Thursday, July 31, 2014

Teens, Tweens and Reading In Between

A parent of teenagers told me the other day that boys are different because girls still need you while boys just grow away. I'm not she was right.  My boys are thoroughly grown, and they long since left home. But I'm honored to say they still need me, if only to build furniture, answer doors while they're out at work, pack boxes before the move and unpack them later, and advise on cleaning the loo. I'm not sure they thought they needed me when they were teens though. And it's interesting to read teen and tween fiction, to see how many heroes are orphans or have otherwise mislaid or been mislaid by their families. Perhaps it's like an older version of the "terrible twos," just learning mom's not attached to me and working out how far to stretch that freedom. Maybe teens have just reached that special age when they're learning they might be alone, and they need a story to show them alone is okay.

Anyway, I've read some teen and tween fiction, and child and adult fiction recently, and I'm way overdue to post reviews, so here goes. Grab your coffee. Check your brew.

Starting with a book for the smallest children, Julia Jane, In the Rain, written and illustrated by Audrey Muller, is a lovely fun tale, with just that perfect frisson of scary excitement for young children, and a nice wise message about listening to your mom. Enjoy with a well-brewed mild crisp one-star cup of coffee.

I have two books for tweens in this collection. First is The Mystery of Shadow Hills, by Carrie Cross, where 13-year-old Skylar is left at the mysterious home of her aunt and uncle and cousin while her parents tour Europe without her. (See, tween mislaid by parents!) The attic and the hills are off limits, but the wannabe Wiccan schoolfriend is fine, and it takes all Skylar's detecting skills, plus a few hints from friends, to work out what's really going on. Enjoy this sometimes scary, Malibu-atmospheric tale of very real young teens with a well-balanced smooth three-star coffee.

OMG, a CUL8R Time travel mystery/romance, by Bob Kat, tells the story of teens who find Edison's fabled spirit radio in a garage. The nerdy one develops an app for that, while lonely Kelly (recently orphaned, see above) dreams of rescuing everyone. And suddenly, just maybe, they can. A great ensemble cast, and the beginning of a really cool series, this has pitch-perfect dialog, enjoyable humor, and a nicely genuine depiction of differences between today and the world of the 1960s. Enjoy a well-balanced three-start coffee as you read.

For slightly older teens (and their parents), Incantation Paradox, by Annamaria Bazzi, looks at our changing times through the eyes of a mother who suddenly wakes up in the body of a modern teen. The author has a great sense of timing, hinting at possible explanations very quietly, and allowing the story to grow at its own pace. It's an intriguing tale of magic, romance and mystery, best enjoyed with an elegant, complex four-star coffee.

Racing the Hellfire Club, by Anita Stewart, is still in the editing stage, but look out for it; this sounds like the start of another really cool series, with plenty of steampunk, hints of romance, fascinating characters, and delightful echoes of Around the World in 80 Days. I really enjoyed it, and will recommend you drink some rich elegant 4-star coffee when it comes out.

For mature teens and young adults, Thunder on the Battlefields two volumes, Sword and Sorcery, edited by James R. Tuck, are great collections of, well, sword and sorcery; just what I loved to read in my teen days from Michael Moorcock and others. Enjoy with a tall mug of bold dark intense five-star coffee.

The Demeter Code, by Russell Brooks, offers action adventure of a much more present-day, earthbound, and earthy, kind, with threats of terrorism, biological disaster, and corruption in a tale of spies, their loves, their weapons and their wars. Various bedroom scenes might require a maturer audience, and some gory descriptions will surely go well with some bold, dark five-star coffee.

Finally, a short adult tale, just as suited to young adults or even teens, with clean, sweet romance and haunting love, Lucia's Bleeding Heart by Ronnie Ray Jenkins is lovely grown-up fairytale to treasure. Enjoy a smooth full-flavored three-star coffee as you read.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Incantation, paradox, and an interview with a teen

I have a very special guest on my blog today--Ella, daughter of Dolores from Annamaria Bazzi's Incantation Paradox. Teenager Ella has no idea of the strange, mind-body-and-soul changing journey her mother is about to embark on, but I thought it would be interesting to learn a little of how she might feel about it all. If you've not read, or heard about the book, make sure you scroll down this page to find out more. And don't forget the rafflecopter at the end of the post--2 Digital Copies of Incantation Paradox are up for grabs.
But first, here's Ella:

1.     Hi Ella.
Hello Ms. Sheila, thank you for inviting.

2.     Can I ask how old you are, or what grade you're in?
I’m seventeen and in ready for twelfth grade.

3.     What's your favorite music/band/...? Do you know what your Mom's favorite is? Your Dad's?
That’s a lot of question. I like a few bands, and different types of music. Let me see, there’s Imagine Dragons, and Maroon5. You know I’m in love with Adam Levin, right? I also like Blake Shelton, Eminem Beyonce… I could go on forever. My Mom? Oh, she really like Nickolback, Maroon5, Green Day and this obscure band called Fools and Horses. I’m not sure what my Dad likes, but I’ve caught him listening to this old guy named Julio Iglesias, I think that’s Enrique’s father, but I’m not sure. My Mom would know because she seems to like both of them.

4.     Have you ever wondered what your Mom looked like as a teenager?
I really don’t have to wonder what she looked like. She has a lot of pictures. She’s a mix between Chloe and me, but I do wonder what she was like as a teenager.

5.     Do you think teenagers' lives are very different today from when your Mom was a teen?
Oh yes! She didn’t have to deal with the kind of peer pressure I have to deal with, all the drugs and sex that’s everywhere.

6.     How do you think your Mom would cope as a teen in the modern world?
Hell no! Sorry, I’m not supposed to use four letter words. One thing Moms never understand is that they are very naïve when it comes to the lives of their children.

7.     Did you know your Mom came from a "broken home"? How do you think that affected her relationship with you and your sister?
Yes, I know that Mom came from a broken home. Many times after Mom and Dad fought she would reassure us that she would never break up the family because she knew what it was like. Everything my Mom does is to protect Chloe and me.

8.     Did you know your parents were going to get divorced?
Mom tried to hide that from us for a long time. But you need to understand, Chloe and I knew that Dad sent her divorce papers and we knew how long it took her to sign them. They used to fight too much and Dad never wanted to carry his weight, I mean really wanted a real job.

9.     Did you ever wonder what would happen to you if something bad happened to your Mom?
Nothing’s ever going to happen to Mom. She’s invincible.

10.  What if she has a really bad car accident? What will you do?
Why would you ask such a thing? That’s terrible! And no I would not go live with my Dad and his stupid wife. She’s so young she could be my sister. I would try to stay with Chloe and live in our home with the help of some of our good neighbors.

It was real nice chatting with you. Thank you Ms. Sheila.
 It was really nice chatting with you too Ella. Thank you for stopping by.
And now, for my readers, here's some more information about the book--it's the story of Ella's mother, and it's kind of scary, as you'll see...

About Incantation Paradox:

Magic is an illusion. It doesn’t really exist. Or does it?

A horrible car accident destroys Dolores Reynard’s life. But instead of waking up in a hospital bed, she awakens in a teenager’s body. Soon, she discovers she is at the heart of the murderous mystery surrounding the death of Mona, the young girl whose body she occupies. Caught between an evil greater than she ever imagined and a wizard who heals her tattered heart, she is forced to play a dangerous game of intrigue in the hopes of finding a way to return to her previous life.

Will magic be her ally, or will it lead to her demise once and for all.

Where to buy Incantation Paradox:

About the author:
Although born in the United States, Annamaria Bazzi spent a great deal of her childhood in Sicily, Italy, in a town called Sciacca. Italian was the language spoken at home. Therefore, she had no problems when she found herself growing up in a strange country. Upon returning to the states, she promised herself she would speak without an accent. She attended Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Computers with a minor in Spanish.
Annamaria spent twenty years programming systems for large corporations, creating innovative solution, and addressing customer problems. During those years, she raised four daughters and one husband. Annamaria lives in Richmond Virginia with her small family where she now dedicates a good part of her day writing.
You can visit Annamaria at:
Check in on Kendíka’s facebook page

Want to know more: Follow the Tour:

The Tour Schedule:
28th July - Esraa Bassiouny - Book Review 
28th July - Andrea Buginsky - Interview 
28th July - Rachelle Ayala - Character Interview 
28th July - Ilana - Book Review 
28th July - Sheila Deeth - Character Interview 
28th July - Ruth Hill - Spotlight 
29th July - Linzé Brandon - Guest Post 
29th July - Kyra Dune - Interview 
29th July - Rae Quigley - Interview 
29th July - Cremona - Interview 
30th July - Anubha - Book Review 
31st July - Aparna Singh - Spotlight 
31st July - Tina Chan - Book Review 
31st July - Myra White - Spotlight 
01st August - Falguni Kothari - Guest Post 
01st August - Emma White - Spotlight 
01st August - D.E. Haggerty - Spotlight 
02nd August - Deea - Spotlight 
02nd August - Jenn S - Book Review 
02nd August - Kay - Spotlight 
04th August - Lakshmi Menon - Interview 
05th August - Maniparna Sengupta Majumder - Book Review 
05th August - Aimee Maguire - Book Review 
06th August - Vicky - Spotlight 
06th August - Kisha - Interview 
07th August - Mohur - Spotlight 
08th August - Dr Sanchit Bhandari - Guest Post 
08th August - DelSheree Gladden - Guest Post 
08th August - Mindy Wall - Book Review 
09th August - Elizabeth McKenna - Spotlight 
09th August - Kay LaLone - Book Review 
09th August - Serenity - Book Review 
09th August - Cinta Garcia de la Rosa - Spotlight  


2 Digital Copies of Incantation Paradox up for grabs! It's a great read!

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