Archive for MMGM

Apr 01

MMGM: Review of Alice-Miranda at School by Jacqueline Harvey

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is hosted by Shannon Messenger, author of KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES (Oct 2012). The weekly meme is to showcase middle grade books you love and/or feature an upcoming MG release, author interview or MG review. To learn more about MMGM click here!

By: Jacqueline Harvey
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Pub. Date: March 2012 in US
Formats: HC, PB & Electronic
Pages: 272
Genre: MG Adventure
Age Group: MG +
Source: Bookstore
Follow Jacqueline Harvey on: Twitter | Website | goodreads
Purchase ALICE-MIRANDA AT SCHOOL on: Amazon | B&N | TBD | IB

Goodreads Synopsis:Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennigton-Jones can’t wait to start boarding school. When she arrives at Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies, the adventure begins . . . only not quite as Alice-Miranda expects. The minute she sets foot on the school’s manicured grounds, she senses that something is wrong: Miss Grimm, the headmistress, is nowhere to be seen, the gardens have no flowers, and a mysterious stranger seems to be hiding out on the premises.

But that’s not all. Some girls are mean and spoiled, like Alethea Goldsworthy. Can Alice-Miranda defeat Alethea in one of three difficult tests she must pass to remain at school? Will she discover Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale’s big secret—and make things right? Well, if anyone can, it’s spunky Alice-Miranda!

Review:  Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith Kennington-Jones may be quite a mouthful, but don’t let this pretentious name fool you because she’s anything but! At seven and three-quarters, Alice-Miranda is precocious and spirited and after reading her first adventure, ALICE-MIRANDA AT SCHOOL by Jacqueline Harvey, I want to carry her in my pocket for good cheer!

The little tyke is so excited about attending Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies, which has been a family tradition, that she enrolls a year early. Much to her beloved parents surprise, of course. But knowing Alice-Miranda and her desire to learn and make friends, they send her on her merry way with a skip in her step through the doors of the school. They tell her that if she needs anything or if she ends up having a terrible time, she can come home.

Alice-Miranda is not to be deterred in her mission to attend the school and quickly investigates the school campus and grounds. She meets Miss Higgins, the school secretary, Charlie, the gardener and Cook, who makes the most delicious brownies. But Alice-Miranda notices something right off the bat…they all seem sad. She’s extremely curious and wants to make everyone happy, including the headmistress, Miss Grimm, who just like her name wants nothing to do with any of the girls at school, especially, spunky Alice-Miranda.  Yet underneath her rude and sharp behavior, Miss Grimm is a lonely woman who hides away her study from the world because of her past. But Alice-Miranda doesn’t let that stop her from discovering the truth about Miss Grimm. She also makes friends with her fellow classmates, including Millie who has just as long of last name. She also makes an enemy of the school mean girl, Alethea who’s bossy, spoiled and downright dreadful! Through it all, Alice-Miranda finds a way to make things right and do the right thing.

She loves school, learning about new things, and meeting new people, including bringing joy and smiles to everyone at school as well as the reader. Author Jacqueline Harvey drew on her experiences working at an all-girls school which gave her the inspiration for her book series. If you are lucky enough to live in Australia where Harvey and Alice-Miranda lives, there are several Alice-Miranda books available. In the US and UK only ALICE-MIRANDA is on bookshelves. Drats! However, on April 13th, ALICE-MIRANDA ON VACATION (or on Holiday, if you are in the UK or Australia) will be released.

ALICE-MIRANDA AT SCHOOL is just as charming, delightful and funny as its protagonist. The novel is filled with a few side plots that kept me turning the pages into the wee hours of the night and brought a tear to my eye at book’s end. As Millie says, three cheers for Alice-Miranda: Hip, hip, hooray! Hip, hip, hooray! Hip, hip, hooray!

I’m giving ALICE-MIRANDA AT SCHOOL 5 “Middle Grade Book Fans” for being infectiously darling!

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Mar 25

MMGM: Review of Goodess Girls Athena the Brain by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is hosted by Shannon Messenger, author of KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES (Oct 2012). The weekly meme is to showcase middle grade books you love and/or feature an upcoming MG release, author interview or MG review. To learn more about MMGM click here!

By: Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams
Publisher: Aladdin
Pub. Date: April 2010
Formats: HC, PB & Electronic
Pages: 160
Genre: MG Fantasy
Age Group: MG +
Source: Bookstore
Learn more about Joan Holub on: Twitter | Website | goodreads
Learn more about Suzanne Williamson: Website | goodreads
Purchase GG: ATHENA THE BRAIN on: Amazon | B&N | TBD | IB

Goodreads Synopsis: Athena has always been above average. She has never quite fit in at Triton Junior High, but who would’ve guessed that Athena is actually a goddess? Principal Zeus’s daughter, to be exact.

When she’s summoned to Mount Olympus Academy, Athena thinks she might actually fit in for the first time in her life. But in some ways, school on Mount Olympus is not that different from down on Earth, and Athena is going to have to deal with the baddest mean girl in history: Medusa!

Review: Okay, I’m a little late…by about two years…in reading the Goddess Girls series by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams. But better late than never, right? I can’t believe I waited this long! What a terrific fantasy series for girls ages 8-12!

From the gorgeous cover to the terrific story inside, I was hooked by GG: ATHENA THE BRAIN from the first sentence to the last. The book is short (160 pages) so I read it in the span of a few hours. I first have to admit I was never really into Greek mythology. I took a course in college that was interesting, but that’s about it. So….needless to say that’s the reason I was hesitant about reading Goddess Girls. But after reading it, I definitely want to learn more about Athena, Zeus, Peresphone, Aphrodite, Artemis, Medusa, Pandora and Poseidon who are all featured in the series. Granted GG is for middle graders and doesn’t get too heavy into Greek mythology, but it definitely makes the subject not boring. There was no snooze-fest going on while I was turning the pages.

ATHENA THE BRAIN is about a super smart twelve year-old, Athena, who is book-smart and street-smart. She lives with mortals down on earth in Greece. Athena believes she’s a mortal…that is until she gets a special message delivered from Zeus, the head King…up on Mount Olympus in Goddess and God world. Oh, and he’s also ruler of the Heavens. Zeus informs Athena that she’s his daughter and needs to report to Mount Olympus Academy pronto! Boy, is Athena shocked. So is her friend Pallas whom she’s lived with since she was a baby. You see, Athena has never known who her real parents were and she’s very excited and a little nervous when she finds out that she’s actually not mortal, but a Goddess! Pallas is also stoked, but Athena is rather sad to leave her BFF down on earth. Yet, when Zeus summons you…you have to go! Athena leaves earth behind hoping to see Pallas again and maybe even find out if she can invite her to MOA.

Once she arrives at MOA, Athena enrolls in classes, makes friends with Persephone, Aphrodite, and Artemis. They are very nice to her and welcome Athena into their group. As for Medusa…not so much! She’s a mean girl with a capital M. Athena also gains a roommate. Pandora! She’s chatty, nosy but sweet. Athena also meets her dad who happens to be MOA’s Principal. Yikes! Zeus is her dad and in charge of the school? Talk about wanting to hide! But Athena takes it all in stride. Plus, Zeus is funny and rather spacey. But did I mention he’s also powerful? Bet detention wouldn’t be fun with him!

Athena also gains the attention of Poseidon…the cutest boy in school. But Athena doesn’t trip over him like all the other girls like Medusa who’s so obvious about her feelings for him.

Another thing that’s fab about this series is how it makes the Greek myths and figures so relatable to today’s youth and has a theme of friendship and anti-bullying threaded throughout which is subtle — definitely not in your face.

The story is so creative that it made me want to jump right into the book to attend Mount Olympus Academy myself! I’m looking forward to reading the other books in the series. The setting is described with flair and is extremely visual. Each character has their own unique personality and stays true to their mythology. Of course, the Greek myths tended to be violent, but ATHENA THE BRAIN is anything but. The story is light and breezy!

Holub and Williams also have a new Greek mythology series coming out for boys called Heroes in Training…although, I’m sure girls would also be interested in reading these, too. So, if you’re looking for a book that’s adventurous, imaginative and has positive character role-models for your tween then check out GODDESS GIRLS: ATHENA THE BRAIN! But hey…I’m an adult and totally obsessed with them now…GG books are for everyone!

I’m giving GG: ATHENA THE BRAIN 5 “Middle Grade Book Fans” for being heavenly supreme!

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Mar 18

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Storm Makers by Jennifer E. Smith

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is hosted by Shannon Messenger, author of KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES (October 2012). The weekly meme is to showcase middle grade books you love and/or feature an upcoming MG release, a MG Author Interview or a MG review. To learn more about MMGM click here.

OMG…I’m so mortified! Last night I put up the wrong synopsis for The Storm Makers. I kept reading the one I put up, thinking that so doesn’t make sense with the cover! Now…it’s correct!


By: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pub. Date: April, 2012
Formats: Hardcover, Electronic
Pages: 384
Genre: MG Fantasy
Age Group: MG +

Follow Jennifer E. Smith on: Twitter | Website | goodreads
Order THE STORM MAKERS on: Amazon | B&N | TBD | IB

Publisher’s Synopsis: Enter the world of The Storm Makers, where there’s magic behind every forecast.

What starts as an ordinary summer turns exciting and perilous for twins Ruby and Simon when strange occurrences begin happening on their farm — sudden gusts of wind, rainstorms, and even tornado warnings — that seem eerily timed to Simon’s emotions.

Then a stranger arrives and tells the twins that Simon is a Storm Maker — part of a clandestine group of people entrusted with controlling and taming the weather — and that he is in great danger. Soon Simon and Ruby must race against the clock as they try to master Simon’s powers in time to stop a rogue Storm Maker’s treacherous — and potentially deadly — plans.

In this thrilling new adventure, loyalties can shift as quickly as the wind . . . and the ordinary can turn extraordinary in the blink of an eye.

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