I’m today’s stop on the Bloomsbury Blog Tour celebrating the release of two fantastic middle grade books: The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis and The Frog Princess Returns by E. D. Baker. I’m so excited to share both of these books, and I’ve got excerpts to share and a chance to win both books, so read on and enjoy!
The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart
Published May 30, 2017
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
About The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart
Aventurine is the fiercest, bravest dragon there is. And she’s ready to prove it to her family by leaving the safety of their mountain cave and capturing the most dangerous prey of all: a human. But when the human she finds tricks her into drinking enchanted hot chocolate, Aventurine is transformed into a puny human girl with tiny blunt teeth, no fire, and not one single claw.
But she’s still the fiercest creature in the mountains — and now she’s found her true passion: chocolate! All she has to do is get herself an apprenticeship (whatever that is) in a chocolate house (which sounds delicious), and she’ll be conquering new territory in no time…won’t she?
Excerpt from The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart
He hesitated a moment. Then he leaned down and scooped up a wooden spoon from the ground, his hand trembling. “Trust me,” he said. “You should have the full experience.”
As his face squeezed tight with concentration, he began to whisper to himself, almost chanting the words. Was he singing that stupid song again? The rhythms didn’t sound quite the same, but who needed to hear more human nonsense? Not me. I didn’t even try to make it out.
The moment he reached into his pocket, though, I grabbed his shoulder with one claw. “No swords!”
“I—I…” He stuttered to a halt. “It’s not a sword,” he finally managed. “Look.” He pulled out a bag from his pocket. “It’s just cinnamon.”
Cinnamon? I leaned down toward the bag suspiciously. If he was trying to poison me…
“I’ll eat some myself,” he said. “Look.” He reached one shaking finger into the bag and scooped out a few orangey-brown specks. Then he swallowed them. “See?”
I smelled, which was even better. The open bag smelled amazing.
“Put it in,” I ordered. I wanted to smell that combination. I could already tell that the mixture of cinnamon and chocolate would be wonderful.
He shook in a few pinches, still breathing hard.
Ohhhh, I had been right. These new smells were even better.
I was almost starting to wish that I didn’t’ have to take him home afterward for my family to eat. It would be much more satisfying to keep this human as a pet, to make hot chocolate for me any time I wanted.
He would be a hardworking pet, too, I could tell. As he stirred the hot chocolate, he kept on whispering to himself the whole time in that funny rhythmic chant, his whole body taut with concentration. I suppose I could have listened harder, to try to pick out his words, but really, when had I ever cared about anything humans said? Besides, I was far too busy enjoying the smells from his pot. If I could have, I would have wrapped myself up in those steamy tendrils of scent and rolled around in them for hours. Hot chocolate. Talk about a treasure fit for a dragon!
I’d have to look for more chocolate in his luggage when I finished here. I already knew I would have to have hot chocolate again. Lots of it.
Finally, he looked up and gave me a nervous, wavering smile. “It’s ready,” he said. “Shall I pour it into a cup, or…”
I snorted, sending a ball of smoke flying past his face. “Do you really think I could drink from one of your tiny human cups?”
“I suppose not,” he said. “You’d better drink it from the pot then.” He wrapped one soft, human hand in his outer covering for protection, and then lifted the pot by its long handle. “Look out, it’s hot.”
I gave him a contemptuous look as I reached out with one forefoot. “I’m a dragon.”
My claws curved around the little pot, cradling it like the most precious of gems. Carefully, I lifted it to my mouth. Closing my eyes, I tipped the luxuriant, hot liquid into my mouth.
Bliss exploded through my sense. I reeled with pleasure.
Chocolate chocolate chocolate—
And then everything exploded inside me, and the world went black.
The Frog Princess Returns
E. D. Baker
Published June 6, 2017
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
About The Frog Princess Returns
Fans of E. D. Baker’s The Frog Princess, rejoice! Fifteen years after the original, Princess Emma, Prince Eadric, and all the beloved characters are back for another magical adventure from popular author E. D. Baker.
Two weeks after Emma’s birthday, Prince Eadric — having been turned from a frog into a human again — is still in Greater Greensward. One day, a beautiful princess named Adara arrives at the castle in Greater Greensward for a visit, claiming to be Emma’s distant cousin. But Adara has other motives that threaten Emma and Eadric’s blossoming romance.
Meanwhile, something is very wrong in Greater Greensward. Crops are dying, streams are drying up, and large sections of trees in the enchanted forest are withering — all because the Fairy Queen has disappeared. Without her, there is no peace in the magical kingdom, and dangerous foes threaten to take advantage of her absence. Only brave, tenacious Emma with her knowledge of the land can restore order . . . but first she must set out on a journey unlike any before.
Brimming with lovable characters and page-turning magic, The Frog Princess Returns will bring a whole new batch of readers to E. D. Baker’s highly acclaimed, wonderfully popular world of Frog Princess series.
Excerpt from The Frog Princess Returns
We had reached the top of the stairs when Adara announced that she wasn’t feeling well and was on her way to bed. She was walking away when a guard approached. He told me that someone was waiting to talk to me in the Great Hall. Eadric and I looked at each other, wondering who it could be at that hour. Following the guard, we entered the Hall and found a middle-aged man wearing the clothes of a farmer sitting on a bench by the door.
“I’m sorry to disturb you so late in the day, Your Highness, but I came right after I saw what had happened and it took me a while to get here,” said the farmer. “I’m Johnson. My fields are next to the enchanted forest. I planted my crops there because of the fairies. They take good care of the forest, and the dust they use runs off into the fields around it, making them healthy, too. I’ve had some of my best harvests ever since I started planting those fields. I would have had a great harvest this year if this hadn’t happened. It’s my wheat, you see. Someone gave it the blight.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, but I don’t know what I can do about it,” I told the man. “Haven’t you ever dealt with the blight before?”
Johnson nodded. “Back before I planted near the forest, it happened every few years, but it was never like this. It’s not the blight itself, you see. It’s the way it hit my wheat. Some wheat has it and some doesn’t. It’s made a pattern like a big circle. Darndest thing I ever saw.”
“Really?” I said. “You think someone might have infected your crop with the blight deliberately?
“I can’t think of any other reason it would look like that. Who would do such a thing to a man’s wheat?”
“I don’t know, but I’m going to find out,” I replied. “I’ll come look at it tomorrow.”
First Maple and Water Lily, now Farmer Johnson. Something must be really wrong.
Visit the Other Stops on the Blog Tour
Check out some of the other great blogs participating in this tour. There are guest posts and interviews with the authors as well as some other fun tidbits– not to mention you might want to add a few of these blogs to your own reading list.
May 30: Ms. Yingling Reads
May 31: The Hiding Spot (Interview with authors!)
June 1: Word Spelunking
June 2: Swoony Boys Podcast
June 4: Nerdy Book Club (Really cool guest post from Stephanie Burgis)
June 5: Writing My Own Fairytale (Author interview – I love those!)
June 6: Nerdy Book Club
June 7: Cracking the Cover
June 8: A Backwards Story
June 9: The Story Sanctuary – you are here!
I’ve been wanting to read The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart ever since I heard about it months ago. It looks like such a sweet read! (Literally and figuratively. ;))
Thanks, Mary! I agree– this was a book that pretty much had me at hello. I hope you enjoy it!