Category Archives: Young Adult

Just Breeze by Beverly Stowe McClure – Just Released!

just breeze

Just Breeze
by Beverly Stowe McClure
Visit: http://justbreeze.wordpress.com/

Great new contest for the book release – check it out!

Product Description
Eighth grade starts out the same as every other year for Breeze Brannigan. She’s still the tallest student, boy or girl, in her class, wears shoes that would fit an elephant, and her smile reveals dazzling braces that blind everyone within ten feet. Then she meets Cam, the new boy in school who speaks with an accent and must be from another planet, for none of the earthling boys she knows are so polite. He also has a secret, a secret that could mean life or death for Cam and his mother and that Breeze must help him keep.

If you are familiar with this wonderful author’s work – you’ll know we’re in for a brand new treat with this latest book. If you haven’t read Ms. McClure’s work yet, you don’t know what you’re missing! Do yourself a favor and check it out!

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Filed under Book Review, Mid-Grade, Tween, Uncategorized, Writing, Young Adult

The Seven Songs of Merlin [The Lost Years of Merlin book 2 by TA Barron] Book Review

Seven Songs of Merlin (TA Barron)

 

 

 

This series is a prequel of sorts to the legend of Merlin beginning in the early years when Merlin is first coming into his magical powers. This is the second story in the five book series chronicling the great wizard’s youth.

As the story opens, Merlin is 13 years old and has the privilege of attending the great council meeting with the ambassadors of nearly every race of fantasy that reside on the enchanted isle as they must decide what to do with the Treasures of Fincayra. He has been charged with the guardianship of the Flowering Harp to heal the lands for the harp only responds to a heart true and wise – the heart of a wizard.

Having toppled the evil King Stangmar (his estranged father who was bewitched) and freeing Fincayra from a terrible blight Merlin sets out with the magical harp to restore the enchanted world into a flourishing Merlin has only one month to complete a quest to find the soul of the Seven Songs of Wisdom and journey to the Otherworld in order to obtain the elixir that can save his mother’s life. On his quest he makes a number of discoveries not only about his past, but about what lies within. The challenge is enormous. He has begun to discover the powers within him, but has not as yet mastered the ability to control these emerging powers. He has learned some of the stories of the wisdom of the Druids, the Greeks and the Celts, but us far from truly understanding the true meaning of it all. He has learned his true name and pieces of his past but now must also learn the secrets that sleep within his innermost being. He has already lost his father in the battle, and now his mother, poisoned by a deathshadow meant for her son, is the first victim of the renewed surge of evil sweeping the land.

Merlin is an emerging personification of yin and yang. He is full of contradictions that compliment each other and open his eyes to the possibilities of what destiny has in store for him as he follows the winding path to wizardry. Contradiction and controversy are rampant in the epic Arthurian legend, and Mr. Barron has imagineered an early life worthy of these legendary roots as the keeper of knowledge, particularly of the arcane secrets.  

As in all epic journeys, great adventure and unfathomable danger lie in wait for the boy who would be wizard. He must battle the ogre Balor He is accompanied on his great quest by a merlin hawk named Trouble, the forest girl Rhia, and a mournful jester named Bumbelwy. There are captivating characters and backstory for the Arthurian legend that begin to emerge through this tale. This is a tale that will not disappoint the most demanding Merlin fan. It will engage you and take you of the ride of your life.

 

THE SEVEN SONGS OF MERLIN

By TA Barron

Publisher:  Philomel

Genre: Juvenile Fantasy

ISBN:  978-0399250217

Hardcover:  336 pages

Recommended for ages 9-12

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Wizarding Genesis [The Lost Years of Merlin book 1 by TA Barron] Book Review

Lost Years of MerlinThe Lost Years of Merlin is the initial installment of the five book series chronicling Merlin’s life as a boy, a prequel to Arthurian legend. It follows the ambiguous details of Emry’s obscure youth and the path he followed leading to the emergence of his magic and the wizarding name he proclaimed of Merlin. Barron’s imagineering of this portion of the great wizard’s life gives new depth to the renowned character as we see his life through the eyes of a young boy.

 The story opens with a dream sequence foreshadowing a time magic escaped his fingertips to unleash a fire kindled in Branwen’s defense (the woman claiming to be his mother) the very fire whose flames took his sight leaving him blind until he learned to use his gift of “second sight”.

 Emrys, now 12, is desperate to know of his past and why he has no memory of a time before five years ago when he and Branwen washed upon the shore. She claimed to be his mother but would not speak of their past or where they came from. Instead she taught him the lore of the Celts, Druids and those more ancient. She felt his lost memory was a blessing, the young boy considered it more of a curse. The pair shared a lowly hut they constructed themselves on the outskirts of a small village. Whenever anyone from the village was ill or injured, they would come to Branwen bartering for her services as a gifted healer as she was well acquainted with the old ways and herbal remedies. When in need of her services the villagers sang praises to her unique talents, but the truth of the matter was, they were afraid and thought her to be a sorceress or demon. One day the village bully came to their hut and set fire in an attempt to free the village of this “she-demon”, as he and two of his minions grabbed Branwen by the legs and began dragging her into the fire, Emrys’ fear and rage swelled within, coursing and raging as he ran forward trying to help his mother. He could not control it any longer and felt the bully, Dinatius, should burn for this. He could envision the fires and wished they would consume the bully. At the thought, an enormous tree branch shuddered and cracked as if struck by lightening; it fell upon the young bully trapping him as the branches exploded into flames. As the spine shivering shrieks erupted from the inferno Emrys knew what he had done as he plunged into the flames trying to save the boy. His dream vision had come to pass.

 As the young half-blind Emrys struggles to learn the secrets of his past, the magic within him, and his true identity he comes to the realization he must leave this place, returning to the place he had washed upon the shore to make the attempt to voyage back to the mist-shrouded isle of Fincayra, an enchanted isle that lies between earth and sky. He asks the woman who calls herself his mother to join him in his quest. With great sadness she declines, but takes a jeweled pendant from her neck, presenting it to him. She calls it the Galator and tells him its power is great – if it cannot keep him safe it is only because nothing outside of heaven can. Mighty waves crashed over his feeble raft tossing it about as a mere twig on the outraged sea. The storm swelled and he thought about calling upon his powers to save him but after the last fiery encounter with his magic, he became less afraid of the violent storm than trying to unleash a magic he might not be able to control. The waves pounded over him and when he felt he could hold onto his little wooden raft no more the mysterious shrouded isle appeared and he is again washed upon the shore.

 As he comes to and regains a bit of strength he ventures further into the strange land. The colors are so vivacious he can sense them, even through his half-blinded eyes. He can feel the plushness of the forest floor and he meets a merlin, its wing broken in battle with a rat, a strange girl of the forest called Rhia, and a tiny but brave giant named Shim. Emrys discovers that blight has come upon the isle that is somehow entwined with his own destiny.  He must decipher the riddle of the dance of the giants to change the fate of this land and discover the secrets within himself.

 This is an engaging and enjoyable tale you will want to experience many times over. It explains the roots of the greatest wizard of legend and myth in an epic saga filled with wonder and adventure.

 

THE LOST YEARS OF MERLIN (book 1)

By TA Barron

Publisher: Philomel

Genre: Juvenile Fantasy

ISBN: 978-0399250200

Hardback:  336 pages

Recommended for Ages:  9-12

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Dragon Sighting in Orlando! [Magic, Mensa & Mahem by Karina Fabian] Book Review

magic-mensa-and-mahem

 

 

This year’s Mensa World Gathering is being held at the infamous Orlando theme park, BillyBeaver™’s Fantasyland. Since the Interdimensional Gap between the Mundane world and the land of Faerie has not been opened long, the Church has asked a very cynical dragon named Vern and his partner Sister Grace, a High Mage of the Faerie Catholic Church, to chaperone…er, accompany… the members of the Faerie community that have been invited to attend this auspicious event in the human world. The attempt to make sure everything runs smoothly is a purely precautionary measure, of course.  What could possibly go wrong?!

 

Vern is a highly trained private investigator who is quite certain his talents could be better spent in activities beyond babysitting the pranking pixies as faeries go wild in the Mundane world. After all, this “dragon-eye, PI” is an immortal with the knowledge of the ages, and is renowned as a professional problem solver and agent of the Faerie Catholic Church. Needless to say, babysitting a bunch of mischievous magicals is NOT what this hero has in mind for his next big case! It soon becomes very apparent, however, that real trouble is brewing and threats of an upcoming Interdimensional war must be waylaid. The dragon’s mad sleuthing skills play a vital role in solving this humor-laden mystery.

 

Vern’s very cynical quick wit would give even Simon Cowell* a run for his money. The dragon’s sarcastic demeanor totally compliments the poised and calm Sister Grace in a perfectly comical blend as the pair quip their way through a series of unpredictable misadventures like dealing with a dwarf who has high hopes of being “discovered” on his trip to the human world, and elves quite enamored with themselves as they buzz all over the place high on artificial flavorings and declaring war on the state of Florida! Magic, Mensa & Mahem is filled with colorful unique characters that will capture your heart and your imagination.

 

This book is an inspired read. Fabian writes with a quick witted fresh approach that will keep you thoroughly entertained and rolling on the floor laughing. You have to pay attention – you don’t want to miss any of the humorous one-liners or groan-worthy puns in this truly enjoyable tale.

 

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*Reference to an overly cynical celebrity icon from the Mundane world

 

 

MAGIC, MENSA & MAHEM

By Karina L. Fabian
Publisher: Swimming Kangaroo Books

http://www.SwimmingKangaroo.com

Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 978-1934041789

Pages: 232

Price:  $13.99

 

 

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Rebel in Blue Jeans (Beverly Stowe McClure) A Must Read for Your YA Library

rebel-in-blue-jeans

 

 

 

 

 

In the blink of an eye, Rebel Ferguson’s world turned upside down and shattered. Her mother’s announcement that she was leaving the family behind…to be with the drummer of a rock band came as quite a shock. This simply couldn’t be happening – after all, parents don’t run away….do they?

 

What an attention grabbing opening scene!

 

I thoroughly enjoyed Rebel and would most definitely recommend it. Ms. McClure has an amazing sense of the relationships between her characters. The characters in this novel are very realistic and easy to identify with. The story is told from the sixteen-year-old protagonist’s point of view and you are immediately pulled into her world. Having to cope with the imminent divorce of her parents, a budding romance with a childhood friend, and all the attention she is getting from a very cute college guy (who just happens to have a really bad reputation), Rebel Ferguson finds many challenges being thrust upon her and faces them with courage and humor. She is lucky to have the help of some compassionate friends that are determined to help in her time of need by providing the support and voice of reason she needs to get her past the feelings of betrayal and anger.  

 

I think the author definitely knows her audience and young adult readers will relate to the contemporary theme of dealing with the parents’ pending divorce, the support system of friends and family teens rely on, dealing with new relationships and established relationships that take an unexpected turn into something completely new. Suddenly, it seems like everything Rebel depended on in her world has changed. She feels as though there isn’t anything she can count on – people are not what they seem and nothing is turning out the way she always thought it would. The author shows some tender moments where the teen identifies very strongly with her love for animals and all the pets she keeps in the country home.

 

Ms. McClure has done an excellent job of capturing the range of emotions the young protagonist is going through, the roller coaster of feelings from the cornucopia of life events she is experiencing. In the midst of all the serious and intense story threads woven into this tale, Ms. McClure has built in many humorous antics from some of the characters in this book to lighten some of the scenes and make this a very enjoyable read. I definitely give this book a five star rating and a place on my bookshelf with my other favorite books.

 

Rebel in Blue Jeans can be found at retailers where books are sold, online at Amazon, and through the publisher.   

 

 

REBEL IN BLUE JEANS

By Beverly Stowe McClure


Publisher: Twilight Times Books

http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com

Genre: YA Fiction
ISBN:  Paper: 978-1-933353-49-4

                        1-933353-49-X

                        1st edition October 2008

 

 

 

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Rock of Realm (by Lea Schizas) Modern Day Fairy Tale for the Whole Family

 

 

rock-of-realm1

 

 

 

 

 

Rock of Realm by Lea Schizas is an exciting tale full of adventure, excitement, and surprises.  While written for a young adult audience, the tale is ageless and makes for a great reading experience the whole family can share.

 

Fourteen year old Alex Stone and her best friend, Sarah, have just finished a babysitting job and are heading home. With Alex’s frisky pet German Shepherd Butch, and Butch’s pet squirrel Pops by their side the girls decide to take the shortcut through the park.  Out of nowhere, a small pink stone falls from the sky hitting Alex on top of her head. Nearby the girls find a pouch with gold glitter. While both items seem innocent enough, the girls joke about the possibility of them being magic and recite a chant they had read in a book written by their favorite English teacher. Suddenly, nothing would ever be the same.

 

Being of royal lineage in a parallel world (a little detail her parents had not discussed with her) Alex finds she and her friends have been transported into the alternate realm and are on the adventure of a lifetime. In this world Alex and Sarah can understand everything Butch and the wise-cracking Pops say. They meet new friends who help them on their quest and learn powerful lessons of friendship and love as their adventure unfolds.  Join Alex and her friends as they learn things are not always as they appear.

 

Lea is an amazing storyteller. Her characters are so interesting and colorful you find yourself wrapped up in their tale and encouraging them on their quest from start to finish.

I can hardly wait for the next adventure in this series!

 

 

 

 

 

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