have been selected to compete in the national candymaking contest of a lifetime. Who will make a candy more delicious than the Oozing Crunchorama or the Neon Yellow Lightning Chew?

Logan, the candymaker's son, who can detect the color of chocolate by feel alone?

Miles, the boy allergic to rowboats and the color pink?

Daisy, the cheerful girl who can lift a fifty-pound lump of taffy as if it were a feather?

Philip, the suit-and-tie-wearing boy who's always scribbling in a secret notebook?

This sweet, charming, and cleverly crafted story, told from each contestant's perspective, is filled with mystery, friendship, and juicy revelations. 

I love The Candymakers! One part of this book that I love is the multiple-POV setup. The book is told in 3rd-person, but the parts focus on specific characters and their thoughts and feelings. Each part allows you to discover more about each character, since their part is based on what they thought about, not what others thought about them. This shows you the inner workings of each character and allows you to discover why some may be mysterious, some may be mean, and some may be odd. In addition, the plotline is very interesting and contains several twists and revelations. The book has a great balance of action and emotion. Finally, it is fun (as you would expect in any candy-themed book) to read about the contestants' different candies. This book is enjoyable enough (and long enough, being 453 pages) to be a great read for the holidays! (And if you enjoy it, there is a sequel available, The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase.)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Poetry Sunday (12/4/2016): "The Snow Man" by Wallace Stevens

To start off the winter, I am recommending "The Snow Man" by Wallace Stevens. Here's the link. I hope you enjoy it!

MMGM (12/5/2016): Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur

For MMGM, I'm recommending Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur.

I loved this book long before I started this blog, so I'm finally recommending it. The main character, Aubrey, starts the story living alone in her house, since, after her father and sister died in a car crash, her mother left in grief, leaving Aubrey alone. Aubrey then goes to live with her grandmother as she deals with grief and her new home, including making some friends. Aubrey is a likable main character who you sympathize with as she deals with the loss of her father and sister without her mother. The aspect of the story involving Aubrey getting used to living in a different state with her grandmother and going to a different school is also deftly handled. The settings (both the outside world and Aubrey's new home) are enjoyable and allow you to sink into them. Finally, the book's balance of flashbacks allows you to see into Aubrey's head, in a way. Although this book is sad, it is still a great read for anyone.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Secret Keepers giveaway winner!

The winner of the giveaway of the signed copy of The Secret Keepers has been chosen, and it is...

Congratulations! Now, back to cleaning out my bookshelves!