Star Friends Secret Spell & The Story of the Wright Brothers — Review & Double Giveaway

Thought for the Day:

“What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you.”
~ Anne Lamott ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

I love reading good mysteries, and I would love to write one, but I’m not sure I have it in me. If I ever try, though, you can bet I will keep this great post HERE from Anne R. Allen’s blog by Jacqueline Diamond called The Dirty Dozen: 12 Ways Not to Write a Mystery Novel in mind.

I don’t see a lot written about good sentences, but this is something we all need to think about. Amy Wilson has written a great article for The Good Story Company HERE about Writing Good Sentences.

Janice Hardy at Fiction University has another great post HERE. This one will give you 5 Ways to Fix Too-Perfect Characters. I have a character my critique group has complained is too perfect, so I need this.

2020 just keeps getting weirder. Never has one small fly made such a big splash. Vice-Presidential debates have always been something of a yawn, but when one small fly can take over the news cycle for days and little is said about the debate itself, you know it must be 2020. Here in northern California, we have had some cooler weather, some breezes that helped clear out the smoke, and the heroic firefighters are making headway and getting some control of the huge wildfires. We have hope and fresh air, at least where I am. But lest I forget it is 2020, our daily highs will be back in the 90s for several days later this week. I hope y’all are having smoke-free skies and lovely autumn weather.

I won a couple books that arrived recently. One, a picture book, will have a quick mention. The other is one of my main books. First, I try to never miss Carol Baldwin’s Blog. She has great interviews, reviews, and often giveaways. I won a copy of Unicorn Yoga by Gina Cascone and Bryony Williams Sheppard and illustrated by Jennifer Sattler. I think it’s a great idea to get really young kids to learn good exercise habits early, and this adorable book is a good way to help them see exercise as fun and to build good habits. If you have any really young ones on your gift list, this is a great choice. My copy is going to great-grands in Colorado.

I also won a book on Darlene Beck Jacobson’s blog. Darlene is a middle-grade writer and she often has book giveaways on her blog. The Story of the Wright Brothers: a Biography Book for New Readers by Annette Whipple and illustrated by Alessandra Santelli is perfect for transitional readers and for those reluctant readers in middle-school who need high-interest books but aren’t ready for daunting big books. The first half of the book concentrates on the boys as boys, growing up, and what made them who they became. Kids love to read about the childhoods of famous people. This is a very satisfying book in those terms, and, of course, it covers their later lives and their amazing work. The book is filled with illustrations and graphic devices designed to keep young and reluctant readers engaged. It is a real winner. And you can be a winner of this book, so keep reading.

I do like books written for younger middle-graders, so when I saw Star Friends Secret Spell by Linda Chapman and illustrated by Lucy Fleming available from the Seattle Book Review, I grabbed it. Here is the review I wrote for them.

Mia, Sita, Violet, and Lexi are very best friends, and they each have received a Star Animal, magical creatures that can help the girls develop and use their own special, magical powers. But there are powerful forces afoot in the village using dark magic who want to defeat the girls and their Star Animals. Soon three of the four girls are acting strangely, seemingly beset by their greatest fears. But what could be causing this odd behavior. It isn’t until Mia’s younger brother is also haunted by his greatest fear that Mia thinks she knows what is causing the problem. While all this is going on, a new neighbor is acting suspiciously, and the girls think she is using dark magic. Can Mia and her Star Animal get things back on track?

Author Linda Chapman has quite a fun fantasy franchise going that is perfect for emerging readers and might help reluctant readers become regular readers. The characters and stories are fun and a little mysterious without being too scary for young readers. The cute illustrations by Lucy Fleming really add to the stories and will help readers connect to the stories and stay engaged. I do think it would be a good idea for kids to read these in order. I jumped in with book 3 in the series and had trouble keeping all the characters straight in my head.

I have gently-read ARCs for one of you. All you need do is be a follower or subscriber (it’s free!), have a U.S. address, and leave a comment below. If you would like extra chances, please share the link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media outlet and let me know you have done that. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

20 thoughts on “Star Friends Secret Spell & The Story of the Wright Brothers — Review & Double Giveaway”

  1. WOW!! Lots of books this week. While I don’t have grandchildren of the right age for these, I do have neighbors with grandchildren who would LOVE them…after I finish enjoying them first, of course.

    I’ll be sharing on Twitter and Facebook, as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the link to the article on writing mysteries. I may try to write one some day too.

    And thanks for the shout out about blogs you’re reading. I’m looking for new MG and YA author and reviewer blogs. If you have any other suggestions, I’d love to know them.

    This sounds like a fun fantasy story but a little young for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love biographies! I remember reading a book about the Wright Brothers when I was a kid. Star Friends sounds like a good one, too. I love the cover. Thanks for the links, I’ll check a few of them out. I can always use help with my writing. I’ll be sharing this on Facebook.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice double feature today. Non-fiction like the Wright Brothers are always a welcome addition to my reading schedule. I’m also always on the lookout for MG books for the younger crowd and Secret Spell fits the bill. Thanks for featuring both on MMGM.
    Links were helpful again today, especially the one on sentences and the last link about perfect characters.
    First day in a month without smoke around here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, who thought sentences could make such a good post. And I know how hard it is to find good books for younger or reluctant readers. It’s always fun to find them. I’m really glad your smoke has cleared! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Good luck in the drawing.


  5. I just won a copy of the Wright Brother’s book on another blog. Haven’t read it yet, but I enjoyed your review of their biography. I worked at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton where the Wright Brothers tested and improved Wright-B flyer on Huffman Prairie.

    Star Friends really sounds like a fun fantasy for kids beginning to read more difficult books! Love that cover! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This sounds like a great book series! I love the idea of magical animal companions. Congrats on winning so many neat books! The quote is wonderful, and the meme is my new headcanon for what happened! (Seriously, though, I have no idea how I will tell stories to my future kids and grandkids about this year—where would I even start?) I’ll pass on the giveaway, but thanks for the great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I know my niece loves books like these–animals and fantasy are always winners for the MG set. The cover is beautiful and very kid-friendly too. Congrats on all the books you’ve won lately!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. These books look fun to read and share. Thank you for posting about them and giving away your copies to one of your readers. I shared on Facebook, Twitter, and tumblr. I am happy the weather is cooling and clearing away some of the smoke.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ALways good to have quality biographys on the kid’s bookshelf. Glad to hear your world is starting see a clearing.Stay safe.


  10. I am intrigued by star animals! they sound cool. I wonder if there are any hanging around my backyard. (I shall have to read the book and learn more) – Thanks for great reviews, Rosi.

    Liked by 1 person

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