All posts belong to The OWL. Powered by Blogger.

Blog Tour: Welcome to Wonderland: Beach Party Surf Monkey by Chris Grabenstein +GIVEAWAY

Very excited today to share with you a new book by Chris Grabenstein for the blog tour of Welcome to Wonderland: Beach Party Surf Monkey.

I LOVE Grabenstein's Mr. Lemoncello books, so I was excited to see about this series.  

About the Book

There’s always something wacky happening when you live in a motel, and P.T. (named after P. T. Barnum, of course) has grown up at the world’s wackiest! When word gets out that the hottest teen idols in Hollywood (plus current YouTube sensation Kevin the Monkey!) will be filming their next movie—Beach Party Surf Monkey—right in St. Pete’s Beach, Florida, P.T. and his friend Gloria know that the Wonderland would be the perfect location. Now they just have to convince the producers!

But when things start to go wrong (crazed fans? missing stars?), it will take all of Gloria’s business genius and P.T.’s wild stories to save the movie before both it and the Wonderland are all washed up!

About the Author

CHRIS GRABENSTEIN is the author of the New York Times bestselling The Island of Dr. LibrisMr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics, and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, which was nominated for over 30 state awards lists!

Follower him on Twitter at @CGrabenstein, and visit him online at

You know those old movies that take place on the beach and or silly and wacky?  That is this book to a T!  Loved it!  Ok I will admit it took me a few pages to really like P.T.  On the first few pages he's pretty over-the-top, but after he relaxed a little I really liked him.  I loved his optimism and his willingness to try almost anything!  And to go along with him - I loved how Gloria balanced him.  He would get himself into so much more trouble without her!

The story itself if full of wacky twists and turns and the classic little guy vs the big guy theme.  Again it kept reminding me of those beach movies from like the 60's.  Characters with big personalities.  Over exaggerated events and behaviors.  BUT completely fun and silly.  I could see kids really getting into this one.  

Loved the ending and can't wait to see more of P.T. and Gloria!

Thank you Random House Kids for the chance to read and review the book AND for providing a copy for a giveaway for you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Explorers: The Door in the Alley by Adrienne Kress Blog Tour

Today I'm happy to share with you a new series: The Explorers!

The Explorers: The Door in the AlleyAdrienne Kress
Featuring a mysterious society, a secretive past, and a pig in a teeny hat, The Explorers: The Door in the Alley is the first book in a new series for fans of The Name of This Book Is a Secret and The Mysterious Benedict Society. Knock once if you can find it—but only members are allowed inside.
This is one of those stories that start with a pig in a teeny hat. It’s not the one you’re thinking about. (This story is way better than that one.)
This pig-in-a-teeny-hat story starts when a very uninquisitive boy stumbles upon a very mysterious society. After that, there is danger and adventure; there are missing persons, hired thugs, a hidden box, a lost map, and famous explorers; and also a girl on a rescue mission.

About the Author

Adrienne Kress is a writer and an actress born and raised in Toronto. She is the daughter of two high school English teachers and credits them with her love of both writing and performing. She also has a cat named Atticus, who unfortunately despises teeny hats. Look for her online at, and follow her on Twitter at @AdrienneKress.

What a cute book! I liked Sebastian from the start!  I loved how predictable he was and then had that completely shaken up! His reactions were really and funny.  I loved how he kept questioning to himself why he was doing what he was doing! I was questioning it, so I loved that he did too! I also loved Evie! She was great, and I think boys and girls alike will enjoy her personality and want to see more of her.  

The story itself was fun, crazy, action packed and capable of pulling readers along for the whole ride.  That is something that the intended audience needs.  They will giggle and want to keep reading.  How could you not when there is a pig that wears a hat! 

Another thing I liked was how the book doesn't talk down to it's reader.  Yes it's silly and goofy, but it doesn't resort to simple language in order to do that.  Instead it ramps up the reading level.  It pushes kids to learn some as they are reading - kinda like The Name of this Book is Secret or the Series of Unfortunate events.  I love when books do that!

Over all - great book that I think will be a hit with kids.  

Thank you Random House Children’s Books for providing a copy for review and hosting the blog tour!

Cover Love: The Suffering Tree

I love book covers! I love walking around Barnes and Noble just looking at all the different covers.  A good cover will make me pull the book off the shelf!  
It's almost like I have a crush on them :)

Today I'm crushin' on:

Questions I have when looking at it:

So many questions!
Is it a tree?
Is that a cemetery??
Why the ships?
Who lives in that house?
Is it floating the in sky?

About the Book:

“It’s dark magic brings him back.”

Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family—it’s their generations-old land the Burns have “stolen.” But none of that seems to matter after Tori witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grave under the gnarled oak in her new backyard. 

Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it’s clear to Tori that he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events—including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter’s cousin—that seem to point back to Nathaniel.

As Tori digs for the truth—and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel—she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the centuries-old curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family’s oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried… at any cost.

One of Us Is Lying Blog Tour and Guest Post! +GIVEAWAY

Very excited to be part of the blog tour for One of Us is Lying hosted by Rock Star Tours!

About the Book:
Author: Karen McManus
Pub. Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 368
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Find it: AmazonB&NTBDiBooksAudibleGoodreads

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, & One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide. 
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

About Karen:
As a kid I used to write books when I was supposed to be playing outside, and not much has changed. I'm a marketing and communications professional who also writes Young Adult contemporary and fantasy fiction in Cambridge, MA.

When not writing or working I love to travel, and along with my nine-year old son I've ridden horses in Colombia and bicycles through Paris. A member of SCBWI, I hold a bachelor’s degree in English from the College of the Holy Cross and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northeastern University. Which I have never, ever used professionally.

Karen was nice enough to write a guest post for The OWL. I asked her to talk about how you write a mystery that keeps everyone guessing.  I'm always impressed and fascinated by someone who can do that well! 

Here's what she had to say!

The art of hiding clues and keeping the ending a surprise (definitely needed with this book!)

When I was a kid I loved the game Clue. There was something satisfying about methodically piecing together bits of evidence until I could say with absolutely certainty that the murder was committed by Mrs. Peacock, in the library, with the candlestick. I wanted One of Us Is Lying to recapture that experience in narrative form—keep readers guessing, but also building on what they learned over time so that the puzzle, once solved, makes sense. 

To keep suspense high, writers have to plant clues in such a way that they nag at a reader’s mind, but don’t beat them over the head. I used a few different techniques that I’ve culled through years as an avid mystery reader (and board game aficionado) while writing One of Us Is Lying:

  1. Unreliable narrators. Because One of Us Is Lying is very character-driven, its four main characters—Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy, and Nate—need to carry a lot of the suspense. They’re in the room for their classmate’s shocking death, which at first makes them objects of sympathy. But when investigators learn the death wasn’t an accident, they become suspects. So they needed to have layers of secrets—not only were they keeping things from their parents, their friends, or the police at various points, but sometimes they weren’t even honest with themselves. 
  2. Several possible explanations. Throughout the book, investigators and others advance different theories: Did the four students plot Simon’s death together? Did one of them plan it and frame the others? Or could a different character be pulling strings? My intent was to keep all of these plausible for as long as possible.
  3. Red herrings. These are useful to scatter throughout a novel to keep readers from guessing whodunit too soon. I don’t want to provide specific examples from One of Us Is Lying (because spoilers) but in general red herrings can take lots of different forms. Suspicious characters who turn out to be innocent, clues that were planted by the villain, events that seem meaningful but aren’t … you get the idea. 
  4. Ambiguous behavior. Characters in One of Us Is Lying often say one thing, but mean another. Sometimes they contradict one another or withhold information. And other times, their reactions simply aren’t what you would expect for the situation. All that contributes to a feeling of unpredictability and an uncertainly about who to trust. 

The hope, of course, is that if you sprinkle your diversions and clues properly throughout the story, your readers are guessing until the very end. But even if that doesn’t happen, the experience can still be satisfying if everything ties together in a way that makes sense.

Thank you for sharing all that!  I still don't think I could write a mystery well - one that keeps the reading guessing!

To see more tour stops check out this week's schedule and the tour page at Rockstar Book Tours:

Week Three:
6/12/2017- Eli to the nthReview
6/13/2017- YA and WineInterview
6/14/2017- Smada's Book SmackReview
6/15/2017- The O.W.L.Guest Post
6/16/2017Zach's YA ReviewsReview

3 winners will receive a finished copy of ONE OF US IS LYING, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Back to Top