Monday, September 17, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Darkbeast, by Morgan Keyes--and a giveaway!

Believe it or not, I actually have an MMGM for you!!!!! (Once again, a huge thanks to Deb Marshall for her wonderful guest posts!)

It's for a book I actually hadn't heard of until someone contacted me asking me if I'd be interested in reading, and the concept sounded so interesting I HAD to give it a try--especially after I saw the gorgeous cover: DARKBEAST, by Morgan Keyes


Here's how the publisher describes it:

A girl’s love for her raven may put her life in jeopardy in this gripping tale.

In Keara’s world, every child has a darkbeast—a creature that takes dark emotions like anger, pride, and rebellion. Keara’s darkbeast is Caw, a raven, and Keara can be free of her worst feelings by transferring them to Caw. He is her constant companion, and they are magically bound to each other until Keara’s twelfth birthday. For on that day Keara must kill her darkbeast—that is the law. Refusing to kill a darkbeast is an offense to the gods, and such heresy is harshly punished by the feared Inquisitors.

But Keara cannot imagine life without Caw. And she finds herself drawn to the Travelers, actors who tour the country performing revels. Keara is fascinated by their hints of a grand life beyond her tiny village. As her birthday approaches, Keara readies herself to leave childhood—and Caw—behind forever. But when the time comes for the sacrifice, will she be able to kill the creature that is so close to her? And if she cannot, where will she turn, and how can she escape the Inquisitors?


Sounds awesome,  right? Well, I can assure you, IT IS. 

Sometimes I have a harder time with "high fantasy" books like this, where the world is completely separate from our own. They can feel a little too foreign for me to really connect. But DARKBEAST strikes the perfect balance between the fantastical and the familiar and makes the world completely relatable. Of course it also helps that the idea of a darkbeast is just so freaking cool--I dare anyone who reads this to not want a darkbeast of their own (though, um... don't sign me up for a spider... *shudder*)

I loved Caw and his hilarious, insatiable hunger for treats. I loved Keara and her stubborn bravery. I loved the mythos of the world, and the structure of the society, with its common villagers, alluring Travelers, and terrifying Inquisitors. I loved the lyrical style of the writing, which reminded me (in the best way possible) of Shannon Hale. Basically, I loved this book, and am so happy someone pointed it out to me. 

Which is why I wanted to spotlight it for all of you. I'm afraid to say too much more and spoil any of the awesomeness for you. So I'll end by saying if you're looking for something funny and sweet and refreshingly different, DARKBEAST is the perfect book for you. 

And to make sure at least one of you gets a chance to read it, I'm giving away a SIGNED hardcover to one lucky winner.

If you would like to enter, leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm pacific time on Saturday, September 22nd. I'll draw one random winner and post their names on Sunday, September 23rd. International entries welcome!

For more awesome middle grade recommendations, check out these other MMGMs floating around the blogosphere.*
- Julie DeGuia is crazy for ONE CRAZY SUMMER. Click HERE to see why. 
- Susan Olson is wound up over REWIND. Click HERE for her review. 
- Mrs. Heise is swooning for WONDER. Click HERE to see what she thought.  
- Gabrielle Prendegast is giving away WICKET SEASON and BREAKING STALIN'S NOSE. Click HERE for all the details.  
- Jennifer Rumberger is singing praises for GLORY BE. Click HERE to see why.  
- Faith Hough is starstruck for WHAT CAME FROM THE STARS. Click HERE for her review 
- Brennan and Meyrick Murphy are fascinated by HOLES--and they're doing an amazing FIVE BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!! Click HERE to see what these two middle grade readers thought of it. 
- Laurisa Reyes is hosting the amazing Amy Fellner Dominy as she shares her worst moments in middle schoo--with a GIVEAWAY of AUDITION & SUBTRACTION. Click HERE to enter.  
- Jasmine is celebrating ONE YEAR IN COAL HARBOR. Click HERE for her review. 
- Alex Baugh is championing SAME SUN HERE. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Michelle Isenhoff is captivated by THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. Click HERE to see why.  
- Andrea Mack is dishing on THE DOT. Click HERE to learn why she thinks its fun for all ages.
- Joanne Fritz is caught in the web of THE SPINDLERS. Click HERE to see why. 
- Michelle Mason is raving about HECK: WHERE THE BAD KIDS GO. Click HERE to read her review. 
- Myrna Faster is telling tales about THE SEVEN TALES OF TRINKET--with a GIVEAWAY! Click HERE for all the fun! 
- Michael Gettel-Gilmarten is interviewing The Narrator--with a GIVEAWAY of THE TEMPLETON TWINS HAVE AN IDEA. Click HERE for details. 
- Barbara Watson is sharing THE LOST TREASURE OF TUCKERNUCK--with an ARC GIVEAWAY. Click HERE to enter. 
- Charlotte Taylor is feeling the magic at THE HOCUS POCUS HOTEL. Click HERE to read her review. 
- Shiela Blankmeier is reviewing AUDITION AND SUBTRACTION. Click HERE to see what she thought.   
- Danika Dinsmore is praising WONDER. Click HERE for her review. 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week! 
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome 
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week. 
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!  

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so I see it)

NOTE: I used to not have a cut-off time for adding links to the post, but with how insane my schedule is right now, if you don't email me by Sunday evening (usually around 11pm PST is when I put the links together) I can't guarantee I'll have a chance to add you. BUT, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen posts ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me ahead of time

43 comments:

  1. Omg! I need this book! Ah! Thank you for letting me know about it, Shannon. <3 Sigh. I adore middle grade books. And this one sounds so good. Adore the cover :) Thank you for the giveaway as well :D *Fingers crossed.* <3
    Love, Carina

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  2. That sounds great and a little spooky all at once!

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  3. Oooh, sounds soooo interesting! I'd love to be entered!

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  4. This sounds incredible. A bit of The Knife of Never Letting Go, with a touch of The White Mountains, all wrapped up in a nice, MG package. Thanks, Shan!

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  5. I haven't seen this one yet, but it sounds like a winner--and you're right about that cover!! :-)

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  6. I often have trouble getting into high fantasy too . . . glad you mentioned that this one has enough familiarity to keep the reader pulled in. I'm looking forward to reading it.

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  7. I love high fantasy. This one sounds like another great recommendation!!

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  8. And did you know that the cover for DARKBEAST is by the terrific artist, Erin McGuire? She did both the covers for my CIRCLE OF SECRETS and WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME - and she did the cover for BREADCRUMBS, too.

    She's fabulous. The book sounds terrific, too.

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  9. I'm not a huge fan of fantasy, but this one sounds great. Thanks for running the giveaway.

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  10. I love fantasy, and this one sounds SO GOOD!

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  11. The cover is pretty. The story tears at my heart. My beloved cat passed a couple months ago. I can't imagine doing anything to harm him, let alone well...what law is dictating Keara to do. I think that law needs to be struck from the books. Looking forward to the giveaway.

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  12. I love the cover and this sounds like a great fantasy book! Thanks for sharing it with us : )

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  13. The cover draws me right in! And the story sounds wonderful. Thanks for offering the chance to win it.

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  14. Oh! I hadn't heard of this one. Love the cover and the premise sounds exciting, too! Thanks, Shannon!

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  15. I'd love to win this as it sound brilll!!!!

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  16. Sounds like a great read! Thanks for the recommendation.

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  17. Darkbeast sounds really good! Thank you for the review. I love middle-grade books and this one sounds very clever and well done.

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  18. Ooh this sounds AWESOME!!!! Thanks for giving us the opportunity to win!

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  19. I love high fantasy but will let someone else win this one. I got to get my TBR list under control.

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  20. This one sounds like a good one. I'd love to win it for my grandchildren (after i read it of course!!!). Thanks for the chance.

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

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  21. That does sound good and the cover looks almost like a first-run movie poster. Isn't it funny how great stuff like this can fall into our laps from out of nowhere? Thanks for putting up a giveaway for it.

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  22. This sounds really good and I love the cover. I'd love to know what happens.

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  23. Sounds like a real winner! I think I'd like it and so would the kids in my class :)

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  24. Hmmmm...Sounds good! Thanks for sharing! :)

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  25. Yay! The cover are so beautiful! I want to read it *-* Thank so mcuh for the opportunity. I haven't heard of it and I've added it to my TBR pile already :)
    Have a nice day,
    Camila

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  26. Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me. Sounds very good.

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  27. This one sounds great - I love as good MG high fantasy!

    - Jessica @ Book Sake

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  28. Whoa...this sounds great, Shannon! And I'm always glad to guest post, love that you always do giveaways, too!

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  29. I would love a copy of DARKBEAST thank you. Very interesting.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  30. That sounds really good! I love a good familiar and this is a great spin on those!

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  31. This is exactly up my middle grade alley. I like the concept. Reminds me a little of His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman - like Pan and Lyra (only they don't have to kill their daemons, it's the opposite).

    Congratulations on an actual MGM post. :-)

    danika

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  32. That cover is indeed gorgeous and I would definitely want a darkbeast. I'm with you though, no spiders.

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  33. The book sounds great!

    BTW, I love checking at my local library to see if they have books I'm interested in. Fort Vancouver Regional Library in Vancouver WA has KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES on order!

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  34. Ohmygosh, this looks amazing! And yes, the cover is gorgeous.

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  35. Oh yes, please enter me in the giveaway. Sounds like something I'd like.

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  36. I can imagine middle schoolers relating to DARKBEAST. Great concept. Look forward to reading this book.

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  37. Wow, this book sounds fantastic. Thanks for the chance to win, Shannon!

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  38. As the release of KEEPER is coming near, I want to read more MG!!! LOve this one!

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  39. I hadn't heard of this one either, but it sounds GREAT! Thanks for the chance to win.

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  40. Hadn't hear of this one. Pretty cover.

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  41. This sounds so good! And the cover is so pretty. :] Thanks for the giveaway!

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Yay-I love comments! Thank you so much! (But please remember to keep your comments spoiler-free. Also, I try to keep this a happy, positive place. Friendly debate is fine, but always be kind to each other). <3