Monday, November 21, 2016

#Holiday Gift Guide – Great Books for Middle Grade and Teen Readers

Fun Books for Middle Grade Readers

Oh the weather outside is… not that bad here, actually, but it’s still feeling like the holiday season is in full swing. If you have a young reader on your shopping list, consider one of these titles from Chris Eboch, appropriate for ages 8 to 15.

The Genie’s Gift is a lighthearted action novel set in the fifteenth-century Middle East, drawing on the mythology of The Arabian Nights. Shy and timid Anise determines to find the Genie Shakayak and claim the Gift of Sweet Speech. But the way is barred by a series of challenges, both ordinary and magical. How will Anise get past a vicious she-ghoul, a sorceress who turns people to stone, and mysterious sea monsters, when she can’t even speak in front of strangers? 

In The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan girl in ninth-century Guatemala rebels against the High Priest who sacrifices anyone challenging his power. 

Kirkus Reviews called The Well of Sacrifice, “[An] engrossing first novel….Eboch crafts an exciting narrative with a richly textured depiction of ancient Mayan society….The novel shines not only for a faithful recreation of an unfamiliar, ancient world, but also for the introduction of a brave, likable and determined heroine.”

Watching this unorthodox 12-year-old girl outwit a high priest, escape jail, rescue her sister and more makes for a fast-paced read. An author’s note describes the historical context for the tale. - Publishers Weekly

Jesse Owens: Young Record Breaker and Milton Hershey: Young Chocolatier are inspirational biographies in Simon & Schuster’s Childhood of Famous Americans series, written under the name M.M. Eboch. 

Jesse Owens would be especially suitable for young athletes, while Milton Hershey might appeal to kids who struggle in school, as Milton did. They are full-length books at a middle grade interest level, but written at a third-grade reading level.

See these and more at www.chriseboch.com or her Amazon page.

More Books for Middle Grade Readers

The Cousins in Action Series by Sam Bond

Operation Golden Llama, by Sam Bond

Dumped at their eccentric Grandma’s, Cagney, Olivia, Aidan, Lissy and Tess are convinced they’re in for a boring summer. But when Grandma gets a series of mysterious phone calls, and a highly unlikely pet sitter arrives, the cousins find themselves jetting off to Peru, where much to their surprise they find their adventures have only just begun.

Visit Sam Bond’s website or her Amazon page.


The Sweet Spot, by Stacy Barnett Mozer


When thirteen-year-old Sam Barrette’s baseball coach tells her that her attitude’s holding her back, she wants to hit him in the head with a line drive. All stakes now rest on Sam’s performance at baseball training camp. Placed at the bottom with the weaker players, she will have to work her way up to A league, not just to show Coach that she can be the best team player possible, but to prove to herself that she can hold a bat with the All-Star boys.

Visit Stacy Barnett Mozer’s website or her Amazon page.

Fantasy Set Today


The Galaxy Games Series by Greg Fishbone:

The Challengers

Things are looking up for Tyler Sato (literally!) as he and his friends scan the night sky for a star named for him by his Tokyo cousins in honor of his eleventh birthday. Ordinary stars tend to stay in one place, but Ty’s seems to be streaking directly toward Earth at an alarming rate. Soon the whole world is talking about TY SATO, the doomsday asteroid, and life is turned upside down for Ty Sato, the boy, who would rather be playing hoops in his best friend’s driveway….

The Amorphous Assassin

Thirteen-year-old Tyler Sato has lied, cheated, and scammed his way into the Galaxy Games. Now, on the eve of the galaxy-spanning sports tournament, Tyler’s past is catching up…with a vengeance!
Earth’s team of international all-stars is at each other’s throats. A shadowy conspiracy is on the move. And a shape-shifting alien assassin has Tyler in his sights.

Can Tyler step up his game to become the leader Earth needs? Or will the world finally discover that Tyler isn’t quite the hero that everyone believes?

Visit Greg Fishbone’s website or his Amazon page.

The Magic Mayhem Series by Deanna Roy

Jinnie Wishmaker

Six-time USA Today bestselling author Deanna Roy mixes adventure and magic in her first series for middle grade readers. In Jinnie Wishmaker, an eleven-year-old girl discovers she can grant any living thing its one true wish. The trouble is, once she grants the wish, she can’t control the results.

Marcus Mender 

Marcus Mender can fix anything just by holding it. But now, he can't stop! Like King Midas and the golden touch, everything becomes new and perfect in Marcus's hands.

Before he can control his new power, the magical Vor team is sent to South America on a mission: to recover a rare magnetized lodestone before the Loki, the magic thieves, use it for their own selfish purpose.

But the lodestone's magnetic field causes a reversal between positive and negative, turning the Loki into heroes and the Vor into villains out to steal more power. Only Marcus's ability to fix the lodestone can save them, but with the switch of good and evil, Marcus will have to fight his own magic to make the right choice.

Marcus Mender is Book 2 of the Magic Mayhem series that begins with Jinnie Wishmaker. However, it can be read as a standalone book and is aimed at reluctant readers.

Visit Deanna Roy’s blog or find Jinnie and Marcus on Amazon page.

For Teens and up

For a fun romp with a lot of heart, suitable for teenagers or adults, check out Plum Crazy by Cece Barlow:

The summer of her junior year, Texas geek girl Elva Presley Hicks lands a job as a plumber’s helper in Houston, Texas. She earns $$$$, but is as lonely as heck.

It’s not like there aren’t any suitors. Elva could choose Chase, the obese pig farmer, or Wyatt, the plumber with wandering hands, but she yearns for something more and finds it with electrician, Mitch McCall.

It’s a cosmic connection. Mitch isn’t turned off by Elva’s name or fan fiction writing, and Elva doesn’t lose interest in him after he cuts off his nose.

Trials and triumphs follow Elva, including a friendship implosion, world-wide fanfic humiliation, and goat salvation.

This summer is destined to be Elva’s most memorable. Join her!

Visit Cece Barlow’s Amazon page.

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