2017 Debut Book Love: I Am Fartacus

2017 Debut Book Love | I Am Fartacus | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comI AM FARTACUS: The title kind of says it all.

I can’t remember the last time I read a book with this many bathroom jokes in it. Maybe never. Still, the ARC of Mark Maciejewski’s middle grade debut, I AM FARTACUS, had me laughing right out loud more than once.

I’m pretty sure classrooms full of kids are going to be cracking up in 2017.

Mark gives us an interesting character in his bald, anti-hero Chub. Bent on revenge against Alanmoore Middle School’s most popular boy, (yep, Alanmoore – and that’s not the only reference to The Watchmen which only adds to the fun) Chub and his cadre of mischief makers plan and prank their way toward justice. But sometimes it’s hard to tell where the good guy ends and the bad guy begins.

I Am FartacusI Am Fartacus by Mark Maciejewski
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A funny middle grade debut with a great cast of secondary characters. It’s tough not to like this short, bald anti-hero and his Cadre of Evil.

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A funny middle grade debut with a great cast of secondary characters. It’s tough not to like this short, bald anti-hero and his Cadre of Evil.

View all my reviews

For readers

  • A fun cast of secondary characters. The Colonel may be my favorite adult ever.
  • Pranks, fart jokes, and more pranks.
  • Fun references to comics and movies.

For teachers

  • A anti-hero worth studying.
  • Discussion about the fine line between heroes and villains, bullying and getting even.
  • A main character who happens to be an immigrant.
  • A cast with a diverse set of family situations.

Another April debut, I AM FARTACUS is released April 18, 2017. It is available for order now at Amazon.

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My 2017 Debut Author Interview at Just Another Teen Reading Books

ice-cream-1653441_1280I so enjoyed chatting with Jessica over at her blog Just Another Teen Reading Books.

My interview was part of her 2017 Debut Author series. Check it out and discover my favorite flavor of ice-cream and some of the 2017 debut novels I’ve enjoyed reading so far this year. You might also learn a little more about my novel, THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN, while you’re there.

And be sure to read Jessica’s interviews with the other debut authors she’s featuring this month. There are so many great books coming out in 2017 – you’re going to want to make a list.

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My Ask the Author Interview

By yomi yomi [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsThe lovely and talented Melissa Roske interviewed me for her blog series – Ask the Author. Melissa’s questions came straight from The Proust Questionnaire – and when she’s says she’s putting you in the hot seat, she’s not lying.

You can read my Ask the Author interview with Melissa here and find out all about my hopes, fears, and current state of mind – plus a little bit about my novel, THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN.

Melissa Roske is the author of one of my most anticipated middle grade books of 2017, KAT GREENE COMES CLEAN. It will be published by Charlesbridge on June 13, 2017 and is available for pre-order now.

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2017 Debut Book Love: The Wingsnatchers: Carmer and Grit

Book Review | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comI don’t read a lot of fantasy, but one thing I’ve really enjoyed about reading 2017 debut books is getting the chance to read a wider variety of books than I normally would pick up myself. I signed up early for an ARC of THE WINGSNATCHER’S:  CARMER AND GRIT by Sarah Jean Horwitz because it just sounded so fun. I was not disappointed.

A middle grade fantasy, THE WINGSNATCHERS is my very first steampunk novel – and I have to admit that I might be hooked. I simply loved the setting. And I adored Carmer and Grit and the rest of the cast – including the bad guys. It was fun to live in the land of Skemantis for a few days. To watch magic shows, and automata creatures, and to fly (and run) with the faeries.

It even made me want to consider trying to write a fantasy novel at some point, which is my measure of a really good book.

The Wingsnatchers (Carmer and Grit, #1)The Wingsnatchers by Sarah Jean Horwitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Such a fun book. THE WINGSNATCHERS #1 is a charming adventure fantasy with two great main characters – Carmer, a well intentioned magician’s apprentice and inventor, and Grit, a fiercely independent faerie princess. Full of humor, heart, and tons of action, THE WINGSNATCHERS pulls you into its fully rendered steampunk environment full of magic, fairy dust, masked villains, and truly frightening automated cats and doesn’t let you go. A great mix of magic, fantasy, and science, THE WINGSNATCHERS series is sure to be a favorite among fantasy and steampunk lovers – young and old.

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For readers:

  • The fiery and determined Grit and the brave and inventive Carmer.
  • Magic, magicians, and fairy princesses.
  • Adventure and a great bad guy.

For teachers

  • A great mix of science and magic.
  • A fully formed setting full of vivid detail.
  • A diverse main character that may lead to discussion about living with/adapting to injuries and disabilities and how to best be an ally and friend.

THE WINGSNATCHERS releases April 25, 2017 (the same day as my novel. Yay launch twins). You can pre-order it now or add it to your Goodreads to help you remember to pick it up as soon as it comes out. That way I can have company as I wait impatiently for the sequel 🙂

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2017 Debut Book Love: Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes

Book Review | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comI love it when I find a book that makes me want to write.

Mary Lambert’s middle grade debut FAMILY GAME NIGHT AND OTHER CATASTROPHES did exactly that.

I simply couldn’t put it down. I read it in one sitting – unable to drag myself away.  It’s a book that makes you long for a magical fix – even as you know that such a thing is impossible. And it doesn’t take the easy way out. There are no solid answers – just the sense that this family will continue on – sorting out the beautiful mess of their lives together.

Family Game Night and Other CatastrophesFamily Game Night and Other Catastrophes by Mary E. Lambert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is everything I love about middle grade novels. Perfect voice. A cast of well-rounded, interesting characters. True-to-life friendships and family relationships. And, best of all, it doesn’t take the easy way out – but manages to leave you with hope just the same. Mary Lambert’s debut it a triumph – mixing real pain with just the right amount of humor to give the reader a heartfelt look into a family trying desperately to grow and change – while struggling to keep themselves and each other together in the process.

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For readers:

  • A great main character that you can really relate to.
  • A true-to-life sibling relationship.
  • Sad and funny all rolled up together  – just like life.

For teachers

  • Discussion about dealing with crisis behavior – helping others and helping ourselves.
  • Discussion about family – and how we care for those we love.
  • A great example of voice.

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2017 Debut Book Love: How to Stage a Catastrophe

Book Review | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comHave I said how much I love my fellow middle grade debut authors? If not, I mean to. Everyday.

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten an ARC (advanced reader copy) of one of my fellow middle grade debut friends in the mail, but then, on a cold, dark Halloween day, Rebecca Donnelly’s super fun HOW TO STAGE A CATASTROPHE showed up in my mail box and saved my life.

Part play – part novel – and all funny, I read this book in short bursts – not letting myself gobble it up in one sitting. And I totally fell for the characters. Sid and Folly are smart and funny and full of good (and not-so-good) ideas, and just the kind of kids you want to hang out with. Even the adults in this book are great. And despite the spot-on descriptions of Florida heat, I kind of wanted to move to Hatahatchee and spend some time backstage at the Juicebox Theater.

How to Stage a CatastropheHow to Stage a Catastrophe by Rebecca Donnelly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Such a fun read! Hilarious and heart-warming, Sidney and company’s quest to save the Juicebox Theater is a joy to read. The characters are fantastic – smart and funny and kind – but full of wild ideas just the same. Great for theater lovers, theater wanna-be’s, and anyone who loves a good play (and a few chase scenes!), Donnelly’s story will keep you reading and laughing and longing for the next performance. The creative design and chapter structure is just an added treat.

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For readers:

  • A great set of fun and smart characters who are getting things done.
  • Theater stuff – behind the scenes and on the stage.
  • Friendship, fun, and a really awesome dog.

For teachers

  • Great structure – and a fun way to introduce kids to play structure and the ins and out of stage work.
  • Discussion about community – and how to work together to save something you care about.
  • Discussion about passion – and how to work hard on something that matters – without hurting others in the process.

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Happy Book Birthday – A TAIL OF CAMELOT: MICE OF THE ROUND TABLE

Happy Book Birthday | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday is the launch day of Julie Leung’s new middle grade fantasy novel, A TAIL OF CAMELOT – the first book in her MICE OF THE ROUND TABLE series.

I had the privilege of reading an advanced copy of A TAIL OF CAMELOT – and the even bigger privilege of interviewing Julie for a feature on the Swanky Seventeen blog.

This book is one of my top ten favorite reads this year – and a book I wish I would have gotten to read as a child.

Seriously – it has it all:  Camelot; mice in chain mail; a darling reluctant hero. What’s not to love?

It’s pretty much a perfect book. Smart, beautifully written, and adorable.

You can read more of my thoughts in my Goodreads review.

A Tail of Camelot (Mice of the Round Table, #1)A Tail of Camelot by Julie Leung
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Julie Leung has written an enchanting novel. Filled with a darling hero, truly evil villains, page-turning action, and beautiful imagery, A TAIL OF CAMELOT is a story that readers of all ages will turn to again and again.

Calib is the perfect hero – big-hearted and brave – and in way over his head. He’s easy to root for. He’s a good mouse trying to do the right thing only to find himself falling into one bad situation after another. The writing is so fresh and gorgeously detailed that you feel like you’re right there with him – following in his pawsteps as he struggles to save his kingdom and live up to the legacy of his family name.

I simply adored every page of this book. I was only sorry it wasn’t around when I was a kid. It’s a must for any classroom or home library. Middle grade readers are going to devour it, and teachers and parents are going to love to read it aloud with their kids.

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For readers:

  • Mice in chain-mail; owl allies;  talking ravens; even a big-hearted bear.
  • Tons of action.
  • A brave hero who’s easy to root for.

For teachers

  • A spot-on Camelot retelling.
  • Discussion about courage and what it really means to be brave.
  • Gorgeous detail and descriptions.

And you can buy a copy of A TAIL OF CAMELOT at all the places good books are sold, including:

Amazon

Powells

Books a Million

Barnes and Noble

Indiebound

Get it. Read it. Share it. You’re going to love it.

Congratulations, Julie!

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2017 Debut Book Love: Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire

Book Review | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comI love books for middle-graders. I love reading them, talking about them, and sharing them with kids, teachers, and parents. The best part about reading books for middle-graders is remembering what it was like to be a kid – to be  nine-years-old and just figuring out school and friends and family – at the same time you’re beginning to examine exactly where you belong in the great big world.

Some books just remind you of that time, while others transport you back there and make you relive all of it: the laughter, the pain, the excitement, and the confusion. Fellow 2017 debut author Susan Tan’s debut MG novel CILLA LEE-JENKINS:  FUTURE AUTHOR EXTRAORDINAIRE does all of this and more.

I read this book in one sitting and loved it so much, I shared my love for it all over social media – that is after I managed to wipe away the tears.

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author ExtraordinaireCilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire by Susan Tan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cilla Lee-Jenkins is the best friend you wish you had. Her struggles are real. Her triumphs are joyous. And her big heart and rich imagination will captivate even the most jaded reader. Susan Tan’s debut will have you laughing out loud one minute and choking back tears the next. This book is a must read for anyone who is or once was a child. Be warned: Cilla and her family will steal your heart.

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CILLA LEE-JENKINS:  FUTURE AUTHOR EXTRAODINAIRE is a must for every classroom and library – public and personal. And, lucky for us, we can pre-order it now and have it in our mailboxes by the end of March.

For readers:

  • The funny and big-hearted Cilla.
  • A great voice kids will totally relate to.
  • Real life worries and triumphs – new baby, fights with friends, big dreams.

For teachers

  • A great example of expressing yourself through writing /memoir.
  • Discussion about family – and the joys and challenges of growing up in two cultures.
  • Discussion about friendship – and what you do when you make a mistake.
  • Discussion about change  – and how to find your place when everything seems to be falling apart.

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