Monthly Archives: March 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Earthling Hero

Middle Grade Author Shannon Whitney Messenger began Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays a while back. If you love middle grade literature, check out her blog for a list of other sites featuring MG books.

Today I’ll talk about Earthling Hero by Anita Laydon Miller.

From Goodreads: Imagine waking one summer night to see someone standing beside your bed. The “someone” is a complete stranger, but looks exactly like you. That’s what happens to eleven-year-old Mikey Murphy. The next few days of his life are filled with adventures – breaking into a high-security military installation, engaging expert assassins in hand-to-hand combat, searching for an evil alien’s hideout in the middle of a national landmark – all with two new alien friends at his side. Can Mikey and his friends survive their adventures and save the world?

From Vicki: This is one of the good self-published novels out there. Sure, it isn’t perfect (but plenty of traditionally-published books aren’t either), but it was a fun story that would absolutely appeal to kids. And it wasn’t riddled with easily fixed mistakes to drag down the narrative. I do wonder what the sales were like considering that I can’t get my middle-grade reader to read ebooks yet. Maybe over a school break when he doesn’t have to bring his book to school every day.

This was my kind of sci-fi. An adventure that took place in a world I could understand, with characters kids can relate to.

Anyone out there read it? What did you think?



Filed under Reading

Tagged by Tanya

Recently I was tagged by my good friend, Tanya Reimer, a magical and generous writer. In return, I tag another generous writer, Suzanne Lilly, whose debut book will be published July 2012 by Turquoise Morning Press’s Honey Creek Books. In addition, I must answer these questions from Tanya:

 1. What is the title of your current WIP? Tell us about it.

The Transparents is a middle grade book about a boy who suddenly becomes invisible during math class, and learns to use his new ability to become a more confident version of himself and to solve a mystery to save his older brother and his best friend.

2. When did you start blogging and why?

Hmm, that’s a good question. I started blogging about three years ago to have an online presence. It has become a good way to make friends with other writers on the journey to publication.

3. If you could do anything tomorrow, what would you do?

Leave for France. But I’ll have to wait until late Spring. Okay, since I can’t leave tomorrow for France then I want to do exactly what I normally do on Thursdays and Fridays if I don’t have stuff to do at my kids’ school: exercise by playing Just Dance 3, do a tiny household chore (like throwing a load of laundry into the washer and then forgetting about it, or sweeping my kitchen floor), reading an actual book while eating my lunch (or meeting a friend out for lunch), and a whole lot of writing/revising.

4. Describe your happy place.

It’s quiet and calm (unless I’m in the mood for singing and dancing) with soft places to sit and lots of hot tea and peanut M&Ms. Then again, sometimes my happy place is doing something silly with my kids.

5. What was your first happy memory?

A birthday party at McDonald’s when I was about 4.

6. What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

Okay, so believe it or not, but this former globe-trotting humanitarian aid worker’s scariest moment was last summer on a roller coaster with my kids. I’m not a thrill seeker – at least not that kind – but my boys love roller coasters and I thought our local Six Flags park’s Bobsled looked doable for me. Nope. Never again. Sorry, guys.

7. What is the funnest thing you did today?

Today is not a good day to ask me that question since I spent most of the day feeling ill. The funnest thing I did last Tuesday was play Simon Says in French with a group of kids in Kindergarten through 2nd grade.

8. What is the strangest place you’ve ever gotten an idea for a story?

On the toilet.

9. Where do you write?

On the toilet. Oops, nope, wrong question. Mostly I write on my living room couch.

10. If you just won a ticket to anywhere in the world but had to take me, where would you take me? Why?

I would take you to Rwanda so you can see how I lived for a couple of years, visit the mountain gorillas, and look for my friend Marie-Josée because she’s awesome and you’d totally get along.

Okay, your turn. In the comments tell me where in the world you’d take me and why. And Suzanne, if you feel like it, you can answer all the questions on your blog someday.


Filed under The rest of my life, writing

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Golden Acorn

Middle Grade Author Shannon Whitney Messenger began Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays a while back. If you love middle grade literature, check out her blog for a list of other sites featuring MG books.

Today I’ll talk about The Golden Acorn by Catherine Cooper.

From Goodreads: Jack Brenin’s life changes the moment he finds a golden acorn lying on the grass. He gets caught up in an extraordinary magical adventure and enters a world he only believed existed in legend. He’s sure he’s been mistaken for someone else. He’s neither brave nor strong so how could he be “The One” an ancient prophecy speaks about? He’s no idea why he’s expected to help, unsure if he wants to, or even if he can.

From Vicki: This is a cute story for lower middle grade readers. There is quite a bit of adults telling Jack what to do and how to do it, and some characters who appear to be kids (or animals) but who are either adults in disguise or kids who’ve lived for hundreds of years. But the story is definitely centered on Jack and his journey to discover the hero inside. A-Read would like the fantasy world and the flying, but he’s not into reading books on my Kindle yet.

The Golden Acorn was independently published in 2009 and it won an award in Britain for unpublished novels. It is definitely among the better indies I’ve read.

What’s your favorite indie?


Filed under writing