Pheobe Douse, Secret Society for Special Abilities and Artefacts allows a view into the life of young Pheobe, a high school student whose tendency to be unusually distinct has her feeling like an outcast. After her grandmother dies, it leaves her even more unsure about herself. Her grandmother would always tell stories that seemed fantastical about her life and travels. Phoebe took those moments for granted and when she can no longer have them, she is left feeling guilty. When she receives a strange invitation to attend school in Scotland she accepts the offer with the approval of her parents. She has no close ties outside of her family and she hopes for an adventure like the ones her grandmother had lived.
She soon realizes that while she fits in more readily than she ever has before, this sense of belonging actually makes the new school, her new classmates and her surroundings pretty extraordinary. When she finally begins to accept the possibilities that come with being extraordinary in an extraordinary place, she finds herself torn between her loyalty to her new friends and her grandmother’s legacy. Pheobe has to figure out who she is able to trust before secret forces lead her on a path of no return.
It would be unsurprising if L. Samuels’ debut novel lands on the bestseller list. Any of the millions of Harry Potter fans would be a fan of Pheobe Douse and the well crafted, gifted characters L. Samuels brings to life. The origin of the main character is seeped in a legacy that is undeniably powerful but shrouded in mystery.
Every event and continuation was strategically laid out in a way that caused constant anticipation. Even so, at each moment of conflict, climax and revelation, there were still surprises. There were no moments of overwhelming unpredictability but the pace of events varied and provided an emotionally dynamic experience.
The least agreeable aspect of the book is that the reader is left wanting to know what happens next and in the world of storytelling, this kind of itch usually happens after a satisfying read. The best part is that a second installment is expected so the anticipation continues!
Pages: 348 | ISBN: 978-1-7322846-7-8
The Dream Defenders by Neal Denhartog is a young adult science fiction adventure story following Nolan Erling, a fourteen year old boy who has felt forgotten by his parents ever since his baby brother, Max, joined their family. When Nolan keeps waking up with a headache in the morning, he doesn’t suspect that the cause of his problems is his dreams. But Aeryn Sandman knows. She is a junior agent at the DREAM institute, and Nolan is her first official assignment. Her job turns into more than just a simple recruitment mission, however, after Nolan’s unchecked powers release two nightmares into the dreamstream. Suddenly, things turn deadly–because dreams can kill. Will Nolan and Aeryn succeed in protecting millions of innocent dreamers while they sleep?
This book had a unique premise and the writing style was engaging and kept my interest. The author’s descriptions of the actions taking place pulled me into the story. I enjoyed reading about the weird details of Nolan’s dreams and how he could control them and make things happen. There were several humorous parts, as Aeryn fumbled her first official assignment and failed to keep Nolan under control. I liked the descriptions of the whimsical and frightening dreamscapes, which painted a vivid picture of the setting. I loved the Wispes, Stan and Scranton. They were one of my favorite parts of the story.
I felt that the initial ‘reveal’ of the villain happened too soon. Or maybe it could have just been handled differently. Since it seemed as though I’d already learned the villain’s identity at one third of the way through the book, I felt that the story lost some of its momentum after that. Although it took me a little while to get excited about the story again, it did happen well before I got to the crazy twist at the end.
Although the ending was entertaining and thrilling it left me with many questions. I assume that this story is intended to be the first book in the series, and if that’s the case, I would definitely want to read the next book to find out what happens and learn all the answers to my lingering questions. Overall, this is an exceptional book with a unique premise that is guaranteed to entertain.
Pages: 318 | ASIN: B07S475R84
The Revelations at Black Corners by Steve Zimcosky is a fun and light-hearted read that will keep you on your toes. It opens with JT Curtis, a world-famous author who is invited on a popular talk show to discuss his newest bestseller. During the talk show, JT reveals the strange incident that left him with an uncanny ability to write. An old couple watching at home find themselves shocked at the strange connection between the book and their family. In the rush to get things cleared up, everything gets even more dramatic and muddled up than before. A series of adventures ensue that introduce us to a psychic, parapsychologist, and even a spirit!
Zimcosky knows how to keep an audience interested. The sections of the book are quick and well-structured. Even though you will be immediately invested in the plot, you will realize that in no time at all you have flipped through all the pages! The characters are fresh and contribute to the plot in unique ways. It is not a super heavy read, so you can breeze through it in waiting rooms or during a commute.
One of the cooler aspects of this book are the wonderful illustrations that are dotted throughout the text. They are eye-catching and align perfectly with the plot.
The book ends in a glorious, quick-witted punch that’ll definitely leave you with an aha! moment. The Revelations at Black Corners is an engrossing and lightweight read that will leave you refreshed.
Pages: 47 | ASIN: B07T2DRL6Z
Choker follows Mark as he grapples with the pressures of high school along with the pressures of sports and family. What was the inspiration that made you want to write this book?
I was always fascinated with the idea of “choking” in sports or feeling the pressure. It can be extremely burdensome for any athlete. I set out to write an authentic sports book that captures the true feelings and thoughts of young athletes.
Mark is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character?
I wanted to portray a young athlete who comes face to face with his worst nightmare while playing the sport he loves but eventually overcomes the stigma through perseverance and summoning the courage to be different. As a biracial boy in a suburban high school Mark feels like an outcast at school for several reasons, and like so many of us, he just wants to fit in.
There were some very specific sports details in this book that made this book realistic. Did you use anything from your own life in this book?
Hah! Some people jokingly wonder if it’s an autobiography. I did miss a free throw once that may have cost my high school team a game, and I was broken up for weeks. No athlete wants to be known as someone who buckles under pressure. But my background as both a high school and college athlete, plus years as a sportswriter, helped lend authenticity to the novel.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
Nothing planned right now. “Choker” is my second book, following national-award winner “Out of Bounds.” I’m trying to build my brand as a YA sports author.
Be careful of what you wish for. Sixteen-year-old Mark Chamberlain always dreamed of playing in a state championship basketball game. But he never envisioned a nightmare performance that would bring utter humiliation and scar him as an outcast at school.
Classmates begin to call Mark “Wilt” Chamberlain because he melts under pressure.To top it off, Mark’s father won’t come to his games. When it feels as though the world is against him, with the support of a beautiful girl, Mark tries to summon the inner strength and courage to be different — just like legendary basketball star Wilt Chamberlain.
Children of the Elements follows four children as they discover magical abilities only revealed when they come together. What was the inspiration behind the idea for this novel?
I really don’t know where the idea came from. I was super into Harry Potter, and I was seriously just laying on the floor one day and thought of it. When I finally started writing, I had been thinking about it for like two years and slowly building up a story line.
I felt that the characters were well developed and changed with the story. What were some driving ideals behind their characters?
Well, Brenna was the most like me, so she was easy. Dimitri was a lot like my “best friend” at the time. Adara is sort of the person I think I am growing into (my mom totally says so!), and Wyndham is kinda me when I am around new people!
What has been a motivating factor for you to become a young writer and how has your family supported you?
My mom published books that were doing really well, and I was like, “I wanna do that!” Then my mom gave me a copy of her friend’s daughter’s book (The Fairies of Waterfall Island by Emma Sumner who was only eight at the time), and I knew I could do it too!
But my mom kept on me because I get distracted easily. She’s a book editor and owns an editing company, so she helped me plot out the milestones and character arches and helped a LOT with vocabulary and avoiding repetition–like everything ending with “said.” Cuz I do that a lot…
This is book one in a series. Where will book two take readers and when will it be available?
Well, it’s gonna show us life in the Realm of the Gods and why it’s WAY more boring when everything is perfect! Dimitri is the main character in Book Two instead of Brenna. There will also be four new elemental characters (hint: rhymes with schragons!). And there will actually be four books total. With each Devins kid as the protagonist. I finished the rough draft already, but now it’s going through my mom before it goes through the rest of her editing team. Editing Book One took almost six months, so I guess I will be lucky to get it out by the end of this summer (2019), but that’s the goal. I hope to have Books Three and Four done by the end of 2019 too.
When twin girls, Brenna and Adara, move from posh Victorian England to a humble farmhouse in America, they quickly notice that all is no longer as it seems…
While Brenna has always had an affinity for water and Adara has always loved fire, the girls now discover they have some sort of CONTROL over these elements as well!
They learn how true this is when they meet another set of twins—boys named Dimitri and Wyndham who also live in their new town.
When the four children get together magical things start to happen!
But they aren’t the only ones who know about this power now…
Something sinister has been lurking in the town waiting for the moment the four children finally activate their newfound abilities.
You’ll love this magical steampunk fantasy by a child-author because of the lovable characters and non-stop action!
Choker by Bob Moseley is the “coming of age” tale of basketball-obsessed Mark Chamberlain who, in the course on one year went from being the black sheep of his high-school’s basketball team to team captain.
A Clifton High student, Mark Chamberlain misses an all-important throw in the final seconds of a game, which costs his team a championship victory and gets him the nickname “the choker”. However, with help from coach Antonelli and his new girlfriend Su Metha, Mark is slowly getting over the setback and dedicates himself to training hard for the next season. His love for basketball helps him deal with heartache and pain and, after becoming team co-captain, he gets better and better at the game and ends up leading his teammates to victory.
This Young Adult book deals with a lot of issues that are important for teenagers nowadays: race issues, balancing school work and sports, bullying along with social media bullying, and dealing with loss, but also touches on the positive aspects of life, like the book hero’s first love, overcoming obstacles, bettering yourself through hard work. It definitely holds a lot of lessons for the reader, and teenagers and young adults will relate to the characters. The writing is alert and quite visual, and keeps the reader connected to the characters and interested in their evolution. Some of the pages are quite moving, such as the chapters that describe the death and the funeral of Mark’s father. I liked Mark’s character development, but I felt that the other characters were black and white, they were either good or bad. I would of appreciated more nuance.
The abundance of details related to basketball was a little overwhelming at times, for instance the descriptions of some of Mark’s games, a lot of information about game strategies and techniques, or about famous players. Any avid fan of basketball will appreciate the interesting facts and minute by minute break down of the games. This is an engaging and thought provoking coming of age basketball story that is sure to appeal to teens and sports fans.
Pages: 193 | ASIN: B07GX8B4T2
Tags: alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, basketball, Bob Moseley, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, Choker, coming of age, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, high school, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, shelfari, smashwords, sports, story, teen, writer, writer community, writing, YA, young adult
Four Years of Despair by Jalesa Morrison is a youth/teenage story that touches upon sensitive topics, such as mental health, bullying, and family issues. Jaunell Morris is a teenage girl that doesn’t fit in at school or at home, and has a lot of issues. She has trouble communicating with her family, her teachers and with making friends. Everyone around her is baffled by her outbursts and her violent episodes. Her school gives up on her and she is transferred to a different school, where things get even worse.
Jaunell is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and she is in and out of hospitals all the time. Her situation is made worse by her parents’ bad marriage, her poor relationship with her older sisters and the rejection she feels from her extended family. Her only ally is her grandmother, and one of the nurses from the hospital where she’s treated. Eventually, the nurse is the one that helps her secure a place at a much better mental health treatment facility. These are heavy emotional issues, but the book ends on a hopeful note.
This book has the courage to shed light on a lot of difficult issues: mental health in teenagers, dysfunctional families, poverty, lack of access to proper education, social services and healthcare. It’s an authentic and powerful radiography of our society and how its most vulnerable members (youth, minorities, poor people) have the cards stacked against them.
The devastation that mental health issues bring into a person’s life is depicted well inJaunell’s story. However, sometimes I felt that the insights into Jaunell’s motivations, actions and reactions are not detailed enough. The book would have benefited from a deeper incursion into the complexities of Jaunell’s mental issues. I would’ve also liked to have read more about Jaunell’s mother and her relationship with her grandmother. The details of their relationship could’ve provided more insight on the family dynamics and how it affected Jaunell.
As someone who has experienced living with a person who is bipolar I would definitely recommend reading Four Year of Despair by Jalesa Morrison as this book is a real eye opener as to what people who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder go through in their day to day activities. This book would be a great influence to teens who are going through this but may be confused as to why they handle their emotions different than others.
Pages: 234 | ASIN: B07R5DKMMZ
Tags: african american, alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, bipolar, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, bullying, ebook, education, family, fantasy, fiction, Four Years of Despair, goodreads, health, ilovebooks, indiebooks, inspiration, Jalesa Morrison, kindle, kobo, literature, mental health, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, relationship, self help, shelfari, smashwords, society, story, teen, writer, writer community, writing, YA, young adult
The Scented Bones follows a young forensic anthropologist thrown into the middle of a feud between vampires and werewolves. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
The Godfather by Mario Puzo. When I was in college, taking an English class, most essays and books were boring until the professor chose his book. The book inspired discussions and gained attention of the students. It had power and I wanted to have similar power over my readers with my writing.
This book has been in the works for more than 5 years. It has gone through 5 drafts, including Angel being a university student and main character to be Rayne and not Gage. However, that draft seemed to read more like about street gangs and so I worked hard to make it more like mafia families.
The Scented book is the first in the series and in every book I’ll introduce more characters and families. Hopefully, my books will inspire readers to read more and even try their hand at writing.
Angel is an intriguing character that I enjoyed following. What were some themes you wanted to capture in her character?
I didn’t want her to be perfect. I wanted her to be smart but timid. Serious but with surprising funny moments. I wanted her to tread carefully when it comes to relationships and focus on the job. But, what I wanted to show was how she looked at magic. Of how she was afraid of what she was and what she could do.
I enjoyed the backstory and mythology embedded in this world between the vampires and werewolves. What were some sources of inspiration that helped you create this world?
Most inspiration came from the characters themselves. Originally all characters were mundanes and as the book progressed into the paranormal, the characters became their other selves. When I was re writing them, I was thinking that if they weren’t paranormal born, how would they shift if bitten? How would they act if they were born?
I tried staying away from other paranormal books about vampires and werewolves to keep my characters original.
Where will the next book in The Svabodina Case Files pick up and when will it be available?
The next book will pick up a couple of weeks after the last scene in The Scented Bones with a new case. The new case will involve a serial killer.
At the moment, I have about 20 chapters written. I’m going back to editing these chapters before finishing the book because I have to add information to the already written ones in order to write the scenes with the actual killer. It is a lot of work and I have a chapter summary file that I go back to for each chapter. I’m tracking dates, character appearances, etc.
I’m not sure when it will be out, hopefully next year. The Scented Bones has been republished by a publisher! So, I’ll work closely with the publisher for book 2 as well. It’s super exciting! Book 2 is titled – The Puzzle of Bones.
Angel Svabodina is a rookie forensic anthropologist, enjoying the beginning of her new career. That joy comes crashing down when she figures out the skeleton she’s working on is not human and then it vanishes.
She throws herself fully into the case without thinking about the parties involved, a psychopomp associate, and paranormal mafia families made up of vampires and werewolves—or the consequences.
When she sees there’s no avoiding the inevitable, Angel has to suck it up and work with the werewolves to solve the case but can she trust them?
Werewolves and witches are in a centuries-old feud, but that doesn’t stop the shivers running down her spine from one wolf in particular. Rights and wrongs become blurred, as she is tormented by her past and accepting who she truly is while searching for the skeleton. What’s more, nothing comes for free, including information. To get what she needs from the werewolf don, Angel has to meet with the fae queen. Can she meet her without repercussions and solve the case?
Posted in Interviews
Tags: alibris, angelina kerner, anthropologist, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, detective, ebook, fantasy, fiction, forensic, forensics, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, literature, love story, mystery, nook, novel, paranormal, publishing, read, reader, reading, romance, shelfari, smashwords, story, supernatural, teen, teen fantasy, teen fiction, The Scented Bones, urban fantasy, vampire, vampires, werewolf, werewolves, writer, writer community, writing, YA, young adult
2019 Independent Press Award Winner in “FANTASY.”
Nathan Andrews was a good man. It came as quite a surprise to him that he wanted to die.
The mysterious image of a woman haunts Nathan during a Near Death Experience. She was “perfect” and everything a man would seek within a life partner. With the simple utterance “Go back!” she forever conquered his heart.
Leaving a mental hospital after that, Nathan runs into an odd woman named Amanda. She barely knows English, doesn’t recognize the simple things, and finally confesses an all-important truth to him: She…is GOD!
After some subtle convincing of the claim, and confronted by a winged man named “Gabriel,” Nathan accepts this fantastic reality. A reality that will change his world, and the world of Mankind… FOREVER!
Posted in book trailer
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My Name is Erin, and my Mom’s an Addict by Amy Voltaire is the story of Erin Whitaker, a fifteen-year-old girl whose mother is a heroin addict. Erin went to live with her grandparents when she was five, after her mother left. When Erin got home from school one day, her mother was gone and never came back. Ten years later Erin’s mother has reentered her life. She’s finally gotten clean and wants to have a relationship with her daughter. Though reluctant, Erin allows her mother back into her life. But when she relapses, will Erin’s anger cause her to lose all the other people in her life as well?
This story focuses on the effects of drug addiction, not just on the addict, but on the other people in their life, children especially but also siblings and friends and even parents-in-law.
I really enjoyed reading this book. Despite the dark theme of substance abuse and drug addiction, there were bits of humor in the story. The author had an engaging writing style. And I really liked the main character, Erin. The whole book was written from her point of view, so I always knew what she was thinking and feeling and why she acted out at times. I didn’t like that Erin kept getting angry about the situation with her mother and taking it out on other people, who were not the source of her anger. But the author offered compelling motivation for her actions, and Erin worked to improve her anger-management issues.
I liked the relationships portrayed in this story, especially between Erin and her best friend, Grace, and Erin and her boyfriend, George, who also acted as a good friend to her. And Erin’s grandparents did not just see caring for her as a duty. Even when she was difficult, they loved her, and they enjoyed having her living with them. Their interactions were funny and sweet. I loved the way Erin acted with Sweetie, a chihuahua poodle mix.
Although the story did not have a conclusive ending, it was hopeful. I believe this story is a realistic portrayal of the realities of life for children affected by drug addiction, and even though it is a work of fiction, this book will resonate with people who are going through a similar situation.
Pages: 250 | ISBN: 1939696496
Tags: abuse, addict, addiction, alibris, Amy Voltaire, and My Mom's an Addict, anger, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, children, drug, drug addiction, ebook, family, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, literature, love, My Name is Erin, nook, novel, parent, publishing, read, reader, reading, shelfari, smashwords, sobriety, story, teen, writer, writer community, writing, YA, young adult