;lags, Blue Birds, book review, Cal Ripken, Caroline Starr Rose, Children's Books, Giveaway, Jr., Kate Messner, Ranger in Time: Danger in Ancient Rome, San Francisco Book Review

Blue Birds — Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“The business of the poet and the novelist is to show the sorriness underlying the grandest things and the grandeur underlying the sorriest things.” 
~ Thomas Hardy ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Adventures in YA Publishing has a terrific post HERE on making any scene more interesting. Check it out. 

K.M. Weiland has a terrific post HERE about writing a good character arc. It’s one of the best I’ve seen. 

HERE is a post by agent John M. Cusick about how to write the dreaded query. It’s a good one. 

First of all, a heads up. I may be taking a couple weeks off. Next Saturday, our grandson, Gehrig, and I will be flying to the east coast. There, Gehrig will attend The Ripken Experience, a week-long overnight baseball camp that will, hopefully, give him a leg up and a confidence boost as he starts high school. If you want to know more, click HERE to see the camp he will be attending. I will be able to attend his games every afternoon, but otherwise it’s hands off — let the boy breathe and grow. After his week in camp, we will attend a couple of major league games in Baltimore and Philadelphia, see Liberty Hall and Valley Forge before coming home. During the week I will be doing some touring, writing, and will have a short visit with our daughter who is in the national tour of Once, now in Washington DC at the Kennedy Center. I might get to posting for my blog, but I might just relax and not worry about it. So if you don’t hear from me for a couple of weeks, please don’t cross me off your list. I will be back. 

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. Last week I promised one of you a copy of Ranger in Time: Danger in Ancient Rome by Kate Messner. Our winner this week is Jenni Enzor. Congratulations, Jenni! Jenni writes YA and MG and is a regular on Marvelous Middle-Grade Mondays. You can find her blog HERE. Jenni, I will get your book out to you this week. For the rest of you, I have another great giveaway, so stay tuned.


This week I will review Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose. Back in 2012, I reviewed Caroline’s debut novel May B. If you missed that review, click HERE. It is a lovely book, as is her new book. I am always a little wary of books in verse, but the truth is I seem to fall in love with them as I read them. Here is the 5-star review I wrote for the San Francisco Book Review

Alis is twelve when her family sails from teeming, dirty London to the new world. It is 1587. They land on the island of Roanoke and expect to find English soldiers, including Alis’s beloved uncle, who had come before, but there is no one. All they find is some burned buildings and bones. At the same time, Kimi, a young girl of the Roanoke tribe, sees the settlers and is reminded of the deaths of her father and sister. Both girls have lost loved ones, yet they meet in the woods and find a way to become friends, each lacking a girl her own age to befriend. As animosity heats up between the English and the Roanoke, can these two girls survive the hostility and find a way to stay friends?

“But I am like a moth
dancing near a flame.
Thought there is danger,
I’m drawn ever closer.”


Caroline Starr Rose truly has a way with words. She tells this story in the voices

Caroline Starr Rose

of the two girls written in beautiful, lyrical free verse. The voices are distinct enough to not need it, but they are set in two different fonts. The story is compelling and filled with a range of emotions from longing, to sadness, to loneliness, to hope. This book should not be missed.

I have a very gently-read hardback copy for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.


Don’t forget to check out Shannon Messenger’s wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

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