3 Reasons to read MG as an Adult

There is a debate happening across BookTube and book blogs right now, one that happens every few years, about reading YA (young adult) fiction as *gasp* adults. I won’t get into it because I am, in fact, an ‘adult’ and I do, indeed, continue to enjoy YA books. It happens. What I do want to discuss today is something I think deserves just as much discussion: Children’s and Middle Grade books. Specifically, the benefits of reading children’s and middle grade fiction long after you’ve passed the top end of that particular age bracket. Don’t worry, I’ve narrowed this down to a top 3 list!

1)      If you are a parent, teacher, caregiver, aunt, uncle, cousin, or person who lives near children (a.k.a. pretty much anyone on the planet) reading children’s and middle grade literature allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of the younger generations. You can not only monitor what they’re being exposed to through their reading, you can also find common ground to strike up conversations. Start a book club with them and discuss the important things, both in the books and in their lives.

Similarly, if you’ve been reading children’s and middle grade books in a wide variety you will be more readily equipped to suggest the book that might change a child’s life. For example, you hate reading but love skateboarding and now you’re grounded until you choose a book and write a review for class? Try out Tony Hawk’s autobiography.  You might just help with an assignment, but this might be the way they get into reading…or pass the fifth grade.

2)      Books meant for a younger audience deal with hard hitting issues such as death, race, orientation, and even terrorism in a more direct and seemingly sensitive manner which can help ease you into dealing with these issues in a much swifter and easier fashion than many adult books, which either swerve around the problem or tackle it with bloody force. Articles on dealing with grief might help eventually, but a good cry while reading through L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables might help you get up and try a lot faster than a ‘professional’ giving step by step instructions.

3)      Finally, sometimes you just want to relax, de-stress, and read something that allows you to revisit the home and innocence of your youth. You miss the times of braces, first crushes, and bff’s for-like-ever. These can all be revisited smoothly and swiftly with an old favorite (I like to curl up with one of Ann M. Martin’s Babysitter’s Club Books or some Winnie the Pooh myself) or even through a new modern ‘classic’ like Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven series. Maybe the feel of a Nancy Drew book can transport you back to the summer of awkward growth spurts and braids, or the flow of Harry Potter remind you of acne and beginning football.  Whatever it is, read to remember the wonder and awe of your childhood. Let the stresses of your ‘adulting’ melt away. Believe again.

It’s ok, no one will judge you for enjoying a good book.  If they try to, just ignore them and retreat to a well-made couch fort. No one has time for that sort of negativity!

Game of Thrones Reader’s Diary Pt. 2

A Game of Thrones

Reader’s Diary

Week 2: Pages 109-202

Eddard

Poor, frozen Ned Stark. Crossed between what he said he’d do, who he wants to be, and who his king/best friend/brother wants him to be. I do not envy his position. I think the king has become soft and spoiled while he allowed his best friend to harden on his own at Winterfell, where Ned wishes he’d stayed. King Robert is crazed with hatred for Targaryens and doesn’t listen to the truths spoken by his Hand. Frustrating, to say the least.

Tyrion

The Fool has ridden north to the Wall, intending to inspect it and get a feel for the world (or lack of one, as they say) beyond. He is riding with Benjen Stark, Jon Snow, and a few others. Jon and Tyrion’s relationship here takes a step that I didn’t expect, but do enjoy and appreciate. Tyrion’s smart mouth and well-read brain come in handy. Not to mention the tid bits about dragons that made me swoon! What smart details to add! Well played, Mr. Martin. Well Played.

Catelyn 

The last time we saw Catelyn, I was hoping for someone to smack some sense into her or, better yet, put her out of my misery. Well *boom* wish granted. Not how I was expecting, of course, but in a way that makes perfect sense. Still, she’s a sharp tongued wench. She left at the end of the chapter with barely a thought toward her sons. After spending all that time draped over Bran’s bedside, I can understand the statement that she’d done all she could there. But, come on, Brickon is 3ish…he doesn’t understand why Mommy wouldn’t see him and why Mommy left. And Rob is 14 and the head of the keep now…his Mom could probably have been a big help to him. But no, no one could be trusted, it had to be her. Pfft.

Sansa

This girl…this poor simpering fool of a girl…makes me want to smack her. I suppose she’s just too much like her mother. In love with the idea of being betrothed to the simpering princeling, in love with the nice pretty things and the ideas that have half formed in her mind. She meets the knights and has, shall we say, strong feelings of both respect and fear. Ok, good…then Joffrey, the spoiled idiot, parades his “Hound” in front of her to scare her and offers to take her off on a day exploring “just the two of them”…I was actually pleased when they stumbled upon Arya and Mycah. I was afraid Sansa was going to get herself injured or raped or all of the above because she couldn’t see past her mental images to get a bead on the real prince. Then he got bit and I thought…well that’s not going to end well. Stupid

Eddard

This chapter was short, but HARD. To see Cersei Lannister and the probably inbred **** prince sit there, accusing, lying, and manipulating in order to make Joffrey out to be the victim and the hero all at once…to me it makes him look weak and his mother look a fool. But to Eddard…to Eddard it looked like his daughters opening a schism between them that might possibly never be fixed. It looked like having to kill the sweetest and best trained of the wolf pups on a whim and a whine while his best friend washed his hands of the situation and refused to ‘man up’ and handle the situation. It looked like Sansa losing her beloved pet because of Joffrey, but blaming Arya. It looked like a bad day.

Bran 

This is probably one of my favorite chapters in anything I’ve read this year, if not this decade. Bran’s dream was fabulous, a little spine tingling, and a lot mysterious. The best part, for me, though was when Bran finally awoke and found his wolf pup. Those first words after his coma…wonderfully done.

Catelyn

She arrives at King’s Landing and sends Ser Rodrik to the castle to find Ser Aron Santagar in an attempt to discover who might have owned the dagger sent to murder Bran in his coma. The dagger that sliced Catelyn’s fingers and sent her on this mad journey. In the in between time, Cat goes to rest but gets herself lady napped and taken to Littlefinger, Lord Baeris who had been her father’s ward and like a brother during their growing up time…until he dueled her betrothed for her hand. Guess who’s dagger it is? What a tidy little bow.

Jon

Jon is now in training at the Wall, learning to be the man he swore himself to be. He is also much hated for his attitude. The loner illegitimate son of Lord Stark, Jon finds issues on both sides and none of his training mates are keen on him. Tyrion Lannister’s advice, ‘don’t let them see that the words cut or you’ll never be free…’ good advice that I’m sure Jon will take, but The Bear then calls him away…a bird has come to tell him some good news.

Eddard

Ned is running ragged, already disillusioned and exhausted by life in the palace and life as the King’s Hand. Along with the issues between his children and his own extreme dislike of the counsel and learning just how out of it as a king his bestie really is, Ned finds his wife in a brothel. Ok, ok…so they were both taken there in order to speak in a place where no one would suspect either of them of ever being. Still, it is kind of funny. The love and respect between them is obvious, but I still don’t particularly like Catelyn. Eddard, on the other hand, is growing on me.

Saturday Stories 7/9/16

This past week was a doozy in the world of words I like to surround myself with and snuggle down in to.

First of all, I joined a Buddy Read/Group Read of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern which began for most of us on Monday, June 27th and is continuing on as people read and discuss at their own rates (One of the readers set up a thread on an existing Goodreads group) and so we are all still delving into the book even if we’ve finished as more of our compatriots comment on the different sections. I, myself, completed this book around Wednesday and absolutely adored it (rating around 4.5 stars, but I bumped it up to a full 5 or Goodreads). I own the beautiful floppy paperback version and also borrowed the audio book from Overdrive. It was fabulous, though the physical copy makes it a bit easier to follow the fluid and jumping time frames.

In the middle of reading The Night Circus, a read-a-thon started up…one that I have been anticipating and refining my TBR list for over the past 2 months. The #SmoresandMayhem Middle Grade Read-a-thon ran from July 1st – July 8th and had only one ‘rule’: each book must focus on a story that takes place during/in/around summertime.

For #SmoresandMayhem I managed to read 5 1/2 books (and DNF 1 more).

I re-read The Babysitter’s Club Super Special 1: Babysitters on Board (By Ann M. Martin) and High Wizardry (By Diane Duane). I haven’t read either of these books in so long that it was almost as though I read them for the first time. I remember loving the BSC book and feeling a bit MEH about the wizarding book and..my feelings haven’t really changed, except that I’m more outspoken about them now.

Along with those two I also completed Deep and Dark and Dangerous (By Mary Downing Hahn), The Wish in the Bottle (By Morna McLeod), and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library (By Chris Grabenstein) (this was read on audio book and it was AMAZING. Listen to it!). I quit on The Girl who Circumnavigate Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (By Catherynne M. Valente) within the first two chapters. I have handed it over to my mother in order to determine if this is a book that I really do need to try to read again later, when I’m not still on a high from reading a couple of 5 star books prior to picking it up. I’m having the same issue with my 1/2 read book, The Westing Game (By Ellen Raskin)

The cool thing though, is that all the only physical library book I checked out for all of this was High Wizardry…meaning that I knocked out 6 books from my little TBR bookshelves. I’m down to about 45 now!

With all of that reading going on, I did kind of neglect my #HotandSticky Summer Writing Challenge work. I’m still a bit ahead of the game, but not by much with three days of 0 word count so far this month. Today’s (Friday, July 8th) ending target total word count 19,032 and my total current word count is 22,169. I definitely need to get my booty in gear again!

Unfortunately, I’ve lost over half of the original Sylvester outlines and have changed the story so much I’m now stalled in it trying to remember what I wanted so I know what to change (I hate it when I get all switch happy and forget what happens!). So I switched to writing the new children’s chapter book, a sequel to the recently finished Paulonious Punk (which hasn’t even been properly edited yet!) but the past couple of days has just felt like trying to pull cold taffy so all the myriad of picture book ideas, the children’s book, the 5th in the dragon series, the 2 NA/A fantasy stories, and the 2 rewrites are all just being left to their own devices. Normally one will speak to me and the rest get put aside for a bit but right now, right now I’m woefully falling behind. I better get over this soon, though, because I get CRANKY when I don’t write. It’s worse than PMS…it’s SWS (stalled writing syndrome)..and Midol does NOT help! (Coffee, Coke, Dark Chocolate, Chips and Salsa, 90s alternative music, and Netflix binges…these help. Please send some and save my poor family).

All that being said, here is a clip from the children’s chapter book. I’ve only just begun but I really enjoyed this scene, I hope you do too!

That afternoon Pauly called an emergency meeting of the adventuring club. With Fredrick and Mark Finkle still out of town at their lake house for the summer, Pauly, John, and Grandpa were the only official members available, but a quick vote allowed Sarah to tag to along too. If she got too annoying they could stick Grandma with her and ask them to bake cookies or something.

“This is gonna be SO GREAT,” Pauly exclaimed before remembering his role and sheepishly banging his small gavel on the president’s podium (a miniature dinosaur with flat top hair do and a mouth that would open and burp bubbles when you tickled its left ear). “I officially call this meeting to order! Is there any new business to attend to?”

“Yes,” Grandpa Punk solemnly raised his hand and waited to be called on. “Thank you, President Pauly,” he cleared his throat. “THIS IS GOING TO BE SO AWESOME!!!!!!!”

This caused the entire group to dissolve into a laughing it that was so loud and long it disturbed Grandmother Punk, who was in the process of baking and became afraid that her desserts would fall apart if the laughter continued.

When they had sobered up and managed to settle down a little, Pauly posed a serious question.

Fetching the club’s brand new “adventure notebook” (a pleather bound journal with the picture of a mountain on the cover) from its place of honor on top of the cluttered old desk in the corner, he began, “I think that we should each write down what’s going on and our thoughts and stuff about it from now until the end of the trip. That way we have a…a….a.”

“A reckoning of events for posterity,” Grandpa suggested with a smile.

“Exactly, a whatever it is that Granpa just said,” Pauly straightened his spine and schooled his facial expression into one of solemn thoughtfulness, “All in favor?”

Two ‘ayes’ and a ‘yupyup’ rang out among the many inventions and tools of the fort/shop.

“It has been decided,” Pauly intoned seriously, “So it shall be done.“   He passed the notebook and feathered pen to his second in command. “Johnny, will you start us out please?”

Bonus Excerpt – Paulonious Punk

To celebrate the fact that I am FINALLY getting something of a schedule going again and, more importantly, typing up the dozens of pages that have been waiting for my attention, I thought I would sneak you guys a little excerpt from the children’s adventure chapter book I’ve been working on.

Please feel free to give leave a comment letting us know what you think!

Paulonious Punk

By Elizabeth S. Tyree

Chapter 17: excerpt

The next level of caves was shallower, harder to get to, and obviously not the gathering place the other rock rooms had been. Still, there were no signs of ancient pirate hidey-holes no matter how many times they circled each one with bright flashlights and keen eyes.

Down to only two shallow caves left, Grandpa was starting to worry that his pep talk was going to be for nothing. The boys were dragging again and he was about to suggest that they see if there might be another likely spot to search when Pauly let out a wild and triumphant cry, scaring the seagulls perched around the rock cliff.

“Look,” He crowed triumphantly, pointing his high beam LED flashlight at the back wall of the second to last shallow cave, where something glittered dully against the gray dirt. “Pirate Treasure!!”

The boys surged forward, clambering over crumbled stones with Grandpa hot on their heels. The closer they got, the more they saw glittering remnants scattering across the curve of the back wall. Plastered into the cavern itself. Sealed into the stones for safe keeping. Here, then, was the treasure they had been seeking.

“In room of stone and vision free,” Pauly whispered in awe, looking back out of the cave’s mouth to the frothing blue waters below. “They didn’t bring the treasure here to hide it…”

“They put it in the walls so that it could watch the sea!” John finished excitedly for his best friend.

“It’s almost like the treasure is still waiting, watching for its long lost pirate band,” Grandpa whispered. Then, more loudly, he said, ‘Well done my boys! You’ve found it!”

“You know who would love this?” Pauly asked suddenly, pocketing a dirt encrusted coin he’d just pried from the stone and beginning to work on what might be a delicate necklace. “Dr. Ron. Let’s call him and see if he can come out.”

“Are you sure you want to call him?” Grandpa was shocked to hear such things coming from a 9-year-old who had just discovered treasure. “You know what will happen if we do?”

Pauly slowly nodded his head as John and Grandpa stared at him, or rather, stared over his shoulder at the muted sparkle of newly discovered goodies.

“Paulonious,” Grandpa kept his voice calm and steady, “Dr. Ron would love it and the museum certainly would have all of the resources required to unearth everything…”

There was an uncertainty to his voice, and unmasked question that even the two 9-year-olds could hear loud and clear.

“I bet the set up the exhibit next to the Belle,” Pauly decided smugly.

“With a big sign that has our names on it!” John added, his voice alight with sudden excitement at this new idea.

Grandpa P pulled the two boys into a quick, tight hug. “I am so proud of you,” he told them before digging the old flip phone out of his cargo pants and calling his old friend.
Dr. Ron decided to take the rest of the afternoon off to make the trek for treasure. Slowly making their way back down the narrow path and gathering their trash bags along the way, Grandpa P., Pauly P., and John L. headed back to the diner for a little lunch while they waited.

 

*I hope that you enjoyed this little snippet! Don’t forget to let me know what you think, I love hearing from you!*

Author Interview – Latoya Brown

Welcome to the January 19th edition of Author Interview Friday! I’m so excited that we’ve been able to keep this segment of the blog and going so well. Thank you all for the support! This week we’re talking with the author of Wanted: Green Card  Latoya Brown. Latoya is a social media marketer with a lot to say on a topic that needs more attention. Let’s get to know her better!

authorlatoyabrown

From her blog about page:

 

 

1) What name do you write under? Is this a pseudonym? Do you use 
more than one name when you write?
I am using my own name for this book.
So the name is Latoya Brown! Check it out
2) Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or 
were going to be an author.
I realized I was an author while in high school – advanced placement classes required a LOT of writing.
All of those huge essays and stories to write…they definitely want to make sure you know how to put sentences and paragraphs together!
3) What genre(s) do you write in, and why?
This is my first published book and it is a romantic saga…gone wrong.51NOec--+aL._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_
How intriguing! So this book is about being duped into marriage for a green card? Not something you hear about often but something we should warn about more. 
4) What genres are your favorites to read? Why?
Believe it or not, but I love reading and perusing knitting books. The creativity and what I could do to a possible project intrigue me.
I love it. I often find myself crocheting and watching movies while a plot line simmers! I have some fabulous hats so my brain keeps warm and the creativity required helps the stories to flow too.
5) Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you 
wrote and 1 that someone else wrote. 
My favorite thus far has been me – I get to rewrite myself everyday.
Another favorite character by someone else is …
She just couldn’t decide between them…that’s always my issue as well!
6) There is a lot of controversy about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not?
Yes, I would love for my book to become a movie. There are so many women afflicted by this issue, so why not get the message out to a bigger audience so that there are less victims.
7) How do you handle writer’s block?
I think I simply wait. Because of my blog, which accompanies the book, I simply wait for days to see if the words will reach me in a way to explain it all.
How interesting. This is a  topic we don’t usually hear much about and the idea of the waiting for the block to resolve is also one I don’t normally hear much. Way to go 🙂
8) What inspires you?
I am inspired by action and not giving myself a future promise. For example, people always say that they want to travel. I said the same and just set out to do it. If I wait then I won’t be able to enjoy traveling as much and why wait. Let’s go!
Movement can be very inspiring…but so can sleep! I often enjoy a good bout of inspiring naptimes. 
9) How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that face if you say “I’m an author”?
I’ve actually never said that in an introduction thus far because my book is so new. Before being an author (look, I said it!) I work primarily in assisting companies and brands in social media marketing.
That resume would probably lend itself well to introducing the idea of yourself as an author! Good luck
10) Finally, tell us where to go to find you (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, Online Bookstores, Physical Stores, Etc. List them all for us please!)
The blog accompanies the book and is available for free right now – you should go check it out.
The book is available on Amazon – you should go buy it right now.