Category Archives: Teen Reads

What My Sister Did

I’m pumped to share with you the release of my latest book. Here’s a little blurb for What My Sister Did:

What my sister did amazonSeventeen-year-old Mimi finds an abandoned baby hidden in the family guest house. There’s only one answer to this startling discovery—her rebellious sister, Attie.

Their parents are recently divorced, their mother suffering from depression, and Attie definitely can’t be relied on to take care of an infant. Mimi decides to save the child. But how long can she keep a baby hidden? And can she keep this secret even from her sister?

People often ask how I get my ideas for books. In this case, the seed for the idea came straight from the headlines of a newspaper. Struck in the heart, I was haunted by the tragedy of the article. Of course, the initial idea—that gut reaction, that spark—morphed into its own story and moved forward on its own accord! In this story, two sisters are as different as night and day. Add to the mix a family in the throes of difficult emotional change. Then throw in a baby abandoned and left to die.

A personal note: In my story, the baby survives. Writing this book was my heart’s way of changing reality and saving the baby from the news story. The storyline evolved and soon I focused on the lives of two very different sisters. I believe you will find the ending unexpected but satisfying.

I hope you enjoy the book! Lucinda

What My Sister Did is available in print & e-book on amazon


Bronte’s Thunder

Just Announced: Finalist in the High Plains Book Awards!

Strange connections to thunderstorms have always surrounded seventeen-year-old Bronte Monroe. When the brother of the boy her mother kPhotoFunia-1535831772illed moves back to town, lightning’s sure to strike. Even worse, she may be falling for him!

Readers often ask how an author came up with his/her ideas for a book. I’ve always been fascinated with thunderstorms. Growing up, I slept in an uninsulated room above our garage in the summer. A bank of windows without curtains filled one wall. Thunderstorms were a frequent occurrence. In that room, thunder bellowed and lightning lit up the room—an awesome light show!

I took that fascination with storms and added magical realism into the mix. Voila! Bronte’s Thunder became a story about a girl that witnesses strange incidents connected to thunderstorms—and herself!

Click to view Bronte’s Thunder on Amazon 

Vector Rain Cloud Background.




Butterfly Blood

BUTTERFLY BLOOD: A Haunting Series with Shocking Twists (Metamorphosis Book 2) by [Carpenter, Rebecca]Butterfly Blood takes the reader beyond the same old recycled plots and stereotypical characters found in so many young adult books. The unique storyline ratchets up with each subsequent book in the series.

Author, Rebecca Carpenter, continues to weave a fascinating tale that began with Butterfly Bones. Bethany Keatley survives her dangerous metamorphosis, an experimental and illegal procedure that gives her the healthy body and hot looks she’s dreamed of for years. But after the untimely death of her scientist father, she’s forced to move out of state to live with an aunt she’s never met—and leave behind Jeremiah, the boy she loves.

The cover images are awesome, tweaked for each title. Butterfly Blood, second in the Metamorphosis Series, delivers with danger, suspense, and romance, leaving the reader eagerly anticipating the upcoming book, Butterfly Broken. A must read! 5 Stars

Bronte's Thunder by [Stein, Lucinda]

Review by the author of the new release, Bronte’s Thunder. Fate can change as quickly as a blink of an eye—-or a flash of lightning! Bronte Monroe has always had strange connections to thunderstorms. But this time, she might lose Nick’s love.


York by Laura Ruby

Walden Pond Press

476 pages (hardcover)

© 2017

York is Book One in Ruby’s The Shadow Cipher series. I ordered this title because I loved the author’s book, Bone Gap, a magical realism story. York will appeal to readers who like steampunk, mystery, magic, and history. The story starts out a little slow, but the mystery of the Old York Cipher lures the reader on.

The Morningstarr twins, architects of dazzling machines and buildings in New York, disappear and leave behind a puzzle which promises a treasure beyond all imagining. Despite tries by many people over the decades, the cipher remains unsolved. A note here: the imaginative machines and inventions would make a wonderful movie on the big screen!

Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz live in a Morningstarr apartment. When a real estate developer buys the building with destruction in mind, the young people decide to save their home by proving the cipher is real. This means they have to solve the mystery.

Written to appeal to younger and older readers alike, this story lacks the depth and literary beauty of Bone Gap. But then this is an entirely different book. Delighted with the fantastic world of York and curious about the cipher, I will definitely read Book Two when it comes out!

Bronte's Thunder by [Stein, Lucinda]


Side note: If you enjoy magical realism stories, try Bronte’s Thunder!


A Sneak Peak at Bronte’s Thunder


I’m super excited to share this prequel to my new YA book, Bronte’s Thunder. Strange connections to thunderstorms have always surrounded sixteen-year-old Bronte Monroe. Her grandmother claimed she was born under the sign of Blue Lightning and has the gift of barter—mysterious exchanges that change fate.

Bronte’s Omen

   A whoosh and a tock.


   Whoosh. Tock. My eyes flutter open to everything white and foreign with strange, pungent odors spinning around me. A clear tube runs to my face and into my nose. If I wasn’t so weak, I’d scream.

   The ventilator pumps like a medieval monster. I’ve never been in a hospital before. The only good thing about my captivity—at last, I can breathe.

   A figure appears in the doorway to my room. Backlit from a window across the hall, the dark silhouette pauses for a moment. He approaches the bed with stealthy footsteps.

   Nick. Nick Ford.

   He’s come for revenge.

   My heart races, the organ threatening to burst from my chest. All he has to do is rip the tube from my nose or yank the ventilator’s electrical cord from the outlet. I’ll stop breathing.

   I’ll die like his brother.

   I bolt up in bed, hot sweat beading my forehead like condensation on my mother’s glass of whiskey. The walls of my bedroom reassure me I am no longer in the hospital. I’m no longer eight years old.

    Dishes clang from downstairs, the familiar sound of Aunt Flo preparing breakfast. The slate sky outside the window does nothing to brighten my spirits. I rub sleep from my eyes and stretch my legs. Throwing back the covers, I wiggle my toes. Hot-pink polish brightens each nail. Today is my first day of school as a junior.

    Sitting on the edge of my mattress, I picture Nick Ford sneaking into my hospital room all those years ago, the image as vivid as yesterday’s junior orientation.

   At eight, I believed he intended to kill me. An eye for an eye. At my bedside, Nick extended his arm, and I cowered, convinced he’d strike me. He brushed an errant strand of hair from my eye, his touch as light as butterfly wings, surprising for an eight-year-old boy.

   He tilted his head and studied me. “Are you okay?”

   I nodded, though a lingering fear shot into the pit of my stomach. We were in the same class in third grade, but we had never actually spoken. With my senses on high alert, I stared at him, his blue eyes captivating. Then he did something I couldn’t believe. He reached for my hand and gently held it. His voice came almost in a whisper, “My grandma had pneumonia once.”

   Marching footsteps approached. A woman stood in the doorway, her hair disheveled, her eyes red and swollen. In a low, almost menacing, tone, she said, “Get out of there this instant.”

   Nick obeyed his mother and followed her from the room. In the doorway, he glanced over his shoulder. I couldn’t tell if I saw pity or disdain in his eyes.

   At that moment I morphed into a leper like in the Bible story told in Sunday school, flesh decaying, someone everyone stayed clear of. Worse than that, Nick’s little brother had been killed that day by my mother.

   Aunt Flo’s shrill voice snatches me from my dark memories. “Bronte! Breakfast will be ready in five minutes.”

   “Be there in a moment.”

   For years Nick’s kindness in that hospital room baffled me. I finally gave up trying to understand it. Thunder Moon is a small town, and news travels fast. He must have heard I was admitted to the hospital. Yet how could he have been so caring when his little brother lay lifeless and cold?

A year after Johnny’s death, the Fords moved away. Grief probably drove them from Thunder Moon.

   In my attic bedroom, a low roll of thunder rumbles through the rafters and sends shivers down my back. Thunderstorms never did me any favors, at least none that didn’t leave me feeling guilty.

   Two hours later, I stride through the halls of Thunder Moon High, a disturbing sense of unbalance hanging over me. Am I unhinged from the dream that morning and the memories the nightmare brought back? Maybe the threatening clouds on my way to school triggered my mood.

   Girls’ chatter in the high school restroom pricks my attention.

   “New guy alert.” A girl giggles. “Nick Ford’s so hot.”

   I turn to stone behind the stall door.

   “Heard he’s trying out for the football team,” another said. “Hand me my lip gloss.”

   “I could drink that tall glass of water.”

   Riding a cloud of choking perfume, laughter fills the room.

   My stomach clenches. After all these years, I still can’t face Nick. Just the news that he moved back brings the horrible event to life. That was the day my mother disappeared.

   I remained behind to carry the shame of Johnny Ford’s death.

   My stomach turns sour. Maybe I can talk Aunt Flo into homeschooling me. Highly unlikely, my instincts warn.

   I hurry past the cliquish girls and escape into the hall. A hundred yards down the corridor, I turn a corner and run face to face into Nick Ford. His eyes widen. I almost don’t recognize the boy from the hospital room all those years ago, except for those smoky-blue eyes. How has that skinny little boy grown into such a good-looking guy? The girls were right. He is hot. On the other hand, he probably thinks I look as plain as an unbuttered pancake.

   I stand frozen. As I stare, the image of little Johnny Ford rises from all the nightmares I’ve had over the years. Johnny Ford, pale and dead, lips blue. The misty specter of Johnny haunting my dreams like in Dicken’s novel, his boney finger pointing at me, always pointing at me.

   Nick nods.

   I rush past him, lungs tight, membranes burning, once again unable to draw a breath. Farther down the hall, I gasp, air rushing in as I remember to breathe. Through the school’s cinderblock walls, a thunderclap sounds, the explosion a warning of things to come.

* * *

Follow BrontVector Rain Cloud Background.e’s story in the new YA novel, Bronte’s Thunder.

BUY NOW on Amazon

Bronte’s Thunder is the author’s second YA novel. Inkspell Publishing published her first YA book, Jadeite’s Journey. Lucinda is the award-winning author of several adult books.

An avid reader, Lucinda loves good coffee, great books, and anything vintage. She likes to camp with her husband, Rob, and her shelter-rescue dog, Opie. See her bookish bookstagrams on


Daughter of Smoke & Bone

daughter of smoke BoneI just finished Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone, and I loved it. The subject of angels and demons in itself is fascinating, but Taylor brings her own vision of these creatures into a full-bodied story.

The book opens with a seemingly ordinary teen girl—despite her long peacock-blue hair—named Karou. Her wrists hold tattoos with the words true and story. An art student, her sketchbook is filled with strange, otherworldly creatures. Magic enters the picture when Karou handles a cheating boyfriend with some hilarious effects. No spoilers, you have to read it! Soon we learn Karou has another life when she enters a portal where the strange creatures of her sketchbook come to life. These creatures called chimaera contain parts of various animals. Some creatures have horns, some with human faces but animal legs and hooves. Some with wolf faces and claws, you get the idea. Humans would call them devils.

Brimstone, the creature that took her in as a child, has human arms and torso but the haunches of a lion and the clawed feet of a lizard or dragon. He has horns and the eyes of a crocodile. Strange indeed! Even stranger is the mystery of why Brimstone collects teeth.

Black handprints begin appearing on doorways across the world, and angel sighting are reported over the globe.

Karou has an encounter with a magnificent angel who asks her who is she? What is she? This is a question that has plagued Karou for years. She has never felt completely whole. Karou finds herself attracted to the angel, but little does she know that an otherworldly war is about to being and she will be caught in the middle!

Taylor artfully introduces the character of Karou, just an ordinary girl (or so we think), and slowly draws the reader into her spectacular world building. At 418 pages, the book keeps the reader intrigued to the end. 5 stars to the Daughter of Smoke & Bone!

Jadeite's Journey final coverFor another “otherworldly” story, you might enjoy, Jadeite’s Journey! Available at Amazon

Bone Gap Revisited

Have you ever read a book and knew you wanted to read it again? Bone Gap by Laura Ruby was one of my favorite reads in 2017. The story introduced me to the genre, magic realism, and I was hooked. I had checked the book out from the library and knew I liked the story enough to buy a hardcover copy! The book arrived with a Printz gold medal and a National Book Award finalist seal. Perhaps I read the book too quickly the first time, maybe the story is so unique, but as I read it a second time, I appreciated the book even more. You’ll find Ruby’s writing as surprising, rich, and fascinating as her plot.

People call Finn: Spaceman, Sidetrack, Moonface, Loner. Everyone in Bone Gap knows Finn is odd. He’s different. Finn and his older brother, Sean, live alone after their mother left them to marry a man out of state. But when a stranger arrives in their barn one night, their lives change. Beautiful Roza doesn’t tell them why she’s on the run or who hurt her. They take her into their home, and their loneliness fades as Roza becomes part of their life. Sean falls in love with her.

But when a strange man kidnaps Roza at a county fair, Finn blames himself. He was the one who saw the stranger, but at the time, he thought Roza wanted to leave them, just like their mother did. Only when Roza looked back from the SUV, did Finn realize something was terribly wrong. Sean and Finn report her disappearance to the local law enforcement. But when Finn is unable to give physical details of the abductor, the townspeople wonder if Roza was truly kidnapped. Or worse, did Finn have something to do with her disappearance.

Finn not only lost Roza that day, he lost his brother. Heartbroken, Sean withdraws into his work and ignores his younger brother. Finn’s guilt and loneliness makes him miserable until he starts spending time with Petey, a girl most people in town consider homely.

That’s a brief summary of the story, but it’s the theme that makes this a great book. The theme is about people being “seen,” really seen for who they are inside.

Rosa has drawn attention from men her entire life. But they only see her outward beauty and want her for their own selfish desires. Her Polish grandmother told her, “There will be boys who tell you you’re beautiful, but only a few will see you.”

Petey knows how the people of Bone Gap talk about her. How can she be so homely when her mother is pretty? Only Finn really “sees” her.

Finn falls in love with Petey because she sees him for who he is, not the odd boy everyone else knows.

Sean falls in love with Roza but not just for her beauty. When he looks into her eyes, his gaze demands nothing, unlike the other men she’s known. It’s what’s inside her that draws him to her.

Hints of magic scatter through the beginning of the story. It emerges further as Roza describes her captivity. The reader soon learns this is no ordinary man who has kidnapped her. The stranger is otherworldly. Magic also surfaces when a black horse appears in Finn’s barn. He takes Petey for rides late at night, and they travel through forests that don’t exist in Bone Gap and fly over cliffs that are not part of the natural terrain.

You might wonder how the title of the book, Bone Gap, fits into the story. Hint:  gaps in the world, places to lose yourself, slip into, retreat to. I won’t give any spoilers, but know that the ending blossoms into a powerful culmination of the theme. Ruby proves to be a fantastic writer and storyteller! A must read for young adults and adults.

School Library Journal: Grades 10 and up

The Language of Thorns

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

This book cover is one of the top ten eye-catching covers from 2017.  From Leigh Bardugo, author of The Six of Crows, comes an illustrated book of fairy/folk tales. These types of stories require illustrations, don’t they? At least, from childhood we’ve come to expect that. Don’t misunderstand me, these are definitely stories for young adults to adults.  The beautiful illustrations will appeal to readers of graphic novels.

At first, the reader will think she is reading an ordinary fairy tale, those old stories told to children for decades. But the endings will leave you both surprised and charmed!

Sara Kipin’s vivid illustrations enliven this book. There’s not much more I can say about this title. The Language of Thorns demands to be read and seen!

Words in Deep Blue

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Product DetailsThe setting of this story is a bookworm’s dream. Henry’s family has run a second-hand bookstore, the Howling Books, for over twenty years. Eighteen years old, he loves everything about the store. Besides the book-loving regulars and the monthly book clubs, the best part of the store is the Letter Library, a room where patrons can write notes in their favorite books. Sometimes even letters are left between pages.

Rachel and Henry were best friends for years. The day before she moved away, Rachel tucked a love letter in Henry’s favorite book in the Letter Library. But Henry never discovered the letter, and Rachel resigned herself to the fact that Henry was in love with Amy.

Years later, Rachel returns and works in the bookstore. Everyone sees a difference in Rachel. What they don’t know is that her younger brother, Cal, drowned in the ocean. She keeps the tragedy a secret as she renews her friendship with Henry.

Henry has been in love with Amy for years. She breaks up with him only to return when her latest relationship doesn’t work out. Henry finds his life falling apart. Once again, Amy dumps him, and his divorced parents are talking about selling the Howling Books.

As Henry and Rachel work together in the bookstore, Henry remembers what he liked about his best friend, Rachel, even as she continues to deal inwardly with the loss of her brother.

The Letter Library slowly reveals its secrets of love and loss. If you love books, bookstores, and relationships, you’ll like this story.

I love the setting—who wouldn’t like living above and working in a bookstore? The depiction of Henry’s obsession with a girl who uses him like a revolving door is believable, and the author sensitively portrays Rachel’s grief. I found the repetitive use of the F word distracting from an otherwise strong story

Publishers Weekly guideline: Ages 14-up



Outrun the Moon

Outrun the Moon

By Stacey Lee copyright 2016

Product DetailsFifteen-year-old Mercy Wong yearns to break free of the poverty in Chinatown. Clever and determined, she strikes a deal to attend St. Clare’s School for Girls in exchange for a business deal with the president of the board. This is quite a feat since only the wealthiest white girls attend the school.

The story takes the reader through the historic San Francisco earthquake that occurred in 1906. People were forced to flee their homes and businesses after the earthquake unsettled the foundations of buildings, which either crumpled instantly or were in danger of collapse at any moment. Fires overtook the city and food and water became scarce to nonexistent.

Outrun the Moon is Stacey Lee’s second historical novel for young adults, and the genre shines under Lee’s careful handling.

Aspects of the story that I liked:

  • Mercy, the protagonist, is a strong female character that persists against the many odds that come against her. She’s smart, spunky, and determined.
  • Tom, the handsome boy she likes. Mercy is unsure whether her strong character is too much for him. Would he ever consider her in his future? (You’ll like where this relationship leads.) He is intrigued with air travel and has his own hot air balloon.
  • The author portrays how prejudice ran rampant at this point of history, but amazingly, in times of disaster people came together.
  • The portrayal of the historic earthquake was well researched, and as in all good historical fiction, the reader “experiences” a part of history.
  • Mercy is able to look beyond her own losses and help strangers in need.
  • The culture of Chinatown is vividly described, and the reader easily slips into the shoes of Mercy Wong.

Enjoy this engaging story with its theme of a young woman overcoming overwhelming difficulties. Definitely add this to your diverse fiction TBR list!