Category Archives: YA Writing

Magonia

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

The beautiful cover (I have a real case of cover love!) drew me to this book.

Product DetailsSixteen-year-old Aza suffers from a mysterious disease that doctors have been unable to diagnose. She’s thin, has trouble breathing, and knows her way inside and out of a hospital room. She says, “I think I wasn’t meant to be human.” Her only friend is Jason, a boy with OCD. They’ve known each other since they were five.

I quickly fell in love with quirky, obsessive Jason because he is a true and faithful friend to Aza. He will do anything for her.

Aza glimpses things in the sky, like trading ships and people descending on ropes. Only Jason believes what she sees is real. Aza sometimes hears disembodied voices calling her name that no one else hears.

When Aza is rushed by ambulance because of another medical emergency, Jason rides with her. She dies before they arrive at the hospital. At the cemetery he hears her voice from the sky. Thus begins his obsessive search into legends of people who navigate the skies in ships. Jason is a computer geek and manages to get into databases illegally. That’s how he tracks a storm that he connects to Aza’s travels in the skies above. You see, he believes she’s still alive.

Aza awakens in another world with a different body. This body is strong and healthy but her skin is blue. She learns that she was originally from the world of Magonia, a people in the sky who travel by trade ships. In this world, she has power. But Aza realizes she’s still in love with Jason. “Broken bonds are serious things.” She must find him again.

Magonia gives a realistic glimpse into the world of a teen with a serious, life-threatening disease. But it also sends the reader into a fantastical world of hybrid bird creatures and true adventure!

Magonia is a wonderful mix of fantasy, scifi, and dystopian. Read and enjoy!

IMG_20170412_203001

Here’s a pic of Magonia I created. Follow me on Instagram at: lucindastein

 

Play List for Jadeite’s Journey

Check out my playlist for Jadeite’s Journey!

“Happy” by Pharrell Williams- How Jadeite feels when she first meets Mattie, a hot boy from school…

img_20161214_113803“She Sets the City on Fire” by Gavin DeGraw –When Mattie’s character begins to look questionable, and the perfect world of United Society slowly reveals its deadly flaws…

“Lyin’ Eyes” by the Eagles-Mattie turns into a bully.

“Beat it” by Michael Jackson-When Jadeite breaks up with Mattie…

“Hotel California” by the Eagles-Mattie’s father is a powerful government official. Mattie uses his father’s influence against Jadeite’s friends and family to force her to stay with him. She observes a frightening transformation and discovers deadly secrets hover in the halls of his family’s home.

“Stand by You” by Rachel Platen-Jadeite risks her life to save her younger brother.

“Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson-Danger deepens as Jadeite journeys over the Dark Ridge, and she must call upon her inner strength.

jadeites-journey-final-cover

“Invincible” by Kelly Clarkson-After Jadeite’s father is arrested, she takes his place as an illegal Ridge Runner and risks her life to save her family.

 

Find Jadeite’s Journey  on:

Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble

 

 

 

The Weight of Feathers

Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB every Monday. This is a weekly meme where participants have to answer one of the pre-set questions plus a random question.

AM CURRENTLY READING…

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore. One of the reasons I am enjoying feathers-coverthis book is the fact the story comes as a refreshing change from the paranormal and fantasy novels I’ve been reading and reviewing. The storyline is definitely unique. Two gypsy-like families, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have feuded for years. Both family acts travel throughout the countryside, the Palomas dressing like mermaids and performing in the lake; the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, presenting escapades in tall trees.

That in itself creates a unique story, but both families also possess fantastical traits. The Palomas are born with escamas, dime-sized scales that shine like abalone (fits the mermaid aspect, doesn’t it?). The Corbeaus have black feathers that grow beneath their hair. When these feathers loosen and float on the breeze, the Palomas consider it part of the Corbeaus’ black magic.

Fate brings Lace, a Paloma girl, and Cluck, a Corbeaus, together when a tragedy at the local chemical plant sifts a cloud of chemicals over the small town where both families are performing. Not understanding the danger, Lace is caught outdoors, the chemicals blazing through her skin when Cluck comes upon her. He understands full well the dangers of the chemicals because his grandfather used to work at the plant. Cluck tears at her clothes, knowing the chemical has a violent reaction to cotton material. He brings Lace, severely burned, to the local hospital.

One of the burns forms in the shape of a feather, leaving Lace to think she was cursed by Cluck. She believes the only way to erase the curse is to seek out the Corbeaus who touched her. He is unaware that she is a Paloma and gives her a job applying makeup for the Corbeaus girls before their performance.

Another wonderful aspect of the book is the often lyrical and literary language. Here’s an example from page 158:

“His own words hovered in the air like dragonflies. Even when he went out the back door to hang up his shirt, he could hear the humming of their wings.”

By page 163, where I am currently in the book, romance is heating up between the two rivals. At this point of the story, I have no idea how this can turn out. After all, the families remain fierce rivals and enemies. I’m looking forward to discovering how the story progresses. Even though I’m only a little over halfway through the story, I highly recommend this magical-realism book.

RANDOM QUESTION:

If you were a character, which author would you trust with your life (to write your story)?

I would trust author, Bonnie Jo Campbell, to tell my story. Campbell has a true talent to get into a character’s mind and soul. But what I especially appreciate is the once-upon-a-riverunderlying empathy she holds for all her characters, shallow to complex, good to bad, Campbell will reveal how that character’s life experiences have molded him or her. She would pull out things from my character that I may not be conscious of and would probably surprise even me. Her literary style is, at the risk of an old cliché, the cherry placed on top of her whipped-cream writing. If you haven’t read her work yet, I recommend Once Upon a River and Q Road.

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses

Nineteen-year-old Feyre resides in a village with two sisters and a crippled father at the edge of a magical land called Prythian—a land of faeries. Living in poverty after her father lost his fortune, Feyre hunts for their food, keeping the family from starving. While out hunting one day, she kills a wolf.

Later a fearsome creature breaks into their cottage, seeking revenge for the death of one of its own kind. The wolf Feyre killed turns out to be a shapeshifter who was actually a faerie. The creature called Tamlin drags Feyre away and across the border to Prythian. At his estate, Tamlin allows her free access of his mansion and estate grounds. Instead of killing her, she’s allowed to live according to the regulations of an ancient treaty. However, she can never return to her family. Ever.

Feyre panics over her family’s survival, but Tamlin assures her he has taken care of her family. Over time, she realizes Tamlin truly means her no harm and slowly finds herself attracted to the lethal, immortal High Fae.

She learns that a blight across Prythian endangers the High Fae and has lessened his magical powers. Tamlin’s estate and even his life is in danger. To protect Feyre’s life, he sends her home. But Feyre’s love for Tamlin leads her back to incredible danger and deeper into the secrets of Prythian.

In an intriguing version of Beauty and the Beast, Sarah Maas leads the reader through a story of magic, war, and fated love. Well written, the book contains plenty of conflict and mystery. Due to scenes of sexual and violent nature, I recommend this book for New Adult or older YA readers.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, ©2015, Bloomsbury

 

 

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!

 

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.

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.

 

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