Tag Archives: Children’s

Grabby Paws: Jackaby by William Ritter + The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill

Grabby Paws

“Grabby Paws” is my version of the Waiting on Wednesday meme hosted by Breaking The Spine that highlights upcoming releases that I can’t wait to get my paws on. 🙂

Today I have grabby paws for…

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“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion–and there are many illusions. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

Why I have grabby paws…

Well, considering Doctor Who is one of my favorite things ever and I love Sherlock too, and the Victorian Era is my favorite historical time period, I need this now. Lucky for me, Algonquin contacted me and asked if I was interested in reviewing this title (and the one below) and I said YES! My first official review for a publisher! SO excited!

Releases September 16th

I also have grabby paws for…

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“A lightning bolt erupted from the cloud and aimed directly at Ned’s heart. He couldn’t cry out. He couldn’t even move. He could just feel the magic sink into his skin and spread itself over every inch of him, bubbling and slithering and cutting deep, until he didn’t know where the magic stopped and he began.”

When Ned and his identical twin brother tumble from their raft into a raging, bewitched river, only Ned survives. Villagers are convinced the wrong boy lived. Sure enough, Ned grows up weak and slow, and stays as much as possible within the safe boundaries of his family’s cottage and yard. But when a Bandit King comes to steal the magic that Ned’s mother, a witch, is meant to protect, it’s Ned who safeguards the magic and summons the strength to protect his family and community.

In the meantime, in another kingdom across the forest that borders Ned’s village lives Áine, the resourceful and pragmatic daughter of the Bandit King. She is haunted by her mother’s last words to her: “The wrong boy will save your life and you will save his.” But when Áine and Ned’s paths cross, can they trust each other long enough to make their way through the treacherous woods and stop the war about to boil over?

With a deft hand, acclaimed author Kelly Barnhill takes classic fairy tale elements–speaking stones, a friendly wolf, and a spoiled young king–and weaves them into a richly detailed narrative that explores good and evil, love and hate, magic, and the power of friendship.

Why I have Grabby Paws…

Algonquin also asked me to review this title, and I think it sound adorable. I love that excerpt! A fairy tale with real fairy tale language. Gimme!

Releases September 16th


Copper Magic by Julia Mary Gibson Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway!

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Copper Magic
by Julia Mary Gibson
Publisher: Starscape (July 1, 2014)
Genre: MG Historical Fantasy
 

Can an unearthed talisman found on the shores of Lake Michigan save 12-year-old Violet’s fractured family? Exploring themes of Native American culture, ecology, and conservation, this historical fiction novel comes brilliantly to life.

The year is 1906, and twelve-year-old Violet Blake unearths an ancient talisman—a copper hand—beside the stream where her mother used to harvest medicine. Violet’s touch warms the copper hand and it begins to reveal glimpses of another time. Violet is certain that the copper hand is magic—and if anyone is in need of its powers, it’s Violet. Her mother and adored baby brother are gone, perhaps never to return. Her heartbroken father can’t seem to sustain the failing farm on the outskirts of Pigeon Harbor, on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Surely the magic of the copper hand can make things right for Violet and restore her fractured family. Violet makes a wish. But her ignorant carelessness unleashes formidable powers—and her attempts to control them jeopardizes not only herself, but the entire town of Pigeon Harbor.

In Copper Magic, land and waters are alive with memories, intentions, and impulses. Magic alters Violet and brings her gifts—but not always the kind she thinks she needs. First-time author Julia Mary Gibson brings Violet and her community to life in this impressive and assured debut.

You can purchase Copper Magic at the following Retailers:
     
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Researching This Book

Research for Copper Magic was extensive and consuming.  I read all I could find on the history of the midwest, of Michigan, of the town I used as a model for Pigeon Harbor, Native American history, Anishinaabe tradition and culture, Hopewell art, copper, the logging industry, archaeology, astroarchaeology, plant medicine, quillwork, Edwardian fashion, and many other topics.

I went to every small-town museum and historical society in northern Michigan that I could find.  I went to Ohio and Illinois and visited Cahokia and the Hopewell sacred sites.  I watched movies set in the early 1900s, read the literature of that time.  I interviewed people.  I wrote letters.  I kept reams of notes in file folders.  I tacked images on my office wall: a dilapidated farmhouse, cherry trees in bloom, copper repousse plaqueous, Anishinaabe quillworkers selling their birch boxes by a tourist hotel, a map made by the French explorers, a modern map of Michigan, a map of the forced relocation of Natives, birch trees, Lake Michigan ice floes.

I never didn’t want to find out more.  I felt I had a responsibility to be as authentic to the time period and to the characters as I possibly could.  What would a 12-year-old small-town girl read?  What animals would she see in the wild?  How would her mind work?  How would she allow herself to feel?

A downside to research is that sometimes you want to use stuff that’s really cool that doesn’t serve the story.  In my writing group we call this phenomenon The Pickle Factory.  One of us was writing a book about a certain time and place, and in that actual time and place there was a pickle factory.  She found out all about how the pickles were made and what the factory smelled like and what kind of women worked there, and she really wanted one of her characters to work there too.  She wrote a wonderful scene in the pickle factory, but it didn’t quite go with the rest of the book.  She resisted dumping it, but eventually she did.

I contended with some Pickle Factories in Copper Magic.  Pickle Factories have to be put aside.  They drag the story down.  But they can be saved in one of those nice file folders.  Maybe that’s why I’m working on a story set in 1918, not so far from the 1906 of Copper Magic.  Those Pickle Factory files might come in handy.

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About The Author2

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For a significant chunk of my life I worked with sprocketed celluloid, as a garage animator and in various capacities in the visual effects industry. My colleagues were geniuses and magicians and sorceresses. The work was a blast (sometimes literally – catch me as Frances McDormand’s double in an awesome old-school beamsplitter shot in Sam Raimi’s DARKMAN), but a time came when my own work cried out to be fostered again.

I live in Hollywood, California, surrounded by my four-generation extended family of poets, thespians, dancers, filmworkers, and urban farmers.

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Giveaway
3 Winners will receive a copy of Copper Magic  + TOR Tote Bag!

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