Confessions of April Grace – A Review and a Giveaway (Closed)

You all know that I am constantly on the hunt for reading material for my tween daughter, who is a voracious reader.  And you have totally stepped up to the plate to recommend books that your own girls have loved.

Well, I have one for you.  Recently I was contacted by the children’s division of Tommy Nelson Publishing and asked to review the first book in a new series by K.D. McCrite.

I rarely do book reviews anymore, because it involves, you know, READING, and it is difficult to confine me to any one place for any length of time so that I can actually enjoy a book.  But since this book was geared to the middle school aged sect of the female persuasion, I really couldn’t pass it up.

I had a decision to make.  I could have handed “The Confessions of April Grace: In Front of God and Everybody” over to Emme, and then waited for her to finish, and hope she would share with me what she did or didn’t like about the book.  Instead I opted to use it as a read aloud at bedtime.

Remember, this is the kid that declared “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” the best movie she’s ever seen.

So her taste cannot be trusted at this point.

A long time ago, I began the tradition of reading aloud to my children at bedtime.  It can be a challenge to find books that all 3 children will enjoy.  I truly thought I would lose Jensen altogether while “Confessions of April Grace” was on the read-aloud menu.

I was wrong.

All three children sat enraptured while I read.  Except of course when a certain 6 year old spontaneously falls off of the couch, as he is wont to do.

“Confessions of April Grace” is about a spunky 11 year old who lives with her family in the Ozarks.  The story is sprinkled with quirky characters that come to life through April Grace’s detailed observations of all that goes on around her.

This book was laugh out loud funny, and it was a wonderful book to read aloud, because the dialogue was wonderfully crafted as we had insight into not only what April Grace was thinking at any given minute, but were also treated to the banter between these well thought out characters.

My favorite exchanges were between April Grace and Isabel St. James, the snooty and not so welcomed house guest that she was forced to endure.

As I read aloud to my children, I was a little dismayed at the sibling bickering that went on between April and her sister, Myra Sue.  Which hit a little too close to home.

And reason #245 why I look forward to my old age when Fiddledaddy and I will enjoy being chauffeured around by our children, as we sit in the back seat and bicker to our hearts content.

However, my concerns were alleviated by the end of the book, when all characters came together in a united goal of gathering the wagons around a beloved family member.  I was cheering out loud.

Not only was the book entertaining, but there were wonderful messages about character.  Which is something that I desperately want to find in any reading material I give to my children.

I found the book to be very uplifting, and I understand that a sequel will be released in December.  My children very much look forward to the continuing adventures of April Grace.  And so do I.

A Giveaway!

If you’d like to win your own copy of “Confessions of April Grace:  In Front of God and Everybody”, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post answering the following question:

When you were growing up, what adult in your life would have made for the best character in a book?

(For me, it would have been my great Aunt Annie, who buried her second husband next to her first, to save a little money.)

A couple of little rules:

  • One entry per person.

  • This giveaway is open to U.S. residents age 18 or over.
  • 
Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

  • You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

I will keep comments open until Saturday, July 9th, at 9:00 PM, EST.

This post was written for Tommy Nelson Publishing, who provided me the book for review purposes.  The honest opinion expressed in this post is my own.

 

Comments are now closed.

July 6, 2011

35 Responses to Confessions of April Grace – A Review and a Giveaway (Closed)

  • My grandmother, who was the oldest of 6 surviving children in a small, west Tennessee town. The only girl, her brothers and Daddy adored her and called her, as we do in the south, Sister (pronounced, ‘Sistah). She was named after 2 grandmothers and an aunt, so her given name was Ella Alice Irene Austin. When she started school, the teacher asked what her name was and she recited all those names. The teacher asked what she was called, and she grinned and answered, Sistah. My great uncle Bob, her next to youngest brother, told me when he was in his 80s that he didn’t call her Irene because he really didn’t know her well enough to call her by anything but Sistah. They lived together for 8 wonderful years after they were both widowed within a few months of each other, until he died, leaving her the only one left. She was the tiniest little woman I ever knew, but she left the biggest imprint on my heart and in my life. I’m working on a book of her stories that she wrote out for me, and think they will be the “Sister Stories”. Perhaps they can be inspiring to young tweens someday!

  • The best character would be my great Uncle Jim. He spent months traveling the US by hopping on trains like hobos to do research about the homeless. He spent months traveling Europe to research their drinking habits and then compared them to drinking habits in the US. He’s done so many other fascinating things that have brought him all around the world and I love to hear his stories!

  • I would guess my brother. He only lived 41 years, but it was full of music and fun.

  • Definitely my grandfather would have been the best character. He retired early due to a back injury, but he continued to be an integral part of his small town community as he helped others, volunteered often and coached girls’ softball teams.

  • My great grandmother, she had 5 children and lived through the Great Depression. The stories she could tell!

  • It would have to be my grandmother. She secretly married my grandfather when she was underage and they lived separetly for six months until they could be together. It seems like such a great love story.

  • My great grandmother. She was a loving, hard working woman that was just a bit “salty” and loved her afternoon Coke-a-Cola. 🙂

  • My grandma! Actually, both of my grandmas would have been good characters. My dad’s mom was orphaned as a very small child, when her parents were killed in an accident. She grew up in Oklahoma at her aunt & uncle’s house. We recently realized the timing and said, “Grandma, do you remember hearing about Pretty Boy Floyd when you were growing up?” “Oh, yes, dear. He hid in our woodpile.” WHAT? Must. Ask. The. Right. Questions.

    Somehow she met my grandfather, and they lived near Chicago for a while. Then they moved to MN. She was widowed in her late 30s, with 4 children. My grandfather owned a weekly newspaper. It was 1962. My grandma took it over for a year. Despite the fact that women did not generally run businesses like that. A few years after that when a couple of her kids were in college, she went back to school, too. She ended up running the press department of a state university. She never remarried. She has always traveled, even on her own. 10 years ago she had a brain aneurysm, and you’d never know it today.

    My grandfather must have been a very interesting man, because the title of his obituary in the newspaper read, “Our Mountain is Gone…”

    And now I want to write a book…

  • I think it’s interesting that we’re all choosing our grandparents. Any of mine would have made an interesting book character. I’ve heard many harrowing tales of growing up in the mid-west during the depression and beyond.

  • My great-grandmother. She had an abusive Cherokee father and her mother died young, so she was raised by her strict grandparents. Her life was fascinating, as in no way did that really happen, would make a fantastic novel kind of fascinating. She was a strong, strong woman.

  • My uncle Sonny…he left home and went on many adventures in Key West, Colorado, and Hawaii…he is still living an adventurous life.
    This sounds like the kind of book that would be right up my 12-year-old girl’s alley!

  • Sounds like a wonderful book! My character would be my grandmother, who came to Hollywood in the 20s from Minnesota and was a true Flapper! She was widowed when her boys were only 5 and 8 years old, and in a society where single motherhood was unheard of… yet she raised her boys on her own with grace and dignity. Always beautifully dressed, with a twinkle in her eye that never left. She was taken away from us way too soon from Alzheimers – but her spunk and personality live on!

  • My grandma.

  • Definitely Opa Williams. In fact, a book has been written about him. He was a missionary to Borneo for 45 years, on the last boat to get out safely during WWII. When I was 6 and 7 years old, we lived in the same village with him. He had lots of fascinating stories to tell. His autobiography is called A Promise Kept. You can check out the book here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7017517-a-promise-kept Opa Williams has been one of my most inspiring role models of my life. I can’t wait to sit down and listen to his stories again in Heaven.

  • If we’re going for quirky then my Aunt Mare would be a great character! She’s all kinds of crazy wrapped in one person. lol She has lots of “interesting” ideas and thoughts and travels to talk about.
    ljatwood at gmail dot com

  • My Aunt who lived in Florida (for the love of Pete…I can’t remember her name.) She’s an artist and every birthday card was painted just for you. I think I may have seen her in person maybe 6 times during my growing up years, but every time she did come to Philly to visit, she was full of life! Big, bold, always laughing.

  • My mom. She is so creative and lovable.

  • That is a hard choice. My grandfather was a coal miner. He had great stories! My husband’s grandmother (who I grew up with and knew my whole life and didn’t even know he existed) had to quit school at around 12 and raise her brothers and sisters because their mother passed away. I think any one of my family could make interesting characters. We have a few “characters” in the family!

  • My mother would have made the best character for a book. She was sharp witted, opinionated & a bit on the grumpy side (not a mean grump, a realistic one). In highschool friends wanted to come to my house to visit with my mom because she made them laugh so much.

  • Hi DeeDee, this books sounds terrific for my girls to hear! I think I would have loved to read a book about my Grandfather whom I never met. He sounded so funny and imaginative, was madly in love with my Nana, built a house after studying a library book(s), raised 3 boys and a girl(my mom).
    Have a wonderful day!

  • Hmmm….I’d have to say either my Great Aunt Ruth or my Gram. They both overcame great losses in life and still continued to hold their heads high! I always loved listening to stories of their lives.

  • My grandma. I moved away from her when I was seven, and although we kept in touch over the years on birthdays, christmas, etc. by phone, it would have been nice to still have her around and part of my daily life.

  • Hands down, my grandma. She was so spunky! She had flaming red hair and a temper to go with it. Oh, the stories!

  • I would have to say my great Aunt Bessie, who talked about where she was buried for years before she actually was. 🙂

  • My grandmother. She could tell a story and make the “olden days” come alive. Even at 80, she could make me picture a little girl running to school, stopping in a ditch to hide her nasty black woolen stockings.

  • My Grandfather. He was born in Puerto Rico and moved to New York with his family at a time when “Spics” were not appreciated–think West Side Story. He joined the Air Force and spent the next several decades traveling the world. My Grandmother tells a story about trying to throw the dishwasher down the stairs at him, but all through my life, he has been the most generous person.

  • Thanks for the chance to enter DeeDee!

    I think I would have to choose my Uncle Chuck-he was a Marine at Pearl Harbor, nearly had his ship torpedoed by the Japanese near Johnson Island and later was an investigative newspaper reporter who ran afoul of the mob-they attached a bomb to his car but it didn’t go off at the right time-blew up the garage instead. All that said, he’s one of the calmest, kindest and nicest people I know. Plus-he also knows the best way to kill a tarantula . . .

  • Love reading all these stories!! Hard to choose just one family member. I’ve got a great grandfather who spent most of his life in prison for kidnapping and armed robbery, and a sweet grandma who is 98 years old and remembers more than I do.

  • Definitely my dad! He came to the US from Scotland when he was only 16. He was in the British Navy. Joined the US Navy when he was becoming a US citizen and has so many stories to tell.

  • I’m going to have to go with my grandmother on my Dad’s side. I remember when we were young, she always had the coolest things to play with! Ever the thrifty one, she was a pioneer of recycling. We played with old wooden thread spools, metal Doan’s pill boxes, something like old legos, and interesting things like that. She also made drawers in the fronts of each step leading to the attic for odds and end things and tools.
    I think she had every issue of Readers Digest ever published until she died, in her attic library!
    John Denver sang a song called Grandma’s Feather Bed that reminds me of her, because she had one.

  • My mom would have made a great character in a book. She died when I was only 13 but the things she did in her short 39 years were to remember. Thanks for the recmmendation.

  • My Uncle Charles. He was a Methodist minister. He was the funniest person I ever met. We would sit at the kids table at Christmas and just wait for the whoops of laughter to begin at the adult table. Uncle Charles would be telling his stories. He died several years ago and I sure do miss him!

  • I would say my Grandma. She spoke her mind, had “different” taste in home decor and made the best fried chicken and apple dumplings ever!

  • My great-grandfather, who came to America all the way from Hungary to escape the war, and started a furrier company with his brother in New York. He was a very kind and intelligent man.

  • Just squeaking in under the wire 🙂 The book sounds great!