Monday, February 6, 2017

JASPER AND THE RIDDLE OF RILEY'S MINE by Caroline Starr Rose for MMGM -- plus a GIVEAWAY!




Jasper and the Riddle of Riley's Mine by Caroline Starr Rose (Feb 7, 2017, Putnam, 304 pages, for ages 8 to 12).

Synopsis (from Indiebound): Desperate to get away from their drunkard of a father, eleven-year-old Jasper and his older brother Melvin often talk of running away, of heading north to Alaska to chase riches beyond their wildest dreams. The Klondike Gold Rush is calling, and Melvin has finally decided the time to go is now even if that means leaving Jasper behind. But Jasper has other plans, and follows his brother aboard a steamer as a stowaway. 

Onboard the ship, Jasper overhears a rumor about One-Eyed Riley, an old coot who's long since gone, but is said to have left clues to the location of his stake, which still has plenty of gold left. The first person to unravel the clues and find the mine can stake the claim and become filthy rich. Jasper is quick to catch gold fever and knows he and Melvin can find the mine; all they have to do is survive the rough Alaskan terrain, along with the steep competition from the unscrupulous and dangerous people they encounter along the way.

Why I recommend it: Caroline Starr Rose continues to impress me. I've been a fan of her blog since even before May B. pubbed. And May B. made me fall in love with verse novels. I found Blue Birds equally as gorgeous and impressive. Now, she's turned her expert historical fiction skills to prose. And an exciting tale it is.

Jasper is so gosh darn likable and funny, you can't help but want to cheer him on. He's flawed, of course, and often breaks the rules, but his heart is in the right place. If you're a writer, study this one for how to make your main character both realistic and likable. 

Of course, this is also is an adventure story on a grand scale. Rose keeps you turning pages as you race to decipher the clues to the riddle. You'll feel as if you're right there shivering with the boys as they head north, trying to locate the mine and meeting plenty of dastardly antagonists along the way. You can tell the author has done her research. The details about the Klondike Gold Rush are riveting. 

Favorite lines: "Gold," I say again. The word feels warm and round and strange on my tongue (from page 3 of the arc).

Bonus: This would make a wonderful read-aloud. 


For other Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts, see Shannon's blog




Giveaway details: One lucky reader will receive both a brand-new hardcover copy of JASPER AND THE RIDDLE OF RILEY'S MINE, plus (through the generosity of the author) one 40-page journal, with a quote from the book on its cover.

(If you'd like the book but not the journal, please mention this in the comments, and if randomizer picks you, I'll choose someone else for the journal.) This giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only and ends on Sunday February 19, 2017 at 10 pm EST. To enter, you must be a follower of this blog and you must comment on this post. Winner will be announced on Monday February 20, 2017.


30 comments:

  1. The synopsis makes this one sound like a must read. So many great elements and a character you can cheer for. A perfect setting, too.

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  2. So great to see this beautiful book and author getting some MMGM love! I'm with you, in that I've been a long-time fan of Caroline and her writing. My TBR pile is staggering, but I'll keep my fingers crossed, all the same. ;)

    --Suzanne
    www.suzannewarr.com

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  3. I love hearing readers are responding to Jasper's character as I have. He feels very real to me. Thanks for the lovely review, Joanne!

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    1. You're quite welcome, Caroline! Jasper's wonderful. And thanks for stopping by.

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  4. I've been following this author's blog for quite awhile now and appreciate the words of encouragement found there. But shame on me! I'm missing out on her work! I love reading stories set in AK--one of my favorite places to visit (I camped there 2 summers with my parents and loved it). Thanks for the chance to win an exciting book in my favorite genre to read.

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    1. Wow, Danielle! I'm impressed that you've been to Alaska twice. I've never been there at all.

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    2. My parents were teachers and had the entire summer off. We went on a very strict budget, but really got into the fishing and wildlife which is the best part.

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  5. Sounds like an action-packed book...and what a great giveaway!

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    1. It certainly is, Stephanie. And good luck in the giveaway.

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  6. I have a soft spot for historical fiction. Review Home Sweet Alaska, about the early settlers and loved it. I have been to Alaska and love it, so this story is one I want to read! Thank you for introducing me to Caroline!

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    1. Historical fiction has certainly grown on me in the last ten years, Patricia. And another reader who's been to Alaska. Lucky you!

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  7. This sounds like another awesome read from Caroline. I'm going to let someone else win this though. I'm reading more adult fiction right now.

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    1. Everything Caroline writes is fantastic. But reading adult fiction is important too, Natalie.

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  8. I do love historical fiction and can't pass up a chance on this one. I have enjoyed Caroline's earlier books as well. If I'm the lucky winner, please choose someone else for the journal and share the wealth.

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  9. I've already ordered a copy, so I'll let someone else win this, but BOY AM I EXCITED TO READ IT!

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  10. I've seen this around. It looks like a good adventure story!

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  11. I'm so excited for Caroline's latest release! It sounds fabulous, and I've seen it everywhere.

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    1. Yay! Glad to hear you're seeing it everywhere. This is excellent news.

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  12. This sounds like a fun adventure! I don't think I have read any other MG books about the gold rush. Thanks for sharing and for the chance to win the prize package. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. It's great, Jess. And I never read another MG novel about the Klondike gold rush. But I've read The Ballad of Lucy Whipple, about the California gold rush.

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  13. I did really like this one. It's great paired with Lourie's upcoming Jack London and the Klondike Gold Rush.

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YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. Let's have a conversation.