Monday, February 18, 2013

MG Book Spotlight: Cracking the Code - SPREADING RUMORS, & a YA Cover Reveal: REVELATIONS & Giveaway!

Shannon Messenger created MMGM some time ago to give Middle Grade books the spotlight they deserve. I'm joining in, today. If you'd like to see more MG books, Click HERE to follow other participants.

Title: Cracking the Code - SPREADING RUMORS
Author: Kris Yankee
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: Ferne Press
Released: October 30, 2012
Pages: 168

I'd like to thank the author for sending me a copy of this book for review.

Favorite Line/Passage: So. That was that. It was going to be Drew's word against mine. Just great. I'd be a loser forever, especially since rumor had it that he and Abbie Fields were boyfriend-girlfriend now, even though Mr. Thompson warned that dating should being in seventh grade, not fifth. With Abbie being the most popular girl in our class, I probably had little to zero chance of regaining my cool-kid former status. Crap.

Description: When Toby Karlson, aka TK, is at the wrong place at the wrong time, he goes from cool kid to total outcast with just one hip check. Sixth grade orientation was scary, but TK didn't realize it would change his life. Now he has to hang out with the smartest and geekiest kid in school, while dodging the school bully and his posse. If TK were on the ice, he'd know exacly what to do. But this is life and not a hockey game. Can TK get his good-guy status back at fifth-grade camp?


My Splats: a middle grade time capsule complete with the bully, the bashful girl crush, the annoying kids who think they're all that, and an embarrassing mistake that will live in infamy.  

Oh, my middle grade! TK's voice has it all from shyness to awkwardness, questioning everything yet wanting to stand firm to his convictions. He's a true MGer, who middle schoolers will relate to. There's an inner toughness about him, but also a soft side that he most often wears as his outer clothing. Undoubtedly, he wants to fit in - as most of us do but are unwilling to admit it - but at what cost? And when an unexpected event whirls his world in a tailspin, TK must learn to see his world with different eyes.

Now, some adults might call that a rite of passage and/or maturing. And it is. Kind of, sort of. But to an eleven year old, it kind of-sort of sucks. Growth and change are always scary, and, in this story, it's the doorway Yankee uses to open up other life lessons to be examined and learned.

The strain on his friendship with his best friend and regular crowd pushes TK to problem solve, using the lessons he's learned from playing ice hockey to work it out.  This is one of my favorite aspects of this story. I can't tell you how excited and thankful I was to see a MG storyline show the value of athletics beyond the physical sport being played. It mimicked the real value of youth sports and its application in all aspects of real life. That is what youth sports are about - yes, said from this hockey mom, herself.

By story's end, Toby gained confidence by standing firm to who he is also gives him a new perspective and respect for his new 'nerdy' friend. TK discovers that he's really loyal.

This was a quick and easy read, a definitely must for any middle grader - especially boys who play sports. 

For more on Kris, check her Website, Blog, or Facebook. Purchase the book: Amazon & Ferne Press.

AND for my second feature, here's the beautiful cover reveal for Book II of JA Souders' Young Adult series, Elysium Chronicles & her GIVEAWAY.  Also included is information on Book I and a recent short story she published. Jess just happens to be one of my amazing Oasis for YA teammates! Congrats to her on a gorgeous new cover!!

About Revelations

Revelations Elysium Chronicles (Book 2)
J.A Souders
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen
Blurb to come!

About Renegade Elysium Chronicles (Book 1)

Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie.

Her memories have been altered.

Her mind and body aren’t under her own control.

And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.

About A Dark Grave: Elysium Chronicles (Book 0.5)

An Elysium Chronicles short story: the beginning.

There is only one place forbidden to the people of Gavin's village; the island just off the shore, rumored to be haunted. Cursed.

All who venture to the island disappear.

But Gavin doesn't believe in such things. He is a hunter; since his father's death, he is the only one who can provide for the family. Silly rumors of ghosts aren't going to stop him from crossing the dark waters to the island in search of fresh game...

About J.A. Souders:
J.A. Souders was born in the heartland with an overactive imagination and an overabundance of curiosity that was always getting her into trouble. She first began writing at the age of 13, when she moved to Florida and not only befriended the monsters under the bed, but created worlds for them to play together.
Because she never grew up, she decided she’d put her imaginary friends to work and started writing. She still lives in the land of sunshine and palm trees with her husband and their two children.
Where you can find J.A.

J.A is hosting a giveaway of a signed hard copy of RENEGADE, an e-copy of A DARK GRAVE (for those that don't have it, of course.) and signed copies of ARTICLE 5 and BREAKING POINT by Kristen Simmons. Entries from US/CAN to receive actual signed copies if winners; e-copies of RENEGADE, ARTICLE 5, and BREAKING POINT for INTERNATIONAL.


  1. Love J.A.'s new cover. So excited for her. And wow, her books are coming out fast.

  2. This sounds like a fun one! I love, love the MG voice.

  3. Gorgeous cover! That alone has me salivating for the book.

  4. The ice hockey aspect is cool in CRACKING THE CODE. I enjoy stories in which the sports (any sports) "show the value of athletics beyond the physical sport being played." Thanks for featuring this.

    1. Exactly! My kids are very athletic, involved in everything. But, as a parent, I always try to show them another reason they play, more life lessons to learn.

  5. Wow, Sheri! I'm so glad you enjoyed Code. Thanks for featuring it!

  6. SO many great looking books to choose from! Wow, I love J.A.'s new cover!!

  7. Ooh! Code sounds great! I'll have to pick it up! Thanks for being a part of my cover reveal! :)

  8. Looks like a cute MG. And JA's cover is very cool!

  9. I think all the book covers look wonderful. I hope they do well.

  10. The Revelations cover is so pretty!

  11. I don't read much middle grade, but this one sounds like it has a very relatable topic for most middle graders!

    And that cover of Revelations is gorgeous! Love the concept!

  12. I may grab this one for my daughter.

    Stopping in from A to Z Challenge. First year participating.

  13. love your review! sounds like a great mg!
    and JA's series sounds like a winner, too!

  14. These books all sound fabulous, especially the MG. Wasn't familiar with it, but will be sure to check it out. Thanks for the heads up.

  15. oh, yay!!! Cracking the code sounds perfect for my daughter! Thanks, Sheri! I'm totally snagging this one. Yay for Kris!!! And super congrats to JA! Her books are gorgeous~ <3

    1. It's an easy read. I'm sure your daughter will breeze through it!

      And Jessica's new cover is awesome, right?

  16. Great cover. And I loved the review for Speading Rumors. What a great book for MG readers.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, C.Lee! Kris did a nice job with this one. I really like how she intertwined athletics with life skills.

  17. Lots of great reads and covers here!!

  18. Cracking the Code sounds like a perfect book for MG readers! Wow! Thanks for sharing. :)


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