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Friday, April 22, 2016

STARS SO SWEET~ Review and ARC Giveaway!

Friends, I've got a delicious treat for you today. The third book in Tara Dairman's middle grade Gladys Gatsby series will be out this July, and I managed to get my hands on TWO advanced copies! I'll give one away this week and one in early June. Just leave a comment to enter and I'll choose a winner next Friday, April 29. UPDATE: The winner is.... Mrs. Kirchner! Congrats, Mrs. Kirchner, please email me a good mailing address at: jessicaselawson{at]gmail[dot]com

I cannot say enough about the delightful Gladys or her growth over the three books that started with the Crystal Kite Award winner All Four Stars and continued with the equally hilarious and yummy The Stars of Summer. I fell so in love with this young foodie and her adventures that I'm holding out for another book after this one.

Tara Dairman is extremely well-traveled (check out her 2 year, 74-country honeymoon HERE) and has sampled local cuisine all over the world~ who better to write the chronicles of a middle grade foodie than an author who loves food and knows first-hand the way it connects people. Her blog even features recipes from the first book.

I'm lucky enough to be able to claim her as a critique partner and cannot wait to get my hardcover of STARS SO SWEET. Tara recently shared some exciting news~ all three books will be available on Audiobook! Release dates for those are May 10 (All Four Stars), June 10 (The Stars of Summer), and July 19 (Stars so Sweet).

Once again, I'll do a seven-word highlight review of the things this book does incredibly well.

Highlights of STARS SO SWEET: Characters, Humor, Heart, Mouthwatering Food Descriptions, Friendships, School Setting, and.... Chapter Titles (seriously, these are so fantastic)!

Here's a summary of STARS SO SWEET:

As the summer winds down and Gladys Gatsby prepares to start middle school, she is nervous about juggling schoolwork and looming deadlines from her secret job as the New York Standard’s youngest restaurant critic. When her editor pushes for a face-to-face meeting to discuss more opportunities with the paper, Gladys knows she must finally come clean to her parents. But her perfectly planned reveal is put on hold when her parents arrive home with a surprise:  her Aunt Lydia, one of the only adults who knows her secret, fresh off the plane from Paris. Gladys and Aunt Lydia try one last ruse to fool her editor at the Standard, but even with her aunt’s help, Gladys just can’t manage the drama of middle school and a secret life. It’s time for Gladys to be true to herself and honest with her friends and family, regardless of what those around her think.

Before I end this post, I thought I'd give you an idea of how long I've been a fan of this series. Here's a picture of my youngest with ALL FOUR STARS at a a local bookstore...

And here she is proudly holding Book #3!

Best of luck in the giveaway!

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tricia Springstubb's EVERY SINGLE SECOND: Highlights-Style Review and Giveaway

Hi All!

I've been a fan of Tricia Springstubb's for quite some time, and recently I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC of her upcoming book, EVERY SINGLE SECOND. All I can say is, wow...it's Impressive with a Capital I. Oh wait, that's not all I can say! I can say a whole ton, actually, but I'll try to keep it succinct.

So this is a new idea~  instead of a lengthy review (which I could definitely provide~ this novel has so much to applaud), I'm going to tell you seven things that I think are especially admirable in Tricia Springstubb's latest middle grade novel (and if you need more than one opinion, click on this STARRED review in Publishers Weekly)

HIGHLIGHTS OF EVERY SINGLE SECOND: Heart, Conflict, Tension, Relationships, Authenticity, Voice, Framing/Structure

There you go, folks! This one should definitely go on your MUST-READ lists! A summary of the story is below~ just LEAVE A COMMENT TO BE ENTERED TO WIN MY ADVANCED COPY (winner picked on 4/20/16) UPDATE: Via Random.org, the winner is ... Joanne Fritz! Congratulations, Joanne, please email me your address or DM me on Twitter (handle @JS_Lawson) and I'll get that book shipped to you!


From acclaimed author Tricia Springstubb comes an incredibly powerful and timely novel about how a single act impacts a community, a city, and the way a young girl views the world around her.

A single second. That’s all it takes to turn a world upside down.

Twelve-year-old Nella Sabatini’s life is changing too soon, too fast. Her best friend, Clem, doesn’t seem concerned; she’s busy figuring out the best way to spend the “leap second”—an extra second about to be added to the world’s official clock. The only person who might understand how Nella feels is Angela, but the two of them have gone from being “secret sisters” to not talking at all.

Then Angela’s idolized big brother makes a terrible, fatal mistake, one that tears apart their tight-knit community and plunges his family into a whirlwind of harsh publicity and judgment. In the midst of this controversy, Nella is faced with a series of startling revelations about her parents, friends, and neighborhood. As Angela’s situation becomes dangerous, Nella must choose whether to stand by or stand up. Her heart tries to tell her what to do, but can you always trust your heart? The clock ticks down, and in that extra second, past and present merge—the future will be up to her.

Tricia Springstubb’s extraordinary novel is about the shifting bonds of friendship and the unconditional love of family, the impact of class and racial divides on a neighborhood and a city, and a girl awakening to awareness of a world bigger and more complex than she’d ever imagined.