ARC Haiku Review: Hope is a Ferris Wheel…

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small fryGood sweaty morning to you all! I’m particularly excited today because I am unleashing upon you all my first submission for the Small Fry Safari Kid Lit Readers Challenge 2014!  If you don’t know what this is, you should immediately click on the delightful button directly to the right of this sentence and inform yourself. We’ll wait. Go on.

Right then! I am submitting Hope is a Ferris Wheel by Robin Herrera in category 5 – something that comes in pairs.  Can’t guess why? It’s WHEELS! Wheels generally come in pairs when attached to an axle.  And just so you know, I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley – thanks!

Hope is a Ferris Wheel follows a school year in the life of ten year old Star Mackie, who has recently moved to a new town and is finding it difficult to make friends.  This, she suspects, is due to a number of factors – her attractive blue “layered cut” that the other kids call a mullet, her classmates’ inexplicable dislike of trailer parks as a place of residence, and the fact that she is new and a bit different.  Star begins a quest to make friends by starting a club and after a few false starts – The Trailer Park Club not attracting the level of interest she initially expected – the Emily Dickinson poetry club opens some new doors for Star as well as giving her a few new headaches.  Add to this the ongoing drama of living with a busy single mother and a creative, yet misunderstood older sister and Star’s life is all getting a bit complicated.  And we haven’t even mentioned her mission to finally meet her dad.

hope is a ferris wheel

Round and round Star goes

Where she stops nobody knows

Least of all herself!

This book is a real little charmer.  It’s aimed at a middle grade audience and reminded me in some ways of the old Judy Blume books, with a heavy emphasis on a young kid just beginning to emerge into a more grown up world and having to navigate a way through strange new problems.  Star is a very likeable narrator with a refreshing naivete regarding the big bad world.  The child characters in the book are nicely fleshed out and although they have some stereotypical aspects – there’s Denny, the grumpy, protective older brother, and Eddie the tough kid – those aspects never make up the whole of the character.

One of the big drawcards for this book for we shelf-sitters was the theme of poetry running through the book.  Star falls in love with an Emily Dickinson poem about hope after a lesson from their teacher, and later finds out that Eddie, the tough guy, happens to be a dab hand at poetry too.  The poetry club forms a great backdrop for the kids to come out of their shells and find common ground in an otherwise shaky social situation.

There are a few adultish themes running through the book, mainly related to Star’s older sister, but nothing that a reasonably mature middle-grade audience couldn’t handle.  Overall, this was a quick, memorable read and one that approaches the beginnings of growing up in a fun and engaging way.  Hope is a Ferris Wheel is due for publication in early March.

So now I’m off to link up to the Small Fry Safari – even if you’re not signed up, hop on over as there are already some eager safari beavers who have submitted some entries!  Hi ho, Safari, AWAY!

Until next time,

Bruce

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Top Ten Tuesday: Shelfish Goals for 2014….and a giveaway!

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toptentuesdayAfternoon all! Today I am joining with the folk at the Broke and the Bookish and participating in their weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday.  This week we’re all discussing our top ten goals or resolutions for 2014.  Most of my bloggy goals this year focus on blatant self (shelf?) promotion, but you’ll probably pick that up fairly quickly as you read on. Let’s plunge right in shall we?

Goal 1: small fry

Complete (and harrass others to complete) the Small Fry Safari Kid Lit (and YA!) Readers Challenge!

So me and the other shelfies have banded together to host this cheap and cheerful readers challenge focused around books aimed at all types of Small Fry – from newbie newborns all the way up to almost adults.

You only have to read 8 books over the course of the year, BUT…the books have to fit into one of eight quirky categories.  Click on the button to find out more and sign up!

 

imageGoal 2:

Get more people involved in the Fiction in 50 monthly writing challenge!

Every month me and the shelfies host a fun writing challenge affectionately nicknamed Fi50.  All you have to do is create a piece of fiction based on the monthly prompt, in 50 words or less.  It’s a lot of fun and not as hard as you think.  So jump on board – click on the button for more info and the list of monthly prompts.  To read the latest batch of Fi50 masterpieces, go here.

I’m also looking for co-hosts for this challenge, so if you’re interested, drop me a comment!

Goal 3:

Complete other assorted challenges that I have (wisely or otherwise!) sigthe-mad-reviewer-reading-challenge-buttonned up for!

So I took a punt and signed up for the Mad Reviewer’s Read and Review Challenge just today.  I joined at Mad Reviewer level which means I have committed to read AND review 104 books this year. That’s 2 a week EVERY WEEK for the whole year.  Now that I’ve had a few hours to think about it, I honestly think I must have a kangaroo loose in the top paddock to have taken on such a task.  Luckily, I can revise downwards if necessary, all the way down to Sane Reviewer level – then I’ll only have to read and review 12 books in the year (phew! I’m already one twelfth of the way there!).  There’s also a giveaway associated with this challenge, so hop on over if you’re interested – click on the big button to be slingshotted off to your Mad destiny!

I also jumped on the Goodreads challenge for the first time this year….at 150 books.  Yep. Good luck with that Brucey.

Goal 4:

Do more giveaways!

I had so much fun being part of a giveaway blog hop for the first time at the end of 2013 that I thought I should spread the love of free stuff around a bit more this year (and snaffle some more followers at the same time).  So to kick off, here’s my Belated Blogoversary giveaway! It’s open internationally as long as the Book Depository (bless their little hearts) ship to your country for free.  I will be checking entries, so be honest.  Oh, and the prize will be one book of the winner’s choice to the value of $12 – that’s 12 AUSTRALIAN dollars by the way.

One winner will be chosen at random and will have 48 hours to respond to a congratulatory email before a redraw will occur.  The giveaway is in no way related to WordPress, Goodreads, The Book Depository, Rafflecopter, Facebook or any other individual or company that is not me.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

miss marple final casesGoal 5:

Mondays with Marple

Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m an Agatha Christie fan.  Weirdly though, I’ve only ever read one Miss Marple story.  So this year I’m going to rectify that by reading Marple books, and then posting about them. On a Monday. Hence Mondays with Marple.  Suggestions for which book to start with are most welcome.

Goal 6:

Read more Fairy Tale retellings

Up until very recently, I rejected fairytale retellings out of hand as something I was utterly uninterested in.  After two good experiences with them however, I have vowed to take on more.  Lucky for me, they’re at epidemic proportions at the moment.  Again, suggestions welcome.

Okay, six goals will do for now.  Oh no, wait…

Goal 7:

Avoid blog-related burnout

Until next time,

Bruce