YA YA (Young Adult Books) Public Facebook Group
Amazon Book Description
At eighteen years old, Cassidy has suffered more loss than most…
At the end of her senior year, her boyfriend, Jace Peters, was killed in a car accident, and her grandmother died only weeks later of a heart attack. Emotionally lost, Cassidy desperately searches for an heirloom her boyfriend was wearing in the crash—her mother’s gold ring. But during her search, Cassidy discovers more than her ring.
She finds a gate to the Demon Realm….
A battle is brewing, and Killian—head of the Demon hunters—preps his Clan for the approaching conflict. They’ve been working to secure the gate between his realm and the mortal world. But it’s been nearly impossible since Rya—a voracious demon on a quest to expand her power—devoured the soul of his Clan’s necromancer. Now Rya is possessed with the necromancer’s powers and she may break through the gate at any moment.
Apparently Rya isn’t the only one Killian has to worry about…
When Cassidy accidentally crosses into the Demon Realm, Killian can’t understand how a human girl survived the transition. Now he has to find a way to return her to her own world, or risk her being caught in the crossfire, which is a complication he definitely doesn’t need.
Once back in the Human Realm, Cassidy readies herself for battle. She signs up for Krav Maga classes, where she meets Tyler Romaitis—a handsome, tenacious, humble guy. He seems almost perfect, but nothing is ever that easy.
And as the balance between good and evil shifts, Cassidy finds herself—and her ring—at the heart of the conflict for the survival of mankind.
Between the Bleeding Willows (The Demon Hunters Series Book 1) by D.A Roach was
Published in March of 2016 by Limitless Publishing, LLC
33 Customer Reviews with a 4.8 average. She has four other books listed on Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions.
I saw Between the Bleeding Willows mentioned on the YA YA Young Adult Books Facebook Group (Link in the show notes) and it really caught my eye. A dark haired, dark eyed woman blends in with stom clouds in the sky behind her. Ravens wheel around her in the sky of the background. Below her in the foreground, the title is superimposed over a graphical design which implied knives or sword edges from a weapon.
I liked the cover enough to go to the Amazon Kindle page (Link in the shownotes) and read the description. Here's the description.
I found the description compelling enough to buy the kindle edition and read the first chapter. I'll read that now and then we'll see if I want to read further.
So this is chapter 1
Writing excuses,,,,first rule about plot....flashbacks.
This first chapter is a series of flashbacks
You can break the rules if you do it good enough. Did the author? I didn't hate it, It didn't make me want to stop reading. I don't know, at this point, if we've caught up to present time or not.
It's the same reasone I skip most 'Prologs'. I feel like they are telling us about people who are unimportant to the story, or that we will find the salient points in the following chapters.
The author began this final scene with "That night" and not refering to the previous scene, I have to believe she's still narrating the past.
At the end of this first chapter I still have enough interest and questions to keep me reading. I'll give it another few chapters before I decide if I want to finish it.
The cover was great, the Amazon descpription was compelling, the writing is clear, the character empathetic, and I want to find out how Jace is envolved after his death.
While I don't give this a five star raving review, it's good enough to keep me reading.
I should have an interview to share next week. So, thanks for listening and I'll see you then.
Connie A. Walker’s interest in fantasy developed before she started grade school. Her sister, June, who was five years older, practiced her reading skills by reading to Connie. June introduced her to The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, The Arabian Nights, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and hundreds of fairy tales. Connie fell asleep every night with visions of elves and ogres, sorcerers and enchanted lands, flitting through her mind.
When her sister started junior high school, the reading sessions dwindled to a few times a week. Suddenly Connie had difficulty sleeping. She began having nightmares. She dreaded going to bed.
One night, when Connie was very tired and having difficulty falling asleep, she pretended that June was reading her favorite story to her. She drifted off to sleep and had pleasant dreams. After that, when she went to bed, she reviewed other tales she had heard, often embellishing the action and adding characters.
Within a short while, she was making up stories of her own. That was when she decided to become a writer.
When Connie was seven years old, she won an annual writing contest sponsored by her elementary school. Students in first, second and third grades were eligible to enter. She was the first first-grader ever to win. Her story, “Stop, Look, and Listen,” was about a dog who acted as a crossing guard.
Throughout elementary and high school, Connie made her homework assignments enjoyable by being creative. When doing research papers, she presented the facts within a fictional frame story or a play. Essays were often written as satires, ending with unexpected twists. Connie considered everything she wrote as a prelude to a career as an author.
While getting her Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre at Brigham Young University, she had four original plays produced: a one act comedy and a two act drama (both of which were contest winners), plus two musicals. Later, she had two other one act comedies produced. After graduation, she worked as a technical writer, a graphic artist, and a public relations specialist. In the evenings, she wrote short stories, plays, poetry, and outlined ideas for fantasy novels. She filled a filing cabinet with unpublished manuscripts. A single mother of two, Connie often found her writing time shunted aside by such things as chicken pox, science projects, strep throat, baseball games, stomach flu, and school activities—all those things associated with parenting.
In the meantime, she had to make a living.
As her children entered the teenage years, financial demands increased, and Connie felt the need to develop a career that provided a predictable and adequate income. She attended the University of Utah and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and a Master’s degree in social work. She has been employed as a foster care caseworker, a psychotherapist, and a clinical programs manager.
Now retired, she finally has enough uninterrupted time to write professionally. Her children’s book, Timmy and the K’nick K’nocker Ring, is a fantasy about a young boy who is transported to a world where his special talents are considered magic. It took first place in a local writer’s contest, Children’s Literature category, and was the grand prize winner as well.
The Spire of Kylet, a young adult fantasy, is the first book in The Wolkarean Inscription Trilogy. Katrine is a fifteen year old girl who thinks she has her life all planned out. But, after performing an act of heroisn, she is adopted into a tribe of wizards and receives their powers. Suddenly, she is thrust on a path toward a new destiny whether she likes it or not. The second and third books in the trilogy, The Eyes of Landor and Triumph at Serpent’s Head, are now available.
Connie is currently working on a second Wolkarean trilogy.
Her books are available through Amazon.com in paperback and kindle version.
Episode 42 A first chapter review of "Water so Deep" by Nichole Giles.
I read this book about a year ago when it was first published and was one of the books that gave me the idea that maybe I should start a podcast talking about Young Adult books. I met Nichole a few years ago at a writing conference. She was so friendly and approachable, I thought, wouldn't it be wonderful to get these authors on a podcast and have them talk about their books, their characters and their inspiration behind their writing. We've talked a bit about doing an interview, but we just never seem to connect.
So, I thought I would go ahead and do a first chapter review of the book that got my mind headed in this direction and see if I can get her on an interveiw some time in the future.
Water so Deep was published in February 2015 by Jelly Bean Press.
It has 72 Amazon reviews with a 4.1 average.
Here is chapter 1:
The book cover shows a girl in a white cotton dress, underwater, and swimming to the surface. I think this is a great cover and illustrates the theme of the story. A young woman who is struggling to find the balance between her underwater and on-land self...between what she has grown up and familiar with becoming more and more out of reach to the person she is becoming, who she knows nothing about.
Nichole's use of imagery and tone in her writing makes her story a delight to read. I give her writing and description five stars. The lightning storm, the falling rain, and the transformation from mermaid back to human create a compelling mystery.
We see the foundations for the mer-folk established in this first chapter which follows throughout the book and builds logically and convincingly. I give plausibility five stars.
Setting is wonderful and clear. Of course, if you're going to have mermaids, you need the ocean.
Characters we meet in the first chapter. Emma Harris, our protagonist. Merrick, a mer-man who we learn is her intended below the surface. Tom, who was her love interest, until just now. Others who are introduced through implication are her parents, grandmother, her brother, and the Sea King.
What makes me want to read further...
Of course, I've already read this book and know what you don't know. But the characters in the first chapter are all compelling. Who is Merrick and why does he feel he has a claim to Emma? What is Tom's problem and what makes him think he has the right to judge Emma beat her up? As a man with daughters, the first time I read this book I wanted to grab Tom by the throat and shake him.
What is Emma's origin that she is turning into a mermaid, and her parents have not? She makes mention of her grandmother. Does she, or did she, know something that she didn't share with her grand daughter?
Who is the love interest that we haven't heard about yet? Oh, that's right. You haven't heard about the love interest who isn't Merrick. I don't think I'll spoil the story to tell you that there is a guy who becomes important to the story who you haven't heard about yet.
Is there a way out of it, or is she destined to become a mermaid, and end up in a marriage to Merrick?
Water so Deep isn't a treatise on the moral values of our contemporary youth. It doesn't make any allusions or assumptions about about society. But if you like a story with endearing characters struggling through conflicts to find love and happiness without having to endure torrid, bodice ripping, love scenes, this will be a book you will enjoy and remember.
Back in episode 31 I interviewed Karl Becktrand for the podcast. I asked him if there were any authors he thought would be good on the podcast and he reccomended Connie Walker. She's in his writing group and he described her as "One of the most underappreciated writers" he knows.
So, for ten weeks now I've been trying to get her interview done and I keep messing up on times and Skypes and all that stuff. I was scheduled to interview her last week and got the day messed up. She waited for me to call her while I sat in la la land, thinking we were scheduled for the next day.
I felt so bad that I went ahead and bought her book and promised to do an Amazon review.
After reading the first few chapters I understood why Karl said what he did. Connie is a wonderful writer and deserves to get more attention.
The Spire of Kylet starts with a prolog of about ten pages, so, I'm going to read that for you now.
The Spire of Kylet, a young adult fantasy, is the first book in The Wolkarean Inscription Trilogy.
Here's the Kindle blurb about the book.
Katrine of Banur has a scheme to escape the tedious life of a herder, with its forced early marriage, that her father has planned for her.
Secretly she applies to the illustrious Recorder’s School in the city of Pardish, where only a few exceptional apprentices are accepted each year. But Katrine has been honing her artistic talents and believes she has all the qualifications necessary to become one of the Regent’s elite historian-couriers. She has saved almost enough money from what she earns working on the family ranch in order to pay for the caravan trip. Regardless of what her parents say, she intends to leave home as soon as she receives notification of her acceptance.
Shortly after Katrine finds a spire, a magical weapon created centuries earlier by the sorcerer Kylet, a series of strange events assail her. Because of an act of heroism, she is adopted by one of the mystical Crennese tribes, the Glainites, and is given powers she does not understand and cannot control. She has upheavals of emotion and peculiar sensations in her body. She is plagued by headaches and blurry vision and horrible nightmares.
She fears her dream of becoming a Recorder is doomed.
Then, unexpectedly, she finds herself on a journey to Pardish in the company of a Master Recorder, his new apprentice, her most despised cousin, and a legendary Warrior. As they travel across the countryside, Katrine is faced with unimaginable dangers and decisions. Before she reaches her destination, she faces death three times, redefining her understanding of the world and her place in it.
The second and third books in the trilogy, The Eyes of Landor and Triumph at Serpent’s Head, are also available.
Spire was published in August of 2012 and has six reviews, all five stars.
The book cover shows a girl on a horse, leaning off toward something spining in the air that looks like a dreamcatcher. The picture is a small inset in the cover and is probably too small for getting atttention on Amazon. I give the cover only 3 stars and it may be the reason this book hasn't gotten more traction on Kindle.
The writing is immaculate. Karl Beckstand describes it in his Amazon review: The Spire of Kylet gets your attention from the start. Walker knows how to weave a great adventure--and she's artful in her use of language.
I agree one hundred percent. She has an economy to her writing. There are no redundant or superflous words.
Plausability: She sets up her magical system and shows the price of using magic in the very beginning. Horrifyingly, Elnid-Kyeh sucks the life force from a little girl to restore his waning strength. His magic is powerful--using a talisman to communicate with a distant underling and drawing up the vision of two young women--but there is an underlying method to the abilities which creates the sense of plausability.
Description: Again, Connie's economy of language and "artful use of language" clearly develop the scene we observe from Elnid-Kyeh's desceptive kindness to the little girl and his callused indiference to the prisoners he will soon consume to maintain his strength.
Setting: Whether with Elnid-Kyeh in the tower above the crashing waves or looking down on the two young women in the open field the setting is broad and believable.
Characters: We only truly meet Elnid-Kyeh in the prolog, though we are introduced to a girl who we will soon find out is Katrine, the heroine of the story. We learn a lot about Elnid-Kyeh in these first ten pages, what a cruel and calculating man he is, what his potential is, and the lengths he will go to achieve his desires. I look forward to learning more about the other characters of the story.
My overall rating is Five Stars. I will definately read the rest of this book. Not only because I promised Connie I would, but because I found the first chapter compelling and indicative of a well crafted story of fantasy and adventure.
I recomend that you read it as well.
My insatiable curiosity about people and culture developed at an early age, and was likely the result of many European misadventures and my experiences living in England, Denmark, and Canada. There is nothing like playing among the columns of a Bronze Age palace surrounded by the sapphire waters of the Mediterranean to pique an eight year old's interest and imagination.
I focused my University studies in Classical Archeology and Literature, Physical Anthropology, Social Work, and Criminology. For those of you questioning my use of the word 'focused' ...well, you'll just have to trust me when I say that I couldn't file my interests down to any sharper a point. I tried. The yearly course lists crammed with intriguing possibilities made me feel like a kid in a candy store - one of those really big stores with colorful jars lining the walls from floor to ceiling.
My career path has continued in the same vein. I was my grandmother's caregiver for two years; an opportunity for which I am ever grateful as spending that time with such a remarkable woman shaped me in ways I am still discovering. Among other things, I've been a vet assistant, worked at a halfway house for high-risk offenders, sat on many kids as a mascot, been the operations manager for a private investigation firm, and spent several months in Ontario with the Red Cross helping refugees from Kosovo acclimatize to Canada. I've also volunteered within maximum-security prisons and the community to help people serving life sentences transition from the regimented bubble of prison back to a very changed outside world.
Why I Write
Simply put - I write to explore, express, and connect. I delve into the web of relationships linking humans, animals, and the environment. I peer into my characters inner worlds and explore the inherent violence and compassion bound together in the human spirit. My guiding principle is that the human mosaic is beautiful because of the unique nature of each piece and I do my best to celebrate this diversity in my work.
I grew up in Calgary, Alberta on the divide between the prairie and Mountains. Calgary is a city that's surrounded by wide empty spaces. I think there's something about the pressing wilderness that makes one appreciate the inherent fragility of human society.
I've always been a bit of a dreamer with one foot in a world of make-believe. I learned to read very young and it's been my addiction ever since. Speculative 'what if' style stories (James and the Giant Peach) or stories that take you entirely out of the human frame of reference (Watership Down) quickly lead me into harder stuff (Tolkien, Heinlein)
My urge to see the world took me to Kingston, Ontario for university, then to Berkshire, England for a few years, though I'm generally drawn back to Calgary by ties of blood and friendship. Though we're often fooled by distance. You don't need to move half-way around the world to gain a new perspective, sometimes moving a few miles can make just as much of a difference.
I studied Engineering at university, though while there I was drawn in to the online community on the old IBM mainframe and then into this new and fascinating idea out of CERN called the 'World Wide Web'. This led me into tinkering with computer programming which became a bit of an obsession that luckily people like to pay me for.
I remember being told that the made-up worlds I loved were a childish thing that I would need to grow out of if I wanted to succeed in life. The older I get, the more I realise how wrong this is. In just the past few millennia, humans have moved from chipping tools out of stones to space exploration and heart transplants. Every step on that path was driven by someone who dreamed up something impossible.
Some of the writers that inspire me today are Lois Bujold, David Drake and C.J. Cherryh. These authors take on tough questions about what it means to be moral and the destiny of humanity without flinching. They inspire me to be a better person, as well as a better writer.
As an avid reader I'll never lose sight of the fact that the Author's first duty is to entertain but beyond that my goal is to bring back a sense of optimism about human achievement. The dark side of our natures will always be with us but I'm convinced that humanity has an amazing future ahead and prefer to dream big.
Rebecca Brae is a freelance writer, artist, and fog enthusiast, with a background in sociology and weird pets. Adriaan Brae is a software developer and tech-geek, with a passion for languages and martial arts. Their divergent interests can be challenging at times but their love of new ideas, storytelling, and Lego always brings them together.
BOOK 1: CHAOS BOUND (2014)
When the going gets weird, the tough are useless. You need a geek.
Jessica is no superhero, and though she believes being smart, curious, and compassionate should be considered qualifications, society has yet to agree.
Her life in Coldwater is low-key and predictable, just the way she likes it. Her biggest worries are staying at the top of her classes and avoiding the popular crowd, but a change that will shake the world is already taking hold in her small town.
The death of a classmate kicks her out of her safe routine. Stalked by the supernatural killer, she’ll need to embrace the chaos in order to survive: Lying, stealing, invoking barely understood magic, and even crashing a house party.
Abandoned by her friends and labelled a troublemaker, she’s determined to find a way to stop the killer. But at what cost?
BOOK 2: CURSE BOUND (2016)
When the world goes crazy, it helps to have a head start.
Mutant science projects, a troubled werewolf, and other magic-related dangers are Jessica’s new normal, but someone has started targeting the students of Coldwater High with powerful curses, and she’s a suspect. A serious mistake forces her to question whether she deserves Drew and Michiru’s loyalty, and with the gatekeeper’s alien influence in her head, she’s not even sure she can trust herself.
Just as Jessica realizes she has also been hit with a lethal curse, a disastrously magical Valentine’s Day leaves her cut off from friends and forces her to put her life in the hands of her worst enemy.
MIST WARDEN SERIES BLURB (YA Urban Fantasy)
The town of Coldwater is a quiet, in-between kind of place on the outskirts of Calgary at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Nestled up against the edge of a First Nation reserve, the town is a classic mix of big-city commuters and rural residents. But there are more secrets lost to history than anyone could imagine and now Coldwater is set to return to a more central role in the workings of the universe.
Three teens just entering high school are caught up in the transformation:
Jessica has lived in Coldwater all her life and loves the quiet. A proud geek, she's far happier lost in a book or an equation than dealing with the so-called ‘real world’. When dangerous forces are set loose in her town and start maiming and killing her classmates, she’s compelled to investigate. She never could leave a mystery alone.
Drew is one of the new First Nation students at Coldwater High and his goal is to be anywhere else as soon as possible. Armed with his trusty laptop and an extensive knowledge of tech and random facts, he becomes Jessica’s reluctant ally. His curiosity drives him to get involved and help out against his better judgement, but he does it all with his trademark wit and wicked snark.
Michiru is a force of nature and exceptional athlete who has lived all over the world, with most of her time spent in big cities like London, Amsterdam, Paris, New York, and Toronto. She confidently expects her stay in Coldwater to be every kind of dull, except for the camping and skiing, but is pleasantly surprised to find all the excitement she could want and more.
Nancy Norbeck wrote her first story, inspired by her brother's case of chicken pox, when she was in fourth grade. She flirted with writing off and on over the years, but began to take it seriously in high school, and then in college. After teaching writing to English as a Second Language students for several years, and working on her own writing projects, she enrolled in Goddard College's MFA in creative writing program, which she completed in 2009. The Silver Child is her first novel. She currently works as a writing and creative process coach.
Nancy is a longtime fan of Doctor Who and can often be found spoiling her two nephews rotten. She lives in New Jersey and loves to travel, especially when she can go back in time via a good book.
For more information on current projects, upcoming releases, and coaching services, please subscribe at nancynorbeck.com or follow her on Twitter @NancyNorbeck. She would love to hear from you.
Maia Starfield is on the run, having successfully hidden her ability to create silver just by singing—until government thugs arrived to take her away. Her mother sent her out the door just in time, giving her only one piece of advice: Find Dr. Martus.
Albert Martus has no idea why Maia was sent to find him—the doctor who delivered her 17 years ago. But from the moment she turns up, his story becomes intertwined with hers…as it has been since before she was born.
Follow this unlikely team as they discover the truth about the past and their present, the regime known as the Brotherhood, and the magical and ordinary power they each carry deep inside.
“Nancy Norbeck's THE SILVER CHILD shows us a fantasy world that is all too real, ruled by a modern Inquisition that seeks to control minds and wipe out history. Maia, the Silver Child of the title, is a natural magician who has only the faintest awareness of her powers. More important, she is alive, a vividly drawn teenage girl who must discover who she is in a time of terror. The story is big, the characters both heroic and sweet.”
~Rachel Pollack, World Fantasy Award and Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning novelist
For more about Nancy you can check out nancynorbeck.com (generally speaking), and more specifically, the page for the course that just ended is at nancynorbeck.com/intuitive-writing. They can also sign up on either of those pages to get my newsletter, which includes info about upcoming courses, writing prompts, etc.
YA Books Podcast Episode 38 - A 1st 10 Page Review of "The Rithmatist" by Brandon Sanderson
In my humble opinion Brandon Sanderson is one of the most masterful writers of genre fiction. He's produced many epic fantasy series, for his magical systems and how they are enmeshed in his intensely detailed worlds.
He's probably best known recently in the YA genre for his Reckoners series which started with, "Steelheart". I thought that book was good and the second in the series, "Firefight" was okay. I'm not saying I could write better, by any means. They're filled with very powerful, smack talking, superheroes and anti-heroes, with description, plot and conflict like no one other than Brandon Sanderson can write.
Before Steelheart, (by nearly five months) there was The Rithmatist. Published in May of 2013 it didn't seem to get the attention the later book would elicit.
I'm more of a Peter Parker fan, than I am a Bruce Wayne.
609 reviews, 4.6 average
Here's the blurb:
More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity's only defense against the Wild Chalklings—merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.
As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students study the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.
The Rithmatist starts with a prolog to give a background foundation to the conversation in the first chapter.
Here's the prolog.
I've been listening to the first dozen or so episodes of the "Writing Excuses" podcast in the last few weeks. You may or may not know that Brandon Sanderson is one of the four main podcasters of the show. In the most recent episode I've been listening to they talk about "Idea as a Genre." They even comment that this is one of Brandon's favorite genres to write in. In it, the reader should be wowwed and fascinated as elements of the world and story unfold.
I think the Rithmatist fits this genre and we can see from the prolog that the idea is, "How would it be if magic could be performed by drawing with chalk on the ground." Elements of conflict in this short intro fascinated me as the little chalk animals chewed through the spell caster's defenses.
The first chapter is too long for me to read and still feel like I'm only providing a short excerpt for editorial discussion. So I'm going to read the first scene of the chapter which brings the total of pages read to about 10. That short enough to asauge my conscience from believing I have violated any copy right.
Listen for elements of wonder:
I'm obviously giving this first chapter a solid 5 Star. It makes me want to read on, and did three years ago when I read it (Or listened to it on Audible).
The cover has a Steampunk flavor. The writing and description are excellent. He creates a foundation for all of his magical or plat based assertions so there is no challenge to the plausibility of the characters actions or plot events. The setting is clear and the characters realistic and dynamic.
I have this book on audio, I have the ebook, and a paperback copy. I had planned on going to the Storymaker's conference in Provo Utah this weekend and corner Brandon and interview him in person, but because of my job change and other concerns, I had to stay home. So this is the next best thing for me to reccomend this book that I enjoyed immensely and hope you will too.
Get it here:
In this episode I talk with Mia Siegert and we talk about Olympic Horse Jumping, MFA's, Adjunct Professors, professional hockey, internet hook ups, and other things.
Even though they're identical, Tristan isn't close to his twin Robbie at all—until Robbie tries to kill himself. Forced to share a room to prevent Robbie from hurting himself, the brothers begin to feel the weight of each other's lives on the ice, and off. Tristan starts seeing his twin not as a hockey star whose shadow Tristan can't escape, but a struggling gay teen terrified about coming out in the professional sports world. Robbie's future in the NHL is plagued by anxiety and the mounting pressure from their dad, coach, and scouts, while Tristan desperately fights to create his own future, not as a hockey player but a musical theatre performer. As their season progresses and friends turn out to be enemies, Robbie finds solace in an online stranger known only as "Jimmy2416." Between keeping Robbie's secret and saving him from taking his life, Tristan is given the final call: sacrifice his dream for a brother he barely knows, or pursue his own path. How far is Robbie willing to go—and more importantly, how far is Tristan willing to go to help him?
Mia Siegert received her MFA from Goddard College and her BA from Montclair State University where she won Honorable Mention in the 2009 English Department Awards for fiction. Her debut JERKBAIT will be released May 2016 by Jolly Fish Press. Siegert has been published in Clapboard House, Word Riot, The Limn Literary & Arts Journal, as well as a few other small presses.
Siegert currently works as an adjunct professor and a costume designer. She enjoys riding horses and watching hockey.
Escape to Eden by Rachel McClellan
Sweetwater Books an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.
43 Reviews with 4.8 out of 5.0 stars
Feb 9, 2016
Available in ebook and paperback
About my ratings.
I'm not a professional editor, publisher, or journalist. I am only giving my opinion on whether or not the first chapter of this book would compel me to read further.
As on Amazon, five stars does not mean it is perfect, only that I really liked it. It's all about personal preference.
The Cover: The cover shows a portion of a woman's face. Psychologically this tells us that there is more to the woman, a much bigger picture than fits on the single page. The woman has a pensive look. On her left cheek is the blurb, "They'd kill for my genes". I give it a five because it's mysterious and makes me want to find out more about the character.
Writing: If you know me, you know that 1st person present is my least favorite point of view, but for this story, as you've seen, it's pretty much required. We're unfolding the story of a girl who has lost her memory and finds herself in curious surroundings. If could lose a lot of its intensity if told in in third person or in the past tense.
I thought the writing was great. No typos and it flowed nicely as I read it.
Plausibility:This was the only aspect that I would give a four. There were two circumstances that challenged my suspension of disbelief. Turning on the television she happens to catch a discussion of oDNA. As central to this society as it may be, I think it is still very convenient that her first glimps is pertinent to the plot. I know. This is a story and we need the plot to advance, but this is how my mind works. Secondly, the two words written on her fingers. We know she is an anomaly. She was found in the forest, and from her bruising we can assume they have been experimenting or testing on her. They believe she is unintelligent, but I find it difficult to believe no one would have noticed those words written on her fingers and put two and two together. I'm hoping the author will explain in the next few chapters why these things happened when and how they did.
Description: I give her description a five as well. We know where the protagonist is, we have an idea of what she looks like, we can picture her room and the few people we've met. All with an efficiency of description.
Setting: The setting is intriguing. We know she's in North America as Boston is mentioned. We know she was found in a forest and that now she's in a hospital which has two way screens to other rooms.
Characters: Clearly our protagonist is smarter than her captors believe she is. These advanced humans come in interesting shapes and variation, while our unknown girl sounds like a normal human. As I finished this first chapter I had to stop myself from reading further.
Based on my embryonic rating scale, this book gets 29 out of 30 points giving it 4.82 stars. Definitely worth reading further.
In this episode I interview YA author Kristy Acevedo. We talk about teaching high school English, teaching seniors and juniors as opposed to teaching freshmen. We discuss finding time to write when you teach all day, releasing her first novel, "Consider", and the follow up novel later this year. We talk about #pitmad twitter pitch festival that happens four times each year, and about using twitter.
Kristy Acevedo is a YA author, high school English teacher, and huge Star Trek, Doctor Who, and Harry Potter fan. When she was a child, her "big sister" from the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program fostered her love of books by bringing her to the public library every Wednesday.
A member of SCBWI, her debut novel, CONSIDER, won the 2015 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Children's Book Discovery Award. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two daughters, and two cats (Milo and Khaleesi). She believes coffee and dark chocolate were put on this planet for the good of humankind.
Jolly Fish Press
As if 17-year-old Alexandra Lucas’ anxiety disorder isn’t enough, mysterious holograms suddenly appear, heralding the end of the world. They bring an ultimatum: heed the warning and step through a portal-like vertex to safety, or stay and be destroyed by a comet that is on a collision course with Earth. The holograms,claiming to be humans from the future, bring the promise of safety. But without the ability to verify their story, Alex is forced to consider what is best for her friends, her family, and herself.
To stay or to go. A decision must be made.
With the deadline of the holograms’ prophecy fast approaching, Alex feels as though she is living on a ticking time bomb, until she discovers it is much, much worse.
In this episode I talk with Lauren Stock about going to university in Massachusetts, studying abroad, traveling, writing her first novel while in high school and collaborative writing with her father. Also, about her dachshunds.
Lauren began writing in 8th grade. After having been a voracious reader of YA novels, she was determined to create her own book. Necrobloods was completed by her senior year in high school, with her father coming on board to help. Her first story involved competing styles of magic that had to vie for control.
Enjoying the process of writing, she decided to continue working with her dad, and they are now working on the Tamzin Clarke series. This set of novels is a combination of action/adventure and paranormal/supernatural.
Lauren is now in college, looking toward a degree in writing and international marketing. When at home, she enjoys spending time with her two miniature dachshunds.
You can find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLaurenStock/
I write YA only under Emmy Z. Madrigal, so I am assuming that will be what we talk about, but if you want to mention my Emerian Rich name, that is fine. It is no secret to my readers.
*Emmy Z. Madrigal began the Sweet Dreams Series in high school. Her love of music and the Jazz masters of the Big Band Era have always inspired her life and her writing. Her lead character, Victoria, is a high school student who strives to be a Jazz vocalist. Mixing the hopes and fears of high school seniors with dreams of the future, Emmy has been praised for her realistic portrayal of modern female characters and their will to survive in a world of adversity, prejudice, and economic hardship. Sweet Dreams is a love story, full of adventure, danger, and first experiences. It shows that love can conquer all and that sometimes, love comes when you least expect it. *Emerian Rich writing as Emmy Z. Madrigal.
Books in the Sweet Dreams Musical Romance Series
1. Sweet Dreams (podcast 2008 / print 2010)
2. Star Struck (podcast 2009 / print 2014)
3. True Love? (podcast 2010 / print 2014)
4. Undecided (podcast 2014)
5. One More Try (coming to podcast soon)
Extra ~ Rob Malloy's Unauthorized Journal (coming soon to eBook)
Anime Girl - Spin off series in same universe
1. Anime Girl (eBook Novella 2013)
2. Anime Girl 2 (eBook Novella 2014)
In this second bonus episode on the YA Books Podcast I talk with an author I previously interviewed about his YA books, Robert Rayner.
He has a new book out that will be part of a three book series about the lives of people on a North American Atlantic Island off the coast of Canada.
Coming from New Foundland, Robert has some interesting perspectives regarding life on the islands and their future.
His book is "Defiant Island" and has been published by Speaking Volumes.
To Swallow the Earth - An Adventure 108 years in the making!
(Suspense) A man and a woman, each searching for missing family members, clash amid a Nevada silver rush scheme that leaves both unsure who to trust—and scrambling to stay alive. What if you came home after a journey and your family was gone? What if someone else was living in your house, running things—and trying to kill you? Could a beautiful woman be behind it? Wade Forester must stay in the shadows because, it seems, everyone has reason to shoot him. His father has disappeared, and his sister won’t speak to anyone. Beautiful Patricia Laughlin is searching for her family as well. Few people gain her confidence, though powerful landowner Bridger Calhoun just might be the man to do it. After a clash throws them to opposite sides, Wade must decide if risking his life to help Patricia is worth the trouble, and Patricia must learn which killer to trust with her life.
“To Swallow the Earth earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.
MIDVALE, Utah, Feb. 21, 2016 – Award-winning author Karl Beckstrand is from San Jose, California — and is only in his forties. His grandfather grew up ranching, hunting and fishing around the Sierra Nevada Mountains a hundred years ago and used that setting for a western thriller set in the Nevada silver rush.
It’s now a young adult suspense novel: “To Swallow the Earth” – and a finalist for the Laramie Award. “My grandfather grew up exploring the Sierra Nevadas on horseback, so he knew the country well,” Beckstrand said. “My challenge was to develop his characters while preserving the plot’s action, suspense and earthy vernacular.”
One reviewer said he’d buy the film rights if he had production money. He liked the true-to-life people in unpredictable circumstances.
Amazon Author page
Karl Beckstrand is the award-winning author of fifteen juvenile books and more than 40 ebook titles (reviews by Kirkus, The Horn Book blog, School Library Journal, ForeWord Reviews). Raised in San Jose, California, he received a B.A. in journalism from BYU, an M.A. in international relations from APU, and a certificate from Film A. Academy. Two publishers produced his early multicultural children's books; since 2004 he has run Premio Publishing & Gozo Books. An engaging speaker, consultant, and workshop facilitator, Beckstrand has experience in high tech, public policy, film, radio, and TV broadcasting--including scripts, speeches, and Web content. He teaches media at a state college and contrasts traditional publishing with digital book publishing. His YA fiction, ebook mysteries, nonfiction/biographies, Spanish & bilingual books for kids (with pronunciation guide), short stories, wordless books, and picture book app feature diverse characters of color and usually end with a twist. He has lived abroad, been a Spanish/English interpreter, and enjoys volleyball and kayaking (usually not at the same time). Beckstrand has presented for SUECON (education conference), Taiwan's Global Leadership for Youth, California's Capital Book Festival, Utah Educational Library Media Association, Salt Lake City Book Festival, PCI Webinars, Utah Humanities Council, Murray City Writer's Workshop, Utah Housing Coalition, Midvale City Reading Program, Utah Office of Education, professional groups, and schools. His racially diverse work has appeared in: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Border's Books, Costco, Deseret Book, The Children's Miracle Network, The Congressional Record of the U.S. House of Representatives, Papercrafts Magazine, LDS Film Festival, various broadcasts, and PremioBooks.com. Find: "Karl Beckstrand" on FB, Twitter, KarlBeckstrand.com
In this episode I talk with first time author, Caitlin Lynagh from the UK.
We talk about studying biology and physics in England, her book, "Anomaly: The Soul Prophecies", The science of Anomaly, and more...
In this episode I talk with Janette Rallison about Arizona, raising teenage girls and using their experiences in her stories. About writing books for boys under the pseudonym CJ Hill. We talk about publishing with small publishers, back in the day of paper submissions and the advantages which come with having the internet.
Janette talks about her inspiration from "The Phantom Tollbooth", other authors, and from the artist, Minerva Teichert.
(From Janette's web page)
Janette Rallison is old. Don’t ask how old, because it isn’t polite. Let’s just say she’s older than she’d like to be and leave it at that.
Janette lives in Chandler, Arizona with her husband, five children and enough cats to classify her as “an eccentric cat lady.” She did not do this on purpose. (The cats, that is; she had the children on purpose.) Every single one of the felines showed up on its own and refuses to leave. Not even the family’s fearless little Westie dog can drive them off.
Since Janette has five children and deadlines to write books, she doesn’t have much time left over for hobbies. But since this is the internet and you can’t actually check up to see if anything on this site is true, let’s just say she enjoys dancing, scuba diving, horse back riding and long talks with Orlando Bloom. (Well, I never said he answers back.)
Book Report Questions
So you’ve decided to do a book report on me or one of my books. Congratulations! You are obviously a person with impeccable literary taste.
I’ll try to address some of the common questions I get from book reporters (generally the night before the assignment is due).
When were you born?
A long, long time ago. 1966 to be exact.
Where did you grow up?
A wonderful small town called Pullman, Washington, which is why most of my books are set in small towns. I love them. (Bonus trivia point to impress your teacher: All’s Fair in Love, War, and High School; Revenge of The Cheerleaders; and Blue Eyes and Other Teenage Hazards are all set in Pullman.)
How do you chose the locations for your books?
I set Playing the Field in Gilbert, Arizona, because that’s where I lived at the time. It’s easy to write about places you know well. But since I couldn’t set every story in Gilbert, I branched out to other warm climates. Most of my stories take place in Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada, and Texas.
I try to stay in warm climates because quite frankly I’ve lived in Arizona for so long I’ve forgotten what the cold is like. When I first wrote about Washington I almost had a scene where people mowed the lawn in December. Oops.
Where do you get your ideas from?
I have a teenage daughter, which is sort of like living in your own reality show, but with fewer commercials. I borrow from her life a lot. In fact while I was writing It’s A Mall World After All I once lifted dialogue for a scene right off the text message log in my daughter’s cell phone.
Has any of the stuff you’ve written about ever happened to you?
Unfortunately yes, but generally only the parts where characters are making fools of themselves. I did that a lot as a teenager. I don’t think there’s such a thing as an easy or graceful adolescence. It’s all about embarrassing yourself.
Will any of your books ever be turned into movies?
Authors have very little say over that sort of thing. (Ditto for the book covers.) But if I hear anything, I’ll let you know.
Is it true that when you were thirteen you had a massive crush on Apollo from the original series of Battlestar Galactica?
P.S. If your teacher asks you to identify symbolism in my books you have my permission to tell him/her that I didn’t put any in.
If your teacher asks about theme, tell her/him that the book is about forgiviness. Unintentionally, most of my books are. I didn’t even realize this until the last book. My husband asked me what the book was about (I think he asks these questions so he doesn’t have to actually read my books.) I told him, “On a basic level it’s about realizing when you’re wrong, and about forgiveness.”
He said, “Wasn’t that what your last book was about too?”
Jasmine Kaur Dhuga was a third place award winner for the Canadian Federation of University Women Windsor Poetry Contest in 2011. Soon after, she became an editor for her school newspaper. Dhuga often uses her writing to voice her opinion on certain social issues. She resides in Ontario and is currently studying neuroscience.
"Monique Brooks has a pretty easy life. All she has to deal with is an alcoholic father, a dependent brother, and an abusive drug dealer. On top of all that, at the age of seventeen, she stumbles upon a completely different world, a world that she just so happens to be the protector of. To add more flowers to the garden, she finds out that her adoptive father wants to kill her for the power that she holds. Now, not only does she have to figure out a way to save herself, she must work hard to save the thousands of lives she has in her hands.
But that should all be a piece of cake, right?"
F.C. Shaw grew up with stories. First she had them told to her, and read to her. Then she read them for herself and discovered the magic therein. She is on a mission to help others discover the magic unlocked by reading a book, so has set forth to write her own stories. When she is not dreaming up and writing new stories, she tours the country sharing her books with kids. With a Master's Degree and Teaching Credential, she has taught everything from Kindergarten to college. She lives with her husband and two sons in California.
We talk about listening to stories told by grandmothers, book tours and assemblies at elementary schools, and what interests middle grade readers.
In this episode I talk with Sharon Ahern about the many books she published to gether with her late husband, Jerry and now with a former shared friend, Rob Anderson. She talks about publishing books in the 80's and 90's and how things have changed. We talk about bringing a series back and the new spin she has taken with all the children of the original protagonists.
Camp Zero is a spin off of
the Survivalist series which was written from 1981 to 1993 by my husband,
Jerry Ahern and myself and then I restarted the series in 2012 with author Bob
The Survivalist series always represented the idea that you should remember to
"always plan ahead." Camp Zero is the story of the next generation of
Rourkes/Rubensteins who have grown up in a much safer world where survival
skills are not nearly as important to them. The adults send them to a special
survival camp where they and other kids are taught how to think and act on
their own and to learn how to survive in all sorts of difficulties. Of course,
the world changes and these young teens are thrust into situations requiring
skills that they never took seriously.
Camp Zero will be primarily an action/adventure series but will also allow
young readers to learn basic survival skills along with the book's
protagonists. They also learn that not all friends are what they seem.
I'd like to talk about the beginnings of the Survivalist series and its
progression over the years up to the new YA series that will be coming out
In this episode I talk with Lorraine Carey and we talk about Grand Cayman and the Cayman Islands, island fever compared to the rat race, being a reading specialist for children of all ages, rock star readers in kindergarten, Arizona and the Superstition Mountains, Rome, Pompey and Vestal Virgins, Pachentro Italy, gypsy legends and curses. She likes to read the classics, Tolkien, Brent Legg "The Last Librarian", Teema Maria Lacobia, "The Queen of Vampires", YA author Amanda Hawking,
Find her at http://www.lorrainecarey.com
Lorraine Carey is a veteran children's reading specialist, teacher and an International Award-Winning Author. She has taught in many states in the US and currently is providing reading services for students at a private school on Grand Cayman, where she lives with her husband. Five years ago she was a city gal, living in Orange County, California, where life was very different from the one she lives in now. Trading in her fashionable heels for flip-flops was quite a change, but led to a lifestyle that allowed for a writing career to begin.
Her love for paranormal stories and urban legends began at a young age, when staying up all night to watch spooky movies or reading a scary book started a lifelong passion.
Published novels include: Losing Ground, a short memoir, followed by Mysteries of the Red Coyote Inn, Out of the Ashes, Jonathan's Locket and The Last Vestal Virgin. All of these novels are paranormal with a mix of historical fiction, woven with urban legends. Her most recent novel, Beloved Sacrifice, is a Supernatural Thriller for Young Adults to Adults.
As a bonus, Mysteries of the Red Coyote Inn and Jonathan's Locket have free downloadable comprehension worksheets on her website for educators, or parents.
Her latest novel, A Rock Star Reader by Kindergarten, is an educational guide for parents of young children to help their child achieve many of the pre-reading concepts necessary to be a successful reader by the time they reach kindergarten.
When not writing you can find Lorraine reading, beach- hopping, snorkeling, or boating around the island with her husband on their boat, the Angelica.
In this episode I talk with author Cameron Dayton about living in the Bay Area of California, video game development and story writing for video games, working with fascinating authors, and his book, "Etherwalker".
Best selling author, screenwriter, and developer for Blizzard Entertainment, EA Games, and Chair Entertainment -- Cameron Dayton has charted flights through the worlds of Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft, Undertow, Advent Rising, Minions Paradise and beyond.
And my Amazon book page is here:
In this interview with Rich Meyrick we talk about historical environmentalism, Canada, Germany, The Great Migration of the Serengeti, Waterloo, London, and more.
@JaspaJ on Twitter
Jaspa’s Journey is all about travel and adventure. Nothing new there, you might think. But that’s where you’d be wrong. Because Jaspa’s Journey combines these two common themes in a totally unique way.
Firstly, there’s the Jaspa’s Journey Books. Written by Rich Meyrick, these thrilling novels are largely based on real places I’ve visited and the things I experienced along the way. They blend adventure and travel into exciting stories you can really lose yourself in, no matter how old you are.
Then there’s the ongoing, real-life Travel aspect of Jaspa’s Journey. Whether it’s the regular updates in the Travel section here on my website, on my WordPress blog (Jaspa’s Journal), or through my other social media accounts (see the Contact section), it’s all in my own words and from my own distinctive perspective. And don’t forget the ever-growing Gallery, capturing my travels on camera.
Almost daily, interactive tales from the star of a series of electrifying, award-winning novels for young and old. That has to be a first.
And you thought there was nothing new about Jaspa’s Journey!
In this episode I interview Shanned Crane Camp. We talk about video games new and old, being a girl gamer, her many book series', and her writing process.
Sugar Coated Trilogy
Shannen Crane Camp was born and raised in Southern California, where she developed a love of reading, writing, and anything having to do with film. After high school, she moved to Utah to attend Brigham Young University, where she received a degree in Media Arts and found herself a husband in fellow California native Josh Camp. The two now live in Utah with their miniature schnauzer Hemingway. Shannen's true love is Young Adult Fiction though she often dabbles in New Adult, Paranormal, and Mystery. She takes any opportunity to include her love of film and video games in her writing and you might just find a nerdy Easter Egg or two hidden in her works.
Shannen loves to hear from readers, so feel free to contact her at Shannencbooks@hotmail.com or visit her website for more information: http://shannencbooks.blogspot.com
In this episode I talk with author Davidson L. Haworth. We talk about selling books at Comic Cons, book tours in Russia and Ukraine and finding information about obscure, middle-age, European towns. (Specifically Prali, the location of his three young adult historical fantasy novels.)
Davidson L. Haworth has written several novels, and he is considered to be the father of historical fantasy. He is also the pioneer of conducting full book tours strictly at comic book, science fiction, and fantasy conventions. Davidson also tours on an international circuit to promote his writings and converse with those from around the globe. In the United States he spends most of his efforts speaking at pop culture conventions and educational institutions. Davidson lives with his wife and two children in San Jose, California.
Contact him through: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=Davidson%20L.%20Haworth
Life in Prali, a small village nestled in a picturesque valley in the Italian Alps, is quiet and safe—until the gates to the underworld open nearby, unleashing the fury of the last of the dragons. Generations earlier, the dragons were driven from Prali and slaughtered. Now they have returned with only one goal: revenge against humanity.
A young Franciscan monk named Bernard, an English girl named Mary, and a knight named Leonardo are all that stand in the way of fiery oblivion unleashed by the invading dragon army. The underworld is a place of dark and mysterious magic, where threats far more diabolical than dragons lurk in the shadows.
A powerful wizard, Simon Magnus, sees the plight of the overwhelmed heroes and offers his assistance. But his intentions are far from altruistic; after the dragons destroy the villages, Magnus plans to step in to enslave the villagers and enlists the help of winged furia, demons from the underworld, to finish off the dragons. Desperate, Bernard seeks the assistance of the French leader, Clement Laurent. Infuriated, Magnus brings in Persian mercenaries to crush the resistance. Meanwhile, news that fighters from the Vampire Empire are on the march toward Prali pushes the heroes to the breaking point.
The fate of Prali rests in the outcome of an epic battle between the combined forces of good and evil. Can Bernard and his allies hope to save their village and their way of life?