Happy Book Birthday to Almost Magic!

Almost-Magic-web-coverHappy Book Birthday to Almost Magic!

This month’s release is Almost Magic,  by Kathleen Bullock.

SBN 9781939392114 paperback

Ever since she turned twelve, Apple Bramblewood’s life has been plagued by visits from weird creatures from the magical realms.

It seems she is a rare Attractor, a Wizard whose sole talent is solving the clamorous demands of very odd beings, usually in the most unorthodox, haphazard, and klutzy ways. Apple doesn’t want to be an Attractor; her most passionate goal is to attend the ordinary high school with ordinary kids where her perfect older sister, Cornelia, is allowed to go. Her parents have no doubts about Cornelia’s magical prowess, but Apple seems destined to be home-schooled forever if she can’t pass the entrance exam and perfect at least one magical enchantment.

Almost Magic is Apple’s first-person account of that magic summer between childhood and adolescence and, in Apple’s case, one filled with the most amazing, hilarious, and often dangerous events.

Get to know the author by visiting her author page.

 

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Happy Book Birthday to Tangled Magick!

Tangled-Magick-forwebHappy Book Birthday to Tangled Magick

This month’s release is Tangled Magick,  by Jennifer Carson.

SBN 978-1-63392-000-2 paperback

ISBN 978-1-63392-001-9 Ebook

The Sequel to Hapenny Magick

Enter the giveaway on the author’s website!

A hapenny should live a simple life, but two years ago Maewyn Bridgepost discovered her magick and saved her village from a troll invasion. Now as an official Protector of the Wedge, Maewyn shares in the responsibility of keeping it’s residents safe.

When her mentor, the wizard Callum, leads a Great Expedition, Maewyn joins, knowing that to be the best protector she can be, she must be familiar with what the world holds beyond her tiny village.

When you are only 3 foot tall, the outside world can be a scary place, and the hapennies soon find themselves knee deep in troll trouble. Captured by a gang of trolls the group is taken to a broken-down castle to be servants to the troll queen, Huldfrejya. Unfortunately, Callum is cast into a deep slumber. It’s up to Maewyn to rescue herself and her friends before they are entangled by a powerful magickal enchantment that will turn them into slaves to the troll queen forever!

Don’t miss the first book in the series, Hapenny Magick!

Get to know the author by visiting her author page.

Interested in purchasing Tangled Magick? Order the book on: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BAM or from your local Indie store!

Happy Book Birthday to Little Miss Evil!

LittleMissEvil-finalcoverforwebHappy Book Birthday to Little Miss Evil!

This month’s release is Little Miss Evil,  by Bryce Leung and Kristy Shen.

ISBN: 978-1939392091

When you live in a volcano, ride to school in a helicopter, and regularly see your dad on the news with the caption “EVIL GENIUS” underneath his picture, it takes a lot to rattle you.

Until you get a message that says: We have your father. Deliver the NOVA in 24 hours or we will kill him.

What’s a NOVA you ask? It’s a nuclear bomb capable of turning the city into a radioactive mushroom cloud, and ever since Fiona’s dad built it, it’s caused nothing but grief. But telling him to stop building weapons is like telling Michelangelo to stop painting.
And that’s why thirteen-year-old Fiona has a flamethrower strapped to her arm. After all, who’d mess with a girl who can throw fireballs?
Apparently, these guys.
Big mistake.

You can purchase Little Miss Evil from :Amazon, B&N,  and any fine bookseller near you!

Get to know the author by visiting their author page.

 

 

 

 

Happy Book Birthday to The Hound at the Gate!

houndatthegate-webHappy Book Birthday to The Hound at the Gate!

This month’s release is The Hound At the Gate,  by Darby Karchut.

ISBN: 978-1939392480–paperback,ebook

The Sequel to Gideon’s Spear

 

 

Autumn: the season of endings. And beginnings.

Especially for one young apprentice.

At the annual Festival of the Hunt, thirteen-year-old apprentice goblin hunter Finn MacCullen and his master, Gideon Lir, join other Tuatha De Danaan to honor their people’s heritage. But Finn soon realizes that there are some who denounce his right to attend due to his half-human bloodline.

While he struggles to keep his place by his master’s side, he finds himself embroiled in a decades-old grudge between Gideon and another Knight, bewildered (and beguiled) by a female apprentice with a temper as explosive as his own, and battling a pack of goblins determined to wipe out the entire camp in a surprise attack.

It’s going to take some fancy knife work, the help of a female Knight with a lethal bow, and one old pick up truck to defeat the goblins and prove to his people that his blood runs true-blue Tuatha De Danaan.

Don’t miss the first book in the series, Finn Finnegan!

Get to know the author by visiting her author page.

Interested in purchasing The Hound at the Gate? Order the book on: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BAM or from your local Indie store!

 

 

 

The Story behind the Story: Our author Darby Karchut and the inspiration behind the Adventures of Finn MacCullen

Authors are thieves. We pinch ideas from whatever source we can, and certainly, without remorse. Except we call it inspiration. Influenced by. A variation on a theme. Sure. Okay. I’ll go with that. For, in truth, there really is nothing new under the sun. (I totally pilfered that.)

 

While it is quite obvious that the Adventures of Finn MacCullen series is based on Celtic mythology, some readers may also notice how much of the hero’s journey is reflected in the books as well. Like so many writers, especially writers of fantasy, I have been influenced by Joseph Campbell’s pivotal work, The Hero’s Journey. It was the part where the hero meets up with his mentor, and who travels alongside, teaching and instructing his young protégé, that has always fired my imagination. Obi-Wan Kenobi and young Luke Skywalker; Professor Dumbledore and Harry Potter; Ranger Halt and Will; Gandalf and just about everyone in the Fellowship are all great examples.

 

 

I decided in my Adventures of Finn MacCullen series to focus on young Finn’s apprenticeship under the tutelage of the Knight, Gideon Lir. You see, I have often thought that this was such an important phase in the hero’s journey; the relationship that will shape so much of the protagonist’s personality. Which was a blast to write, as I could explore not only Finn’s coming-of-age, but also the developing “father/son” relationship between the two.

 

Taking the basic concept of the hero’s journey, I overlaid some of the characters and stories from Celtic mythology, a culture I have long been fascinated with. That fascination was fueled by a trip to Ireland in 2011. What follows is a brief listing that I have included in the Author’s Notes in the back of each book:

 

Finnegan MacCullen: My protagonist is based loosely on the Irish legend of Finn McCool or Fionn mac Cumhail. This story cycle, called The Boyhood Deeds of Fionn mac Cumhail, follows the adventures of Finn as he grows from boy to legendary warrior.

 

Lir: The warrior-father from The Children of Lir story cycle. All I really took from that cycle was the name Lir. However, Gideon’s name is a nod to the legendary Welsh figure Gwydion. That character was a warrior, but also a bit of a trickster. I took that trait and gave Gideon a sarcastic bent.

 

Mac Roth: A friend and strong right arm to one of the early kings of Ireland. A fitting name for Gideon’s old friend and avuncular figure to Finn.

 

Scáthach: A formidable warrior and instructor of the young heroes. She trained many a famous figure from Celtic mythology, including the legendary warrior, Cúchulainne. “Cu-Chulainne,” by the way, means “The Hound of Culain.” He is often referred to as the Achilles of Celtic mythology.

 

Rath: A fortified ringfort. Ruins of raths can still be found scattered throughout Ireland. And, yes, is another word for Ruler or King.

 

warp spasm: This, too is a part of Celtic lore. This battle frenzy gave warriors extra strength and speed and helped them ignore injuries until after the conflict.

 

torc: A neck ring made from strands of metal twisted together. Most are open-ended at the front and were worn as a sign of nobility and high social status. Many examples of these have been found in European Bronze Age graves and burial sites.

 

deadnettle: A plant used as a curative tea amongst various peoples in northern Europe and the British isles.

 

Amandán: Mythical Irish and Scottish figures which are said to reside in fairy mounds. They are feared because it is believed their touch (called the fairy stroke or poc sidhe) is said to cause paralysis or death.

 

The Song of the Tuatha De Danaan: The words that open all the books, and that are recited throughout, are a portion of the famous early Irish “Song of Amergin.” This translation is from the article “Echoes of Antiquity in the Early Irish ‘Song of Amergin’” by Lloyd D. Graham, 2010.

Learn more about Darby by visiting her author page.

 

 

Cover Reveal! Tangled Magick

 

The cover for Tangled Magick, the Sequel to Hapenny Magick!

The cover for Tangled Magick, the sequel to Hapenny Magick!

Tangled Magick, coming in April 2015. Click here to request an advanced reader copy!

It’s been two years since Maewyn Bridgepost discovered her magick and saved the Wedge from another troll invasion. Now the villagers are embarking on an age-old tradition, given up after the first invasion, the Great Expedition. This journey is a chance for the happenies to discover the world outside their village. But the outside world can be a scary place, and the happenies soon find themselves knee deep in troll trouble.

Jennifer Carson lives in New Hampshire with her husband, four sons and many furred and feathered friends. She grew up on a steady diet of Muppet movies and renaissance faires, and would occasionally be caught reading under the blankets with a flashlight. Besides telling tales, she also creates fantasy creatures and characters and publishes her own sewing patterns. In 2010 her first children’s novel, To Find A Wonder, was produced as an original musical at the New London Barn Playhouse in New London, New Hampshire. Find out more about the author by visiting her author page.

ISBN 978-1-63392-000-2 paperback

ISBN 978-1-63392-001-9 Ebook

If you’d like to request an ARC, please use the reviewer form on our website.

http://spencerhillmiddlegrade.com/for-reviewers/.

Check out the first book in the series, Hapenny Magick!

 

Book Discussion Questions, Hapenny Magick

 

Happy Book Birthday!

  1. Why do you think the strange things hapenning on the farm make Gelbane so cross?
  2. What would your response be if a bird started talking to you? Would you follow him into the woods? Why or why not?
  3. Why does Mae think the idea of her being a Protector of the Wedge is a ridiculous idea? Would your size stop you from doing something you wanted to do?
  4. Mae returns to the farm instead of staying with the wizards. Is there something you love so much that you would have returned for it too even though staying away would mean a better life?
  5. Callum is impressed by the lesson learned in a simple human’s nursery rhyme. Can you think of other nursery rhymes or short stories that teach a lesson? What is the lesson it is trying to teach?
  6. With a swish of her wand, Maewyn brings some toadstools to life. What would you create if you had magick?
  7. River Weed Starr explains how he got his name. Using the Giant’s explanation, what would your name be if you were born a giant?
  8. If your best friend told you they had magick would you believe them? Why or why not? What kind of magick would you like to have? What kind of magick do you thin would be the most useful?
  9. How would you feel if you discovered that your mother was eaten by a troll?
  10. What was it that made Mae’s magick so strong that she could replace the protections on the bridge? What memories do you have that could create powerful magick?
  11. What adventures do you think Mae and Leif will stumble into next?

Read a sample from Hapenny Magick, here.

Cover Reveal! The Hound at the Gate

houndatthegate-webThe Hound at the Gate, coming in January 2015. Click here for an advanced reader copy!

Autumn: the season of endings. And beginnings.

Especially for one young apprentice.

At the annual Festival of the Hunt, thirteen-year-old apprentice goblin hunter Finn MacCullen and his master, Gideon Lir, join other Tuatha De Danaan to honor their people’s heritage. But Finn soon realizes that there are some who denounce his right to attend due to his half-human bloodline.

While he struggles to keep his place by his master’s side, he finds himself embroiled in a decades-old grudge between Gideon and another Knight, bewildered (and beguiled) by a female apprentice with a temper as explosive as his own, and battling a pack of goblins determined to wipe out the entire camp in a surprise attack.

It’s going to take some fancy knife work, the help of a female Knight with a lethal bow, and one old pick up truck to defeat the goblins and prove to his people that his blood runs true-blue Tuatha De Danaan.

Don’t miss the first two books in the series, Finn Finnegan and Gideon’s Spear!

Get to know the author by visiting her author page.

 

 

Happy Book Birthday, Hapenny Magick!

Happy Book Birthday!

Happy Book Birthday!

Happy Book birthday to Hapenny Magick! You can find this wonderful adventure available on book store shelves today!

Hapenny Magick

ISBN: 978-1937053918

Jennifer Carson

Available April 15, 2014

paperback, ebook, audio

As the tiniest Hapenny, a race of little people, Maewyn Bridgepost spends her days from breakfast to midnight nibble scrubbing the hearth, slopping the pigs and cooking for her guardian, Gelbane. As if life as a servant isn’t bad enough, Maewyn learns that Gelbane is a troll– and Hapennies are a troll delicacy!

Years ago, a spell trapped Gelbane in Mae’s village. Ever since, Gelbane has been chiseling away the magic protections, and now Mae’s home is destined to become a smorgasbord for half-starved trolls.

It will take all of Mae’s courage to protect her village. When pitchforks, sewing needles, pots, brooms, and a little magick are the only weapons at hand, Mae finds out that great victories can be accomplished no matter what size you are, but only if you stick together.

 

“Carson has created a delightful story of joy and wonder and courage. I’m looking forward to sharing this one with my children.” Jim Hines, author of the  Goblin Hero  series.

“Jennifer Carson’s book is full of whimsy and a gentle humor, but it also includes peril and a satisfying adventure.” Kate Coombs, author of Runaway Dragon

Get to know the author by visiting her author page.

Order the book at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BAM

Cover Reveal! Ben Fox: Zombie Squirrel Specialist At Your Service

BENFoxcoverforMIDPBen Fox: Zombie Squirrel Specialist At Your Service, coming in October 2014. Click here for an advanced reader copy!

Ten-year-old Ben Fox has good friends, a great dog, and a lightning-fast little sister who drives him a bit batty. The only thing in the fifth grader’s life that’s truly annoying–well, besides having to wear braces on his feet every day–is the family’s wily Siamese cat, Percy. Ben has always suspected something was off about Percy, who has never shown him or his beloved dog, Captain Sparkles, much affection.

But now he’s sure something is off—Percy has raised an army of squirrel zombies in the backyard and they’re ready to take on the dog.

It’ll be up to Ben to figure out how to stop the dastardly cat before the dog falls prey to the feline’s nefarious plans, especially since Percy and his newly reanimated squirrel friends are gunning for nothing less than a full-scale Animal Zombie Apocalypse—when all the dogs start to behave like cats. If only Ben could enlist his mom’s help in the undead animal war. But his mom is petrified of things that go bump in the night, so Ben’s only hope is to team up with his little sister.

The battle won’t be easy though, because squirrel zombies are the most dangerous of all…

 

Find out more about the author by visiting her author page.