Monday, November 17, 2014


Lately I've been a little disappointed in the new book selections I've brought home from the library. It's not often I leave a book unfinished, but, sadly, it's happened twice in the last few weeks. I don't know if it's simply been my mood, or the writing, or something else, but the books just didn't hold my interest.

That was not the case, however, with Magic Delivery by Clete Barrett Smith. This book is a jewel, and I can highly recommend it to anyone of any age who loves to laugh and go on an adventure that is pretty much unique.

The cover art caught my attention right away. The colors swirling across the front makes me think of candy for some reason. Perhaps cotton candy, or Jolly Ranchers. Sounds weird, I know, but that's how it affected me. But then I noticed the bear squashed into the driver's seat of the big truck, headed down the middle of the highway toward two kids on bicycles, and my interest was definitely piqued.

This is a tale with a premise I've yet to come across, although in some ways it reminded me a little bit of The Mask. But just a smidgen. It's much more involved and creative than that.

Two best friends, both from the poor side of town, and both with definite issues, are nearly killed when a large truck comes barreling out of nowhere straight into the boys' path as they ride their bikes home from school. An accident is avoided when the truck goes over the edge of a cliff and falls to the forest below, but the boys feel obligated to check on the driver to see if he's okay. Even though the driver did look suspiciously like a huge grizzly bear.

I'm not going to tell you what they find when they arrive at the scene of the accident. It's just so much fun that you need to read it for yourself. 

This book made me laugh - alot. It also made me cringe because it isn't all fun and games. There are bullies involved, and class clashes, and underhanded dealings, and resentments, and danger. It's quite a roller-coaster ride emotionally, but it's all done in a style that is lighthearted and that makes perfect sense and makes it all believable. Even though the preposterousness of the situation is totally unbelievable. I'm not sure if preposterousness is even a word, but it fits in this situation.

I can highly recommend this book to MG readers who love a rousing adventure and who like to root for the underdog. It is a clean read, but there is some crude humor involved from time to time. If you read, or have read, this one, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.


Cordelia Dinsmore

Monday, November 10, 2014


Attention teachers, librarians, tweens, and parents of tweens! Announcing a contest just for you... The Emblazon authors are giving away a brand new touch screen Kindle loaded with over 50 of their books. That’s a $300 value and hours of reading entertainment! Emblazon is a collection of authors who seek to create lifelong readers by creating top-notch literature for kids. They have a particular focus on ages 11 to 14. They’re hosting this fabulous giveaway to celebrate their first year and to treat you, the readers. The Rafflecopter contest runs November 3 through November 17 and is open to anyone who loves tween literature. a Rafflecopter giveaway Note: Signing up for the catalog is required for entry. Current subscribers are also eligible for entry. Winners must reside in the United States or Canada. 

List of Stops on the Blog Tour:

November 3rd:

November 5th:

November 10th:

November 11th:

November 12th:

November 15th:

You can help even more by sharing this post with your friends and family. If you know teachers or librarians let them know about how awesome the Emblazoners are by sharing the link to their website:

Monday, November 3, 2014


November has finally arrived. That means it's NANOWRIMO.

If you are not a writer, or possibly even if you are a writer, you may not be familiar with this silly little acronym. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. And though the acronym is little, NANO is anything but. It's HUGE! 

I have attempted NANO twice now, and failed miserably both times. The idea is to write an entire novel during the month of November. Approximately 50,000 words is probably the average. 

That's a lot of writing for some. Others have no problem with it at all.

During the process of writing the novel, participants will encourage you to avoid all urges to edit. That is partly why I always fail. I just cannot leave things alone. I'm constantly going back and changing things, or waking up in the night and thinking, "Oh, wait, that won't work. I'll have to redo that part in the  morning." The editing eats up all my time and thirty days go by quickly when one is trying to make a deadline like NANO. 

But I'm not going to even bother this year. I have a project that I'm quite pleased with spending my time on, even though the going is slower than molasses on a cold morning. I'm researching for a historical middle grade novel. It, too, may be my undoing. 

Research isn't bad,  per se. But this project is really big, and I'm still trying to narrow it down to just a few people I want to center on. It's confounding to find so much conflicting information once I begin researching each individual. Dates don't always match. Sites that should have burial information list no such person. And my eyes are nearly bleeding from trying to decipher old letters that have been uploaded to internet sites. Don't get me wrong. I so appreciate the efforts others have made to afford me this information. I just wish it was easier to read.

As I said, though, I'm enjoying the work. And I'm finally learning a bit more about American History - which has always been a difficult concept for me. But I'm ready to begin the actual writing of the project, and I know I'm not ready yet. That's why I didn't even bother to sign up for NANOWRIMO. I am hoping this turns into a positive project and I may not even be finished with the research by the end of this month. 

In the meantime, and to fill in when my eyes can no longer stare at a monitor, I picked up a few promising titles at the library this morning. 

I really AM writing every day, but I don't consider notes to be quite the same thing.


Cordelia Dinsmore