Monday, June 30, 2014

Jinx's Fire Cover Reveal! Guest post by author Sage Blackwood #IMWAYR June 30, 2014

Today I have a special treat in store for you. Author, Sage Blackwood, reveals to the world here, on Book Egg, the cover of her newest book-Jinx's Fire. Carrie Gelson first introduced me to Jinx (here) and I was immediately Sage's #1 fan (according to me, but there are many kids who will disagree with my claim).

...and now I turn the helm over to Sage.

Thanks so much to honorary Urwalder Julee Murphy for offering to host the cover reveal of Jinx's Fire!

    Yup, that's the cover of the third and final JINX book. My, how Jinx has grown. In the 
 Urwald you grow up fast or not at all, but it's taken Jinx five years. In the summer of 2009 
 he entered the world as a doodle in a notebook on my front porch. He was standing amid 
 trees, next to a blustery-looking man who looked part troll, and they were talking to a tall, 
 thin, rather cranky- looking guy who seemed like he might be a wizard. As the drawing grew, the trees kept getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger.

     I had to find out more about this. 

     I kept doodling. More pictures came. There was a girl in a red hood, walking along a forest path and being followed by... not a wolf, but a terrible werebear. There was a kind-but-serious- looking woman pushing a wheelbarrow through a doorway. It didn't seem to be an ordinary doorway. But always, there was the forest. 

     The wizard in the picture, I decided, was Simon Magus. The Simon Magus legend comes to us only in bits and pieces, but one of the surviving bits is that the wizard gets his power from a boy who died a violent death. (But, in the way of legends, the boy is somehow still alive.) 

     Very well. I sat down to write. Opening scene: The wizard, Simon Magus, strangles a nine- year-old boy, and--

     Simon folded his arms and scowled up at me from the page. "The hell I do," he said. 

     "Sorry," I said, putting the scene aside hastily. 

     For both Jinx and me, the next 1000 pages or so were largely a lesson in Simon-management. Before, I'd always thought that writers who talked about a character getting away from them were being a little pretentious. Now I know. Simon took over any scene he was allowed to grace. Jinx had his hands full. And, I hope, became stronger because of it. 

     But it wasn't until book 2 was published, and some readers complained about the ending, that I realized Simon had so many friends. My apologies for the book 2 cliffhanger. I didn't know it was one. After all, the book ended with Jinx safe and, for the most part, sound. Hopefully things will work out, one way or another, in book 3.

Thank you Sage and Harper Collins for allowing Book Egg to reveal the newest cover in the Jinx series. It has been an honor and a thrill.

Readers, are you intrigued by Jinx and the mysterious and magical world of the Urwald?  Here are some more tempting tidbits and remember, in the Urwald, don't ever step off of the path...

Try out this Jinx's Planting Activity

 Official book trailer-Jinx

Browse through the first two books Jinx and Jinx's Magic

Friday, June 27, 2014

Minion Blog Tour and FREE Book Give-a-Way!

by John David Anderson
Published by Walden Pond Press
June 24, 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0062133113

If you loved Sidekicked, you are going to be thrilled to read Minion. 

Today Superhero and author John David "Dave" Anderson teams up with Librarian-Sidekick Julee "Lightning Quick" Murphy at Book Egg to reflect on evil villains and the lure of the power of the dark side. Read on dear ones and be entranced.

If We Only Knew the Power of the Dark Side
Hi Book Eggers! Julee kindly invited me to write a guest post as part of the Minion blog tour, so I thought I’d explore one of the questions that prompted me to write the book to begin with:
Are villains cooler than heroes?
It’s one of the questions I asked myself as I was writing the novel Sidekicked. While Sidekicked’s hero Andrew Bean questioned what it meant to heroic, there was never really any chance of him exploring his darker side. Yes, he may have cheated on a math test, but if I had super senses like his, I probably would have “done better” in middle-school math too. The protagonist of Minion, on the other hand, starts the book by robbing a bank. Deplorable behavior, certainly, and not something you should try in your home town, but isn’t it also, you know…just a teensy bit…awesome? Is there something about being bad (or at least reading about people being bad) that’s just as satisfying, if not more so, than watching a caped crusader goody-two-shoes rescue every poor stranded cat from a tree? And if there is, what does that say about us?
Let’s start with this basic premise: Let’s just say that the Joker is cooler than Batman. Yes, Batman’s action figure is more fun to play with (he comes with more accessories), but he’s still not as compelling as the grinning maniac who invites us to dance with the devil by the pale moonlight. Case in point: The Dark Knight ranks fourth on IMDB’s Top 250 movies of all time. (Note that the three films before it are about convicts and the mafia). In our franchise-frenzied culture where the heroes stay consistent (even if the actors who play them don’t), one can’t help but wonder if it’s ultimately the villain that sets a story apart. Or at least a superhero story.
Of course asking if villains are cooler than heroes is begging the question: what do we mean by cooler? Certainly villains don’t provide better role models (though one might question what kind of role model the schmoozing Tony Stark provides, or how cigar-chomping Wolverine would look on an anti-smoking poster). Nobody wants to grow up and be like Darth Vader, going around force-choking everyone (though as a father of twins, I have seen my kids, hands extended, trying their hardest). Still, there is something compelling about a good villain.
Maybe it really is just the whole Freudian cathartic release thing. There is something primordially satisfying in watching a giant robot smash his way through downtown while hundreds of faceless bystanders run for their lives. I can remember spending hours as a kid building elaborate cities out of wooden blocks for the sole purpose of going on a five second, block-busting, chest-thumping, primal-scream-bellowing rampage. It’s okay, so long as someone stops the robot/monster/villain in the end so that we can all feel better about ourselves. Our fascination with evil is deeply embedded in every facet of our communal culture. It pervades our myths and our religions. It permeates our study of history. And it is, ever increasingly, the focal point of our books, films, and TV shows. From Felonius Gru to Hannibal Lecter, we are fascinated by villainy.
And why not? In many ways, villains are heroic. They overcome significant obstacles in order to achieve their goals (actually, most of them never achieve their goals—sucks for them). They have fervent beliefs that they stick to, often running against the majority opinion, which takes tremendous courage. Many of them are charming, well-dressed, and extremely intelligent. And while some of them (looking at you, Choke Vader) are not too kind to their underlings, others can be quite affectionate to the henchmen that serve them. Plus a good villain (oxymoron intended) often has a wicked sense of humor.
This doesn’t mean we should emulate them, of course, only that it’s understandable to be fascinated by them. Good is easy (though being good isn’t always). If you are looking for a reason to do good, you need look no further than the Golden Rule. We can do good for goodness’s sake. Evil, on the other hand, is interesting because it explores ulterior motives and impulses. Many of these are selfish, of course, but they aren’t always. Some villains actually believe they have something to teach us about ourselves, or they have a vision for a world that, in their minds at least, is an improvement over ours. And there are some who do it just as a means to get by, forced by circumstances beyond their control to take the darker road. Perhaps those are the ones we identify with most.
Of course in the end, the hero usually wins because that’s how allegories go. Good triumphs over evil. Order is restored. The popcorn is spilled. The sequel is budgeted. And we get to close the book or walk out of the theater feeling secure in the knowledge that the powers of light are stronger than the powers of darkness. And I think they are, I really do. And I’m thankful for that. But I also can’t wait for that sequel. Not because I want to see the hero triumph again, but more because I want to see what nefarious schemes the forces of darkness come up with next.
Copies of Sidekicked and Minion sit side by side on my shelf. One a bright and shining blue, with Supermanian accents and a dopey, grinning hero on the cover. The other black as night with blood-red type and a mischievous boy peering over the edge of his sunglasses, obviously up to no good. I know which of the two I should be, the one, even, that I strive to be.
But if I was standing in a bookstore and only had to pick one version of this never-ending story to escape into, if only for a day or two, I’d have to say, that I’d probably be up to no good, too. 
John David Anderson is the author of Sidekicked, Minion, and Standard Hero Behavior. He has no real plans to take over the world—mostly due to sheer laziness.

Author website: John David Anderson    John David Anderson on Facebook and on Twitter

 Thank you to John David Anderson and the good folks at Walden Pond Press for 
including Book Egg as part of the Minion Blog Tour. It's been fun!

*Be sure to enter the FREE Minion book give-a-way at the bottom of the post. 

Continue on the Minion Blog tour adventure. Keep an eye out for Free copies of Minion:

June 23 Maria’s Melange
June 24 The Library Fanatic
June 25 The Next Best Book
June 26 Jean Book Nerd
June 27 Book Egg
June 28 Word Spelunking Book Blog
June 30 Ms. Yingling Reads
July 1 The Book Monsters
July 2 The Book Monsters
July 3 Read Now, Sleep Later
July 6 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
July 7 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
July 8 Candace’s Book Blog
July 9 Middle Grade Mafioso
July10 Librarian’s Quest
July 11 Unleashing Readers
July 12 Trisha Perry
July 14 This Kid Reviews Books
July 16 Charlotte’s Library
July 17 Literacy Toolbox
July 18 Small Review

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 26, 2014

How to Bake a Book

How to Bake a Book aka Recipe for a Story 
by author/illustrator Ella Burfoot

I was instantly taken by the title of How to Bake a Book and absolutely loved it after reading it and lingering over the adorable illustrations. This mentor text will serve well as a good introduction to a writing lesson and book connection activity.

ISBN: 978-1-4926-0651-2
Book release: October 2014
ages 3-up but works well as a mentor text on the writing process for upper grades.

 Author's website Ella Burfoot

A clever young girl breaks some ideas into a cup and whisks up a blend of wonderful words to bake a book. Burfoot uses fun phrases as "a spoonful of good and a pinch of bad" to keep this lively rhyming book flowing smoothly.

When I checked out the Ella Burfoot's website, I had a bit of a shock. The copy I had read was an ARC sent to me from SourceBooks (Jabberwocky Kids) was titled How to Bake a Book yet the story Ella promotes on her website is the UK version entitled Recipe for a Story. I am not one to leave questions dangling about. I had to know why the two titles. I found Ella's email and dashed off a note and immediately issued a tweet on Twitter, both to which she promptly replied. Apparently, Sourcebooks felt Americans would prefer How to Bake a Book and I think they are correct. It was the title that immediately snagged my interest although Recipe for a Story truly describes the story better.

I noticed another change also. Are periods called full stops in Europe? This is news to me.

I highly recommend How to Bake a Book. Wonderful title and a fun read.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Harry Potter Re-Read Challenge, It's Monday, what are you reading? July 23, 2014

Monday! What are you Reading is a meme began by Sheila at Book Journeys as a way to share what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and what is in store for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading. I first learned about it from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki of Unleashing Readers and have become a regular linked up blog. Thanks #PLN

My son is way above me as a reader, reading mostly classical history non-fiction. Our dinner conversations frequently center around the Roman empire and battle strategies. I love learning but I have trouble keeping up with who was whom in the classical world. I listen carefully and try to ask questions that will provoke a response letting him speak at length about his passion. I understand how important it is as a reader to be able to regurgitate the material and to express your thoughts and opinions. This is one of the reasons I take part in a Twitter #virtualbookclub. I look forward to this monthly exchange of thoughts and opinions based on middle grade books. I just don't know many adults in my daily life who like to chat about kids books like I do. I am a firm believer in reading the books I recommend to children so I read a LOT of kid's books at all levels.

 Harry Potter Reading Challenge

ANYWAYS...I challenged my son and his cousin to join me in re-reading the Harry Potter series. I have gotten lazy about reading them every July (my birthday gift to Harry) and have fallen back on watching the movies on ABC Family. The trouble is, the movies leave out some of my favorite parts and I want to remember those parts. We started this past weekend. My son is already on H.P. and the Order of the Phoenix. I am on H. P. and the Chamber of Secrets and having to listen to it on audio book at work and using my print copy at home. I am a big audio book fan.

Re-reading Harry Potter has been so much fun. We quiz each other on the tiniest details. Here are a few quiz questions we have posed.
  • Which day and month were James and Lilly Potter murdered by Voldemort?
  • How many Sickles are there to a Galleon?
  • What does it cost to send a message by owl?
  • What was the number on the Gringott's vault that contained the Sorcerer's Stone?
  J. K. Rowling did an excellent job of describing the settings and making the wizard world's food sound so delicious. Kids love detailed descriptions of unusual food in books. I spent years wishing I could eat Turkish Delight after reading The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe. We are both enjoying our re-read.

Has it been a while since you read Harry Potter? Why not join us? Give it a go and let me know in the comments section.

Well, other than a lot of barcodes that I have been deleting out of my library catalog, I have  pretty much been sticking to Harry Potter.

How has your reading week been going?