Sorry I'm late to my own blog tour! I'm still away trying to help my mom recover from an illness. Enjoy the blog tour and good luck!
Join us for interviews, guest posts, reviews, and giveaways!
Tour ScheduleWed 2/19 - The Book Monsters - review & giveaway
Thu 2/20 - I Am a Reader - interview & international giveaway
Fri 2/21 - Unleashing Readers - guest post & giveaway
Tue 2/25 - Kid Lit Frenzy - guest post & giveaway
Wed 2/26 - Sharpreads - review & giveaway
Fri 2/28 - The Windy Pages - review, interview & giveaway
Tue 3/4 - Read Now Sleep Later - review & international giveaway
Wed 3/5 - The Brain Lair - review & giveaway
About the Book:
Luke Riley is lost. His mother's recent death has set Luke and his family adrift. Even though his father, twin brothers, and their three Bloodhounds are search and rescue volunteers, they have been unable to rescue themselves and become a family again. The summer after sixth grade looms in Luke's mind as a long, lonely three months where the only thing he can look forward to is watching The Weather Channel. Luke is fascinated with the weather, but since his mother's death in a storm, he is also terrified. Even the promised 13th birthday present of a Bloodhound puppy fails to lift Luke's spirits. He would rather have a different breed-a petite Papillon-but his father insists he get a Bloodhound.
When Luke decides to get the Bloodhound from Willajean, a dog breeder who owns Storm Watcher Kennel, he works out a deal to help at her kennel in exchange for the expensive dog. Thrilled to have a summer with a purpose, Luke befriends Willajean's daughter, Megan, and together they plan how Luke can get a Papillon puppy instead of a Bloodhound. But nothing seems to work as they struggle with stubborn fathers, summer storms, unhelpful siblings, and hidden guilt. Can one little white dog really save both families?
I've been a huge fan of Maria V. Snyder's since her first trilogy, The Study Series, ended a few years ago. I get really excited whenever a new tale of hers hits the bookshelves. So when she mentioned that her first middle grade book was about to be released, I couldn't wait to read it. I usually find Maria's characters and world-building so captivating, and Storm Watcher is no exception to this rule. Luke may be just a boy, rather than a weapon-wielding magician or healer like most of Maria's other protagonists, and the world she describes is the same one we live in, but the ordinariness of these elements actually add to the book more than they detract from it.
At first I couldn't really relate to Luke. I'm the eldest, he's the youngest. I'm totally a cat person. I love storms and am generally oblivious to their danger; even though he's interested in them, their unpredictable aspects scare him half to death. And I (knock on wood!) haven't lost my mother, although we came really close to it last week. But there's a lot that Luke and I have in common too. He's thoughtful and a loner. He hangs on to guilt and is a big worrier. Making plans makes us feel a little more in control of our situations, so when we want something, we plot and scheme until we get it. Once Luke takes stock of the problems and challenges he's facing, he doesn't automatically have all the answers. He struggles and makes mistakes. Snyder shapes him in such a real way that the reader can't help but empathize and root for Luke. She also applies her signature style--putting her protagonists through hardship and peril. Poor Luke--but what doesn't kill him makes him stronger.
I would recommend it to those who enjoy family dynamics, survival stories, underdog tales, and learning things while they read. Maria majored in meteorology, and the weather facts you might pick up on while you read are actually true! And even as a die-hard cat person, I really appreciated the details about the different dog breeds. Storm Watcher is a short, emotional tale that really stuck with me, and I hope other readers will enjoy it as well.
About the Author:
Maria V. Snyder writes adult and young adult fantasy novels and short stories. Formerly an environmental meteorologist, she earned a Masters degree in writing from Seton Hill University; she is currently a teacher and mentor for the MFA program. Storm Watcher is her first middle grade novel. You can contact her at maria [at] mariavsnyder.com.
You can enter to win a copy of Storm Watcher here! 10 copies will be sent out to the lucky few (up to 4 will be sent to non-US winners).