Monday, May 29, 2017

MMGM- The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart

Well, it's summer break for me, which means taking the  dog for long bike rides, digging to the bottom of piles that need to be organized, and READING ALL THE BOOKS! I'll be participating in the #BookADay challenge on Twitter, trying to remember to post to Instagram, and participating in some blog tours. 

If you need something to read, look no further than today's review. If it sounds good, go to this link to enter to win a copy! 

26869762Burgis, Stephanie. The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart
May 30th 2017 by Bloomsbury US
ARC provided by publisher at ALA

Aventurine is a young dragon who is bored with being in the family cave and doesn't want to study the way her brother Jasper does. To prove that she can take care of herself, she ventures out and meets a good prospect for dinner... until her dinner turns out to be a food mage who offers her a cup of delicious smelling hot cocoa that turns her into a human girl! Confused and irritated, she heads off down the mountain to the town of Drachenberg with a kindly couple who advise her. They also want her to become an unpaid servant, so she runs away. She is enthralled with the whole concept of chocolate, so seeks an apprenticeship with the two biggest chocolate houses in town. They laugh and kick her out, but she happens upon a third, lesser known house with the help of Silke, who makes everyone's business her own. She comes at a fortuitous moment. Marina and Horst need an apprentice, but Marina is famously hard on them because they don't feel as passionately about chocolate as she does. Aventurine does. Business isn't good, but with Silke's help, The Chocolate Heart manages to get more customers, only to have them scared off when the king and his daughters visit at the same time that the town council carries out a disastrous inspection. That's just the beginning of the problems. Dragons are seen flying near the town, and the battle mages are convinced they need to kill the dragons with poison. Can Aventurine save the town from the dragons, the dragons from the town, and The Chocolate Heart and Marina from leaving Drachenburg?

It's easy to forget that Aventurine is a dragon, until she decides to kick the town council's adviser or roars her displeasure in a way quite unbecoming to a young girl. She feels passionately about chocolate and has trouble understanding the concept of friendship, but her reckless pursuit of what she loves most is charming. Together with Silke's busybody ways and Marina's blustery dedication to her art work Aventurine's dedication creates a supportive world where even dragons can't stand in the way of her success. 

The traditional old world setting is given a fresh feel by the addition of chocolate. The descriptions of both the chilly Germanic town and the delicious chocolate creations are wonderfully vivid.

It's hard to create a fantasy that feels fresh, but The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart does a great job of  introducing amusing new characters and setting them against a backdrop filled with adventure and chocolate! I enjoyed this book tremendously. 

My Love Lists – Guest Post by Stephanie Burgis

Whenever I’m trying to come up with a new book, I sit down and make lots of handwritten lists of things that I love personally, irrationally, and to an unreasonable extreme. These lists are always long and full of random, unconnected things...but almost always, when a new novel idea finally pops into my head a few days (or weeks) later, it includes a whole assortment from that list of personal passions.

And when it comes to my new MG novel, The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart – well, the clue is in the name, isn’t it? :) I have loved dragons ever since I was five years old, listening breathlessly to my dad’s reading of The Hobbit – I don’t think I moved a single inch between the opening and ending of Bilbo’s riddle scene with Smaug! I was utterly hypnotized, afraid to even blink.

There’s just something about dragons – their massive size, their incredible power, and their sheer beauty (despite their menace) – all those glittering scales! Oh, and the fact that they famously hoard and sleep on piles of priceless gold and jewels (and honestly, I’ve always had a thing for sparkly jewelry, too, so I empathize completely)...and the fact that their shiny, gorgeous scales are meant to be utterly impenetrable...

Well, who could not be awed and overwhelmed (even while utterly terrified and certain to be eaten)? I love dragon stories.

And then...well, CHOCOLATE! Talk about another personal passion!

Almost every day of my life, I make myself a cup of rich, dark hot chocolate by heating up a cup of milk on the stove, sprinkling cinnamon and nutmeg into it, and then whisking 25 grams of 70% dark chocolate into the steaming hot milk. When it pours down my throat, it fills me with warmth and delight, every time.

In The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart, when my fierce dragon-girl heroine, Aventurine, tastes her own first hot chocolate, she’s overwhelmed in more ways than one. She’s finally found her own lifelong passion – but since it was made by a tricksy food mage, she’s now stuck trying to pursue that delicious passion in the puny, helpless body of a 12-year-old human girl, without any fire, claws or scales to defend herself.

Luckily, she hasn’t lost any of her ferocity, her territorialism, or her inner strength. And when she reaches the human city...well. Let’s just say a dragon – even in human form – always makes an impact!

This book is chock-full of things that I love, from fierce dragons and rich chocolate to castles, ambitious girls, created families and more. I hope hat you guys will love it, too.

And I hope you find some really good chocolate to eat with it!

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.


  1. Oh, this sounds like a winner! I loved stories with dragons and heroes and adventure when I was a kid, too, so this would've been right up my alley. :-)

  2. This book looks delightful. How can it not? It has chocolate an dragons! I clicked on the link but it wasn't ready yet. I am wondering if the book can be sent to Canada should I be lucky enough to win?

  3. I have a granddaughter who is almost 6, and she loves dragons, too. She's too young for this book, but perhaps someday. It sounds delightful. Thanks, Karen.

  4. I don't read a lot of fantasy but this book sounds perfectly charming. Chocolate plus dragons equals delightful fun, it sounds like. Thanks for telling me about this book. It's going on my TBR list right now.

  5. Anonymous8:23 AM EDT

    I love chocolate too! I've been looking forward to this book for a long time, and I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed it! Thanks for the review, and the giveaway!
    - Vi Tiger

  6. Anonymous12:08 PM EDT

    I'll keep an eye out on this. Our dragon section at the bookstore keeps expanding and this will fit perfectly!

  7. I love the author's strategy about writing a list of things she loves when looking for a new book idea. Definitely something worthwhile that students could try. This book sounds great. I have many adventure fans!