The Explorers: The Door in the Alley by Adrienne Kress Blog Tour


Today I'm happy to share with you a new series: The Explorers!


The Explorers: The Door in the AlleyAdrienne Kress
Featuring a mysterious society, a secretive past, and a pig in a teeny hat, The Explorers: The Door in the Alley is the first book in a new series for fans of The Name of This Book Is a Secret and The Mysterious Benedict Society. Knock once if you can find it—but only members are allowed inside.
This is one of those stories that start with a pig in a teeny hat. It’s not the one you’re thinking about. (This story is way better than that one.)
This pig-in-a-teeny-hat story starts when a very uninquisitive boy stumbles upon a very mysterious society. After that, there is danger and adventure; there are missing persons, hired thugs, a hidden box, a lost map, and famous explorers; and also a girl on a rescue mission.

About the Author

Adrienne Kress is a writer and an actress born and raised in Toronto. She is the daughter of two high school English teachers and credits them with her love of both writing and performing. She also has a cat named Atticus, who unfortunately despises teeny hats. Look for her online at AdrienneKress.com, and follow her on Twitter at @AdrienneKress.


What a cute book! I liked Sebastian from the start!  I loved how predictable he was and then had that completely shaken up! His reactions were really and funny.  I loved how he kept questioning to himself why he was doing what he was doing! I was questioning it, so I loved that he did too! I also loved Evie! She was great, and I think boys and girls alike will enjoy her personality and want to see more of her.  

The story itself was fun, crazy, action packed and capable of pulling readers along for the whole ride.  That is something that the intended audience needs.  They will giggle and want to keep reading.  How could you not when there is a pig that wears a hat! 

Another thing I liked was how the book doesn't talk down to it's reader.  Yes it's silly and goofy, but it doesn't resort to simple language in order to do that.  Instead it ramps up the reading level.  It pushes kids to learn some as they are reading - kinda like The Name of this Book is Secret or the Series of Unfortunate events.  I love when books do that!

Over all - great book that I think will be a hit with kids.  

Thank you Random House Children’s Books for providing a copy for review and hosting the blog tour!


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Cover Love: The Suffering Tree

I love book covers! I love walking around Barnes and Noble just looking at all the different covers.  A good cover will make me pull the book off the shelf!  
It's almost like I have a crush on them :)

Today I'm crushin' on:

Questions I have when looking at it:

So many questions!
Is it a tree?
Is that a cemetery??
Why the ships?
Who lives in that house?
Is it floating the in sky?

About the Book:

“It’s dark magic brings him back.”

Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family—it’s their generations-old land the Burns have “stolen.” But none of that seems to matter after Tori witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grave under the gnarled oak in her new backyard. 

Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it’s clear to Tori that he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events—including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter’s cousin—that seem to point back to Nathaniel.

As Tori digs for the truth—and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel—she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the centuries-old curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family’s oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried… at any cost.

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One of Us Is Lying Blog Tour and Guest Post! +GIVEAWAY

Very excited to be part of the blog tour for One of Us is Lying hosted by Rock Star Tours!

About the Book:
Title: ONE OF US IS LYING
Author: Karen McManus
Pub. Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 368
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Find it: AmazonB&NTBDiBooksAudibleGoodreads

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, & One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide. 
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

About Karen:
As a kid I used to write books when I was supposed to be playing outside, and not much has changed. I'm a marketing and communications professional who also writes Young Adult contemporary and fantasy fiction in Cambridge, MA.

When not writing or working I love to travel, and along with my nine-year old son I've ridden horses in Colombia and bicycles through Paris. A member of SCBWI, I hold a bachelor’s degree in English from the College of the Holy Cross and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northeastern University. Which I have never, ever used professionally.


Karen was nice enough to write a guest post for The OWL. I asked her to talk about how you write a mystery that keeps everyone guessing.  I'm always impressed and fascinated by someone who can do that well! 

Here's what she had to say!

The art of hiding clues and keeping the ending a surprise (definitely needed with this book!)

When I was a kid I loved the game Clue. There was something satisfying about methodically piecing together bits of evidence until I could say with absolutely certainty that the murder was committed by Mrs. Peacock, in the library, with the candlestick. I wanted One of Us Is Lying to recapture that experience in narrative form—keep readers guessing, but also building on what they learned over time so that the puzzle, once solved, makes sense. 

To keep suspense high, writers have to plant clues in such a way that they nag at a reader’s mind, but don’t beat them over the head. I used a few different techniques that I’ve culled through years as an avid mystery reader (and board game aficionado) while writing One of Us Is Lying:

  1. Unreliable narrators. Because One of Us Is Lying is very character-driven, its four main characters—Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy, and Nate—need to carry a lot of the suspense. They’re in the room for their classmate’s shocking death, which at first makes them objects of sympathy. But when investigators learn the death wasn’t an accident, they become suspects. So they needed to have layers of secrets—not only were they keeping things from their parents, their friends, or the police at various points, but sometimes they weren’t even honest with themselves. 
  2. Several possible explanations. Throughout the book, investigators and others advance different theories: Did the four students plot Simon’s death together? Did one of them plan it and frame the others? Or could a different character be pulling strings? My intent was to keep all of these plausible for as long as possible.
  3. Red herrings. These are useful to scatter throughout a novel to keep readers from guessing whodunit too soon. I don’t want to provide specific examples from One of Us Is Lying (because spoilers) but in general red herrings can take lots of different forms. Suspicious characters who turn out to be innocent, clues that were planted by the villain, events that seem meaningful but aren’t … you get the idea. 
  4. Ambiguous behavior. Characters in One of Us Is Lying often say one thing, but mean another. Sometimes they contradict one another or withhold information. And other times, their reactions simply aren’t what you would expect for the situation. All that contributes to a feeling of unpredictability and an uncertainly about who to trust. 

The hope, of course, is that if you sprinkle your diversions and clues properly throughout the story, your readers are guessing until the very end. But even if that doesn’t happen, the experience can still be satisfying if everything ties together in a way that makes sense.

Thank you for sharing all that!  I still don't think I could write a mystery well - one that keeps the reading guessing!

To see more tour stops check out this week's schedule and the tour page at Rockstar Book Tours:

Week Three:
6/12/2017- Eli to the nthReview
6/13/2017- YA and WineInterview
6/14/2017- Smada's Book SmackReview
6/15/2017- The O.W.L.Guest Post
6/16/2017Zach's YA ReviewsReview


3 winners will receive a finished copy of ONE OF US IS LYING, US Only.


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Cover Love: House of Furies

I love book covers! I love walking around Barnes and Noble just looking at all the different covers.  A good cover will make me pull the book off the shelf!  
It's almost like I have a crush on them :)

Today I'm crushin' on:

Questions I have when looking at it:

Who is the girl?
Is the house empty?
Is she alone?
Is she scared?  If so - of what??

About the Book:


After escaping a harsh school where punishment was the lesson of the day, seventeen-year-old Louisa Ditton is thrilled to find employment as a maid at a boarding house. But soon after her arrival at Coldthistle House, Louisa begins to realize that the house’s mysterious owner, Mr. Morningside, is providing much more than lodging for his guests. Far from a place of rest, the house is a place of judgment, and Mr. Morningside and his unusual staff are meant to execute their own justice on those who are past being saved.


Louisa begins to fear for a young man named Lee who is not like the other guests. He is charismatic and kind, and Louisa knows that it may be up to her to save him from an untimely judgment. But in this house of distortions and lies, how can Louisa be sure whom to trust?
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Dover Books Summer Reading GIVEAWAY!

The one thing I push more than anything with my students is the importance of reading all year - yes even in the summer.  So when The Children's Book Review asked if I wanted to help promote Dover Books Summer Reading along with a giveaway I immediately said yes! 


ABOUT THE BOOKS UP FOR GRABS! 
The Girl in the White Hat
Written by W. T. Cummings

Publisher's Synopsis: While Grandmother's asleep, Annabelle creeps out of her room and up the stairs to the dark and mysterious attic. Among the jumble of curious items packed away in the gloom is a big white hat with a floppy brim. Annabelle can't resist trying it on and thinks, "If I were a bird and this hat were my wings, I could fly. I wish I could fly!" And she does! New hardcover edition.

About the Author: W. T. Cummings (1933–2009) wrote and illustrated four remarkable picture books, of which The Girl in the White Hat was the first. A painter of note, he received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale University in 1962. Lauded by The New York Times as one of the ten best children's books of 1959, this now-rare volume is available in a lovely new hardcover edition, ready to charm a new generation of readers and imaginative hat-wearers.
Too Many Mittens
By Louis Slobodkin and Florence Slobodkin

Publisher's Synopsis: A beautifully illustrated single-volume edition of three classic children's tales: A wintertime tale of lost and found, Too Many Mittens finds the twins Ned and Donny in Grandma's care while Mother and Father are off on a trip. Word gets around when Donny loses a mitten, and soon everyone — teacher, postman, milkman, grocer — is finding lost mittens and delivering them to the twins' house, until Grandma has a great idea. In A Good Place to Hide, Susan wants to get away from her persistent brothers, who are determined to show her the spider they've trapped in a jar. But everywhere she goes, from the tool shed to Rover's doghouse, someone finds her — until she finds a secret place where she finally can be alone. Everyone knows that mermaids have long golden hair and sweet singing voices — except when they don't! In The Little Mermaid Who Could Not Sing, red-haired Cynthia can swim and ride seahorses but she cannot sing a note. Cynthia's terribly discouraged until she discovers that she has a hidden talent of her very own.

About Louis Slobodkin and Florence Slobodkin: At the age of 15, Louis Slobodkin (1903–75) entered the Beaux Arts Institute of Design, where he studied drawing, composition, and sculpture. In the course of his six-year studies, he won more than 20 medals and was awarded the Louis Tiffany Fellowship. Slobodkin illustrated nearly 90 books, 50 of which he wrote, and in 1944 he received the Caldecott Medal for his illustrations for James Thurber's Many Moons.

Poet and author of children's books Florence Slobodkin (1905–94) collaborated with her husband on five books, including the classic Too Many Mittens.
The Golden Basket

Publisher's Synopsis: On a cobblestoned street in the ancient city of Bruges, a hotel with a golden basket on its roof admits a trio of weary travelers: a father and two little girls, Celeste and Melisande. The next morning, the sisters awake to the thrill of discovering a new country and meeting new friends, including Jan, the innkeeper's son, and Monsieur Carnewal, the hardworking, warmhearted maître d'hôtel. The girls discover a world of imaginative fun within the hotel itself as well as in the picturesque city of medieval buildings and towers, where graceful swans swim in the canals and a lamplighter makes his daily rounds. Inspired by a trip to Belgium, author Ludwig Bemelmans drew upon his youthful experiences at his family's Austrian inn to perfectly recapture the setting of an Old World hotel. A brief cameo by a mischievous French schoolgirl — the first appearance of the author's iconic character, Madeline—offers a hint of the joys to come.

About Ludwig Bemelmans: The recipient of both the Caldecott and Newbery awards, Ludwig Bemelmans (1898–1962) is best remembered as the creator of the Madeline books. He grew up in Austria, emigrated to America in his youth, and became a U.S. citizen after serving in World War I. In addition to dozens of books for adults as well as children, Bemelmans wrote movie scripts and was an internationally renowned gourmet.
Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings
By Edward McLachlan

Publisher's Synopsis: Simon enters the Land of Chalk Drawings, where his doodles spring to colorful life and join him in adventures that challenge his wits as well as his imagination. This exclusive collection comprises all four of author Edward McLachlan's Chalk stories, which served as the inspiration for the popular PBS and Nickelodeon animated shorts. In the Land of Chalk Drawings: An unfinished stick figure asks to be completed and introduces Simon to a host of other drawings that need his attention. Simon and the Chalk Drawing Army: Some soldiers have invaded the Land of Chalk Drawings and are making everyone drill to the point of exhaustion. With quick thinking, Simon finds a way to keep the soldiers busy, and the other drawings get a treat. Simon and the Moon Rocket: Simon flies to the moon, where he's forced to solve a mountain of sums. How can he finish them all and get away? Simon and the Dinosaur: All the children and animals have disappeared from the Land of Chalk Drawings ― they've been eaten by a dinosaur! Simon must rescue them and help the hungry dinosaur, too.

About Edward McLachlan: Hailed as "the cartoonist's cartoonist," Edward McLachlan has contributed cartoons to Punch, Private Eye, the London Evening Standard, New Statesman, Playboy, and many other periodicals. He has also worked for several book publishers, has drawn advertisements, and has designed and written more than 300 commercial advertising films for clients including Renault and Alka-Seltzer.
Sam and Emma
By Donald Nelsen and Edward Gorey

Publisher's Synopsis: A kind hound and a critical cat venture beyond their garden gate for a look at how other animals live in this winsome tale, which is charmingly illustrated by Edward Gorey. Emma the cat scorns the lunch offered by a trio of friendly beavers and laughs in the faces of a pair of porcupines, much to Sam the dog's consternation. Along come a couple of raccoons. Emma allows that they resemble cats, so they're not ugly, but decries their nocturnal habits. "Not even a dog would live like that," she declares — and now she's insulted long-suffering Sam, too. She didn't mean him, of course. Sam offers his feline friend a more balanced perspective and a gently irresistible appeal for tolerance, bringing this thought-provoking fable of friendship to a warm conclusion. Hardcover edition.

About Donald Nelsen and Edward Gorey: Indiana native Donald Nelsen has lived and worked in New York City for more than 50 years. In 1959 he was awarded a Fulbright grant to study painting in Paris, and upon his return to the United States he joined a design studio and began creating textile and wallpaper designs as well as painted wood carvings of everyday objects. Several of his oil paintings are on display at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

American author and artist Edward Gorey (1925–2000) combined whimsy and dark humor in such illustrated books as The Doubtful Guest, The Gashlycrumb Tinies, and four Amphigorey anthologies. His distinctive style, featuring characters in Victorian dress in surrealistic settings, achieved wide recognition with his opening-sequence animation for the PBS Mystery! series.
I Need a New Butt
By Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird

Publisher's Synopsis: A young boy suddenly notices a big problem — his butt has a huge crack! So he sets off to find a new one. Will he choose an armor-plated butt? A rocket butt? A robot butt? Find out in this quirky tale of a tail, which features hilarious rhymes and delightful illustrations. Children and parents will love this book — no ifs, ands, or butts about it! "I can assure you right now that your kids will love this book. They will giggle, they will laugh, and they will want this book to be read over and over again because it is just plain silly and funny … the perfect kid-combo." — Storywraps

About Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird: Dawn McMillan writes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and storybooks for children. She is also the author of Woolly Wally and Holy Socks. She lives in Waiomu, New Zealand.
Ross Kinnaird has illustrated such children's books as 50 Body Questions and the animated poem "Smaller," winner of the People's Choice Award at the World Parkinson's Congress. He lives in Auckland, New Zealand.

OFFICIAL LINKS




Timeless Stories, Everyday Value, Summer Reading with Dover!
Everyone can be a winner with special code WHCP, because Dover Books is offering 25% off until September 1, 2017
Plus, you can enter to win this awesome summer reading prize pack . . .


One (1) grand prize winner receives:


Hardcover, 20th Anniversary Editions of the Dinotopia series:

Dinotopia, A Land Apart from Time
Dinotopia, The World Beneath
Dinotopia, First Flight




A hardcover copy of The Girl in the White Hat
A paperback copy of Too Many Mittens
A paperback copy of The Golden Basket
A paperback copy of Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings
A hardcover copy of Sam and Emma
A paperback copy of I Need a New Butt

Two (2) winners receive:

A hardcover copy of The Girl in the White Hat
A paperback copy of Too Many Mittens
A paperback copy of The Golden Basket
A paperback copy of Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings
A hardcover copy of Sam and Emma
A paperback copy of I Need a New Butt


Giveaway begins June 1, 2017, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends June 30, 2017, at 11:59 P.M. PST.
Giveaway open to US and Canadian addresses only.

Prizes provided by Dover Books.

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Post information and giveaway provided by:The Children’s Book Review and Dover Books in both your blog post and all social shares.
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Nerd Blast: Two Truths and a Lie +GIVEAWAY

Today I'm participating in the Nerd Blast for Two Truths and a Lie.  

This books sounds super fun! 


Synopsis 

Two Truths and a Lie is the first book in a fascinating new series that presents some of the most crazy-but-true stories about the living world as well as a handful of stories that are too crazy to be true—and asks readers to separate facts from the fakes!

Did you know that there is a fungus that can control the mind of an ant and make it do its bidding? Would you believe there is such a thing as a corpse flower—a ten-foot-tall plant with a blossom that smells like a zombie? How about a species of octopus that doesn’t live in water but rather lurks in trees in the Pacific Northwest?

Every story in this book is strange and astounding. But not all of them are real. Just like the old game in this book’s title, two out of every three stories are completely true and one is an outright lie. Can you guess which? It’s not going to be easy. Some false stories are based on truth, and some of the true stories are just plain unbelievable. And they’re all accompanied by dozens of photos, maps, and illustrations. Amaze yourself and trick your friends as you sort out the fakes from the facts!

Acclaimed authors Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson have teamed up to create a series of sneaky stories about the natural world designed to amaze, disgust, and occasionally bamboozle you.


Praise for TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: IT'S ALIVE


“An engaging, entertaining compendium that will inform and confound.” ―Kirkus Reviews




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ammi-Joan Paquette has never met a ghost, mummy, monster, skeleton, or witch — as far as she knows. This book, she says, was inspired by a game she used to play with her sister: "Most of the details have been lost to time, but I still remember the shivery thrill I got when we played it. So, I drew on that same energy to write a spooky picture book, which eventually became A Ghost in the House." In addition to writing, Joan is also a literary agent representing authors of children’s books. She lives outside Boston with her family.

TWITTER | FACEBOOK GOODREADS | WEBSITE 

Laurie writes for children of all ages. She is dedicated to inspiring and empowering young readers through nonfiction and fiction that educates as well as entertains.

TWITTER | FACEBOOK GOODREADS | WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM |

Photo Content from Ammi-Joan Paquette & Laurie A. Thompson.






5 Winners will receive a Copy of TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: IT'S ALIVE by Ammi-Joan Paquette & Laurie A. Thompson.

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter



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Women on Wed: Trailblazers: 33 Women in Science Who Changed the World by Rachel Swaby


A few Wednesdays a month I like to feature books that show the strength and diversity of women.  These may be works of fiction or nonfiction.

Today that book is:


Virginia Apgar. Sally Ride. Rachel Carson. These names are etched in history and included here as part of this awe-inspiring collection of profiles of some of the world’s most influential women in science. Author Rachel Swaby delves into the minds of thirty-three such women, whose vision, creativity, passion and dedication have helped make important strides in the world of science—who have in fact changed the world.

Middle grade kids will be fascinated by these snapshot profiles of some of history’s most important female scientists. These women have made strides in fields including biology, medicine, astronomy, and technology. In addition, Swaby emphasizes the fact that people aren’t born brilliant scientists. They observe and experiment as kids and as adults, testing ideas again and again, each time learning something new. Kids are sure to come away with a renewed curiosity of the world and the realization that the road to discovery can be positively thrilling.

Just recently I had my 3rd graders do a research project on inventors.  I really struggled finding women for them to research.  It bothered me!  I wish I had looked at this book sooner because there were several I could've added to the list for sure! While reading it I learned about several women I didn't know about.  The two that interested me most were Helen Taussig and Jane Wright.  Taussig worked with cardiac research and Wright with cancer research.  These are two areas I've had personal experience with, so it was fascinating to here the contributions they made!  I also liked how the book was broken into different sections - Technology and Invention, The Earth and Stars, Health and Medicine, and Biology.  It allowed me to turn to areas I was interested in.  

Great book that I plan to share with students! 




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