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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: young adult fiction, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 401
1. New YA Lit Releases This Week Plus Win POLARIS and THE FIVE STAGES OF ANDREW BRAWLEY

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK




Polaris
by Mindee Arnett
Paperback copy of AVALON Giveaway
Balzer + Bray
Released 1/20/2015

Following the events of Avalon, Jeth Seagrave and his crew are on the run. Jeth is desperate to find the resources and funding he needs to rescue his mother from an ITA’s research lab and leave this whole galaxy behind for a new life somewhere else. But the ITA is just as desperate, and soon Jeth finds himself pursued by a mysterious figure hell-bent on capturing Jeth and his crew—dead or alive. In a last-ditch effort to save everyone he holds dear, Jeth enters into a bargain with the last person he ever thought he'd see again: Dax Shepherd, the galaxy’s newest and most fearsome crime lord. And he’s not the only one: upon arriving back at Peltraz spaceport for the first time since he witnessed the death of his old employer, Jeth discovers Dax has a new partner: Jeth’s mother, Marian.

This shocking turn of events is only the first in another breathless, action-packed sci-fi adventure rife with danger, love, and betrayal, as Jeth has to once again ask himself how much he’s willing to invest in a morally bankrupt galaxy in the hopes of saving those he cares for.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Polaris?

With POLARIS I learned two critical things, both of them more affirmations than revelations. The first is that even when the writing is hard you have to push through it. That might seem self-evident, but it’s one of those things where you don’t really know what “hard” is until you’ve run smack into. The affirmation aspect of this is that I learned that I can push through it. I was in a very hard place emotionally when I started work on POLARIS, and it didn’t go away throughout the whole process. Some of it was struggles in my personal life and some of it is what I call the post publication blues. All writers get them and they are awful—the mean reds times a thousand. But the great thing is that even when it’s hard, the writing is always worth it. I’m proud of POLARIS, despite all the struggle or maybe because of it.

Secondly, I learned that it’s okay to channel your own emotions into a story. Like I said, I was in a very dark place when I wrote this book, and a lot of that darkness translates to the page. The main character Jeth struggles a lot in this book. I’m downright awful to him at times. But ultimately, I think that emotional struggle has a big payoff in the end, both for me personally and for the reader, I hope.


Purchase Polaris at Amazon
Purchase Polaris at IndieBound
View Polaris on Goodreads

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The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley
by Shaun David Hutchinson
Hardcover Giveaway
Simon Pulse
Released 1/20/2015

Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night. His parents did, and so did his sister, but he survived.

Now he lives in the hospital. He serves food in the cafeteria, he hangs out with the nurses, and he sleeps in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him.

Then one night Rusty is wheeled into the ER, burned on half his body by hateful classmates. His agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them both together through all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside the hospital, and away from their pasts.

But Drew knows that life is never that simple. Death roams the hospital, searching for Drew, and now Rusty. Drew lost his family, but he refuses to lose Rusty, too, so he’s determined to make things right. He’s determined to bargain, and to settle his debts once and for all.

But Death is not easily placated, and Drew’s life will have to get worse before there is any chance for things to get better.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley?

Growing up as a gay teen, one of the most difficult things to deal with was always hiding who I was. I spent most of my teenage years feeling like no one really saw me, like I was invisible. We read books in order to connect to characters, to feel like someone sees us. But there aren’t a lot of YA books that feature LGBTQIA characters whose biggest problem isn’t their sexuality. That’s one of the reasons I wrote The Fives Stages of Andrew Brawley. I wanted LGBTQIA teens to know that they are more than their sexuality, I wanted them to know that they are not invisible. That’s my favorite thing about The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley. Also, there’s a freaking graphic novel inside the book!

Purchase The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley at Amazon
Purchase The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley at IndieBound
View The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS




Perfect Couple
by Jennifer Echols
Hardcover
Simon Pulse
Released 1/13/2015

WINNER: CLARISA RAMIREZ

In this second book in The Superlatives trilogy from Endless Summer author Jennifer Echols, Harper and Brody think they’re an unlikely match—but the senior class says they belong together.

As yearbook photographer, Harper is responsible for those candid moments that make high school memorable. But her own life is anything but picture perfect. Her parents’ bitter divorce left her wondering what a loving relationship looks like. And ever since the senior class voted her and star quarterback Brody “Perfect Couple That Never Was,” her friends have been pushing her to ask Brody out.

Brody doesn’t lack female admirers, but Harper can't see herself with him. He’s confused about the match too. Yet they find themselves drawn together—first by curiosity about why the class paired them, then by an undeniable bond.

The trouble is, though they’re attracted to each other, they have a hard time getting along or even communicating well. If they’re the perfect couple, this shouldn’t be so difficult! Soon it becomes clear their class was wrong, and they throw in the towel. But they feel so changed from making the effort, they can’t forget each other. What if this match made in hell is the perfect couple after all?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Perfect Couple?

The Superlatives series is based around the idea that older teens are looking for their identity. And if they think they've pinned it down, they'll probably stick with it. But what if you thought you had yourself all figured out, but now you're not so sure? That's what happens to the teens in these books: the senior class selects people for "who's who" titles like Biggest Flirts and Most Likely to Succeed, but the people selected are surprised at what their classmates choose for them, which in turn causes them to question how they see themselves.

In PERFECT COUPLE, Harper and her childhood friend Brody are named Perfect Couple That Never Was. Harper is quirky and artistic. Brody is athletic and popular. It's easy to see why they've never dated. It's hard to see why a large portion of their class would say they would make a perfect couple. Of course they're curious. They can't resist going on a date to find out. And Harper realizes she's not really as controlled and cautious as she always thought.


Purchase Perfect Couple at Amazon
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View Perfect Couple on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


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Fight for Power
by Eric Walters
Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Released 1/20/2015

The world keeps getting darker in this second reality-based survival adventure in the Rule of Three trilogy

After sixty-six days of a catastrophic global blackout, life in the suburbs is not what it used to be for Adam and his fortified neighborhood of Eden Mills. Although an explosive clash has minimized one threat from outside the walls, Adam’s battle-hardened mentor, Herb, continues to make decisions in the name of security that are increasingly wrenching and questionable. Like his police chief mom and others, Adam will follow Herb’s lead. But when the next threat comes from an unexpected direction, nobody is ready for it. And someone is going to pay the price—because of Adam’s mistakes and mistaken trust.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Fight for Power?

It was such a pleasure to continue the story, to continue to move forward with my characters as they tried to survive. This story, which is actually set in my neighborhood, is rather personal.

Purchase Fight for Power at Amazon
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View Fight for Power on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


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Alex As Well
by Alyssa Brugman
Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Released 1/20/2015

Alex is ready for things to change, in a big way. Everyone seems to think she’s a boy, but for Alex the whole boy/girl thing isn’t as simple as either/or, and when she decides girl is closer to the truth, no one knows how to react, least of all her parents.

Undeterred, Alex begins to create a new identity for herself: ditching one school, enrolling in another, and throwing out most of her clothes. But the other Alex—the boy Alex—has a lot to say about that.

Heartbreaking and droll in equal measures, Alex As Well is a brilliantly told story of exploring gender and sexuality, navigating friendships, and finding a place to belong.

Purchase Alex As Well at Amazon
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View Alex As Well on Goodreads

* * * *


All Fall Down
by Ally Carter
Hardcover
Scholastic Press
Released 1/20/2015

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:

1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her–so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door who is keeping an eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.

Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace–no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do.

Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world all stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

Purchase All Fall Down at Amazon
Purchase All Fall Down at IndieBound
View All Fall Down on Goodreads

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Bad Influence
by William Sutcliffe
Paperback
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Released 1/20/2015

When Carl moves into Ben and Olly's street, things instantly get more exciting. His games are strange, unpredictable, and thrillingly violent. But why is he so fearless? Why are they never allowed into his house? And why does it begin to feel as if he is taking control of their lives?

It isn't long before Ben wants his old friendship back, but getting free of Carl turns out to be the toughest challenge he has ever faced.

Purchase Bad Influence at Amazon
Purchase Bad Influence at IndieBound
View Bad Influence on Goodreads

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Mutant City
by Steve Feasey
Paperback
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Released 1/20/2015

Fifty years ago, the world was almost destroyed by a chemical war. Now the world is divided: the mutants and the pure, the broken and the privileged, the damaged and the perfect.

Thirteen years ago, a covert government experimental facility was shut down and its residents killed. The secrets it held died with them. But five extraordinary kids survived.

Today four teenagers are about to discover that their mutant blood brings with it special powers. Rush and three brothers and sisters he can't remember. Two rival factions are chasing them. One by one, they face the enemy. Together, they might just stay alive . . .

Purchase Mutant City at Amazon
Purchase Mutant City at IndieBound
View Mutant City on Goodreads

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The Prey
by Tom Isbell
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 1/20/2015

The Maze Runner meets The Hunger Games in this heart-pounding trilogy. Orphaned teens, soon to be hunted for sport, must flee their resettlement camps in their fight for survival and a better life. For in the Republic of the True America, it's always hunting season. Riveting action, intense romance, and gripping emotion make this fast-paced adventure a standout debut.

After a radiation blast burned most of the Earth to a crisp, the new government established settlement camps for the survivors. At one such camp, the sixteen-year-old "LTs" are eager to graduate as part of the Rite. Until they learn the dark truth: "LTs" doesn't stand for lieutenant but for Less Thans, feared by society and raised to be hunted for sport. They escape and join forces with the Sisters, twin girls who've suffered their own haunting fate. Together they seek the fabled New Territory, with sadistic hunters hot on their trail. Secrets are revealed, allegiances are made, and lives are at stake. As unlikely Book and fearless Hope lead their quest for freedom, these teens must find the best in themselves to fight the worst in their enemies.

Purchase The Prey at Amazon
Purchase The Prey at IndieBound
View The Prey on Goodreads

* * * *


The Way We Bared Our Souls
by Willa Strayhorn
Hardcover
Razorbill
Released 1/22/2015

If you could trade your biggest burden for someone else’s, would you do it?

Five teenagers sit around a bonfire in the middle of the New Mexico desert. They don’t know it yet, but they are about to make the biggest sacrifice of their lives.

Lo has a family history of MS, and is starting to come down with all the symptoms.
Thomas, a former child soldier from Liberia, is plagued by traumatic memories of his war-torn past.
Kaya would do anything to feel physical pain, but a rare condition called CIP keeps her numb.
Ellen can’t remember who she was before she started doing drugs.
Kit lost his girlfriend in a car accident and now he just can’t shake his newfound fear of death.

When they trade totems as a symbol of shedding and adopting one another’s sorrows, they think it’s only an exercise.

But in the morning, they wake to find their burdens gone…and replaced with someone else’s.

As the reality of the ritual unfolds, this unlikely group of five embarks on a week of beautiful, terrifying experiences that all culminate in one perfect truth: In the end, your soul is stronger than your burdens.

Purchase The Way We Bared Our Souls at Amazon
Purchase The Way We Bared Our Souls at IndieBound
View The Way We Bared Our Souls on Goodreads

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Tunnel Vision
by Susan Adrian
Hardcover
St. Martin's Griffin
Released 1/20/2015

Romance and action come crashing together when a teenage boy with incredible powers is brought to the attention of the government.

Jake Lukin just turned 18. He's decent at tennis and Halo, and waiting to hear on his app to Stanford. But he's also being followed by a creep with a gun, and there's a DARPA agent waiting in his bedroom. His secret is blown.

When Jake holds a personal object, like a pet rock or a ring, he has the ability to "tunnel" into the owner. He can sense where they are, like a human GPS, and can see, hear, and feel what they do. It's an ability the government would do anything to possess: a perfect surveillance unit who could locate fugitives, spies, or terrorists with a single touch.

Jake promised his dad he’d never tell anyone about his ability. But his dad died two years ago, and Jake slipped. If he doesn't agree to help the government, his mother and sister may be in danger. Suddenly he's juggling high school, tennis tryouts, flirting with Rachel Watkins, and work as a government asset, complete with 24-hour bodyguards.

Forced to lie to his friends and family, and then to choose whether to give up everything for their safety, Jake hopes the good he's doing—finding kidnap victims and hostages, and tracking down terrorists—is worth it. But he starts to suspect the good guys may not be so good after all. With Rachel's help, Jake has to try to escape both good guys and bad guys and find a way to live his own life instead of tunneling through others.

Purchase Tunnel Vision at Amazon
Purchase Tunnel Vision at IndieBound
View Tunnel Vision on Goodreads

* * * *


Twisted Fate
by Norah Olson
Hardcover
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 1/20/2015

Two sisters. One mysterious boy.

Ally and Sydney couldn't be more different—one shy, the other popular and outgoing—and when a new boy moves in next door, tensions between the sisters escalate. Graham is attractive, peculiar, and perhaps a little dangerous, and both girls are drawn to him in ways they can't quite explain. As each girl's relationship with Graham unfolds, the more complicated the truth becomes—until a shocking encounter turns their sleepy coastal town upside down and questions everything the sisters thought they knew about themselves and each other.

Told in alternating points of view by a wide cast of characters, Twisted Fate is a tensely wrought psychological thriller, perfect for fans of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.

Purchase Twisted Fate at Amazon
Purchase Twisted Fate at IndieBound
View Twisted Fate on Goodreads

0 Comments on New YA Lit Releases This Week Plus Win POLARIS and THE FIVE STAGES OF ANDREW BRAWLEY as of 1/19/2015 7:01:00 PM
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2. Because Waiting Is So Boring

Parallelogram 4

I know I said Parallelogram 4 (Beyond the Parallel) wasn’t coming out until next Tuesday, January 20.

Weekends are for reading. It’s out now. Enjoy!

Kindle
Nook
iTunes
Kobo
Smashwords
Paperback

And the prices for the first 3 installments will still stay nice and low until next week, so if you haven’t read Parallelogram 1, 2, or 3 yet, you can scoop them up at a bargain!

0 Comments on Because Waiting Is So Boring as of 1/17/2015 8:23:00 AM
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3. Candlewick Prize Pack with 6 of TIME Magazine’s Top 100 Young Adult Books

Enter to win a prize pack with 6 of the listed Candlewick titles from TIME Magazine's Top 100 Young Adult Books. Giveaway begins January 15, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends January 31, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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4. The Undeniable Importance of Paper -- For Writers and for Readers -- Plus a Giveaway and Special Deal

A few years ago, people speculated about the death of books. Books, many said, wouldn't survive the rising popularity of e-books. Teens, the wisdom said, would adopt e-books, and within a few years, no one would read on paper anymore.

But guess what?

A recent Neilsen survey says that teens prefer "real" books.

And there appear to be concrete advantages to reading printed books. A study suggests that digital readers remember significantly less about when events occur in a plot than people reading the same story on paper, while another study showed markedly better reading comprehension for people reading a paper book.

I admit. I made the switch. There are several reasons that e-books work well for me, but they all boil down to convenience.

Here's the thing though. I also made the switch when reading manuscripts.

I read digitally when I write:

  • I type the story on my laptop. 
  • I read the story on my laptop and edit as I go. 
  • I make changes electronically, and my beta readers read digitally. 
  • And finally, before I send the book off to my editor, I make it into an e-book, and I read it in the Kindle program on my iPad.

My editor, on the other hand, prints the book out and reads on paper.

For those of you unfamiliar with the editorial process, it works something like this:

  • I submit the first(ish) draft to my editor.
  • She reads and sends me a letter about what's working and what isn't working and makes specific notes in the manuscript. She sends me the printed file via UPS.
  • I follow the document through digitally and come up with a chapter by chapter list of changes to address her concerns.
  • We discuss those changes and make sure we're on the same page.
  • I make the changes electronically and then send her the digital file.
  • She prints it out and reads it again, marking pacing and other issues in the manuscript margins and making suggestions for specific lines that need to be reworked. 
  • I go through the line edits and submit the file--digitally.
  • I send the electronic file to my beta readers and go through their suggestions--digitally.
  • I convert the book to an e-book and read it through, highlighting places I need to go back to.

And all this time, even though the book has been printed out, I don't *read* it on paper.

Then I get the copyedited manuscript. On paper. And I have to read and review it on paper.

Oy. 

There is a real difference in the way the words read and look on paper. I see things I didn't see when I was reading digitally, even when I read the book as an e-book. Even when I read passages aloud, which I also do frequently.

The moral of this story?

This is only the second book I've worked on with an editor. I'm going to get better--all of this is a learning process. I definitely have a takeaway on process for myself though. And for book three, I'm going to do things a little differently.

I'm going to print the book out for myself several times before the copyediting stage. Not sure how I'm going to work this in with the fast deadlines that we work with in publishing, but I'm going to make time, because it's worth it.

Takeaway writing tip of the day:

Read your manuscript in as many different ways as you can:

  • As a Scrivener or word processing file.
  • As a Scrivener or word processing file with the font changed. (You'd be surprised how just this small change brings things to light.)
  • As a Scrivener or word processing file that you read aloud.
  • As an electronic book.
  • As printed pages -- bound, if possible.

What about you? Do you prefer to read digitally or on paper? Does it make a difference in how you read and what you understand and remember?

THIS WEEK'S GIVEAWAY


Rebel Belle
by Rachel Hawkins
Hardcover
Putnam Juvenile
Released 4/8/2014

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.

Purchase Rebel Belle at Amazon
Purchase Rebel Belle at IndieBound
View Rebel Belle on Goodreads


AND A SPECIAL DIGITAL DEAL! COMPULSION IS $1.99 at AMAZON


Compulsion
by Martina Boone
Hardcover
Simon Pulse
Released 10/28/2014

Beautiful Creatures meets The Body Finder in this spellbinding new trilogy.

Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson had been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lived with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

Purchase Compulsion at Amazon for $1.99
Purchase Compulsion at IndieBound
View Compulsion on Goodreads



a Rafflecopter giveaway

0 Comments on The Undeniable Importance of Paper -- For Writers and for Readers -- Plus a Giveaway and Special Deal as of 1/9/2015 2:39:00 PM
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5. Best Selling Young Adult Books | January 2015

With so many strong novels on this list, all but one young adult novel—Gayle Forman's Where She Went—remains the same on our hand-picked list from the Best Selling Young Adult list.

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6. Parallelogram 4 Now Available for Pre-Order!

Parallelogram 4

Happy 2015! And here’s a new book for you!

Parallel universes. Time travel. And a race for teen amateur physicist Audie Masters to save her own life before it’s too late.

Enjoy the exciting, mind-bending conclusion to the PARALLELOGRAM series.

You’ll never look at your own life the same way again.

I am BEYOND ecstatic to be able to tell you that PARALLELOGRAM (Book 4: BEYOND THE PARALLEL) will be coming out January 20, 2015, and is available right now for pre-order! Yes! Finally!

This final book in the series took me a long, long time to write (as those of you who have been waiting for it can attest), but you’ll understand why once you read it. It’s full of adventure, mystery, love, some very cool science, and the return of what I hope are some of your favorite characters.

In celebration of the final book coming out, each of the first three books in the series will be a mere $2.99, and the new book will be only $4.99–but only until January 20. After that, all of them return to their regular prices.

So if you haven’t read the first three books in the series yet, now’s your chance. I’m your book nerd friend who’s saying, “Come on! Come on! Catch up so we can discuss it!”

Can’t wait to hear what you all think. I truly wrote this series for YOU!

You can pre-order Book 4 from:
Kindle
Nook
iTunes
Kobo

Thanks for being my readers! Hope you love the book!

0 Comments on Parallelogram 4 Now Available for Pre-Order! as of 1/5/2015 4:59:00 AM
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7. Wrapping up the year… 2014 best books for middle grades

Wrapping up the year… 2014 best books for middle grades | Storytime Standouts

Best Books 2014 - 1prncs shares her favorite titles for middle grade readersI always say this but I can’t believe it’s the end of another year. How? Especially since so many of the days seemed so very, very long. Trying to remember what I did yesterday is painful, but I’m going to attempt to recap the best books I’ve read in 2014.










Middle Grade/ Young Adult

2014 best books for middle grades including The Shadow ThroneThe Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The final book in a trilogy that captivated not only my whole class, but me. A book I’ve recommended countless times. The main character is one that everyone can identify with in some way. The action is gripping as Sage/Jaron shows readers what being courageous really means.

The Shadow Throne: Book 3 of The Ascendance Trilogy at Amazon.com

The Shadow Throne: Book 3 of The Ascendance Trilogy at Amazon.ca

My True Love Gave to MeMidnights by Rainbow Rowell

I should be honest and tell you that this author could write a to-do list on a paper towel and I would love it. There is something about every one of her books that grabs me so strongly, I have to remind myself that, she doesn’t actually know me, but somehow, she gets me. And then I remind myself that she doesn’t actually write her books just for me. Elenor and Park is in our elementary library but I think the subject matter is above grade six. However, this is one of those reads that would delight an early middle school reader as much as it did me. It’s a beautiful and sweet short story.

It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins

A new author for me that I discovered because she edited the collection of short holiday stories in which Midnight was the first. Aimed at teens and up, it was just absolutely delightful to read.

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories at Amazon.com

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories at Amazon,ca

2014 best books for middle grades including Will Grayson, Will GraysonWill Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green

I can’t read Fault in Our Stars. I know my limits, I read within them. However, I’ve read just about everything else he’s published. This one is my favourite by him. It’s an excellent teen read that speaks to acceptance, diversity, adversity, and the amazing relationships that can stem from being in the same place at the same time.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson at Amazon.com

Will Grayson, Will Grayson at Amazon.ca

2014 best books for middle grades Including Are You There God? It's Me MargaretAre you there God, it’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume

I re read this for the first time in many, many years. I wanted to read it with my daughter and I was so pleased she enjoyed it as much as I did, both then and now. If there was a “what’s it like to become a teenage girl” book award, this would be it.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret at Amazon.com

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret at Amazon.ca

2014 best books for middle grades including Hook’s Revenge by Heidi SchulzHook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz

This is a fun book with quirky characters that made the students laugh. Determined to avenge her father’s death, Jocelyn sets out on an adventure that teaches her as much about herself as it does about her past.

Hook’s Revenge, Book 1 at Amazon.com

Hook’s Revenge, Book 1 Hook’s Revenge at Amazon.ca

2014 best books for middle grades including Dork DiariesDork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell

I started reading these with my daughter this last year. They are laugh out loud funny and so easy to connect with. Nikki is a great character and the teen drama she faces, and how she deals with it, is authentic.

Dork Diaries Box Set (Book 1-3) at Amazon.com

Dork Diaries Box Set (Book 1-3): Dork Diaries at Amazon.ca

2014 best books for middle grades Including Sisters by Raina TelgemeierSisters by Raina Telgemeier

My 11 year old read this first and then I read it with my 8 year old. It’s funny and cute and true to life in that, it’s not always easy being a family. But, when you need them, they’re there.

Sisters at Amazon.com

Sisters at Amazon.ca

2014 best books for middle grades Including FrindleFrindle by Andrew Clements

This is an awesome book. I read it with my 8 year old and it made me laugh even as it opened the door to great conversations with her. The main character makes up a new word for what we call a “pen”. A great read about the power of words and how they impact our actions.

Frindle at Amazon.com

Frindle at Amazon.ca

2014 best books for middle grades Including Wonder Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I haven’t even finished this book but I can tell you without one tiny hint of doubt that it will be one of the best reads ever. Not just this year.

Wonder at Amazon.com

Wonder at Amazon.ca

Picture Books

(contrary to some beliefs, these are not only for small children)

2014 best books for middle grades including This Plus ThatThis plus That: Life’s little equations by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Jen Corace

A sweet and fun read with adorable pictures that highlights math vocabulary even as it shows kids how things are connected. Me+ Writing= Happy.

This Plus That: Life’s Little Equations at Amazon.com

2014 best books for middle grades Including Those ShoesThose Shoes by Maribeth Beolts

This one was read to me and I have to say, I still love being read to. This is a great one to open kids eyes to the power of empathy and giving.

Those Shoes at Amazon.com

Those Shoes at Amazon.ca

The Invisible Boy by Trudy LudwigThe Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig and Patrice Barton

This story is a little bittersweet. You feel bad for the little boy with no friends, but love the fact that he’s okay in his own little world. Also worth noting, the color comes as friendship brightens his life which is beautiful, literally and figuratively.

The Invisible Boy at Amazon.com

The Invisible Boy at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts suggests The Very Inappropriate Word written by Jim Tobin and illustrated by Dave CoverlyThe very inappropriate word by Jim Tobin and Dave Coverly

Full of great vocabulary, this book is funny. I’ve read it several times and it’s a great way to get kids to look at the power of words and language.

The Very Inappropriate Word at Amazon.com

The Very Inappropriate Word at Amazon.ca

What Do You Do with an Idea?What do you do with an idea? by Kobi Yamada and Mae Besom

My school librarian shared this book with me and it is such a tangible idea to show how when your brain gets locked on an idea, sometimes you have to go with it.

What Do You Do With an Idea? at Amazon.com

What Do You Do with an Idea? at Amazon.ca

Books I can’t wait to read in 2015

Fish in a TreeFish in a Tree – Linda Mullaly Hunt

The name is part of one of my favourite quotes so of course I’m drawn to it. That and the fact that her book One for the Murphys was one of my favourite reads of 2013.

Mark of the ThiefMark of the Thief – Jennifer A. Nielsen

I think I need to read this one on my own before with my class. When I read the Ascendance Trilogy, I got so hooked that we might have missed some math lessons.

 

What are some of your favorite kids reads this year? Anything you’re looking forward to? Also, in an openly shameless bid for self-promotion, I hope to one day make it onto one of your favorite lists. Either with the adult books I have coming out in 2015 or with the picture book, SWEET DREAM SISTERS, that will be available in 2016. Have a very, Happy well-read 2015.

 

Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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8. Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice, by Kathleen Benner Duble | Book Review

Madame Tussaud's Apprentice is a fascinating historical drama. The rich background of revolutionary France provides readers with a fascinating look at that terrifying time.

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9. Grave Mercy

You know those days/weeks/months that are so bad you just want to go to bed, read a book, and block the world out? I’ve had one/all of those. So, despite having more deadlines than I can actually keep in my head and the reminders of which fair nearly inspire a full-blown panic attack, I took […]

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10. YALLFest 2014 | Event Recap

The heart of Young Adult Fiction descended into picturesque Charleston, SC on November 7, 2014 as 60 Young Adult authors, including 37 New York Times bestsellers, joined together for the 4th Annual Charleston Young Adult Book Festival (“YALLFest”).

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11. Adelita’s Secret by Christopher Cloud

AdelitasSecret_Ecover-187x300Title: Adelita’s Secret

Author: Christopher Cloud

Publisher: Create Space Independent Publishing Platform

Genre: young adult fantasy romance

Format: paperback copy, kindle 

Lost in a superficial world of materialism and social status—and ashamed of her Latino heritage—seventeen-year-old Adelita Noé is loved by two men, two men separated by a hundred years and vastly different stations in life. One man owns little more than the shirt on his back. The other, a poet at heart, is heir to a vast fortune. Their love for Adelita serves as the backdrop for the Latino girl’s quest to better understand herself and her Mexican roots.

For More Information:

Title is available at Amazon kindle,  or paperback

Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble

Ron-15-224x300
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Award-winning author Christopher Cloud began writing fiction full time at the age of 66 after a long career in journalism and public relations. He writes middle-grade and young adult novels. Chris graduated from the University of Missouri in 1967 with a degree in journalism. He has worked as a reporter, editor, and columnist at newspapers in Texas, California, and Missouri. He was employed by a major oil company as a public relations executive, and later operated his own public relations agency. Chris lives in Joplin, Missouri, and enjoys golf and hiking. 

Visit Christopher Cloud’s website

Visit Cloud’s blog

More books by Christopher Cloud


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12. Get Happy, by Mary Amato | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a hardcover copy of Get Happy, by Mary Amato. Giveaway begins November 16, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 15, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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13. Interview with Gary Rodriguez, Author of Escape Through The Wilderness

Gary RodriguezGary Rodriguez is president of LeaderMetrix Inc., a consulting company that specializes in senior-level executive coaching, organizational development and conflict resolution. He is the author of the new adventure novel Escape through the Wilderness scheduled for release in June 2014.  

His first book Purpose-Centered Public Speaking was an instant hit and recently republished by Tate Publishing.  

His extensive resume includes eighteen years as an executive in the radio business where he spent several years as one of the original managers of Infinity Broadcasting. He was twice nominated as medium market manager of the year by the Bobby Poe report, a national media publication.  

For over thirty-five years, Gary has spoken in public both nationally and internationally. Gary’s resume includes a season in the U.S. Army where he was highly decorated as the youngest Drill Instructor in the Army’s history at age 18 years. He was also awarded the Silver Star (the nation’s third highest award for valor) while serving in Viet Nam. 

Visit the book’s website at http://ettw.tateauthor.com/ You can also find Gary at http://leadermetrix.com/ and http://www.leadermetrix.com/authorspeaker.  

 

Can you tell us what your book is about?

Let me begin by telling you that the Idaho wilderness is the setting for the book. Here’s a brief overview of the story.

Sixteen-year-old Savannah Evans walks with a slight limp thanks to a gymnastics accident that dashed her Olympic dreams. But that doesn’t stop her from attending a summer adventure camp. At Camp Arrowhead, she quickly befriends Jade Chang and Rico Cruz, but Conner Swift acts like a bully and taunts her because of her injury.

The four are teamed together for an overnight white-water rafting adventure. What was supposed to be a fun expedition turns into a nightmare when there’s a serious incident and their adult guide disappears down the river.

Without their guide and desperately trying to steer an out-of-control raft, they pass the “Last Chance” marker and enter miles of furious rapids.

When the four drag themselves out of the river, they’re bruised, beaten, lost, and twenty-five miles from camp. Because of late-night campfire tales of Vexel, a vicious animal that roams the nearby woods, Savi and the others are terrified.

Savi becomes the unlikely leader who is forced by unexpected circumstances to try to guide the group back to Camp Arrowhead. Limited supplies, injuries, and the constant threat of Vexel—who everyone fears is stalking them, complicate the harrowing return trip.

Readers will enjoy dramatic survival scenes and the group working together, solving problems, and learning to overcome all sorts of obstacles and adversity.

Why did you write your book?

Escape Through The Wilderness is an analogy about life. Often, in today’s world, young people are faced with unexpected difficulties and forced to overcome fierce opposition. The book was written to show readers ways they can face and overcome difficulties with a measure of faith and a little help from their friends.

In our culture, we are quick to recognize and celebrate individual achievements. However, there are some obstacles in life that require the help of others to overcome.

The adventure chronicles four teens coming to terms with their own struggles in the midst of stiff opposition and complicated circumstances. Learning to overcome adversity is a part of everyday life. My goal is to highlight the value and benefits of strong faith and real friendships.

Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?Escape Through the Wilderness cover

There are four main characters and one supporting character in the story. Savi Evans is a sixteen-year old from Oxford, Mississippi and the lead character. She’s an extraordinary person who positively impacts the lives of those around her. Rico Cruz is seventeen and lives in San Antonio, Texas. He’s the handsome tender-warrior type and a strong leader in his own right. Jade Chang is also seventeen and resides in San Francisco, California. She feels out of her comfort zone because this is her first time stepping into a wilderness setting. Conner Swift lives in Chicago, Illinois and is seventeen as well. He lives in the shadow of a successful father and has something to prove. They each have their own reasons for attending the camp. Lastly, there’s Luke. I can’t talk much about him without giving away the story. But readers will most certainly grow to love and appreciate him.

Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?

You are asking an interesting question. I’d have to answer it by saying, yes and yes. When I planned out the story, I started the process by beginning at the end. I asked myself what I wanted my readers to experience and learn from the book. However, I also held my plan loosely which allowed for spontaneous inspiration and ongoing creativity. I believe it’s important to have a plan but to allow room for the plot and characters to develop as they come to life.

Honestly, developing the ending was difficult for me. I got stuck for a while. So I decided to get on my knees and pray for inspiration. I believe my prayer was answered. I hope your readers agree with me once they’ve read the book.

Your book is set in northeastern Idaho. Can you tell us why you chose this setting in particular?

I chose a setting in the United States that was centrally located and yet very remote. The wilderness terrain needed to be challenging, and the river used in the whitewater rafting trip had to be dangerous. It also had to be an isolated locale without cell service to make communication with the outside world next to impossible.

Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?

Writer’s block has never been a problem for me. That’s not to say that I don’t have lulls in creativity or motivation. Of course, I do. But when that happens, I don’t consider it a “block” and I don’t try to power through it. Instead, I take it as a sign that I need a break from writing. Taking a short time away is sometimes a wise and healthy choice. I don’t panic if I lose my motivation or inspiration to write for a time. Runners don’t always run. Sometimes their body needs time to rest and recover. In the same way, putting too much pressure on yourself to always write can stifle both your creativity and your inspiration. There is nothing wrong with taking some time to chill out and focus on other activities. A short break will often revive you and rekindle your passion and desire to write once again.

After I give myself a break (it may be a couple days or even a couple weeks) I sit down again and read what I’ve written previously. That gets me right back into the flow of my work and often I find a new sense of inspiration to write. Some days I have to work a little harder at writing than other days. But I think that’s a part of the normal ebb and flow of a writer’s life. Sometimes runners feel like they can run forever. But on other days they feel like it is more of an effort. The same is true of writing.

What do you like the most about being an author?

One of the most gratifying things about writing is creating a story that others find exciting and inspirational. When I finished writing Escape Through The Wilderness and reread the manuscript, I was amazed that the story came out of me. I believe I was given this inspiring story as a gift. If I had chosen not to write and share it, the story would have died inside me and never been told. But I thank God that didn’t happen. In fact, the opposite is true. The gift he gave to me is now my gift to the world. I hope the story entertains and encourages all who read it.

Escape banner 2


0 Comments on Interview with Gary Rodriguez, Author of Escape Through The Wilderness as of 10/29/2014 4:27:00 AM
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14. …which leads to books!

Remember how I said cleaning leads to writing? Yep, I’ve been busy. And I’m still busy, because I’m not exactly done. But I thought you’d be interested in an update and some recent releases, along with the coming attractions …

First, you can get these now:

LOVE PROOF is now out in audio! I love the narration Maria Hunter Welles did for it. And I didn’t announce it at the time (see above, been busy), but there are also audio editions of THE GOOD LIE, DOGGIRL, and REPLAY. I know. It’s a lot. Take your pick and listen away!

Also, I have a new short story collection out. It’s called A FEW STRANGE MATTERS, and it is. A little odd. But sometimes my mind needs a break from longer works like novels, and when I let my mind wander, it wanders. The collection has some contemporary, some science fiction, a little fantasy, some paranormal, and a couple of strange stories from the teen world. You might have read a few of them here and there, but I guarantee there are some you’ve never seen. Possibly because I wrote them under a pen name that none of you knew about. So take a look–I’ll be interested in hearing what you all think!

Now, for the coming attractions:

YES, PARALLELOGRAM 4 WILL BE OUT THIS FALL. That’s all I can say, because I have made the mistake before of giving you a pub date which turns out not to be true. But I promise you will feel satisfied and fulfilled when you read this final book in the series. I’m still working very hard to pull all the pieces together. Thank you for your questions (“When? WHEN??”) and your patience. I hate waiting, too. I get it. It’ll be along very soon.

And to make you even happier about all the time I’ve been hiding out, I’ll also have ANOTHER NEW BOOK for you by December, I believe. It’s fantasy, it’s epic, and it involves a girl warrior. Yessssss …

That’s my report for now. I have to go back to writing. I owe you all some books.

Happy Fall! ~Robin

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15. MuseItUp Publishing Celebrates 4 Years with EBook Sale!

muse

 

Congratulations goes out to MuseItUp Publishing. They are currently celebrating their 4 year anniversary. During the month of October, select eBooks are 50 – 80% OFF! Here is a small sampling of the books on sale:

 

BEGGARCHARLIE200X300

Will Beggar Charlie and Hickory Dick be able to return to England after being lost in China? (80% OFF)

BLACKCATS200x300

Gemma Mayfield believes there is witchcraft going on at her middle school…can she unravel the truth about her teacher? (70% OFF)

DarinelDragonhunter_200x300

Friendship or love? To marry his love Princess Tuskja, Prince Darinel has to kill his best friend, Idunal, the dragon. (50% OFF)

Freaky Frank 200x300

It’s going to take a meeting of minds to bring Nasty Nate down. (50% OFF)

Ghostly Clues 200x300

Sarah Kay follows Grandma’s ghostly clues to discover the truth. (70% OFF)

Visit MuseItUp Publishing for further details athttps://museituppublishing.com/ 


0 Comments on MuseItUp Publishing Celebrates 4 Years with EBook Sale! as of 10/10/2014 2:51:00 AM
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16. First Chapter Reveal: Escape Through the Wilderness by Gary Rodriguez

Escape Through the Wilderness coverTitle:  Escape Through the Wilderness
Author: Gary Rodrgiuez
Genre: Tween/Young Adult Christian Adventure
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Tate Publishing (June 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1-63268-201-7

Purchase at: https://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781632682017 and at http://www.amazon.com/Escape-Through-Wilderness-Gary-Rodriguez/dp/163268201X/ 

About the book:

Sixteen-year-old Savannah Evans walks with a slight limp thanks to a gymnastics’ accident that dashed her Olympic dreams, but didn’t stop her from attending an adventure camp in Idaho. At Camp Arrowhead, she quickly befriends Jade Chang and Rico Cruz, but Conner Swift taunts Savi because of her injury.

When the four are teamed together for an overnight white-water river rafting adventure, Savi refuses to get in the same raft with Conner. Unfortunately, the director will not reassign her.

A fun expedition down the river turns into a nightmare when their raft slams into a huge rock and their adult guide disappears down the river.

Without their guide and desperately trying to steer an out-of-control raft, they pass the “Last Chance” marker and enter the larger rapids. With Jade pinned between the raft and a rock, and Rico clinging to a lifeline, Savi must cut the raft free.

When the four drag themselves out of the river, they’re bruised, beaten, lost, and twenty-five miles from camp. Because of late-night campfire tales of Vexel, a vicious animal that roams the nearby woods, Savi and the others are terrified.

Savi becomes the unlikely leader who tries to guide the group back to Camp Arrowhead. Limited supplies, injuries, and the constant threat of Vexel—who Savi fears is stalking them, complicate the harrowing return trip.

Readers will enjoy dramatic survival scenes and the group working together, solving problems, and learning to overcome adversity.

First Chapter Reveal: 

Saturday, 8:14 p.m.

This is  a  KGX  Channel  7  Breaking  News Report. I’m Valerie Parker.

Four teenagers have gone missing tonight from an adventure camp in Northern Idaho. Early reports say the teens and their river guide were involved in a rafting accident sometime this afternoon. Their names are being withheld pending notification of their parents. Rescue teams are being assembled, according to local authorities. The camp earns the title, “The safest camp in Idaho” every year. Tragically, after today all that has changed forever. Stay tuned to KGX Channel 7 for more details as they develop

Thursday, two days earlier

It was a warm August afternoon and Camp Arrowhead buzzed  with  activity. New teen campers had been streaming in since mid-morning.  Savannah Evans, who had arrived earlier in the day, was heading toward the message board to check out the day’s schedule when she noticed another car pull into the drop zone.

Curious, she waited to catch a glimpse of the new camper. But before she saw the passenger, a huge commotion exploded in the arriving vehicle.

An agitated woman who appeared to be the girl’s mother started yelling from inside of the car. “Come on, Jade! Hurry up and get out of the car; we’ve got a plane to catch!”

Savannah watched in shock as the distraught girl scurried out of the backseat as fast as she could. In tow were a backpack, two suitcases, and a purse slowly winding itself around the poor girl’s arm. In an instant the auto sped off, leaving a trail of dust and the young teen in a heap. There were no hugs or even attempts at a good-bye, only a heartless door slam and the vehicle peeling off at a high rate of speed.

Staggering under the weight of her load, the devastated girl fell to the ground and began sobbing.

Savi was stunned by the dramatic scene happening in front of her.

What was THAT all about?  Was that her mom? Savannah thought to herself.

Pretty rough no matter who it was!

She felt sorry for the distraught new arrival crying on the ground.

How embarrassed I’d feel if that was me, especially with everybody watching.” She thought.

“I should go and help her.”

She hurried over to the drop off area, bent down on one knee, and did her best to comfort the frazzled stranger.

“Can I help you with some of this stuff? It looks like a lot for one person to carry.”

Startled, the girl at first tried to shake off the unwelcome intruder. “Leave me alone—I don’t need any help,” she said in a harsh tone. “Who are you, anyway?”

“My name’s Savannah, but my friends call me Savi. I…I just thought you could use some help.”

Savi waited patiently for the girl to collect herself. Slowly she lifted her tear-stained face to see who had spoken to her so kindly. The sight of her face made Savannah inhale sharply.

“What? I look stupid, right? I already know that.” The girl said even more perturbed.

“No, not at all. I wasn’t thinking anything like that.

It’s just…you’re really pretty.”

In her sixteen years of living in Oxford, Mississippi she never saw a girl as beautiful as this one. Despite the tear tracks on her face and a pair of puffy eyes, she looked like a real life sized china doll. Her milky white complexion contrasted by her long shiny black hair was stunning. When you added in her soft delicate features, she was flawless. As close to perfect as a girl her age could look.

The girl finally realized that Savi was only trying to be friendly and helpful.

“Thanks for saying that, Savi, but I don’t feel very pretty right now…My name’s Jade Chang—Sorry I snapped at you—Do you mind if I call you Savi?”

“Not at all, I’d like that,” Savi replied with a smile.

“I feel like such a fool. I can’t believe my mother did that to me,” she said shaking her head.

“Well…you’re not going to have to deal with her for a while. Come on. Let’s go see what cabin you’re in… Maybe we’re in the same one.”

Jade stood up and with Savi’s help gathered up her belongings and headed for the camp office. As they walked, Savi looked down at Jade’s Coach purse,  Tumi suitcases, and North Face backpack. All this great stuff… but she still seems so unhappy.

During their walk to the office, Savi looked over at Jade and could see she was deep in thought and that her heart was heavy. So while carrying her suitcase with her right hand, she lifted her left and patted her gently on the back. Jade was touched by the kind gesture so she glanced over at Savi and gave her a friendly smile. Savi grinned back and felt hopeful that she might have already found a new friend at camp.

“Savi, I noticed you’re limping. Did you hurt your ankle?”

“Actually, I hurt it a few years ago,” she replied.  “Oh I didn’t mean to…”

“That’s okay, it’s no big deal.”

“No, really,” Jade said apologetically, “I’m sorry for being so nosey.”

“No worries,” Savi replied. “It’s not as if you asked me how much I weigh or something,” as she rolled her eyes and gave Jade a friendly nudge with her elbow.

Both girls laughed and continued walking toward the camp office. On the way, Savi said to Jade, “How ‘bout I tell you the story about my ankle later?” Then the two of them agreed to put off the subject for another time.

When they arrived at the office, they looked for the cabin assignments posted outside the door. Savi could tell Jade was already feeling a bit more comfortable and starting to relax.

“Jade over here…Those are the boys’ cabins…Here’s the girls’. I’m sure they’d be thrilled to see you, though,” Savi joked.

Embarrassed, Jade threw her head back and then made her way over to where Savi was standing in front of the girls’ cabin assignment board.

“You said, ‘Chang,’ right?” Savi asked, running her finger down the list of names.

“That’s right,” Jade replied.

“Here you are…Oh that stinks! We’re in different cabins,” Savi noted.“Want to go inside and see if they’ll move us to the same one?”

Jade looked over at her and paused a moment… “Umm, okay. That sounds great.”

The girls did their best to convince the camp director that they should be in the same cabin. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t budge. But he told them he’d keep in mind their desire to be together when planning future events. When they left the office, the girls decided to drop off Jade’s stuff at her cabin and grab a cool drink. After leaving the snack shack, they found a shady spot on a carved log bench.

“I promised I’d tell you about my ankle. I guess this is as good a time as any.”

“You know you don’t have to,” Jade replied.

“I know, but I want you to know how I got my limp.”

“I have to admit…I am a bit curious.”

“Well, when I was eight years old, the U.S. National Gymnastics Team came to Oxford, Mississippi to put on an exhibition at Ole Miss.”

“Ole Miss?” questioned Jade.

“Oh sorry, that’s short for University of Mississippi. Anyway, my dad took me to see the competition and that event changed my life.”

Jade shrugged. “How?”

“Watching the different routines was so cool. I instantly fell in love with gymnastics, particularly the balance beam. The girls were so graceful but strong at the same time. I dreamed of becoming one of them. For the next three years I trained on the beam and competed in a bunch of events. My goal was to make the U.S. National Team.”

Suddenly, Savi stopped. “I’m not boring you, am I?”

“No, not at all! I’m really interested. Keep going.”

“In just three years, I was ranked fourth in the nation in my age category. Everybody was so proud of me. But only the top three girls went to nationals. The final cuts were a few years ago in Nashville. I was tied for second place with this girl named Julie, with only one routine to go—I was freaking out! I knew my only hope of beating her and advancing was to do a flawless routine and stick my landing. Everything was going great until my final element, an aerial summersault. It was always my most challenging move. I was hoping I could pull it off. The summersault was perfect but as I landed on the beam…” Savi paused and looked down at her ankle. “My left foot hit the beam wrong and my ankle snapped like a dry branch.”

“Oh my gosh, that’s awful! I’m so sorry.”

“Yeah, me too. Because that ended my career in gymnastics and my dream of going to the Olympics.”

“They couldn’t fix it?” Jade asked.

“They tried, but it never healed quite right, so I’ve learned to live with it. I get around just fine, though.”

“I can see that—Wow! That’s quite a story. Thanks for telling it to me.”

“Well, now you know a little about me, but I know absolutely nothing about you. Next time we meet, it’s your turn.”

“That’s a deal.”

They both finished their drinks and stood up.

“I can’t believe how tall you are! You must be at least 5’7″.”

“Actually, I’m 5’8″,” Jade said proudly.

“I knew you were up there. I’ve always been on the short side. Only 5’2″. But you know what they say, ‘good things come in small packages.’” Jade smiled and nodded in agreement. Then they said good-bye, and headed toward their separate cabins.

Savi called over her shoulder, “I’ll look for you later!”

“Okay, later!” Jade yelled back.

Savi was on the way back to her cabin when she came upon three boys leaning against a big tree, joking around with each other. She caught one of the boy’s eyes and he watched her as she walked by toward the cabins. He immediately noticed her limp and nudged his friends. “Look at that one. I didn’t know this camp was open to special needs kids!” he said in a raised voice, most likely for her to hear. Again, the same boy blurted out, “I hope they don’t match me up on some activity with ‘lame girl.’”

Savi overheard the insult but pretended she didn’t. She also heard one of the boys standing with him say, “Nice one, Conner!”

By the time Savi reached her cabin, she was red-faced and fuming. Alone, sitting on her bed, she stared out the window at Conner. She watched as he and his friends amused themselves at the expense of others walking by.

Here we go again, she thought to herself. I thought I left those bullies back at school! Then, she rose to her feet and stepped outside of the cabin. With an animated face and a loud voice she yelled in the bully’s direction, “Hey, Conner! Your mom’s on the phone and says you forgot to pack your blankie and Batman underwear!”

Instantly, a roar of laughter erupted from those within earshot of her clever retort. This time it was Conner’s turn to feel the sting of humiliation. He slinked away to his cabin not to be seen again until the dinner bell.

Savi stood in front of her cabin triumphant, though she did feel somewhat ashamed for finding the taste of revenge so sweet. Suddenly, a familiar voice shouted from across the campground, “Savi, come look! We’re paired up together for tomorrow’s rafting trip! We’re in the same raft!”

She leaped for joy and joined Jade at the message board for an energetic high five.

“And guess what? There are boys in our raft. Two of them!” Jade proclaimed excitedly. “One’s named Rico Cruz and the other is some guy named Conner Swift.”

“What?” Savi yelled. “Conner…I just met that jerk! I’m not getting in a raft with him. No way!” Savi vowed.

“Oh, yes you are, little lady!”  Savi heard Camp Director Anderson say forcefully behind her. “All raft assignments are final. What’s done is done. There will be NO changes!” the director reiterated as he walked away.

Savi stood staring blankly at the message board.

What  could  be  worse  than  being  in  a  raft  with  Conner Swift! It wouldn’t be long before she’d find out.

 

View the trailer at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIafxxeApHoGary Rodriguez

Gary Rodriguez is president of LeaderMetrix Inc., a consulting company that specializes in senior-level executive coaching, organizational development and conflict resolution. He is the author of the new adventure novel Escape through the Wilderness scheduled for release in June 2014. 

His first book Purpose-Centered Public Speaking was an instant hit and recently republished by Tate Publishing. 

His extensive resume includes eighteen years as an executive in the radio business where he spent several years as one of the original managers of Infinity Broadcasting. He was twice nominated as medium market manager of the year by the Bobby Poe report, a national media publication. 

For over thirty-five years, Gary has spoken in public both nationally and internationally.  Gary’s resume includes a season in the U.S. Army where he was highly decorated as the youngest Drill Instructor in the Army’s history at age 18 years. He was also awarded the Silver Star (the nation’s third highest award for valor) while serving in Viet Nam. 

Visit the book’s website at http://ettw.tateauthor.com/ You can also find Gary at http://leadermetrix.com/ and http://www.leadermetrix.com/authorspeaker.  

 

Escape Through the Wilderness Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, October 6

First chapter reveal at The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

Tuesday, October 7

Author interview at PUYB Virtual Book Club

Wednesday, October 8

Spotlight and giveaway at Inside BJ’s Head

Thursday, October 9

Guest post at Cheryl’s Christian Book Connection

Friday, October 10

Book spotlight at The Writer’s Life

Monday, October 13

Video trailer reveal at Putting Words Down on Paper

Tuesday, October 14

Book review at My Devotional Thoughts

Wednesday, October 15

Guest post at Lori’s Reading Corner

Thursday, October 16

Video trailer reveal at Stands of Thought

Friday, October 17

First chapter reveal at Rebecca’s Writing Services

First chapter reveal at FictionZeal

Monday, October 20

Book review at By the Book

Tuesday, October 21

Book review Writing and other ways into the heart

Wednesday, October 22

Author interview at Blogcritics

Thursday, October 23

Author interview at Beyond the Books

Friday, October 24

Book spotlight and giveaway at Mary’s Cup of Tea

Monday, October 27

Book spotlight and giveaway at Maureen’s Musings

Tuesday, October 28

Book review/spotlight and giveaway at Mom Loves 2 Read

Wednesday, October 29

Author interview at As the Pages Turn

Thursday, October 30

First chapter reveal at Blooming with Books

Friday, October 31

Book spotlight and giveaway at Blooming with Books

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17. Pre-order Hidden Monster by Amanda Strong

hidden

For seventeen-year-old Samantha Campbell, running back woods trails usually means freedom from her less-than-perfect life. That is, until the day a morning run turns into a living nightmare. When Samantha wakes up to find herself bound to a dirty, pinstriped mattress, she realizes she’s anything but free. With a masked abductor repeatedly injecting her arm with an unknown substance while holding her captive, Samantha tries in vain to find out what he wants, but he refuses to speak. Until the day he breaks his silence and his twisted words are worse than what she’d imagined. He promises her one day she will fall in love with him but the best part will be that she won’t know who he is… until it’s too late.

Finding herself freed from captivity, with her captor still at large, Samantha is on guard against everything and everyone around her. Unfortunately, walling up her heart proves difficult when eighteen-year-old Blake Knightley moves in next door. When Samantha starts experiencing strange changes within her, she realizes her captor may have left her more damaged than she originally thought. Now she must turn to Blake for help in order to unearth the truth behind the monster who started this all… or risk experiencing worse things than just falling in love.

Pre-order now for only $2.99 at Amazon!

amandaBorn in Dekalb, Illinois, Amanda Strong has called Utah, Arizona, Hawaii, Virginia and now New Mexico home. Amanda has been spinning tales since she was a child. Her family still remembers finding young Amanda with her bright pink glasses, hiding in random corners of the house while scribbling away in one of her many spiral-bound notebooks. You could say that some things never change since Amanda is still writing today. Amanda began her writing career when she uploaded The Awakener, her first full-length novel, on Wattpad where it received over 430,000 reads in four weeks. She was blown away and humbled by the reader support and feedback she received. Because of The Awakener’s success as a non-published book, she was asked to talk on 1400 KSTAR about her story.

In September 2013 Amanda Strong signed with Clean Teen Publishing for publication of The Awakener. The Awakener is the first book in an all-new young adult paranormal romance series called: The Watchers of Men.

When Amanda isn’t writing, you can find her chasing her three rambunctious children around the house and spending time with her wonderful and supportive husband. On some occasions you can still find Amanda with her not-so-pink glasses, hiding in a corner reading her favorite young adult fantasy novels or working out only to blow her diet by eating ice cream.

Visit Amanda online at http://authoramandastrong.com/ of on Facebook or Twitter.


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18. Anywhere but Here – written by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

Anywhere but Here – written by Tanya Lloyd Kyi | Storytime Standouts

Storytime Standouts writes about #YAlit Anywhere But Here by Tanya Lloyd KyiAnywhere But Here written by Tanya Lloyd Kyi
Young Adult Fiction published by Simon and Schuster









I feel compelled to share some aspects of my personal life before I write about Anywhere but Here. I was attending university and living with my folks when my mom died four days prior to surgery that had been scheduled to repair a heart valve. It was shocking and devastating and, without a doubt, the most difficult experience of my life.

Weeks later, my dad began dating. When I say ‘weeks,’ I mean less than three months later. While still grieving the sudden loss of my mom and feeling as though my life had been turned upside down, I was watching as my dad began a relationship with a woman he would eventually marry. Dad’s second marriage was an enduring one. To be honest, I am not sure which of his marriages was longer: he celebrated twenty-fifth wedding anniversaries twice.

Anywhere but Here is the story of a young man, still in high school, who is coping with the loss of his mom. Cole finds life in a small town stifling. He is eager to finish high school and make a break from his acquaintances, friends and family. He has ended a two year relationship with a girlfriend and finds her behavior and that of some classmates confusing. His family life is in ruins. Cole’s dad drinks heavily and meets an exotic dancer. Before long, she is pregnant and Cole’s dad explains that she will be moving into the family home along with her young daughter.

With the encouragement of a school guidance counselor, Cole considers enrolling in a post secondary cinematography program. As part of his application, his must create a short film. It is while filming that Cole examines his community and gains perspective.

Beautifully written, Anywhere but Here accurately depicts the turmoil and confusion that occur when one parent dies and the surviving parent enters into a new relationship – especially when the surviving child(ren) are young adults. I especially liked the authenticity of Cole’s voice and the relationships between Cole and his guidance counselor, his mom’s former nurse and his classmates. This is a novel that begs for a sequel and I very much look forward to reading it.

Anywhere But Here at Amazon.com

Anywhere But Here at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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19. Anthony Lane on Young Adult Fiction: a generalized and generally disturbing definition of the form

Generalized definitions of anything—or anyone—are provocative, sure. They get the readers' ire up. Which is to say they attract more readers. I am sure that Anthony Lane of The New Yorker (a terrific if mostly acerbic reviewer) knows that YA fiction comes in many hues and forms and flavors, and that it is fed by many ideals and many wild imaginations, many time periods, many themes, and a full array of characters and landscapes.

But here, in Lane's review of the movie "If I Stay," based on the Gayle Forman novel, he issues a standardizing decree.
Young-adult fiction: what a peculiar product it is, sold and consumed as avidly as the misery memoir and the self-help book, and borrowing sneakily from both. One can see the gap in the market. What are literate kids meant to do with themselves, or with their itchy brains, as they wander the no man's land between Narnia and Philip Roth? The ideal protagonist of the genre is at once victimized and possessed of decisive power—someone like Mia, the heroine of Gayle Forman's "If I Stay," which has clung grimly to the Times best-seller list, on and off, for twenty weeks. And the ideal subject is death, or, as we should probably call it, the big sleepover.
Oh, the blogs/articles/talks that will erupt from this. Oh. Or? Perhaps we who write young adult fiction that is not part misery memoir and not self-help book, not, indeed, any single one thing, grow weary of the castigating, the easy sarcasm, the sneak and overt attacks?

Let others stomp their feet and say what they will. We've got work to do.



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20. Interview with C.H. MacLean, Author of Two Empty Thrones

C.H. MacLean

To young C. H. MacLean, books were everything: mind-food, friends, and fun. They gave the shy middle child’s life color and energy. Amazingly, not everyone saw them that way. Seeing a laundry hamper full of books approach her, the librarian scolded C. H. for trying to check them all out. “You’ll never read that many before they expire!” C. H. was surprised, having shown great restraint only by keeping a list of books to check out next time. Thoroughly abashed, C. H. waited three whole days after finishing that lot before going back for more.

 With an internal world more vivid than the real one, C. H. was chastised for reading in the library instead of going to class. “Neurotic, needs medical help,” the teacher diagnosed. C. H.’s father, a psychologist, just laughed when he heard. “She’s just upset because those books are more challenging than her class.”  C. H. realized making up stories was just as fun as reading, and harder to get caught doing. So for a while, C. H. crafted stories and characters out of wisps and trinkets, with every toy growing an elaborate personality. 

But toys were not mature, and stories weren’t respectable for a family of doctors. So C. H. grew up and learned to read serious books and study hard, shelving foolish fantasies for serious work.

Years passed in a black and white blur. Then, unpredictably falling in love all the way to a magical marriage rattled C. H.’s orderly world. A crazy idea slipped in a resulting crack and wouldn’t leave. “Write the book you want to read,” it said. “Write? As in, a fantasy novel? But I’m not creative,” C. H. protested. The idea, and C. H.’s spouse, rolled their eyes.

So one day, C. H. started writing. Just to try it, not that it would go anywhere. Big mistake. Decades of pent-up passion started pouring out, making a mess of an orderly life. It only got worse. Soon, stories popped up everywhere- in dreams, while exercising, or out of spite, in the middle of a work meeting. “But it’s not important work,” C. H. pleaded weakly. “They are not food, or friends, or…” But it was too late. C. H. had re-discovered that, like books, life should be fun too. Now, writing is a compulsion, and a calling.

 C. H. lives in a Pacific Northwest forest with five cats, two kids, one spouse, and absolutely no dragons or elves, faeries, or demons… that are willing to be named, at least.

You can find, follow or chat with C.H. MacLean at the following on-line locations:

Website/Blog: www.chmaclean.com

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest 

Where did you grow up?

While I grew up in several places, including Hawaii and Colorado, I spent most of the time in coldest Minnesota.

When did you begin writing? 

I wrote all through school and afterward. But I didn’t think I was a writer, if that makes any sense. I only really believed in who I was after meeting the love of my life.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I sit down to write in the early morning and late afternoon, sometimes at night. But I get ideas and scribble things down at any random time. I think that is some of the best writing.

What is this book about? Two Empty Thrones 2

Haylwen thinks she can relax, but she hears the silence before the storm. The evil king of the magic users will break every rule to gain control of the One of prophecy. Even the dragons dare not interfere. Haylwen, trapped in the middle, is confronted by all of her fears and the choice of who she will be. Continuing the story from One is Come, Two Empty Thrones increases the intensity of the series and shows Haylwen’s growth as the stakes are raised. 

What inspired you to write it? 

Haylwen’s story exploded in my head, and sucked me in like a black hole. As a reader, this is the book I would love to read. Knowing readers will love it, I just had to share. The tale of this curly-haired girl who thinks she is less than normal when she is really powerful beyond her dreams inspires me still. 

Who is your favorite character from the book?

I don’t really have a favorite, as they are all interesting in different ways. While just a minor player, Tommy’s character resonates with me. His abilities and personality connect him to Haylwen on a karmic level, and his history makes Haylwen a life-saving inspiration for him. 

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Only mildly choppy, but it seemed like I had to tackle more than I expected.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have started earlier, of course. As this is my second book, I know now what I didn’t know with the first, and am learning more to apply to the third.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book? 

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, or Smashwords.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Write what you love, pour your heart out for the reader. Never forget that the readers are the reason you write.

What is up next for you? 

Fire Above, my third book, about a young man who dares to dream and starts the first dragon-human war, should be published in March of 2015. The third book in the Five in Circle series, We the Three, where the dragons explode and begin the world-remake, will be released shortly after that. 

Is there anything you would like to add?

Ignore impossible realities. Hold to your dreams and you will find magic everywhere you look.

I’d also like to thank you for your interest in me and my book Two Empty Thrones!

 

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21. Book Spotlight: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

The Lil’ Diva wanted to read this one so badly, the librarian sped up getting their copy into the system so that she could borrow it. Have any of you read it?

stayJust listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (April 6, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 014241543X
ISBN-13: 978-0142415436

 

For interesting facts about the author, visit her website at http://gayleforman.com/


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22. Book Spotlight: The Watchers: Knight of Light by Deirdra Eden

watchersAll the training in Heaven couldn’t prepare me for the war on earth, nor for the love, loss, or loneliness humans feel. There are things worse than death, and every last one of them is hunting people like us. Even though we all feel human at times, we must remember, we are not them, we are their watchers.

In England, 1270 A.D., Auriella (pronounced yurr-ee-ella) flees her village after being accused of witchcraft. Pursued by nightmarish creatures, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity. Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, demons, and monsters, Knight of Light is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.

The Watchers Series has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural. The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Traditional Apocrypha, the Pearl of Great Price and the Kabbalah. The Watchers are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness. Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad.

Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s, The Watcher’s Series, is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions.

Paperback: 205 pages
Publisher: Brigham Distributing (July 14, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0996015809
ISBN-13: 978-0996015806

 

Watch the intense new trailer!

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23. Book Spotlight: Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

I’ll be focusing on graphic novels this week. Hope you enjoy it.

seconds

The highly anticipated new standalone full-color graphic novel from Bryan Lee O’Malley, author and artist of the hugely bestselling Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series

Katie’s got it pretty good. She’s a talented young chef, she runs a successful restaurant, and she has big plans to open an even better one. Then, all at once, progress on the new location bogs down, her charming ex-boyfriend pops up, her fling with another chef goes sour, and her best waitress gets badly hurt. And just like that, Katie’s life goes from pretty good to not so much. What she needs is a second chance. Everybody deserves one, after all—but they don’t come easy. Luckily for Katie, a mysterious girl appears in the middle of the night with simple instructions for a do-it-yourself do-over:

1. Write your mistake
2. Ingest one mushroom
3. Go to sleep
4. Wake anew

And just like that, all the bad stuff never happened, and Katie is given another chance to get things right. She’s also got a dresser drawer full of magical mushrooms—and an irresistible urge to make her life not just good, but perfect. Too bad it’s against the rules. But Katie doesn’t care about the rules—and she’s about to discover the unintended consequences of the best intentions.

From the mind and pen behind the acclaimed Scott Pilgrim series comes a madcap new tale of existential angst, everyday obstacles, young love, and ancient spirits that’s sharp-witted and tenderhearted, whimsical and wise.

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345529375
ISBN-13: 978-0345529374

PURCHASE HERE!


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24. The Red Sheet by Mia Kerick

red sheetWhat if you woke up one morning a totally different person? Even more intriguing–you think you were a major jerk, but you don’t know why. Oh, and then you have a strong desire to tie a red sheet around your neck and begin rescuing trapped kittens out of trees and helping old ladies across the street.

The Red Sheet by Mia Kerick is a fascinating young adult novel that creates a unique “what if?” scenario. Bryan Dennison wakes up one morning and he’s a totally different person. Once a superjock, self-centered bully, the new Bryan is respectful to his mother, neighborly, and working hard at school. He’s also attracted to Scott Beckett, the former victim of his bullying, even though he can’t remember much about his relationship with Scott prior to his sudden change. As Bryan struggles to put the pieces together of who he used to be, Scott is not interested in anything the new and improved Bryan has to offer.

I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like this before. It is superb. Kerick puts together an intriguing novel where the main character shares his story the way in which it unfolded in front of him. What happened to him is so powerful, he must share it. The reader is asking the same questions that Bryan is considering at each point in the story. What happened before his change? Why was Bryan such an obnoxious jerk? What caused him to change? Why can’t he remember the way he acted toward Scott Beckett?  And once everything is revealed, the reader might be more shocked than Bryan was.

My only nitpick is that there was too much swearing for my taste. It might be realistic, but I don’t care for it. The same story could be told with that aspect toned down and still have a great impact.

The Red Sheet is an excellent novel about bullying, being comfortable in your own skin, seeking forgiveness and being able to forgive. Its message is inspiring. Its plot unique. I think this is going to be a very popular book within its target market and beyond.

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

Mia Kerick’s Web Site:
http://miakerick.com/

Mia Kerick’s Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/mia.kerick

Mia Kerick’s Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6474518.Mia_Kerick?from_search=true

Mia Kerick’s YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7a1Q093gJ1E

Mia Kerick’s Blog:
http://miakerick.com/blog/

The Red Sheet Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20619717-the-red-sheet

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-Books-Blog-Tours/242431245775186

The Red Sheet blog tour site:
http://theredsheetblogtour.blogspot.com/

Prices/Formats: $6.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
Genre: Young Adult
Pages:
190
Release:
February 20, 2014
Publisher:
Harmony Ink Press
ISBN:
9781627987219


Amazon buy link:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IJQS6KS?tag=tributebooks-20

Barnes and Noble buy link:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-red-sheet-mia-kerick/1118710756?ean=9781627987158

Dreamspinner Press buy link:
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4725

All Romance buy link:

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-theredsheet-1404989-149.html

 

miaMia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

My themes I always write about:
Sweetness. Unconventional love, tortured/damaged heroes- only love can save them

Chance to win a $25 Amazon.com gift card (or PayPal cash)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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25. Bone, Fog, Ash & Star: The Last Days of Tian Di, Book 3

Bone, Fog, Ash & Star: The Last Days of Tian Di, Book 3 | Storytime Standouts

Storytime Standouts guest contributor @1prncs writes about Bone, Fog, Ash & Star: The Last Days of Tian Di, Book 3Bone, Fog, Ash & Star: The Last Days of Tian Di, Book 3 written by Catherine Egan
Young Adult fiction published by Coteau Books









Read our interview with Catherine Egan

The lengthy title of Catherine Egan’s third book, The Last Days of Tian Di: Bone, Fog, Ash, and Star, alludes to the depth and complexity that is wrapped up within the story. Like the characters of this book, I felt myself immersed in unfamiliar, amazing worlds, pulled back and forth between them by the common thread: Eliza. A story of friendship, loyalty, strength, and finding the truth, Egan isn’t afraid to make her characters suffer to reach reward. In fact, it is understood and stated that “there is loss and gain with every act”. I think what was most powerful, for me, was the way this book echos life. There are consequences to every action and we do the very best we can at the time, but then we must go from there, from the result of our decisions. It is a heavy burden on the main character’s shoulders, knowing that the choices she makes will lead to her own heavy heart. But I think it is an important message for readers, particularly the young adult ones who are, in some ways, facing a similar journey. At the age of sixteen, they are making choices that feel right at the time, but have long term consequences that need to be weighed and judged. Sometimes, life really is choosing the lesser of two evils and this is a lesson that Eliza faces constantly.

In this third book of her series, Catherine Egan pulls the reader in with intense action right from the start. When Eliza’s friend, Charlie, becomes the victim of an assassination attempt, just as she’s trying to tell him she has feelings for him that go beyond friendship, the reader is immediately hooked. Aside from the action, the magical realism, the vivid imagery that drops you right inside of the book, the characters are connectable.

I realized within the first chapter that I was drawn in because when the first major event happens, I literally gasped out loud. At that point I thought, wow, I already care about the characters and I can totally see the scene. As a writer and a reader, I know that this is not an easy combination to present on the page. From there, Egan takes us on a journey to save her friend that is met with seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Like the title, the story seemed to always have one more tangent. Whether you’re thinking that they cannot possibly escape the next vicious attack or they are finally safe, the reader is constantly surprised. The term magical realism is an interesting one to me: if done poorly, you can distance yourself from the book because it’s fantasy and you know that everything is okay. If done properly, as Egan has done, you can forget that transforming, shape-shifting, and spell-binding aren’t a possibility. I saw the characters as regular teenagers– Eliza with too much responsibility on her young shoulders, Nell with the exam she desperately wanted to ace, and Charlie with the youthful irritation of someone stuck in a situation they cannot control.

Even in the magical, there is a sense of the real: the faeries’ overall disdain of humans, the faery mother who can’t abide by her son, Jalo helping a human because he’s in love with her, the oracle grandmother, saved by the ancients, who shares her knowledge in riddles, the fight for power between the Mancers, and each character trying to choose between good and evil, trying to find their way out of a situation that is bigger than themselves.Through it all, we are reminded, as are the characters, that best laid plans often go astray and the things we truly believe we want and need in life are not necessarily what we end up getting. Accepting that and moving forward anyway is not easy, but it can be done, as Eliza shows us.

Bone, Fog, Ash & Star: The Last Days of Tian Di Book 3 at Amazon.com

Bone, Fog, Ash & Star: The Last Days of Tian Di, Book 3 at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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