Tag Archives: teen author

Connection – Book One in Reality Shift Series by Jo Ramsey


It’s not secret that Jo Ramsey is one of my favorite authors. What I enjoy most about her work is that it’s not just for teens. Adults can read her books and be just as entertained and enthralled as easily as teens.

I’ve read and reviewed several of Jo’s books. Recently, she sent me the first in the Reality Shift series – Connection. I loved it and I think you will too.

Shanna Bailey’s life is far from happy. Her mother is overprotective and abusive. Her father does nothing to protect his daughter—never inserting himself between them. Now that she’s starting high school, Shanna isolates herself further, but hopes for one friend to ease her loneliness.

Her first day of school is predictably bad, but she happens to meet Jonah Leighton, an even bigger outcast than she. They become friends. Shanna isn’t sure how to handle the attention and kindness Jonah offers, thinking it make her beholden to him. Never having had a real friend, she alternates between accepting him and shoving him away. Regardless of how she behaves, Jonah continues to be friendly.

Kaylie Sturbridge is rich and the most popular girl in school. Unfortunately, she has a problem that only Jonah and Shanna can help her with. She doesn’t want their help, but knows she can’t do this on her own and they are the only people who don’t abandon her.

Connection is the first book in Jo Ramsey’s ‘Reality Shift’ series. In it, we meet the two main characters, Shanna and Jonah. Both outcasts, they cling together in a friendship that seems to have spanned the ages. If one believes in past lives, as Jonah does, they were probably friends or lovers before. Their new relationship is unique, for each of them has never felt this immediate connection before.

Ramsey, as always, treats her characters with deep respect, even love. She shows aspects of Shanna’s life that make the reader weep. Despite years of abuse, Shanna is a kind, loving person of intelligence. She may have problems with math, but she excels at other subjects. Her favorite thing to do is write. She’s filled notebooks with her stories, using them as a way to escape.

The reader learns less about Jonah, but it’s obvious that his life is vastly different from Shanna’s. He comes from a loving family. Although they don’t understand all that he’s into, they respect him and his beliefs.

I look forward to seeing how the relationship between Shanna and Jonah grows and matures as the characters do. I sense a deep, abiding love there that probably neither of them quite recognizes yet.

Jo Ramsey continues to be one of my favorite authors. Her work is consistently great, her characters well rounded, her plots engaging. She may write for YA, but her books are a wonderful read for adults as well. I loved Connection and will be reading more of the Reality Shift novels.

5 Golden Acorns


Nicole Sophia Izmaylov is Truly a Child Protege!


I’ve been impressed with this young lady since I first met her on Facebook about a year ago. She is a gifted author and has won a variety of awards to prove it. Nicole is a talented, bright star and has a great career ahead of her as an author or whatever vocation she chooses.

Dellani Oakes: Nicole, tell us your latest news.

Nicole Izmaylov:  I’m currently coauthoring a novel with my sister, Michelle Izmaylov; this will be a space opera about an alien war. By myself, I’m working on a fantasy story concerning wolves and lions. In terms of publicity, I recently finished an interview with the Author Show, and it will be available within the coming weeks.

DO: When & why did you begin writing?

NI:  I began writing because it was my way of living. I wasn’t a very sociable child; books were my escape, and later writing became an even greater one. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, and I think I started when I was very young—maybe six or seven.

DO: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

NI:  When I’m not writing, I enjoy reading, drawing, and playing and composing music.

DO: What inspired you to write your first book?

NI: I have witnessed so many times bystanders or friends refusing to help others, and I believe that this should not happen, so I decided to write a picture book that would stress the importance of love and friendship. In addition, I saw a remarkable occurrence of a disturbed nest of bees disturbing a cat trying to pounce on a mouse. (Ronnie & BB review below)

DO: What do you think makes a good story?

NI:  I think that there are three very important ingredients for a good story.

(1) The writer loves it. (2) The audience loves it. (3) The characters and setting love their own story. By this I mean that the characters seem to be alive in a setting, as if the story were a description of something that actually happened.

DO: How do you want readers to feel after reading one of your stories?

NI: This depends on the story. On my stories are teach morality lessons, I want the reader to walk away having learned something. On my what if stories, readers should be thinking about the what if in their minds. On my general fiction, I want them to walk away feeling entertained and also a little sad, as my works tend to include bittersweet endings.

DO: Who is your favorite character out of all the books you’ve written?

NI: My favorite character would have to be the psychopathic Kor’lir from The Draçian Dance. This is the character who ripped another character’s head off for seemingly no reason, but I find him endearing in his insanity.

DO: What influences your character creation?

NI: I have quite an overactive imagination, and so many of my characters begin as exaggerated caricatures of some personality trait(s) someone I know has and slowly morph into a fully-fledged round character with a backstory and whatnot. It’s quite a fun process from initial idea to final character.

DO: What are your current projects?

NI: As stated earlier, I’m working on a novel about wolves and (mountain) lions, wherein a mountain lion cub is raised by wolves. When the cub, named Crescent, is cast out of the wolf pack for being different, he realizes that he is not a wolf and sets out to discover who he truly is. I’m also working on a fairy tale parody—working title Curse Breakers—about four cursed individuals who truly hate each other but who are forced to work together to break their various curses. Ouch.

DO: What are some of your future plans with your writing?

NI: Along with finishing the Shifting Moon Chronicles, Book I: Crescent’s Path and Curse Breakers, I’m also working on a hardcore fantasy tentatively entitled Songs of the Stars, which would be a five-book arc concerning a realm populated by lurking starsingers, shape-shifting beings with the power to control certain types of magic. I’m also planning to write another parody novel called Every Love Story Ever (plus Ninjas, Aliens, and a Slightly Used Napkin) and a mathematical thriller named The Vampyre Crusades, which tells the story of High Priest Möbius—and his loyal followers Ödin, Byron, Icarus, Uhluhtc, and Sliveron—as they set out on a quest to vanquish the mysterious vampyres that continue to appear from the West. What they don’t realize is that they live on a three-dimensional Möbius strip.

Ronnie & BB

“Ronnie and BB” is a charming children’s book written by Nicole Izmaylov, beautifully illustrated by Valerie Bouthyette. The heartwarming poem cleverly emphasizes the importance of love and friendship for young children. The adventures of Ronnie and BB shows how even the smallest of us can help a friend against a greater foe.

I highly recommend this lovely book for children between 2 and 5. It will delight parents as well. I enjoyed it so much that I intend to send it to my 3 year old granddaughter. I know it’s a book she will come to love.

Dart and the Squirrels

D’Artagnan Whirligig Scribe (Dart) is a shelter dog rescued by the Scribe family. He isn’t quite sure what to think of them. As an older animal, he doesn’t even think he’ll be adopted, but they surprise him.

Life with the Scribes is noisy and somewhat chaotic, but fairly normal until the tree falls on the house. Enter Emilia Vuvuzela Scribe—squirrel. She was in the tree when it fell and the family adopts her too. If Dart thought life was strange before, he was wrong. She manages to take his life and turn it completely upside down.

“Dart and the Squirrels” is a charming chapter book for young readers. It’s delightful, imaginative and fun, written in an engaging fashion to appeal to children. The characters are shown from the dog’s perspective and frequently are foolish or downright annoying to the canine contingent. Dart feels he is the only sane, levelheaded one in the entire household. Readers of all ages will enjoy this lively and fast paced book.

Dracian Dance

Sarah Lynn Loque is the daughter of an explorer. Unfortunately, her father, James, disappeared on an expedition. In his absence, her mother has died. Left only in the care of her fussy uncle, Richard, she’s traveled to the New World from their home in United Kingdoms of the West.

Excited to be on her first expedition, she gets angry with Uncle Richard for keeping her grounded in camp. She sneaks away one night with only her friend Daniel for company.

The New World is nothing like her home. A jungle world, it’s full of strange plants and dangerous animals. As she and Daniel make their way through the undergrowth, they come across one of these creatures. In the ensuing confrontation, they are separated and Sarah Lynn is taken by—dragons!

The Draçar, as they call themselves, are a fascinating species. Fully sentient, they communicate by telepathy. Although they haven’t the weapons and tools that humans have, they are still quite advanced. Sarah Lynn is stunned by their culture. Çele, the leader of the Tribe of the Winding Rose, assigns her care to a young male Draçar, Tag’ren. They become fast friends and have many adventures together.

Sarah Lynn is an exceptional girl. She’s bright, well educated and curious. She is, in effect, a born explorer. She embraces the new culture, learning everything she can about it. She also learns to view her own people in a very different light.

Tag’ren is also an exceptional person. The young Draçar is kind and gentle, though he has the skills and instincts of a fierce warrior. In many ways, he and Sarah Lynn are exactly alike. In others, completely different. Their friendship develops throughout the book, making them close friends.

“The Draçian Dance” is a sweeping fantasy as amazing as the Draçar themselves. Nicole Izmaylov has sprinkled just enough real history into her novel to make it believable, but at the same time takes the New World and makes it her own.“The Draçian Dance” is perfect for middle grades on up, making it also a great read for adults. The characters of Sarah Lynn and Tag’ren are wonderfully well rounded and believable. Their actions speak loudly about overcoming differences and finding friendship.

I highly recommend “The Draçian Dance” for any lover of fantasy.

© 2011 Dellani Oakes