Hello, Universe is a fantastic read! I usually go for fantasy or high fantasy middle-grade books, but I was looking for something different to mix things up a bit. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. I wondered, “Without the high fantasy, will I be hooked?”
Then, I noticed that we see the story from the perspective of the four main characters. So, there was changing of the point-of-view. That made me nervous as I really enjoy connecting with the main character. I again wondered if I’d be hooked or interested in the story.
The answer is YES, YES, and again, YES! There weren’t all the “cool fantasy” things going on in the book, but I cared about the characters and what was going on with them. The author did a beautiful job of weaving together all of the characters, their perspectives, and how they were brought together.
An incident happens with poor Virgil in the woods and I just wanted to run in and help him. Valencia is a sweet girl, who happens to be deaf, but “listens with my eyes”. Kaori is a creative character who believes she has the power of foresight. Her perspective adds a bit of fun in every instance. My least favorite character is Chet, the bully, of course. However, every character that we meet has a real uniqueness to them which springs them to life.
The short chapters, unique storytelling, and enthralling characters make this a well-crafted book that I could read again and again. I highly recommend Hello, Universe.
Predator vs Prey was a good book overall. It did start out a little slow and I was tempted to stop reading it-but Lisa McMann has a way of connecting the reader to the characters. It is a subtle connection where they feel real. I really liked Charlie, Mac, and Maria. They were brave when they needed to be and handled their situation in a smart way. I definitely wanted to keep going with them.
I’m glad I did keep reading as I enjoyed the story the further along I went. We follow Charlie and her friends after her house was broken into and her Dad disappeared. She soon learns the evil Dr. Gray has her father and has a diabolical plan for the chimera devices. After finding Mr. Wilde’s location, Charlie and her team set up a secret base to keep watch and ensure Mr. Wilde was still safe until it was time to unleash their attack.
It’s definitely worth the read and I’ll likely pick up the third book in the series.
Just a quick update here. I’ve been working hard on future books in the Souled series. I’m taking a little extra time with book 2 as there are some big things happening and I have to make sure I have all the details. I’m also working on organizing my notes a bit more because there is so much happening in this series.
Little by little everything is coming together. Between interviewing characters and mapping out their new landscape, these characters are keeping me busy. I can’t wait to share with you what’s next. More updates coming soon as they become available. Be sure to follow my progress by following my blog here, connecting with my newsletter, and follow me on Instagram and Facebook.
We just opened our Mighty Magical Middle-Grade Book Club. The book club opened this week and is a place to discuss your favorite middle-grade books. Join in the fun as we review, recommend, and share the love of great books for all to read.
From our Group Description:
I am an avid middle-grade book reader. Seriously, I think they are the best genre of books out there. I just absolutely love them. Harry Potter fans? Keeper fans? False Prince fans? Let’s talk about these and your favorites! All ages welcome – you don’t have to be a middle schooler. Help us grow by inviting your friends and fellow book lovers. When you post, tell us:
The title and author of the book you’re reading
If there are spoilers in your post, indicate that with ***SPOILER ALERT***
If you liked the book or if you didn’t
What made you like or dislike the book?
Anything else you want to add
So be sure to head on over and join us there so we can discuss all things Middle Grade.
Posting a quick update to share some news. When I first started my author Facebook Page, I quickly chose the name The Whimsical Writer. As my writing and business grow, I think it’s time to update the page name to Jennifer Gladen, Author.
Not much will change on the page. I will still be posting my favorite quotes, books, book reviews, updates, and books/reading posts. Thank you so much for all your support as we take this next step.
The Girl From Mars, by author Brenda Hiatt is the fifth book in the Starstruck series. A few things hit me right away. First, unlike the other books, this one was in first person. That can throw me off sometimes, but the story was so good I barely noticed after the first chapter. Second, the book centers around another character, Kira Morain, who lives on Mars and is a star Caidpel (Martian sport) player. Getting used to a different character’s point of view after spending so much time in M’s head was strange at first. And honestly I didn’t like her too much in the first half of the book, however she did have many redeeming qualities. As the story went on and Kira’s character grew, I warmed up to her.
It was also strange getting used to another character’s POV as I was very attached to M and Rigel. I didn’t like it at first. However, it is necessary for the rest of the series. And once again, shortly after beginning the story, I was caught up in it.
The Girl From Mars introduces Kira as another critical character in the series. It follows Kira’s migration to Earth and how she’s learning fit in. While she doesn’t start out with the best of intentions, that all changes as she gets to know people in Jewel. She also learns much more about who she is and what she is capable of.
Without further delay, below is the BRAND NEW cover illustrated by Samantha Bell and designed by Helen Barrios. I am absolutely in love with this design and am anxiously awaiting publication day! Below, find the answers and the links to more information to the trivia questions from the previous post.
There were no winners this time, but that’s okay. I’ll mark this copy to go to Child Life or STAR Kids. Thanks to everyone who has visited!
Trivia Questions and Answers
Q 1:What is the name of the disease of the bile ducts in infants where the bile ducts become inflamed or blocked, causing restricted bile flow and damage to the liver?
Below are the five (5) trivia questions about Biliary Atresia and Liver Transplantation. The winner of the trivia contest will receive a free autographed hardcover of Angel Donor as well as a PDF version.
To participate, answer the trivia questions below correctly and in the correct order in a single comment to the blog. The first person to do so will be our winner! Good Luck!
What is the name of the disease of the bile ducts in infants where the bile ducts become inflamed or blocked, causing restricted bile flow and damage to the liver?
Name two symptoms of the disease referenced above.
How many children under the age of 18 are on the national transplant waiting list?
How can you register to be an organ donor?
The main character in Angel Donor was born with the disease referenced in question 1. How many babies are born each year with this same disease? For example: 1 out of every hundred births, etc.
In just eleven days, (May 4, 2021) my pre-order campaign for Angel Donor will go live on Kickstarter. In order to celebrate and share the excitement, I’ve decided to do a cover reveal TOMORROW April 24, 2021. There will be 5 easy trivia questions posted at 1:00 PM EST.
Even more importantly, tomorrow is the LAST DAY of Pediatric Transplant Week! Every year Donate Life America dedicates the last full week in April, (Also called Donate Life Month) to Pediatric transplantation. This special event honors donor/donor families and shares patient stories to bring awareness of the great need for organ transplants in children.
To participate follow the instructions below:
Check the blog TOMORROW at 1:00 PMEST
There will be five (5) simple trivia questions about Biliary Atresia and liver transplantation in children.
Comment your answers in order of the questions in ONE comment.
The first commenter to answer all the questions correctly, in order, will win a FREE autographed hardcover as well as a FREE PDF download of Angel Donor.
That’s it! The comment with the correct answers, after they have been checked, will unlock the BRAND NEW cover!
Be ready for a whole new look. In addition to the story being illustrated by the amazing illustrator Samantha Bell, I’ve also worked with the talented graphic designer, Helen Barrios. While there was a previously published edition of Angel Donor, Helen helped transform this new edition into a completely new book while holding on to the heart of the story.
Head on over to Angel Donor Book to get a preview of the Kickstarter campaign. You can also get a notification on when it goes live by clicking on the green bar.
Eighteen years ago my second child was born. But she was a very unique baby. She was born with Biliary Atresia. It’s amazing how a term you don’t even know exists can change your life forever.
Biliary Atresia is a liver disease where the liver’s bile ducts are too narrow or closed completely. It doesn’t allow the liver to do its job. Many times, a liver transplant is needed to save the person’s life. That was Jackie’s case.
When we were preparing for her transplant, even though she was little, I was looking for a picture book to help her prepare for it. I knew it was a complicated subject, but I wanted something that would help with the conversation.
I found a few books here and there, but nothing that would walk a child through the main parts of the process. I also wanted the right balance of information without being too scary. That’s when I knew I needed to write one of my own.
When I explained what was going to happen to her, Jackie is the one who called her donor an “Angel Donor,” which is now the title of the book.
Unfortunately, once COVID hit, my publisher was hit hard and had to shut down. However, I know that to this day families struggle with this disease and with this situation. I knew Angel Donor should not disappear. Now,, I’m planning to publish a second edition independently. The awesome and super amazing illustrator, Samantha Bell, worked with me to ensure we could reuse the illustrations.
In order to make this a reality, I’m gauging interest, I’ve created a group on Facebook. There, I will be bouncing ideas off members, get feedback for the project I’m working on, and the members get to be a part of the process.