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THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE through April 22nd
Happy Easter Giveaway Hop through April 30th
Tracy Marchini Query Critique through April 29th
THE WINGSNATCHERS through May 4th

Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways

Laura Spieller on 4/26/2017
Loren Oberweger on 5/10/2017
Alyssa Jennette on 5/24/2017
Bibi Lewis on 6/12/2017
Kelly Van Sant on 6/21/2017

JENNIFER NIELSEN'S MARK OF THE THIEF REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Today I'm super, super thrilled to share about Jennifer Nielsen's MARK OF THE THIEF that releases on February 24, 2015. If you've followed my blog for awhile, you already know that Jennifer is one of my favorite authors. So I was super excited to learn that she has a new series coming out. And it's just as fantastic as her The Ascendance Trilogy.

Here's a blurb from Goodreads:

When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods -- magic some Romans would kill for.

Now, with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic's newfound powers for their own dark purposes.

In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire's most powerful and savage leaders.

  
I loved how the story combines Roman history with magical elements. This will really appeal to fans of the Percy Jackson series, but it is a totally different story, which is one of the reasons it's so good.  

The beginning lines are fantastic. Here they are:

     In Rome, nothing mattered more than the gods, and nothing mattered less than its slaves. Only a fool of a slave would ever challenge the gods' power.

     I was beginning to look like a fool.

Jennifer then moved immediately into the first scene filled with conflict and action. She artfully weaves
this theme into the chapter and the whole book. One of my critique partners was struggling with her first chapter at the time I started this and I typed out the first few pages of this chapter for her.

Jennifer also does a really good job creating Nic's voice. It's uniquely his, witty, sarcastic, and defiant at times. She's a master at getting her main character's voice right. And Nic is so sympathetic in his mission to find and save his sister.

The plot moves along without a dull moment. Often there is a little middle sag in a book. Not here. This is a real page turn with plot twists I couldn't see coming. 

This is a really good book to read to enjoy and, for a writer, to study for the craft of writing. I mostly just buy books to give away here now. But I'm planning to buy this for myself to learn from it.

I could go on and on, but I won't.

Scholastic generously provided me with an ARC of MARK OF THE THIEF, which I'm offering for a giveaway (Sob, sob!). If for some reason it's not your type of book, I hope you'll enter to win for a kid in your life that would enjoy it. 

To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through February 21st. I’ll announce the winner on February 23rd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry.This is for for US and Canada.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Messenger. You can find all the other participating blogs on her blog.

Here's what's coming up:

On Monday I'll have an interview with debut author Laurie McKay and a giveaway of her MG fantasy THE LAST DRAGON CHARMER.

The next Monday I have an interview with debut author Rhiannon Thomas and a giveaway of her YA fairy tale retelling A WICKED THING.

The Monday after that I have a guest post by debut author Karen Bao and a giveaway of her science fiction YA DOVE ARISING.
 
Wednesday that week I have a guest post by debut author Alison DeCamp on marketing middle grade novels and a giveaway of MY NEAR-DEATH ADVENTURES, her MG historical fiction similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid. 

The Monday after that I have an interview with debut author Victoria Aveyard and a giveaway of RED QUEEN, her YA fantasy/dystopian.


Hope to see you on Monday!




57 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review! I loved the Ascendance Trilogy so I'm really looking forward to reading this one!

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  2. This one sounds wonderful! I want it! Thanks for the review and I wish Jennifer much success! :)

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  3. I so can't wait for Mark of the Thief. I loved the Ascending Trilogy sooooo much! Thanks for the giveaway!
    EllieMoreton at gmail.com

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  4. Great post sweetie. <3 I can't enter for the giveaway; just wanted to say that you are awesome for giving the book away :D I'm so curious about this one. <3 I'm so glad you enjoyed it :)

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  5. I would really like to read this one as I've long been into ancient Roman and Greek history. I've tweeted about it!

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  6. Terrific review. I do like a sarcastic voice, and I'm a big fan of Roman and Greek history. Congrats to Jennifer!

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  7. That sounds like a fabulous read! I have a few kids who would totally go for the storyline (and maybe the inner kid too). I love it when people can merge history and fantasy in one. Love it.

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  8. She is an incredible writer. I can't wait to read this!

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  9. This sounds amazing! I loved the Ascendence trilogy, and I didn't know she had a new one coming out. I love the Roman history element, that's not something you see a lot. Thanks for featuring this, Natalie!

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  10. Wow, the plot sounds so intricate! Thanks for sharing, Natalie.

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  11. Hmm, you are luring to another book. Congrats to Jennifer!

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  12. This book sounds great. What an enthusiastic review!

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  13. The first lines really draw you in! Excellent review! Congrats to Jennifer!

    Julie

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  14. Ah, sounds like my kind of book. Intriguing, adventurous, and a good thief.

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  15. OMG, I am crazy about all of Jennifer Nielsen's books and cannot wait to get my hands/eyes on this one! Thanks for the review and giveaway!

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  16. Love those first lines! They bring you right in and give you so much info in such few words. beautiful!
    Off to spread the word :)

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  17. I love anything Roman period so this sounds really interesting! They were so horrible, especially to their slaves.
    My tweet: https://twitter.com/suekitty13/status/563100542596313088
    email: sueterendy at hotmail dot com

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  18. Mark of the Thief sounds awesome, and I might just need to study it too. emilygmoorewriter@yahoo.com

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  19. I visited Rome years ago, and was fascinated about its history. So this book sounds very interesting. Congratulations, Jennifer, on your new book!

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  20. Congrats on the up and coming release of Mark of the Thief. It sounds like a great read.

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  21. Can't wait for the release. Happy to hear you enjoyed it so much. I'm not entering as I already pre-ordered but thank you for the first lines to tide me over :)

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  22. This book is totally up my alley. How awesome that you are giving away a copy. I would love to win! Mark of a Thief sounds fabulous. I don't think I have read anything by this author- but it sounds like I should start. :)
    ~Jess

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  23. I confess that I've never read anything by this author, but I'd love to discover a new favorite!

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  24. Mark of the Thief sounds super. I like the way it starts and from those few lines I can get a sense of what Nic's voice will be like.

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  25. I am such a huge huge HUGE fan of Jennifer's so I am super excited for this book! I've beenwaiting for her to release something and caught wind of this a few months ago. I'm so so so excited *fingers crossed*
    I am a current email follower
    Brittersweet83@aol.com

    Here is my tweet link ๐Ÿ˜œ
    https://twitter.com/kalebsmome/status/563229662072274944

    ❤️Britt

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  26. This book sounds fantastic! I can't wait to read it.
    I am an email follower
    email: lcspeers@gmail.com

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  27. The Mark of the Thief sounds like a great book. Such a strong opening.

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  28. Thank you for such a a great spotlight!!! This sounds fantastic :) I follow by gfc:erin and email:efender1@gmail.com

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  29. I love this author. Can't wait to see what she does with this character and time period. mjbcroth@frontier.com

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  30. Sounds like an excellent book! And thanks so much for your highlight of Ashes Burn on Monday! I really appreciate it!

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  31. This sounds like it could be interesting!

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  32. Ancient Rome, magic, and a touch of Caesar - sounds great!

    I follow via email nrlymrtl at gmail dot com

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  33. Sounds like a really fun book. Love that opening.

    Shared on Twitter, FB, and Pinterest.

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  34. Oh my! I need this book now. Seriously! Love Ancient Rome and their gods and everything! Then again, I wouldn't have majored in them (and the Ancient Greeks) if I hadn't loved them.

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  35. This sounds like a real page turner. If I should win the giveaway, could you please write a note inside to the Little Free Library Walnut? l'll read it and put in inside my Little Free Library to share with others. Thank you!My email is nicolepopel@me.com

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  36. Looks great . . . another book I'll want to read :-)

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  37. I absolutely love Jennifer Nielsens writing style her characters and the witty dialogue just flows off the pages. I loved her Ascendance trilogy so I was super excited to hear about a Mark of the Thief and a Night Divided

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  38. Your enthusiasm for this book is contagious! I'd love a chance to win it!

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  39. Thanks for this review. The books sounds terrific. But please let someone else win. I am just buried in books right now.

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  40. I enjoyed her Ascendance trilogy. I'm looking forward to having another main character like Jaron- witty and genuine! Thank you! theindigoshelf at gmail dot com

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  41. I love the amazing books and authors you feature. I'd love to read this.

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  42. Wow! The first line is one of the best I've read. Definitely makes me want to keep reading. I would love to win this book and will share the giveaway on Twitter. thanks for the post and giveaway! https://twitter.com/dhammelef/status/563685400460275715

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  43. Oh oh oh it's historical fantasy!!! Ancient Rome plus magical elements!!! Want, want, want!

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  44. I love that you said you are buying this book to hold onto for yourself - that's a pretty high compliment! The book sounds fantastic!

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  45. I want this one lots! And I'm mentioning the giveaway in my Sunday round-up...

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  46. Sounds like a fun book. I loved stories of Ancient Greece and Rome when I was a kid. :)

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  47. This sounds so good! What a great blurb. :)

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  48. love the book premise and the cover is amazing!!

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  49. Intrigued by the plot. Would love to read this.

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  50. Ooooo, a Roman series! Just what I need, especially after Riordan wrapped up his Greek/Roman stuff! Can't wait to check out this book! I'm at deduvick (at) gmail (dot) com!

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  51. My oldest loved the last series Jennifer wrote. Still on my to-read list. I shared on FB and Twitter.

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  52. Roman historical fantasy--why not? I'll see about adding this to my readng list. Thank you for sharing!

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  53. This book is the first of a Trilogy, so you will have questions even after you read the book. That's fine with me, because I want to know what happens to Nic and his friends (if indeed they are his friends.)

    Marlene
    Info site for Ketchikan Fishing Charters Halibut

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  55. This book is packed full of fascinating places, characters, and conflict. My daughter and I had so much fun reading this together-- and stressing over all the crazy situations that Nic got himself into. Well done.

    Jasmine
    Dundalk Carpet Patching

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