Thirteen extraordinary children with mysterious powers.
Welcome to one of the March 15th stops on the blog tour for The Munchkins by Candice Zee with Silver Dagger Book Tours (schedule linked.) Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, author guest posts, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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Author Guest Post
Convince us why you feel your book is a must-read.
The Munchkins is unique because it’s a middle-grade novel, but it also crosses over into YA, and it’s a fun read for adults as well. An 11-year-old reader recently told me it was her new favorite book, and at the same time, adult readers are saying how much they love it. The Munchkins is billed as a fantasy novel, but really the book spans across a variety of genres, including sci-fi, adventure, mystery, superhero fiction, family relationship drama, and thriller and suspense. So there’s something for everybody here. The book has an original and intriguing plot, lots of mystery that will keep you guessing, and a very evil villain you will love to hate, so it’s quite a suspenseful page-turner. Just about everyone who has read it so far told me they read it very quickly because they couldn’t put it down.
Also, as a long-time vegan, The Munchkins is one of the few novels out there where all the protagonists are vegan, all thirteen kids and their father. The book has become very popular with the vegan community as a result. One vegan book club recently featured The Munchkins as their monthly book pick, and I was just featured in an author takeover event on the Vegan Book Club Instagram page.
Furthermore, I felt it was important not to contribute to the “white default” problem of many white authors, and the characters in this book represent a variety of minoritized backgrounds, with over half of the Munch children being children of color, including 3 of the 4 main characters. I think the biggest reason The Munchkins is a must-read is because of the characters. My prime motivation for writing this book was because the characters have been inside my head since I was a child and I love them. I needed to bring them to life and share them with the world so others would have the chance to fall in love with them too. Readers have been expressing how much they love particular characters, like Allie or Breezy.
The Munchkins has been receiving high praise from readers and reviewers alike. I’m proud to say the book has received all 4 and 5-star editorial reviews so far. Readers’ Favorite gave it two different five-star reviews, and Reader Views gave it 5 stars as well, calling it a “fantastical, magical YA story that also caters to adults” and that it’s the kind of book that “happens maybe twice in a lifetime.” Two different reviewers also said the book was written well enough to be turned into a movie or TV series.
About the Book
The Munchkins Book One
by Candice Zee
Published 12 October 2021
Genre: Upper Middle-Grade Fantasy
Page Count: 306
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
“Has all the “ingredients” for a fantastical, magical, YA story that also caters to adults who absolutely love the Potter-esque world that happens maybe twice in a lifetime.” – Reader Views
Thirteen extraordinary children with mysterious powers.
Their loving and protective father.
And a sociopathic neighbor who knows them better than they know themselves.
When Capricorn Munch and her twelve siblings appear outside a children’s home, no one, including themselves, knows who they are or where they came from. At ten years old they stop aging, as she and her siblings develop powers that gift them with incredible abilities, like healing wounds and manifesting objects. They keep these powers secret and their adoptive father restricts their use. Capricorn strives to live a normal life, blissfully playing with her favorite sisters, witty and bold Allie, empathic and wise Breezy, and giddy and sweet Hazy.
But now a sudden threat has intruded on their carefree lives: Their next-door neighbor, a man who calls himself Big Boss. Capricorn watches fretfully as Big Boss encroaches on her family like a malevolent force, feeding hostility between her siblings and causing them to be reckless with their powers. Capricorn knows Big Boss is plotting something sinister and can only pray it doesn’t end in ultimate doom for her and her family.
“Told in a fast-paced narrative voice with complex characters, the exhilarating fantasy will keep readers guessing until the very end—all while falling in love with the quirky cast. The book deserved to be made into a movie or a web series.” – The Prairies Book Review
“Well, that was fun while it lasted,” Kevin said. “What next?”
“No, let’s keep playing baseball,” Carlie cried. “That was fun.”
“How are we going to play without a ball though, Car?” Twisty asked, glaring at Ashley.
“I’m sorry,” Ashley said sheepishly. “I didn’t mean to hit it that hard. I swear.”
“You’re apologizing for hitting a home run?” Allie questioned. “Yes, and I’m terribly sorry for scoring an A on the science test last week.”
“Well…we could make another one,” Justin suggested, avoiding Breezy’s eyes.
Breezy immediately shut down that idea. “No, absolutely not. We’re not doing it again. Anyway, the game was getting a little heated, so maybe it was time to quit.”
“Yeah, I thought you two were going to come to blows or something,” Chase agreed, pointing at Allie and Twisty.
“Oh, I wouldn’t have hit her,” Allie said. “Even if she did deserve it.”
Twisty’s eyes burned into Allie’s. ”Deserve it? Oh, no one deserves to get smacked more than you, Allie,” she seethed. “And just what makes you think that you’re the one who’d hit me?”
Allie took a step back from Twisty. “Why would you have hit me? It’s not like I’m the one who started it.”
“Hah!” Twisty scoffed. “Of course you started it. You said I couldn’t throw a ball.”
“Are you suffering from some temporary case of amnesia, Twisty?” Allie retorted. “Sure, that’s what happened. You were just standing there on the field, minding your own business, when I said out of nowhere you couldn’t throw a ball. That had nothing to do with the fact that you started picking on Kit-Cat for no reason!”
“Excuse me, brats!”
The voice came from out of nowhere and resonated like a thunderclap. We froze in mid-action, instantly silenced. The growing fight between Twisty and Allie, which seemed unavoidable just a moment ago, was immediately forgotten. Finally, we looked at each other and turned, nearly all at once, towards the source of the voice, which came from, amazingly to us, the opposite side of our wooden fence, in the next yard.
There, at the fence, stood a man. He was about 6 feet tall, like CC, light-skinned, and had a toned, but not overly muscular body. His hair was short, thin, and black, and his eyes were dark green. He stood with his left hand on the fence, leering at us, and held up in his right hand an object we right away recognized: our baseball.
We gawked at the man in astonishment, not sure exactly where he had come from.
“Is this your ball?” he asked us. He spoke in a low, smooth, icy tone. I felt the hairs on the back of my neck bristle at the sound of it. I decided at once I did not like this man.
Becky was the first to find her voice to speak. “Um, yes. We were-we were playing baseball. The ball…it went over the fence.”
“Well, your ball came into my yard and broke my window,” he said glassily.
“Oh, I’m sorry, we didn’t know it broke your window,” Breezy apologized nervously. “We’re really sorry about that. We’ll pay for any damages.”
The man eyed Breezy and smiled in a way I didn’t like. “Will you? Well, how nice of you. You brats must have fantastic upbringing.”
Allie walked up next to Breezy with her arms crossed, glaring at the man. “And who, exactly, are you?”
The man narrowed his eyes at Allie. “I’m your next-door neighbor,” he said in a resonant note. “Isn’t that obvious?”
Ashley was next to regain her voice. “But we don’t have any next-door neighbors. The house next door has been empty for years.”
“Well I just moved in a few weeks ago,” the man said evenly.
We looked at each other, not sure whether to believe this. After all, we hadn’t seen any moving trucks, boxes, or any other signs that someone new was moving in.
“Okay. Well, welcome to the neighborhood then. Nice to meet you,” Breezy said with a courteousness she didn’t seem to feel.
The man flashed his eyes at Breezy again. “Are you always this polite?” he sneered.
“So are you ever going to introduce yourself? Tell us your name?” Allie questioned with obvious animosity. “Or are you just going to keep standing there staring at us?”
The man turned to Allie, looking at her with a mixture of coolness and amusement. “Oh, I have a name,” he cooed. “But you may call me Big Boss.”
“Big Boss?” Allie snickered. “That’s cute. What are you? A 1920s street gangster?”
Big Boss met Allie’s boldness with a caustic smile. “You’re quite the saucy one, aren’t you, brat?”
“And where do you get off calling us brats?” Allie demanded. “You don’t even know us!”
Big Boss’s cold smile grew wider. “Oh, but I do. I’ve been watching you, and trust me, that’s what you are. A bunch of brats.” He paused to let his next words hit us with the staggering effect he intended. “A bunch of real Munch brats.”
We all stood gaping at him, stunned into silence. We all had the same question. Kevin finally brought voice to it. “How-how do you know our last name?”
About the Author
Candice Zee is a middle-grade and YA fantasy writer who first dreamed the idea of The Munchkins as a child while playing make-believe with her brother in Wilkes-Barre, PA. She is an early childhood teacher with an M.Ed. in Elementary Education and has taught for over twelve years in Pre-K, Kindergarten, and primary grade classrooms. Like Casey Munch in her book series, she is passionate about creating a more just and equitable world. She savors vegan food, loves board games and podcasts, relishes horror movies and novels, devours social science nonfiction, spontaneously belts out tunes from musicals, and does some of her best writing while drinking coffee at 1 AM. She lives in Cleveland, OH with her wife Dana and their dog companion Solstice. The Munchkins is her debut novel. More information about her book series and the characters can be found at www.munchkinsbooks.com.
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