n.b. // The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Barnhill_GirlWhoDrankMoon_FINAL_PRNT.inddI read The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill after it won the Newberry though it languished in my TBR pile for far too long (thanks, library-holds-all-coming-available-at-once!). But while reading, all I could think was, “DUH it won.” It is breath-taking, heart-wrenching, and swoon-worthy.

Several things in particular fascinated me about this book (beyond Barnhill’s ability to transform words into pure magic): Continue reading

Pitch Wars Miscellany

So this time my absence has a good reason…

After being chosen for Pitch Wars, I spent the past two months polishing my MS and preparing it for the agent round (which begins tomorrow, egads!).

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And now Doomsday is upon us, and all the MG writers are freaking out behind the scenes after watching the A/NA entries rack up requests on day one.

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So before I disappear into a cone of solitude as I attempt to ride out the next week with my sanity intact, here are the pertinent deets for those interested in my MG contemporary fantasy, THE CURIOUS CURSE OF THE LONELY LIBRARY.

Interview w/ Ashley Martin (Mentor) et moi

Pitch & First Page Excerpt 

And for fun, #novelaesthetics

n.b // Rebecca Behrens

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Who needs to blog every [other] month?! Not I.

Ahem.

I kicked off my summer MG reading with these two delightful books by Rebecca Behrens, both with charming female protagonists shaped by their interactions with characters from the past. [Note, mild spoilers ahead]

In When Audrey Met Alice, 13yo Audrey is struggling to adjust to the role of First Daughter and stumbles across the diary of Alice Roosevelt, whose [mis]adventures inspire Audrey to some shenanigans and maturing of her own. If you enjoyed 90s movies about White House kids, you’ll enjoy this one. Continue reading

Pitch Wars Bio

I’m a Latin teacher living with my husband and menagerie (two cats + corgi) in Alabama. I wrote a lot of stories in middle school and high school, determined to be the next Agatha Christie, but gave up in despair and went to college. No creative writing happened for a long time, but there was a whole lot of reading and thinking and growing.

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And then one summer I found myself between jobs with literally nothing to do. Literally. I played a lot of Civilization (SPQR) and started my first [Roman-empire-sized] quilting project. I don’t even remember what drove me back to writing that summer, but it was like the returning home montage in a Hallmark movie. Continue reading

n.b. // Books about Books

25387393I didn’t purposefully pair these two books to be read at the same time,  but Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein  and Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman complement each other nicely. Both stories center around book-centric puzzle games, and I would recommend them to anyone who likes to work out problems within the text as they read.

But the two stories also make for an interesting contrast in strengths. While I think Mr. Lemoncello takes the prize for colorful, laugh-out-loud characters, Book Scavenger pulls off a more subtle, touching plot.

Continue reading

n.b. // Circus Mirandus

51jQ6iYFVqL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I saw reviews comparing Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach and cynically thought it wasn’t possible…but now I think that wasn’t high enough praise. (I would add Mary Poppins to that list of comps.)

Circus Mirandus is charming, bittersweet, and timeless.

A shy boy, a dying grandfather, a mean aunt, and a magical circus – in a bare list those ingredients sound standard enough for middle grade fare, but in Ms. Beasley’s hands they are translated into lyrical prose. Continue reading

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“[The library] was then the place of a long, centuries-old murmuring, an imperceptible dialogue between one parchment and another living thing, a receptacle of powers not to be rules by a human mind, a treasure of secrets emanated by many minds, surviving the death of those who had produced them or had been their conveyors.”

 Eco, Name of the Rose

requiescat in pace

n.b. // Ghosts of Tupelo Landing (Mo & Dale #2)

Oh18079557. My. Lanta. How do you not fall in love with Mo? She is hands-down my favorite character of the year: lively, loving, tough, and witty. I’ve laughed-till-I-cried many times
during these books, and Mo’s narration is the reason. Everyone and everything is colored by the way she sees the world (a kind of optimistic realism), even when that leads the reader astray. If she hates someone, you hate them. If she runs with an idea (i.e. shenanigan), you’re cheering her on.

Turnage’s descriptions of people through Mo’s eyes are especially brilliant. Contrast someone she adores:

Lavender is tall and hound-dog skinny. He wears his hair combed up in front, like he’s speeding through life. […] Lavender’s handsome in the Nascar way, and if I was old enough I’d snatch him up and marry him before sundown. (Three Times Lucky, 42) Continue reading