Tag Archives: young adult

Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah, Y’all!

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As much as I love Christmas, I’ve come to dread the holiday season. Starting with Thanksgiving preparation, I begin to stress over the meal. Afterward, I start planning what to give as Christmas gifts and when I’m going to put a package in the mail for my daughter’s family. Also, her birthday is a week before Christmas, and I have to find a present for her.

Things I used to find absolutely imperative every holiday season: sending cards, writing a newsy letter, decorating the house, preparing holiday treats— They have become a pain in my butt and I simply don’t have the energy for them. I have serious allergies, and almost always have a sinus infection going on. I also have developed asthma over the years, so it’s difficult to go out. Too many scents out there to plague a sensitive nose or a delicate set of lungs. Not to mention, my son has to use our truck for his job—he works 5:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. This makes getting out difficult.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m whining, but dammit, I feel like it! Okay, getting worked up takes too much energy, so I will quietly state that I don’t give a shit about doing it up for Christmas. I like presents, but I hate shopping. I love finding the perfect gift, but I loath trying to decide what that may be. I enjoy the meal, but as I do the bulk of the cooking, it’s a pain in the ass. I like spending time with family and friends, but right now, I’d rather spend my time writing and editing, than actually communicating with anyone.

If you’re like me, and you dread the holiday season (though you really like cookies and other tasty treats) I have a suggestion for you. Go through the list of folks you have to buy gifts for, and buy them books. Yes, I know, not everyone is a reader. But if you can capture the one thing they find appealing, you’ve just given them the perfect gift. Cool thing is, even without a Kindle, they can read an Amazon book on any phone, tablet or computer by downloading the free app.

I realize that not everyone likes the same books, so I encourage you to explore some of my suggestions below. These names are by no means the only books I’m recommending. No one paid me to do this, no one twisted my arm to get me to include them. I’m listing people whose books I have read personally, and enjoyed. They aren’t in any particular order, mostly just train of thought. 

First of all, my books. Dellani Oakes writes historical (retro) romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, sci-fi and fantasy. To Buy Dellani’s Books 

Karen Vaughan is one of my favorite authors. She writes light hearted mysteries. To Buy Karen’s books 

Kenneth Weene writes a variety of genres, which will appeal to a lot of readers. To Buy Ken’s Books

Amanda Thrasher writes delightful books about fairies, but she also has a hard hitting anti-bullying book that is not to miss. To Buy Amanda’s Books 

Ruth Hays writes magical, epic fantasy that gets the heart pumping. To Buy Ruth’s Books 

Heather Poinsett Dunbar writes fantasy, that’s a bit on the dark side. To Buy Heather’s Books 

William Beck writes political thrillers that set your pulse racing from beginning to end.To Buy William’s Books

S. A. Bailey writes, what he calls, redneck noir. Think Mickey Spillane with an east Texas spin. To Buy Seth’s Books

Mark David Gerson also writes a wide variety of books. From learning to write, to mystical fantasy, he’s sure to appeal. To Buy Mark David’s Books 

Jo Ramsey writes wonderfully insightful stories for teens who don’t fit into the normal mold. To Buy Jo’s Books

Rowena Cherry writes sci-fi that carries you into space. Swords clang as a royal alien race tries to out maneuver one another. To Buy Rowena’s Books 

Gary D. Henry writes in many genres from retro romance to horror. To Buy Gary’s Books

Suzette Vaughn mostly writes romance, but she has other books as well. Sure to appeal to a wide number of readers. To Buy Suzette’s Books

J. Conrad Guest – sci-fi, romance, biography, memoir…the list goes on and on. To Buy J. Conrad’s Books

Rico Austin from a lighthearted children’s book, to memoirs, with a stop off at Graceland to visit The King, Rico has it. To Buy to Buy Rico’s Books

Stephanie Osborn’s Displaced Detective series brings Sherlock Holmes into the modern age. She also has fantastic sci-fi books that are a must read. To Buy Stephanie’s Books

Rachel Rueben’s book, Hag, is a wonderfully poignant look at teen life and the problems some face. Rachel also has some great How-To books for authors. To Buy Rachel’s Books

Marta Moran Bishop is another versatile author. Her books are mostly for children or young adults, but they are great for adults too. To Buy Marta’s Books

Barbara Ehrentreu The same can be said of Barbara’s books. Though geared toward teens, they are an enjoyable read for adults. To Buy Barbara’s Books

Fran Lewis has books in so many genres, I can’t name them all. Very approachable, they are sure to entertain. To Buy Fran’s Books

J.D. Holiday’s books for children are cleverly written and beautifully illustrated by the author. To Buy J.D.’s Books

Dianna Graveman’s books will appeal to those who like history. She has wonderful books on a variety of subjects. To Buy Dianna’s Books

Whit McClendon’s fantasy novels are cleverly crafted and full of action.To Buy Whit’s Books

Janet Morris has been a favorite author of mine since the Eighties. If you like sci-fi, fantasy or historical fiction, Janet has something for you. To Buy Janet’s Books

 Viv Drewa writes mystical mysteries with a hoot of a hero—an owl! To Buy Viv’s Books

Kemberlee Shortland writes romance with an Irish flavor. To Buy Kemberlee’sBooks 

I will continue to update and add to this list as I think of new people. Share this with your friends! Above all, have a Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah! Dellani

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Blue Jeans and Sweatshirts a New YA Novel by Jo Ramsey

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Available from Harmony Ink Press and on third-party retail sites.

11694248_10152855727762352_879114048_nHolly McCormack has secrets. She’s started a support group for sexual assault survivors at her high school, but she was never assaulted. She’s also dating a girl, but she’s not a lesbian—at least not to the outside world—and that’s how she hopes to keep it. To top everything off, her girlfriend, Chastaine Rollo, is the most gorgeous girl at their school, and Holly is eating as little as she can because she thinks she’s “too fat.”
When hearing the stories of survivors begins to take its toll, Holly’s eating becomes even more of a problem. And as she struggles to hide her relationship with Chastaine from her parents, the stress becomes too much. But when keeping secrets has become second nature, it leaves her with no one to confide in.

 

 

EXCERPT:
While Chastaine wrote down what we’d talked about in her big, loopy handwriting, I leaned against the wall and looked out the window over Chastaine’s desk. It was snowing a bit. Not enough to make walking or driving a problem. Just enough to look pretty.
I must have zoned out watching the snowflakes, because the next thing I knew, Chastaine was shaking my arm. “Holly, are you okay? What happened?”
“Huh?” I sat up and shook my head, which only made it hurt worse. “Nothing happened. I was just looking out the window.”
“I said your name about six times, and your eyes were closed.” She let go of my arm. “Did you eat this morning?”
“For crying out loud!” I took a deep breath so I wouldn’t completely go off on her. “Yes, I ate. My parents made me eat, because they got it in their heads that I’ve been starving myself or something. So yes. I had food. I didn’t pass out. I was looking at the snow.”
“Which doesn’t explain why it took you so long to answer me. I was kind of scared.” She sounded it, too.
I felt like crap. “I’m sorry you were scared. I don’t know. I didn’t sleep well last night, so maybe I dozed off. You said my eyes were closed.”
“You’re really pale too.” She got up and motioned for me to follow her. “Andy’s probably gone by now, and we have some juice and soda. Drink at least a little, please. It’ll help.”
“Yeah. Okay.” She was only asking me to have a bit of juice or soda. That wouldn’t completely mess with my calories for the day, and it might get her to back off about whether I’d eaten or not.
She took a bottle of apple juice and a can of soda out of the fridge and held them up. “Which one?”
“Juice.” I wasn’t sure whether the juice would have any fewer calories than the soda, but it at least sounded healthier.
She poured some juice into a glass and handed it to me. “There. Please drink all of it so I can stop thinking you’re going to pass out again.”
“I didn’t pass out in the first place.” I took a sip and grimaced. “This tastes way too sweet.”
“Do you want soda instead?”
I shook my head. “No. I’ll deal with this.”
We went into the living room and sat on the couch, and she watched me drink the entire glass of juice. Even though the stuff tasted horrible, I drank it fast so Chastaine would stop staring at me.

AUTHOR BIO:

Author Jo Ramsey

Author Jo Ramsey

Jo Ramsey is a former special education teacher who now writes full time. She firmly believes that everyone has it in them to be a hero, whether to others or in their own lives, and she tries to write books that encourage teens to be themselves and make a difference. Jo has been writing since age five and has been writing young adult fiction since she was a teen herself; her first YA book was published in 2010. She lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters, her husband, and two cats, one of whom likes to read over her shoulder. Find out more about Jo and her books on her website.

Summer’s Dark Waters by Simon Williams

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I was recently contacted by Simon Williams who asked if I would share this book for him. Simon is donating the proceeds to TACT, an adoption and fostering charity. Since he will not be making money from this book, I decided to share here. This fantasy book is for children ages 10 and up. Below is an excerpt from Summer’s Dark Waters.

Cover-front-sdw

The afternoon wore on, tedious in the way that only summer afternoons spent inside can be. The hands of the clock on the wall appeared (to the eyes of the hot and tired students who kept staring at it) to be moving far too slowly, as if like them it was starting to wilt a little in the summer heat.

Joe finished his work and turned it over to stop anyone nearby from copying his answers. Nathan sat nearest to him, and he usually tried to look at Joe’s work whenever he got a chance, but today he was actually trying to figure out the answers himself for a change.

Joe frowned and looked around suddenly. The oddest sensation had come to him- something he could not even hope to describe.

It’s like there’s suddenly an extra person in the classroom, he thought, and he found himself looking around at everyone and counting heads, certain that there was a new student who had suddenly wandered into the room- although that was impossible, because he and everyone else would have seen him or her. In fact their teacher, Miss Wells, would have introduced the new student at the beginning of the lesson.

And there can’t be anyone new anyway, he reminded himself. It’s almost the end of the summer term. No one joins school with just a week to go.

But he couldn’t stop himself looking around, scanning everyone and silently counting them. A few saw him and stared back. Daniel made a rude hand signal and glared at him. Gemma stuck out her tongue. Caitlin just smiled and gave him a little wave before going back to her work.

Have you finished your work, Joe?” Miss Wells asked, staring at him over the top of her glasses.

Yes miss,” he said politely.

Then could you please stop looking around at everyone else and read a book until the end of class?”

Joe took a book out of his bag and opened it at the bookmark. He began reading, but he had only got as far as halfway down the page when another strange feeling came to him. It was as if he was being watched intently by one of the other students.

No, he thought suddenly, closing the book slowly. His heart pounded and his stomach felt as if it had turned over. No, it’s not one of the other students. It’s the missing one. It’s the one I can’t see.

He knew that what he was thinking didn’t make any sense. It sounded completely mad. But that didn’t stop him being certain that there was someone in the class apart from all the people who he could see.

His eyes were drawn to a desk not far from the window where the sun poured in. There was no one sitting there, and he tried to remember who normally sat at that desk. Did anyone sit there?

Time seemed to slow down as he stared at the desk, at the sunlight slanting in across the classroom, at the tiny specks of dust that shone in the still warm air. He could dimly hear the tired ticking of the classroom clock on the wall. It’s slower than usual, he thought. It’s slowing down.

To Buy Summer’s Dark Waters

 

Amazon US (Kindle)

Amazon US (Paperback)

Amazon UK (Kindle)

Amazon UK (Paperback)

Goodreads

Facebook fan page

Website / blog

Angela 2 – Guardian 2 by David Bedord

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angela 2 guardian of the bay coverAngela Fournier is back and better than ever. She and her friends are starting the eleventh grade. On the first day, they meet two new girls, Sonja and Michaela. The group of friends immediately adopts these new girls, delighting in their company.

The year starts out well, despite the annoying, snotty KittyKats, a group of girls who tend to bully and intimidate others. At least, it’s going well until Angela and her friends find out that a development group wants to put in an oil pipeline and build a refinery in a wildlife refuge on the beach.

Feeling this would be a terrible mistake, Angela and friends band together to keep the refinery away from their beach and bay.

Although this book is intended for young adults, it’s wonderful for older readers. I greatly enjoyed it. The character of Angela is beautifully developed. She is intelligent and caring, though still prone to doubt when the KittyKats sow their discord. Angela is well spoken and strongly believes in the preservation of the bay. She and her friends take their conviction public, gently protesting the refinery. To say that they meed adversity would be an understatement.

One thing I enjoyed about this book, there isn’t a single villain at work, there are several. It’s full of manipulations, machinations of big business and bullying on different levels. Angela stands up to it all, supported by her friends and family. Support comes from a very unexpected source as well—her Spanish teacher. Mrs. Sepúlvida is a wonderful character and I hope she will return, in a bigger way, in the next book. I also liked the TV reporter who interviews Angela—and the cameraman. Can’t forget him.

Angela and he friends stand up for what they believe, face adversity, band together and don’t stoop to the dirty tactics of their opposition. They show young people (and older ones) that conviction and commitment to a cause are important. It also shows that, despite everything, nice guys don’t always finish last.

Five Golden Acorns
© Dellani Oakes 2014

To Buy

Tumbleweed Forts – Daniel Ferry

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tumbleweedJoshua is a lonely child. With only his imagination to keep him company, he invents epic adventures in his mind. He leads armies and builds magnificent tumbleweed forts in his desert home. When a trip to his fort goes awry due to a dust storm, Joshua’s adventure really begins.

As he huddles in his fort, he is rescued by a mysterious girl named Zeleen. She takes him on an even more amazing adventure than those of his own making.

Many of the events depicted in the novel came from Ferry’s own life. By his own admission, he is Joshua. Ferry is the son of an Air Force test pilot, as is Joshua. Though Joshua’s description of his father’s job is much more elegant and majestic. He calls him a “knight of the sky” – his plane is a “thundering airship”.

Daniel Ferry’s novel, “Tumbleweed Forts”, is a fantasy as fascinating and magical as the desert itself. The reader is drawn into the world of Joshua’s imagination, seeing the wonders through his eyes. We go with him as he journeys with Zaleen.

Intended for middle grades and up, “Tumbleweed Forts” is a must read for anyone who loves a good fantasy/ adventure.

Five Golden Acorns

© Dellani Oakes

TO BUY

Tobias and the Demon – by Janet Dooleage

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Tobias & the Demon is a moderately paced novel for middle grade readers and up. Set in Biblical times, it chronicles the time when the city of Ninevah was occupied by Assyrians.

Tobias’ father, Tobit, has suffered severe punishment at the hands of the Assyrian rulers. Once well to do and influential, he is now sick, disgraced and poor.

Tobias has had run-ins with the Assyrian authorities – mostly because of a young woman. To protect him, but also for financial reasons, Tobit sends his son on a trip to retrieve money froom a family frined in a faraway city. He hires a stranger named Azarias to accompany his son. On the road, Tobias and Azarias have quite a few adventures. Azarias shows himself to be a man of great skill and knowledge. More than once, it’s his advice and care that saves Tobias.

The unusual thing about this story is that it’s told by Tag – Tobias’ dog, in first person. We see the world through Tag’s limited perspective and understanding. It took a little getting used to and I had to remind myself a few times, that the narrator is a dog. It does give the story a unique naivete that we wouldn’t see if Tobias narrated. However, it is limiting and some action couldn’t be shown because Tag didn’t see it.

Although this is an interesting look at ancient times, I found the dog’s perspective slightly disconcerting. This is a good story, but a little slow for my tastes.

Four Golden Acorns

Life Skills – Jo Ramsey

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life skillsAt first, Brian thinks of being assigned to assist in Mr. Spinetti’s Life Skills class, as a punishment. He doesn’t want to be labeled as the boy who helps in the “retard” class. Having no choice than to go, he reluctantly appears as told.

What he sees in the Life Skills class surprises him. He finds kids with a variety of handicaps doing their best to learn how to cope in the real world.

As a bisexual teen, Brian has had his share of bullying and teasing. An incident with one of the Life Skills girls makes Brian realize what they’ve put up with their entire lives.

With the help of his friends, Brian organizes a special rally, Spread the Word to End the Word. This is to make people aware of how much the word “retard” belittles handicapped people.

Jo Ramsey artfully depicts well rounded characters, presenting Brian and his own struggles with life and identity, with love and understanding. I highly recommend this story for any teen 14+. There is no explicit sexual content, no inappropriate language or violence.

Life Skills is a wonderful story of three teens who recognize there are people in the world with problems worse than their own.

5 Golden Acorns

© 2013 Dellani Oakes

TO BUY