All posts by C. J. Milbrandt

About C. J. Milbrandt

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#amreading Daringly

George by Alex Gino, will soon be re-releasing as Melissa. Even if nobody else realizes it, George knows she’s a girl. Hiding it is hard. Speaking up is harder. But when she tries out for the part of Charlotte in their grade’s production of Charlotte’s Web, the grown-ups around her begin to take note. In Arlo Finch and the Valley of Fire, Arlo’s family moves back to his mom’s hometown, a tiny place up in the Colorado mountains where things are a little on the strange side. When he joins the Rangers, since all the kids in town do, he finds out that supernatural stuff is real … and full of risks. (Hoping to finish the trilogy this year. It’s really good.) And in Wildwood, Prue crosses a bridge and finds a whole world that’s hidden away in the woods.

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Lock & Key Books

We’re halfway through the month already. Here are my book finds for the themes we set for May.

Day 01 – Key in the Title – There are dozens and dozens of possibilities. I just picked a few that I hadn’t featured anytime recently.

Day 02 – A Door on the Cover – Again, doors are a big deal in middle grade stories. I mean, hey! Portal Fantasy is a huge sub-genre. These are just a few. Look around! There are many, many more.

Day 03 – Inspired by Sherlock Holmes – I see we’re already getting creative with the them. Sherlock Holmes is one of my favorite literary characters, so I’m always reaching for books inspired by the great detective.

Day 04 – Main Character is a Thief – another very popular theme in middle grade.

Day 05 – Gates on the Cover – Nearly as popular as doors, and always opening a way into intriguing places.

Continue reading Lock & Key Books

#MGCarousel Monthly Theme

Every month, Elza and I pick a theme around which to plan our posts. For May, we went with Lock & Key.

And because I enjoy little challenges, we created a list that embraces the theme in more specific ways. We definitely have fun trying to apply the theme to middle grade books. Piano keys. Locks of hair. Safes & thieves. I share my book finds on Twitter, but I’ll be doing a sort of summary post here, too.

You’re welcome to play along. Just use the #MGCarousel tag when you tweet.

CJ on Twitter >>

MGCarousel on Twitter >>

#amreading Otherworldly

In The Lighthouse Between Worlds, Griffin lives with his dad, who’s a lighthouse keeper on the Oregon coast. Homeschooled, he’s following in his father’s footsteps, learning to be a glassblower. They share the same quiet days and the same quiet grief, ever since Griffin’s mom died. But then an alarm shatters the quiet, and nothing can be the same again. Because the glass lens in the lighthouse is a portal, linking their world to several others. Cavern of Secrets is the second installment in the Wing & Claw trilogy. My review is spoiler-free: “Winter’s passed and Raffa is back. Little more can be said. It’s the middle book, so it does middle book things.” There you have it. And then there’s The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse. A princess who must preserve her people’s happiness and a girl who understands sadness team up to discover the secret of Dreadwillow Carse. This one has the feel of an allegory to it, and it wasn’t to my tastes. Too much of a downward spiral to the discoveries.

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