#middlegrademay: A Fond Farewell


Thought it would be nice to show the covers of all the highs and lows of my May reading. 🙂




It’s was a cornucopia of interesting characters. If I had to pick a favorite from the bunch, I’d have to go with THE FALSE PRINCE. I was really taken from the first line. That’s not to say that it was all downhill from there. As you know from my previous posts, there were UPs as well as DOWNs. haha

Overall, it was a good experience and I can’t wait to do it again. I’m so eager, in fact, that I’m jumping right into another reading challenge this June. THE 48 HOUR BOOK CHALLENGE will keep me occupied. Of course, I’ll keep reading regardless of when and have so many titles on my TBR pile to choose from.

Thanks again to Deb for hosting #middlegrademay. It was great. I’m looking forward to the dynamic duo of you and Akoss for next year. My only regret is that we have to wait eleven more months for another dose.

Happy reading, MG Lovers!

#middlegrademay Check-In Week 4


Last check-in for the challenge already? Say it ain’t so!

This week, I dove into the world of SISTERS GRIMM with THE FAIRYTALE DETECTIVES by Michael Buckley and Peter Ferguson and SEPTIMUS HEAP with MAGYK by Angie Sage and Mark Zug.

Both offerings were not what I expected. Here’s the good, bad, and ugly of both.


I sequestered myself during Camp NaNo to ensure no outside influence would affect the development of my fractured fairytale series. I even denied myself the weekly treat of Once Upon a Time and Grimm to the point that my PVR groans at me with disdain. I believe I have distanced myself enough to know how to approach my own work and feel it’s time to read other fairytale redos to see what works and what doesn’t. As this was a Middle Grade challenge, I decided on SISTERS GRIMM over CINDER by Marissa Meyer (but that’s on my TBR list). I wanted to enjoy this story more but I couldn’t do it. There are two protags in this one. Sisters Sabrina (aged eleven) and Daphne (aged seven). I suppose Daphne’s constant questions seem realistic enough but I don’t think that it gave them licence to just name drop fairy tale character names for the sake of doing so. I can’t begin to compare any fairytale mashup with my own, not to mention the fact that mine is a YA story, however, I’m hoping that readers will understand which characters are unfolding through context, dialogue and other interaction rather than just having a full-on announcement of their arrival in the story. Yikes. I didn’t mean to start with the bad right away.

Switching to good. I enjoyed Daphne, despite her questions. She came off as a genuine seven year-old. I also enjoyed Granny and Mr. Canis. I’m all for quirky supporting cast. I ended up relating to Daphne the most, which is fine as she falls within the MG parameters for a protag.

Now, here’s the ugly. Of course, this is completely subjective coming from the POV of a reader and not a writer. Have I been out of touch with the evolution of MG books? Sure we have precocious adolescents, mischievous, too, however, I was actually put off by the Sabrina character. I’m all for assertive female characters in any genre and age group literature has to offer but Sabrina went from assertive to arrogant to aggressive to downright abrasive faster than you can say Hufflepuff. I didn’t find it working within this category but if someone can direct me to other MG stories with similar characters please contribute to my edification. I’m completely flummoxed with Sabrina and unable to connect or sympathize with her despite the circumstances that most likely turned her into a curmudgeon-in-waiting. Sadly, I’m on the fence of whether or not I’d like to continue with these books. If I do, I’ll be reading a boatload of other stories before coming back to this series and that deserves a frowny face. –>  😦

Deep cleansing breaths.


I disliked this story less. How’s that for starters?! The worldbuilding was a little smoother to digest. Good. There were heavy doses of infodumping in the “As you know…” sort of way. Bad. There were chunks of pedestrian prose but nothing to the point of making me hurl accusations of UGLY. So, that’s moving back to good, right? Please?

I wanted to like these stories and I know they are well received. Of course, that’s part of the game. It’s all subjective and I need to keep that in mind when it comes time that my books come under the literary microscope.

We still have a handful of days left in the month to keep chugging along. Next up, THE LOST HERO by Rick Riordan and/or THE RED PYRAMID by Rick Riordan. I liked PERCY JACKSON and didn’t mind Riordan’s contribution to THE 39 CLUES #1: MAP OF BONES. For some female protag love, I’ll try INKHEART by Cornelia Funke and/or CORALINE by Neil Gaiman. That should keep me busy for the week amongst other writerly duties.

I’m excited that I got back into reading what I love. Thank you, Deb, for making #middlegrademay a fun ride. I can’t believe I read five books this month. I’m hoping to read at least two more or all of the ones listed in the previous paragraph. Crazier things have happened.

Read on, Lit Lovers!


Week in Review – 2013/05/20 – 2013/05/26


Fell behind on my workshops. Boo. Caught up on worldbuilding and discovered new realms of awesomeness for my fairytale series. Yay! Haven’t received feedback on the assignments even though I had a day left in the class. Boo. But I learned a lot in character and setting development from working through the exercises. Yay!


THE FAIRYTALE DETECTIVES by Michael Buckley and Peter Ferguson and MAGYK by Angie Sage and Mark Zug.

I’ll have more insight or maybe even a full report on tomorrow’s #middlegrademay check-in on Deb Marshall’s site. I had higher hopes for the Grimm Sisters and I’ll tell you why I’m enjoying the story but only sorta. I’m digging MAGYK more. The setting is easy to fall into and I like the pacing. More on these tomorrow. I’m pleased that I met my reading goals for the month. I’m already at five but I’m hoping to add a couple more before the end of the month. 🙂


Hello, fellow bloggers. How art thou? I like keeping in touch and reading what other folks are up to in their neck of the cyberwoods.

For those in the States, enjoy the long weekend. I see many words in my future–written by me and others.


#ROW80 Mid-Week Check-In 2013/05/22


More worldbuilding and prep for the fairytale series. I believe this will be the subject of my writing updates for at least the next handful of months. I’m also excited now that I’ve allowed myself to read fairytale inspired tomes. I even watched Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters the other night. I like the feel and the setting, clothing, and even glimpses of steampunkiness are a good feel for what I’m after in my fairytale universe. I think keeping it a nondescript year and do a mishmash of tech that seems to fit with the ‘times’ is a good way to go on this one.


THEODORE BOONE by John Grisham ended abruptly, but I gather that it continues in the second book of the series. I’ll get to it after I’ve explored more middle grade marvels. I did like the story though I’m still trying to connect with the voice. THE PECULIAR by Stefan Bachmann brought me to an interesting world that I almost believe to be real. 🙂 However, I’m not sure I liked the way two of the main characters literally bumped into each other in the latter third of the book. I stuck with the story because individually, I was drawn to the characters. I’d like to think that collectively there’s more potential. I’m almost finished this book but wanted to start on the next two already.

Next round of books:  THE FAIRYTALE DETECTIVES by Michael Buckley and Peter Ferguson and SEPTIMUS HEAP with MAGYK by Angie Sage and Mark Zug. I literally just loaded them onto their respective apps. Good thing, too, so I can switch back and forth from Kindle to Kobo without having to bookmark and exit out of an opened book. I’ll have more insight or maybe even a full report on Monday’s #middlegrademay check-in on Deb Marshall’s site.

Once #middlegrademay is finished, I’m going to immerse myself in all the fairytale inspired novels out there that I’ve held back on while I wrote the first instalment of the series. I will also treat myself to a Once Upon a Time marathon because my PVR is mad that I’ve neglected my favorite shows. Keeping in the genre will help maintain the writing spirit as this writing journey continues.


Speaking of writing… the blog goes well and I’m excited to share my progress and ideas with my fellow writing community. I’m on the hunt for new challenges in the coming months, but I’ll eventually get to fixing up the blog both in content and aesthetics. More on that in the coming weeks.

Hope everyone’s May hasn’t flown by too quickly. 🙂


#middlegrademay Check-In Week 3


THE PECULIAR by Stefan Bachmann and THEODORE BOONE by John Grisham.

Let’s start with Bachmann’s offering first. I must say that he got me with the title. I enjoyed how seamless the worldbuilding weaved into historical England. Written in third person, multiple POVs, I felt the pacing was good an my interest was maintained in each scene. I would like to read more from this author. It was an education as much as an enjoyable read. I learned a lot about worldbuilding and can apply similar techniques to the fairytale universe I’m creating for my YA series.

On to Grisham. I’ve read several of his legal thrillers over the years and enjoyed them along with their movie counterparts. I’m not sure if it’s because I was so used to this style of writing that I found myself in a disconnect with the narrative POV. Although the main character is Theodore Boone, there are other POVs but the work sometimes feels as though it’s written in third person omniscient. There were smatterings of infodumps here and there, mostly to explain legal jargon. However, I didn’t find a connection to the main character and the story didn’t read as a middle grade book, not in the strictest sense.

Allow me to compare this book to TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. It’s probably an unfair comparison as Lee’s book is one of my favorite books of all time, but there are similarities in that we have a child main character and the main plot is about a court case. I know there aren’t stern rules in writing but I’ve read that in middle grade books, the adult characters should fade into the background. This is not the case for either Grisham or Lee’s books. However, I find myself drawn to Scout over Theodore. Theodore almost sounds like an adult. I’m sure there are quirky youngsters out there, but I’m not sure if it translated well on the page. I still love Grisham, but I’d consider this an adult legal thriller that included children as main characters rather than the other way around. The main think I did not find in THEODORE BOONE that I found in THE PECULIAR and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD was a middle grade voice. The story itself was fine, but I would have liked to be drawn to the characters more. Sadly, I wasn’t.

This week, I dive into the world of SISTERS GRIMM with THE FAIRYTALE DETECTIVES by Michael Buckley and Peter Ferguson and SEPTIMUS HEAP with MAGYK by Angie Sage and Mark Zug. Should be fun!