Returning to Blogger Celebration & Giveaway!!

So, I have some news! News that makes me extremely happy… and should, hopefully, result in some perks for my blog readers as well!

Why I’m celebrating…

I used blogger.com to host The Hiding Spot from 2007 until November/December of 2013. I always really liked using blogger (I’m not very tech savvy and blogger was super easy for me!), but then my RSS feed stopped working. And, try as I might, I could not fix it. Well, last night after an epic hours long Skype session with one of my besties, Sabrina from I Heart YA Fiction, in which I complained quite a bit about my frustration with WordPress and how much I missed Blogger, we decided to try to fix my Blogger RSS feed. When we finally gave up at 4am, we thought we’d failed. But, this morning, we discovered things were working! I’m not exactly sure what we did that worked, but, in all honesty, I don’t even care. I’m just happy my blogger blog is up and running again because I am, admittedly, extremely attached my original blog!

What happens next…

Well, I’m moving back over to Blogger. I’m hoping that those of you who have become recent followers of The Hiding Spot, those of you who found me once I switched over to WordPress, will stick with me and follow me over at my original blog. If you follow me here, you’ll have to resubscribe over at the blogger site, but I have quick links in the sidebar to follow via Bloglovin’, Email, and Networked blogs.

Why you should follow me back to blogger (aka BRIBES)…

Even though I’m extremely happy to be moving back to Blogger, I was really sad to be leaving some of you behind. I’ve met some really great bloggers during my short time using WordPress and I don’t want to lose you all! So, to sweeten the pot, I’m hosting a giveaway for some really great upcoming books from a variety of publishers:

this side of salvationmy last kissto all the boys i've loved beforeelusionhalf badkiller instinctthe nethergrimmouseheart

How to win…

Head over to my original blog HERE and fill out the rafflecopter form. The main requirement is that you subscribe to The Hiding Spot using one of the methods over at the other site. There are, as always, options to gain additional entries! There will be 4 winners total. The first winner will pick two books, the the second winner will be contacted and pick two from the remaining 6 books, etc.

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Review: Almost Super by Marion Jensen

f1e07-almostsuperTitle: Almost Super

Author: Marion Jensen

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pub. Date: January 23, 2014

Genre: Middle Grade

Rec. Age Level: 8-12

Add to Goodreads

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Rafter and Benny Bailey have been waiting for this day, February 29th, since the moment they learned their family was made up of superheroes. The moment the clock hits 4:23pm, Benny and Rafter’s lives will forever change as they inherit the superpowers that will allow them to protect their city from the villainous Johnsons. their dreams take a nosedive, however, when the boys end up with rather useless powers, crushing their dreams of supersuits and heroics.

After an encounter with classmate and nemesis Juanita Johnson, they learn Juanita was also unlucky in the power department. To top it off, their conversations with Juanita brings new truths to light and challenges everything the boys believe in. They’re forced to ask: which family is the real threat to their town? The Johnsons…? The Baileys…? Or someone else entirely?

I can’t stop talking about Marion Jensen’s debut, ALMOST SUPER. Hilarious and packed with unforgettable characters, this book has immediately found a place in my heart and, best of all, into my everyday life. After telling various people about the book and the obligatory fist shake by the Bailey’s upon mentioning the Johnsons, we’ve developed a bit of a habit of blaming the Johnsons when things go wrong, accompanied, of course, with a fist shake. But ALMOST SUPER reminds readers that first impressions and secondhand accounts aren’t always the best source of information and, perhaps, the Johnsons aren’t truly the rightful recipients of our blame.

A fantastic adventure with a great message about the true meaning of bravery and heroics, ALMOST SUPER is a must read!

Review: Wanderville by Wendy McClure

wandervilleTitle: Wanderville

Author: Wendy McClure

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Pub. Date: January 23, 2014

Genre: Middle Grade

Rec. Age Level: 8-12

Add to Goodreads

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WANDERVILLE is set in the 1900s and introduces readers to Frances, Harold, and Jack, three kids from New York bound for Kansas on an orphan train. Frances and her little brother Harold have been living in horrible conditions since their Aunt Mare abandoned them. Both hope for a better life out West, though Frances is skeptical of the fate that awaits them. Jack, not technically an orphan, has been sent away by his destitute parents after the loss of his older brother in a tragic factory fire. The three meet aboard the train, where Jack comes to Harold rescue as he’s being picked on by a bully. Jack and Frances are both convinced nothing good awaits them in Kansas, so they hatch a plan to escape the train and make their way back to New York. Dodging the local sheriff, the three escape. Beginning their trek back east, the three runaways literally stumble across Alexander, another escaped orphan. Alexander confirms their fears: nothing good was waiting at the end of their cross-country train ride. But, Alex explains, he has the perfect place for Frances, Jack, and Harold to live. A safe place. A place with no adults. A place all their own. A place where kids like them are always welcome. Wanderville. Population: 4. Everything is perfect until Harold is captured by the worst people imaginable, the Pratcherds, the very family Alex has escaped from. Now Frances, Jack, and Alex must rescue Harold, without getting caught themselves.

Creativity and resilience, key themes found within Wendy McClure’s newest novel, play a large part in the creation of Wanderville. The town, at first glance, might not seem like much, but if you look closely, it starts to take shape. Built with bits and pieces, and no small amount of  imagination, the town has everything our four runaways need: food stores (restocked frequently by “liberating” items from the nearby town, right under the sheriff’s nose), a safe place to sleep (both a remarkably comfy area on the ground and hammocks), room to make their own decisions (the courtroom is a great place to determine the laws of Wanderville), and the freedom to explore and play (plus determine how they’ll take on the sheriff if he tracks them down). After all the hardship these four kids have endured, Wanderville is a refuge. A place where no adult can hurt or betray them, a place entirely their own.

WANDERVILLE allows young readers to learn about and explore history, specifically the realities of orphan trains and the harsh lives of young children in the early 1900s, while allowing them to embark on an adventure with plucky characters their own age that they’ll find easy to relate to. Readers will easily compare their lives to those of Frances, Jack, and Harold, finding both similarities and differences. The characters in WANDERVILLE deal with bullies, love their siblings, enjoy reading and learning, etc, all things kids today can easily relate to. But there are notable differences too: Jack works in a factory under harsh conditions, Frances and Harold are briefly taken in many times before being abandoned, and all three are shipped across the country where they are promised a better life, but where a fate of a hard life as cheap labor awaits them.

A fantastic new historically set adventure, readers are sure to love both the adventure and history included in WANDERVILLE. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next for Frances, Jack, Alex, and Harold in the next part of their story, slated for a fall 2014 release.

Favorite MG Reads of 2013

This year, I ventured into the world of MG fiction… and fell in love! In 2014, I’m hoping to read read a larger number of MG titles and explore some established MG series that I’ve been missing out on, like Percy Jackson, Fablehaven, and Ranger‘s Apprentice! Below, in no particular order, you’ll find my 5 favorite MG reads of 2013. I did not include MG titles that will be published in 2014, though I have read quite a few already and I thoroughly enjoyed them all!

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The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

the real boyOscar is the shop boy to the most powerful magician in the Barrow, an ancient forest that surrounds a perfect city that was once almost decimated by a plague decades before. Oscar, who was brought to the Barrow from a far away land devoid of magic, spends his days gathering and preparing ingredients for the magician’s potions and spells, avoiding the magician’s assistant, a bully who spends his days looking for new ways to pick on Oscar, and talking to his many cats who understand him when no else seems to. Oscar likes simple things, structure, and quiet, but his small rebellion is his love of books, which he sneaks secretly from the magician’s library. When an unknown monster begins terrorizing the Barrow and the children of the perfect city within its protection begin falling ill, Oscar must step out from the comforting shadow of life and face his fears to save day.

Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff

picture me goneRosoff, as always, delivers a stunning, emotional read with PICTURE ME GONE. 12-year old Londoner, Mila, has accompanied her father, Gil, to New York where is estranged best friend, Matthew, has disappeared. Mila notices things. An observer with a keen eye, she connects small details others dismiss or overlook. She’s puzzled by Matthew’s disappearance, and as she and Gil attempt to unravel the mysteries of Matthew’s life – his motives, his relationships, his guilt – Mila comes to realize big ideas about life, trust, and the things that define who we are. Absolutely brilliant and beautifully written, PICTURE ME GONE is Important with a capital I.

The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick

the time fetchThe Time Fetch by Amy Herrick features a unique premise and a diverse group of main characters. The novel follows a group of four classmates who, though they interact daily, know very little about one another. This changes after the students are tasked with bringing a rock to school for their science class. Edward, waiting to the last minute to finish the assignment, grabs the only rock he can find on his way to school, but this isn’t any ordinary rock. The rock is actually a Time Fetch, the resting place for foragers who do just that: fetch – or collect – time. Soon, with time disappearing all over the place and some particularly nasty witches on the hunt for the time fetch, their whole world is thrown off course. And it’s up to these four unlikely allies to band together to set things right!

The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin

the sinister sweetnessThe novel is packed with magic and mystery, making it more fantastical than realistic, but it still leaves readers with an important message about eating well and being healthy. In the real world, there (probably) isn’t a witch who’s trying to fatten you up so you make a better meal, but they are still definite negative consequences to bad eating habits and lack of exercise and The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is the perfect novel to start this discussion with young readers.

Ghoulish Song by William Alexander

Ghoulish SongWilliam Alexander’s Ghoulish Song is a short read and an adventurous, magical tale. Though technically the companion to GOBLIN SECRETS, in which readers are first introduced to the city of Zombay, it isn’t necessary to read this previous offering to enjoy Kaile’s story.

Did any of my favorites from 2013 make your Best MG of 2013 list too? Are there any that you recommend I read in 2014? I’m always open to suggestions of new and old titles! If you have a “Best of” list, feel free to leave me a link in the comments section.

Check out my Best YA of 2013 list too!

SOLD! Recently Acquired, Forthcoming Reads for your TBR

Stressed about the future? Check out the rights report and feel your anxiety melt away. More amazing books to read, that’s what your future holds! Don’t forget to add these forthcoming titles to your Goodreads to-read and wishlist shelves!

Young Adult

That Monstrous Thing by Amanda Panitch

ImageMichelle Nagler at Random House has bought, in a pre-empt, a debut novel by Amanda Panitch, called That Monstrous Thing; Chelsea Eberly. The book was pitched in the vein of a YA Gone Girl, about a girl who survived her twin brother’s murderous rampage only to discover that her dark secret survived as well. Publication is set for spring 2015; Merrilee Heifetz at Writers House did the two-book deal for world rights. Add to Goodreads.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

ImageDaniel Ehrenhaft at Soho Teen has acquired world English rights to Adam Silvera‘s debut novel, More Happy Than Not. Pitched as a YA Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the story follows 16-year-old Aaron Soto’s growing up in the Bronx (where Silvera also grew up), just after the advent of a procedure that folds memories to soften the blow of traumatic experiences – of which Aaron has many. Publication is scheduled for fall 2015. Brooks Sherman of Fine Print Literary Management brokered the deal. Add to Goodreads.

The Trouble with Destiny and My Unscripted Life by Lauren Morrill

lauren morrillWendy Loggia at Delacorte Press has bought North American rights to two books by Lauren Morrill, author of Meant to Be. In the first book, The Trouble with Destiny, described as Pitch Perfect meets A Midsummer Night’s Dream on a cruise, a drum major must save her school band and navigate romantic disasters when their ship gets stranded at sea. In My Unscripted Life, a sarcastic girl finds herself falling for a celebrity who is filming his next movie in her small town. Publication is planned for fall 2015 and fall 2016, respectively. Stephen Barbara at Foundry Literary + Media did the deal on behalf of Paper Lantern Lit. Add to Goodreads.

Your Machine Anatomy by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson

moskowitz helgesonTamra Tuller at Chronicle has bought world rights to Your Machine Anatomy by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson. The YA novel follows the unlikely friendship of two young women forged via fan fiction and message boards, and is told entirely in texts, chats, and blog posts. Publication is planned for 2016; John M. Cusick of Greenhouse Literary brokered the deal. Add to Goodreads.

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten

teresa totenBeverly Horowitz at Delacorte Press has acquired Teresa Toten’s The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, winner of Canada’s Governor General’s Award. Pitched as Eleanor & Park meets The Rosie Project, the story combines romance and whodunit elements but also features teens dealing with OCD. Publication is set for spring 2015; Marie Campbell at the Transatlantic Agency did the deal. Add to Goodreads.

All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen

susin nielsenWendy Lamb at Random House has acquired U.S. rights, at auction, to We Are All Made of Molecules and an untitled YA novel by Susin Nielsen, winner of Canada’s Governor General’s Award. The story is told by brilliant but socially challenged Stewart, 13, and Ashley, mean queen of the ninth grade. Stewart’s mother died two years ago, and he has just moved into the home of his father’s new girlfriend and her daughter – Ashley. Publication is scheduled for spring 2015; Hilary McMahon of Westwood Creative Artists was the agent. Add to Goodreads.

Tansy Summer by Amber Kizer

amber kizerStacey Barney at Putnam has acquired North American rights to Tansy Summer, YA author Amber Kizer‘s first foray into middle grade. After she is sent away from her home, Tansy, a selective mute, gains the confidence to speak again through a friend, her loving aunt and uncle, and a project raising free-range chickens. Publication is set for summer 2015. Rosemary Stimola of Stimola Literary Studio negotiated the two-book deal. Add to Goodreads.

Invincible Wild by Jessica Taylor

jessica taylorAlison Weiss at Egmont USA has bought debut author Jessica Taylor‘s YA novel, Invincible Wild. In the story, a teenage girl from a family of Wanderers must choose between the rambling way of life she’s always known and the townie boy she falls. Publication is set for fall 2015; Sarah LaPolla of Bradford Literary Agency did the deal for world English rights. Add to Goodreads.

The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonne-Sue Hitchcock

bonnie-sue hitchcockWendy Lamb at Random House has acquired The Smell of Other People’s Houses, a debut YA novel of interlocking stories set in 1970s Alaska by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, a third-generation Alaskan and journalist for Alaska Public Radio. Cassie misses her father, lost in a plane crash. Her sister Ruth has a secret. Hank and his brothers have stowed away on a ferry that will put them all in danger. And Dumpling Moses is missing, but no one will find Dumpling until these teens – and others – put their stories together. Publication is scheduled for fall 2015. Molly Ker Hawn of the Bent Agency did the deal for USCPOM rights. Add to Goodreads.

Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel

anne heltzelMargaret Raymo at HMH has bought North American rights to a new YA novel by Anne Heltzel, a former editor at Razorbill. Charlie, Presumed Dead is the story of two teenage girls who meet at the funeral of Charlie Pryce, presumed dead after an explosion on a college campus. When the girls realize they both thought they were Charlie’s one true love, the secrets of his double life are unraveled – and it’s possible they’ve walked into a trap he’s laid for them. Publication is scheduled for spring 2015; Stephen Barbara at Foundry Literary + Media did the deal. Add to Goodreads.

Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers

jackie lea sommersJill Davis at HarperCollins’s Katherine Tegen Books preempted North American rights to two books by debut novelist Jackie Lea Sommers, in a six-figure deal. The first novel, Truest, will be published in 2016 and tells the story of Westlin, a pastor’s daughter, and her complicated relationships with Silas, a young writer new to town, and Laurel, his mysterious twin sister. It’s billed as a novel of “summer love, small-town secrets, and the darker side of philosophy.” Steven Chudney from the Chudney Agency brokered the deal. Add to Goodreads.

dotwav by Mike A. Lancaster

mike a lancasterAlison Weiss at Egmont has acquired dotwav, a YA sci-fi thriller by Mike A. Lancaster (Human.4 and The Future We Left Behind). In the book, a female hacker joins forces with a member of a secret teen government agency to uncover a sound embedded in music that’s being used to control fans. Publication is scheduled for fall 2015; Becky Bagnell at Lindsay Literary negotiated the deal for North American rights. Add to Goodreads.

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys by Various (anthology)

Jessica Garrison at Dial bought world rights at auction to a YA horror anthology, Slasher Girls & Monster Boys. The collection features a large number of authors, including April Tucholke, Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Kami Garcia, Carrie Ryan, Nova Ren Suma, A.G. Howard, Cat Winters, Stefan Bachman, Jay Kristoff, Kendare Blake, McCormick Templeman, and Megan Shepherd, and tells tales of gritty girls fighting back, seeking revenge, and claiming their victims. Publication is planned for fall 2015; Joanna Volpe at New Leaf Literary & Media brokered the deal for world rights. Add to Goodreads.

Middle Grade

The 8th Continent by Matt London

ImageGillian Levinson at Razorbill acquired world rights to The 8th Continent, first in a middle-grade series by debut author Matt London. The story – pitched as Despicable Me meets Where in the World Is Carmen San Diego? – follows a brother and sister who are working to turn the Great Pacific Garbage Patch into a utopic eighth continent where their family can start afresh and plants and animals can thrive. To do so, however, they must outwit bumbling bureaucrats and the villainous Condo Corp, who want to take the eighth continent for themselves in order to create New Miami. The first book is set for September 2014; Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger negotiated the three-book deal. Add on Goodreads.

The Oakwood All-Out Yard War and The Tidings Tree by Taylor Kitchings

ImageWendy Lamb at Random House bought two middle-grade novels by debut author Taylor Kitchings. The Oakwood All-Out Yard War, scheduled for publication in fall 2015, is set in Mississippi in 1964. When 12-year old Trip Westbrook invites his housekeeper’s son Dee to play ball in their front yard, their game reveals the angry racism simmering in their town. The Tidings Tree, to be published in fall 2016, takes place two years later and is told by Trip’s younger sister. Molly Ker Hawn of the Bent Agency held the auction for North American rights. Add to Goodreads.

Confessions of an Imaginary Friend by Michelle Cuevas

ImageNancy Conescu at Dial has acquired Confessions of an Imaginary Friend, a middle-grade novel by Michelle Cuevas. Nobody likes Jacques Papier besides his sister; when he comes across a cowgirl at the park and she informs him that he’s an imaginary friend, just like her, Jacques’s world is forever changed. It’s scheduled for publication in 2015; Emily van Beek of Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management negotiated the deal for world English rights. Add to Goodreads.

The Poet’s Daughter by Garrett Freymann-Weyr

garret freymann-weyrSarah Dotts Barley at HarperCollins has bought Printz-Honor winner Garret Freymann-Weyr‘s first foray into middle-grade fiction, The Poet’s Daughter. It tells the story of a young girl and an old dragon who meet in a hotel bar in Vienna and develop an instant camaraderie – and together learn how to live in the space between how the world is and how we wish it would be. Publication is scheduled for 2015; Holly McGhee at Pippin Properties did the two-book deal for North American rights. Add to Goodreads.

A Better Kind of Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

dan gemeinhartNick Eliopulos at Scholastic has acquired A Better Kind of Truth and a second, untitled middle-grade novel from debut author Dan Gemeinhart. When Mark discovers that his childhood illness has returned, he runs away with his dog rather than go back into treatment. Only after turning his back on everything he knows does he find the will to live and the strength to fight – but is it too late? Publication is planned for spring 2015. Pam van Hylckama Vlieg at Foreword Literary did the deal for world rights; Foreword retains film and TV rights, which are being managed by Brandy Rivers of the Gersh Agency. Add to Goodreads.

Simon Thorn and the Wolf’s Den by Aimee Carter

aimee carterCatherine Onder at Bloomsbury U.S. and Ellen Holgate at Bloomsbury U.K. have acquired world English rights in a combined six-figure pre-empt to Simon Thorn, an action-adventure middle-grade fantasy series by Aimee Carter, author of YA novel The Goddess Test. Simon Thorn is a bullied 12-year-old boy who discovers he is part of a secret race of humans born with the ability to turn into animals, and who may be the key to peace among five warring animal kingdoms. The first title, Simon Thorn and the Wolf’s Den, is scheduled for a simultaneous U.S./U.K. publication in fall 2015. The three-book deal was brokered by Rosemary Stimola of the Stimola Literary Studio in the U.S., and Alex Webb of Rights People in the U.K. on behalf of Stimola. Add to Goodreads.

Which of these YA and MG titles are you most excited about?

**All rights reports are taken directly from PW**

Review: School of Charm

school of charmTitle: School of Charm

Author: Lisa Ann Scott

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins BFYR

Pub. Date: February 18, 2014

Genre: MG

Rec. Age Level: 8-12

More by author: n/a

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Chip has always been a tomboy and daddy’s girl and she’s never felt even the littlest bit self conscious about it… until her father dies and her mother decides to move Chip and her two sisters down south to live with her mother, Chip’s grandma. It doesn’t take long to figure out that Grandma doesn’t at all approve of Chip, who’s entirely too much like her Yankee father. As her perfect sisters prepare for the annual Miss Dogwood pageant – a pageant both Chip’s mother and grandmother won a swell – Chip feels even more left out. She likes who she is, the outdoorsy girl who loved her daddy and is determined to remember him no matter what, but what if the only way to make people, including her own family, like and love her is to be someone else? When Chip stumbles across Miss Vernie’s School of Charm, she decides that she’s willing to change to fit into her new life without father. Led by the supportive and quirky Miss Vernie, Chip struggles to fit into the straight-laced, judgmental southern society along with two fellow classmates (one messy and overweight, the other African American) and learns lasting lessons about being true to yourself and acceptance.

I struggled to keep my outrage in check as I read about tomboy Chip and her judgmental Grandma, who appears bent on tearing Chip down and making her feel worthless. This woman is horrible! Seriously. By the end of the novel, Chip’s mother finally starts standing up to her grandmother, but, in my opinion, neither was a very great role model for Chip. Still, this horrible grandmother offers an accessible way to present a variety of difficult topics to middle grade readers. Through Chip’s interactions with her Grandma, the reader is presented with racism, bullying, the ridiculous enforcement of gender roles, not to mention judgment and rudeness disguised as Southern hospitality.

Not only does School of Charm follow Chip’s growth, readers also follow the growth of her fellow classmates at Miss Vernie’s School of Charm. One of the best lessons illustrated by this debut from Lisa Ann Scott is the importance of who you are versus what you look like. All three girls face judgement and unequal treatment because of their physical appearance. There’s a fantastic scene in the novel when all three girls are working in Miss Vernie’s pond and end up with mud facials. As they stand together, peering at their reflections in the pond, Chip notes that, when covered with mud, all the girls look essentially the same. On the outside, they have physical differences, but at their core, they’re essentially the same and are all deserving of respect and fair treatment.

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