Monday, April 30, 2012

Worst Case Scenario Reading is the Ultimate Adventure Blog Tour

My good friends at Chronicle Books have another fabulous blog tour going. As is usual with the innovative Chronicle, they have a grand idea: a very nifty concept for reluctant readers, The Worst-Case Scenario Ultimate Adventure Novels.

The idea is this:
  1. Produce a rip-roaring adventure in some far-flung place (e.g. Everest, Mars, or The Amazon)
  2. Pepper the pages with some really good graphics and drawings
  3. Give a reader TWENTY-FOUR (yes, 24!!) possible endings, with just ONE path to survival
  4. Make your protagonists a 14-year-old boy from Montana, and a 14-year-old girl from Thailand--i.e. a great multicultural feel that will appeal to both boys and girls
  5. And Bob's your Italian Uncle--the reluctant readers will snap it up and beg for more... at least that the hope.
I couldn't wait to put this to the test and enlisted my very own reluctant reader, my 9-year-old son K.R.

(Snuck up and captured this rare shot of Readerensis Reluctibus. Note the ripped jeans. Would much rather be tree-climbing than reading. However, AMAZON caused him to take a moment from his busy day to book-snuggle.)

Here's what he had to say about it:

"I really liked how it had you choose how to survive. And my favorite part was the part about the bees. There were some really great drawings. I could really relate with the characters.

Being in the Amazon was dangerous, which I liked. It's one of the best books I've read. And I'd really like to read the books about Everest and Mars."

THUMBS UP, FOLKS!! You can get a flavor of the books from this excerpt from Scribd and view the concept in this video (from MARS, another of the books in the series.)

I've got a copy of AMAZON to send your way, whether you have a reluctant reader or not. Just leave a comment, extra Brownie points for Tweeting.

(May is Middle Grade Mafioso's first anniversary. I'm twirling my fedora trying to come up with a fitting commemoration, so stay tuned. There's bound to be eggplants, accordions, and plenty of prosciutto. Have a great week. Ciao!!)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Prizes! Prizes!

I didn't get around to MMGM yesterday because the entire Mafioso compound is still recovering from our exertions around Tax Day. All of us were at The Don's beck and call, and a summons could have come at any moment, day or night. It got to the point where the philosophical question became "How many accountants can dance on the head of a pin." (Answer: As many as The Don's money can buy.)

But I do still get to give out prizes. First for TUA AND THE ELEPHANT:

The Winner Is:

For E. J. Patten's RETURN TO EXILE:

and for the Bracelets:


All you good people should be getting an e-mail in your mail box later today. And please, everyone, put it on your calendar that I'll be reviewing Chronicle Books' The Worst-Case Scenario: Amazon, An Ultimate Adventure Novel next week. I'm part of the blog tour for this book, which is targeted for reluctant readers.


Monday, April 16, 2012

The Return to Exile Book Tour: And a GIVEAWAY (Book and Bracelet)

I am incredibly thrilled to be part of the Return to Exile Blog Tour. E.J. Patten's debut, Book One of The Hunter Chronicles, is a rip-roaring read, full of fascinating characters and monsters. The main character's palm has a cicatrice ("trix") which bleeds black blood, for gruesome's sakes!!

The novel came out in September, but the author was laid up after neck surgery and unable to promote it as effectively as he wanted. So now the Mafiosi and sundry hordes are bounding through the interwebs, full of mad love for Sky Weathers (the main character) and the rest of the Hunters who are trying to stymie the Arkhon, a.k.a. Terror of the Night, Bringer of the Dark, One of Three, The Immortal, The Blood Thief, The Wasting Hunger, The Shifting Horror, The Moon Goblin, The Night. (Whew, sounds like The Don in a really bad mood!!!)

Here's a synopsis of the novel, via Amazon:

Eleven years ago, a shattered band of ancient monster hunters captured an unimaginable evil and Phineas T. Pimiscule rescued his nephew, Sky, from the wreckage of that great battle. For eleven years, Sky Weathers has studied traps, puzzles, science, and the secret lore of the Hunters of Legend, believing it all a game. For eleven years, Sky and his family have hidden from dark enemies and moved all over the United States while, unbeknownst to Sky, his uncle Phineas sacrificed everything to protect them.

For eleven years, Sky Weathers has known nothing of that day.

But on the eve of Sky's twelfth birthday and his family's long-awaited return to the town of Exile, everything changes. Phineas has disappeared, and Sky finds himself forced to confront the mysterious secrets he's denied for so long: why did his family leave Exile on that day so long ago? What, exactly, has Phineas been preparing him for? And, the biggest mystery of all, who is Sky really and why does everyone want to kill him?!

Here's an interview from earlier in the tour with E.J. Patten. (Be warned: he's a very funny guy.)

And here's the super-dooper giveaway news. I'll send ONE lucky winner a copy of the novel, and a SECOND lucky winner a bookmark, autographed bookplate, and one of the amazing hunter's bracelets pictured below. (There is a special bracelet in the book made up of two parts, a bracelet for the daughter and a bracelet for the mother, that can be connected together into one bracelet. E.J. Patten's mother, a jewelry maker, is making the bracelets!)

Hunter's Bracelet

For more about the bracelets, click here.)

Here's what you do to win: Comment, with your choice of book OR bracelet--as well as choosing a number between 1 and 482. I'll reply with your very own line chosen from that page in the novel. Winners will be announced on Tuesday 24th!!

Thanks for stopping by today.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Tua and the Elephant--And a GIVEAWAY!

Tua and the Elephant by R.P. Harris (Chronicle, publication date May 2012)
We're ba-aack! Boise (and McCall) were beautiful, and we even had snow for spring break. (Bet you've never seen a dozen mafiosi pelting each other with snowballs.) However, I have missed you all. I managed to sneak reading Tua and the Elephant in between my latest addiction, George R.R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice--but that's definitely not middle grade, so you won't be hearing my thoughts about it here.

Tua, however, is a wonderful middle grade tale. Those of you who follow me closely know that I'm a complete sucker for stories in foreign lands. Thailand's a great place, and Tua's stomping ground is the city of Chiang Mai, which I remember as being very lovely.

Why I liked it: Spunky main character. Tua means "peanut" in Thai, and 9 year-old Tua's pretty petite, but there's nothing small about this girl's spirit. In the market one day, Tua sees an elephant being mistreated by two villainous mahout (elephant handlers). She helps it to escape, names it Pohn-Pohn, and sets off to find an elephant sanctuary where Pohn-Pohn will be safe. I also really liked Tua's glamourous actress aunt, Auntie Orchid, who vamped it with the best of them. And the illustrations by Taeeun Yoo are great too. (Don't you just love the shimmering light of the cover art?)

The book is aimed at 8-12 year-olds, and I think they will love the simplicity of the story as it explores profound themes about the cruel treatment of animals, and elephants in particular. (This may well be the Year of the Elephant, as an elephant features prominently in The One and Only Ivan--see my MMGM review here--as well as Lynne Kelly's Chained, the trailer of which I posted on Project Mayhem.)

About the author: R.P. Harris has spent much time in Asia, including three months in Thailand. He divides his time between San Francisco and Shanghai.

About the illustrator: Taeeun Yoo has illustrated numerous books for children, including the New York Times Best Illustrated Book, Only a Witch Can Fly. She lives in New York City.

I have a copy of Tua and the Elephant  to give to one lucky commenter. (Tweeting about the giveaway, mentioning @MGMafioso, will earn you an extra entry.)

And have a very Marvelous Middle Grade Monday. Please visit the other MMGMers (they are listed in my blog sidebar.)