Category Archives: YA book clubs

Under a Painted Sky

Fifteen-year-old Samantha kills someone. She wonders if killing the man who tried to rape her counts as murder. All she knows is: it was him against her. Samantha finds herself alone after her father’s dry-goods business is destroyed and her father dies in the suspicious fire, leaving Samantha alone on the streets of St. Joseph, Missouri.

“Still the black snow fell,

bits of my life flaking down on me.”

Now the law is looking for Samantha, a young Chinese girl, who murdered the unscrupulous businessman. She escapes with another girl, Annamae, a slave to the same man. The two girls dress as boys, hide in the back of a covered wagon, and head for the Oregon Trail, hoping they can escape the reward put up for finding the two escapees. The girls refer to themselves as Sammy and Andy and must learn how to talk, walk, and act like boys.

They join up with an unlikely group of young cowboys. Sammy likes the boy called West, but of course, she must maintain the secret of being a girl, not an easy thing to do when she’s falling in love with the handsome cowboy.

“And West, with light from the campfire dancing around his face,

who will never know how much I love him.”

Sammy’s dream of becoming a musician is at risk. Her adventure heading West in 1849 is filled with hazards—outlaws who break people’s hands, that is, if they don’t kill them first, snakes, horrible diseases, and people who are quick to hang an escaped black slave or a Chinese girl accused of murder. Under a Painted Sky reveals how dangerous the frontier was during this period while at the same, portrays the awesome courage of people who struggled for a better life against all odds.

Under a Painted Sky is not your old-fashioned historical YA novel. Author, Stacey Lee, writes with turn-the-page action, genuine teen emotion, and beautiful writing at the same time. I highly recommend this book!

 

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Six of Crows

six-of-crows-coverSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

The chatter on Twitter had me curious about the fantasy book, Six of Crows. It’s an ambitious book at 462 pages and packed with adventure, violence, and intrigue. A motley group of six outcasts attempts an impossible heist to abduct a prisoner from the impenetrable Ice Court. By the second chapter, a confrontation between two gangs erupts, and the high action of this story is on!

If you find the sheer number of characters confusing, hang in there and the story will soon come together.

Kaz is the leader of this group of young criminals and outcasts. Some say he’s a devil, others call him Dirty Hands. As an orphan, he came from the streets and worked his way up to be a gang leader. He also runs the Crow Club. He’s known for being cold and ruthless.

Inej is call the Wraith for her exceptional power to move undetected. She works as a spy for Kaz.

Nina is a beautiful Grisha Heartrender, who has the supernatural power to burst the heart in your chest, steal your breath, and rupture your cells. She escaped a slave ship and now works for Kaz.

Matthias is a drüskelle, a member of the military who abduct and kill Nina’s kind. He calls Nina a witch.

Jesper is a lanky teen who loves his pearl-handled revolvers. He has a compulsion for gambling to the point that he’s in hock up to his neck.

Wylan is the son of a powerful mercher. He had all the privileges of the wealthy but chose to run away from home.

Kaz’s crew attempts the heist of the century, knowing full well the odds are against them. If they succeed, they will all be very rich. Violence is a way of life in the Barrel where poverty nips the heels of those trying to survive and make money at any cost. To add to the intrigue, Kaz who is known for being coldhearted, has feelings for Inej but refuses to act on them. Sparks fly between Nina and Matthias, who are mortal enemies.

It isn’t just for the money that Kaz accepts the challenge of the Ice Court heist. A thirst for revenge for wrongs done in his past motivates him to risk all their lives. Some say he has claws, but the real reason Kaz always wears gloves is even stranger! The ending of this story opens the door for the upcoming sequel. I can definitely see this becoming a movie. Read Six of Crows for yourself and see what all the talk is about!

 

 

When Dreams Are Put on Hold

This new-adult novel deals with the challenging choices a young adult struggles with after high school. FYI: This book contains strong language and sexual scenes. Skylar I'll Meet You ThereEvans can’t wait to leave her hometown after graduation. The small town of Creek View has little to offer other than a run-down trailer park and one eccentric motel, the Paradise, where she works. Skylar has a pact with her male friend, Chris, that they will both leave Creek View and attend college. Her best friend, Dylan, has gone the route of many girls in Creek View, becoming pregnant in high school. Dylan is now raising her son, Sean.

Skylar’s father died in a car accident, and her mother is not coping well—she loses her job at Taco Bell and drinks all the time. Skylar starts to reconsider her decision to attend college, a dream she’s held for years. Someone has to take care of her mother.

Skylar’s life becomes even more complicated when she attends a party for Josh Mitchell, a Marine home from Afghanistan. Josh’s life is changed forever after he loses one leg in the war. She starts to fall for Josh, but wonders if it’s pity or real attraction drawing her to him.

The summer after graduation proves full of complications for Skylar. Her longing to study art is threatened by her mother’s downward spiral, and Skylar’s growing feelings for Josh. The night she finally admits she’s in love with Josh, he cheats on her. She’s devastated—her first love and he has betrayed her. Skylar’s life has become totally unraveled.

I’ll Meet You There tackles tough problems that can occur in a young adult’s life. The author realistically paints the pain of difficult issues while maintaining a broad stroke of hope. A person’s choices and attitude—along with a little help from friends—can overcome the worst heartbreaks and even the most dismal situations.

The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Surrounded by a psychic family, Blue is the only member of her eccentric family who has no psychic ability. She does however make psychic power stronger in those who have it. Blue’s been told for years that she can’t kiss a boy because a kiss to her true love would kill him. She decides to never kiss any boy.

The first chapter draws you in, but it takes more persistence to stick with the story of the Raven boys, who attend Aglionby Academy, a nearby private school. The boys’ complicated relationships take a while to unfold, but if you stick with it, your reward will be an intriguing paranormal story. There’s Ronan, an angry boy who skips classes and gets into fights with his older brother. There’s Adam, a good-looking teen, who unlike the others, comes from a poor family and struggles to stay in the expensive school. His abusive father hates his son’s motivation to better himself and has no problem beating his son. And there’s shy Noah who remains in the background, who holds a secret that none of them could ever imagine.

Coming from a wealthy family, Gansey, the leader of the Raven Boys, has been looking into ley lines—places where spirits travel—for a long time as he searches for the grave of a Welsh king, Glendower, who legend claims will grant a reward to the one who awakens him. An instructor at Aglionby Academy is also searching for Glendower and will do anything to find it—including murder.

Blue becomes involved with the Raven Boys when Adam expresses an interest in her. Though attracted to him, she worries how the relationship will develop, knowing the curse that’s connected to her. She joins their venture of locating Glendower’s grave. Later, Blue and Gansey discover a body near an ancient church. This body is of their time period. Decayed, there’s not much left to identify the corpse. Gansey finds a billfold. Inside, the driver’s license photo turns out to be someone they all know. They soon discover that danger lurks within their grand adventure, threatening each and every one of them.

This is the first title in a series of four books.

For fun check out: How to graffiti a car in just under 3.5 minutes (You Tube by Maggie Stiefvater)

 

Strong as Death

Strong as Death by M.S. Kaye

Strong As Death (Born From Death Book 1) by [Kaye, MS]Ilona is sick and tired of never leaving home without her mother by her side. Frustrated by her mother’s constant presence and overprotectiveness, seventeen-year-old Ilona escapes their apartment. She observes a woman being threatened and steps up to help. That’s when Ilona is hit by a car. Taken to the hospital, her legs miraculously heal, something that has always occurred when she’s injured. A little boy appears, crying for his mother.

When Joey runs straight through a hospital curtain, Ilona realizes the boy is a ghost. Her mother has always refused to talk about things that seem out of place, and Ilona is determined to find out about the world but, most of all, about herself. Wandering the streets in a bad neighborhood in Brooklyn, she meets Archer, a rough-looking boy, who befriends her and directs her to safety.

On her quest to uncover what her mother has always hidden from her, Ilona discovers she’s in love with Archer. But there’s a problem. How can you love someone who never gives you the hug you desire or the kiss you dream about?

This book will appeal to both male and female readers, as many of the characters are male. FYI: repetitive harsh language occurs from characters in the story who are gang members. This intriguing story takes the reader on a fast-pace journey through the alter-dimension between life and death. This is the debut of a new series, so you can look forward to more of this fascinating story!

Available at Amazon

Bone Gap

 

I read great reviews for Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, which won the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature and was a National Book Award finalist. Awards aside,  I was not disappointed after reading this book. In fact, I didn’t want the story to end. It was that good.

Finn O’Sullivan knows what happened to beautiful Rosa. He should. He watched a strange man kidnap her. But when local authorities show him photographs, he’s unable to identify the man. When asked for specifics—what did his eyes look like, his nose, his mouth—Finn is unable to say. Now no one believes him.

Seventeen-year-old Finn lives in the small town of Bone Gap. The community thinks Finn is a little off. Though good looking, he’s always distracted and wears odd expressions. Finn lives with his older brother, Sean, after their mother left them to move to Oregon with a boyfriend. Sean, always ready to help anyone, gives up college to take care of Finn.

Their humdrum life changes when Rosa appears mysteriously one day at their farm, and they take the injured girl in. She refuses to talk about who hurt her or why. Days turn into weeks, and Sean falls in love with Rosa. After the kidnapping, Finn’s brother becomes silent and moody. Worst of all, Finn blames himself for not stopping the abduction.

The book is a unique mixture of mystery and magic with the spine-tingling mood of a thriller. This magical-realism story pulls you in and won’t let go. I promise.

 

Villians You Love to Hate

Essential for good conflict in a story, a villain is someone you hate or fear—or both. Here’s just a few:

Product DetailsQueen Levana, The Lunar Chronicle—Levana uses mind control and works to appear more beautiful than she actually is. She seeks to kill her own family making her a chilling villain.

Slagar from Mattimeo, A brutal slave trader who kidnaps children.

Product DetailsThe Eye of Sauron, Lord of the Rings A god-like eye of fire that sees everything we do—need I say more?

SCNR-Captain Hook from Peter Pan Unlike the child-friendly adaptions of this book, the original Captain Hook proved more vicious.

Lord Voldemort or Dolores Umbridge? in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Product DetailsMany people will choose the noseless Lord Voldemort as the chief villain but what is more frightening that a villain who hides behind the veil of goodness? Think pink and kittens!

Product Details

The frenemy, Nancy Wheeler, in Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret            
What’s worse than a friend who turns out to be an enemy? A BFF turned villain—pure pain!
Who’s your favorite villain and why?

 

 

 

When a Bully Goes Too Far

How do you deal with a bully? Lucky Linderman escapes in his dreams. There he can be a strong adventurer and a hero like his grandfather who died serving in the Vietnam War. But when the bullying goes too far, Lucky can’t hide in his dreams any longer.

Sometimes funny, sometimes serious, this novel by A. S. King deals with learning to cope with what life throws your way.

Please give me your opinion about the following questions:

  1. Do you think bullies have it all together?
  2. Why do you think bullies pick on kids who are new, different in some way, or shy?
  3. Is it possible the bully’s followers would rather be friends with the bully than be the object of his or her attacks?

I’d love to hear what you think!

The Debut of Butterfly Bones!

Butterfly Bones Cover Ebook

Bethany should be dead, just like the doctors predicted. But along came the butterflies, altering the order of nature. And now nature is hell bent on revenge. Because when fate’s path is disrupted, it’s only a matter of time before balance must be restored.

Lakewater Press reveals this exciting new YA novel, Butterfly Bones, by Rebecca Carpenter with their cover reveal.

About the Author

Rebecca Carpenter is a native of western Colorado. She is married with two grown children and has been blessed with four amazing grandchildren. SheRebecca author photo owns and directs a large childcare center where she shares her love for books. In her spare time, she freelances as a copy editor, helping others attain their writing dreams. She finds solace and clarity while spending time with her husband exploring the beautiful mountains of Colorado.

 See Rebecca on Facebook:  bit.ly/28QqB0f

 

Pantser or Plotter?

I’m twenty pages into my new novel. My main character looks over her shoulder and          expects me to follow!

phone pics 100

Can you tell I’m a pantser—someone who writes by the seat of her pants, dives right into the story? In contrast, a plotter carefully plans the plot in detail before they sit down to write.

 

At least, I start out as a pantser, but I’ve learned to consider plot before I wander very far into my story. Main plot, subplots, what the protagonist most desires and what will get in her/his way to obtain that. Those are important things to look at carefully.

The smallest idea can fuel your writing. Do you start with a character, a physical setting, a conflict, or a mystery? Small or big, anything that gets you writing is a good thing!

Happy reading and writing,

Lucinda