Tag Archives: YA fiction

Book Review: Day Moon

19 Oct

In A.D. 2039, a prodigious seventeen year old, Elliott, is assigned to work on a global soft-ware initiative his deceased grandfather helped found. Project Alexandria is intended to provide the entire world secure and equal access to all accumulated human knowledge. All forms of print are destroyed in good faith, to ensure everyone has equal footing, and Elliott knows he must soon part with his final treasure: a book of Shakespeare’s complete works gifted him by his grandfather. Before it is destroyed, Elliott notices something is amiss with the book, or rather Project Alexandria. The two do not match, including an extra sonnet titled “Day Moon”. When Elliott investigates, he uncovers far more than he bargained for. There are sinister forces backing Project Alexandria who have no intention of using it for its public purpose. Elliott soon finds himself on the run from federal authorities and facing betrayals and deceit from those closest to him. Following clues left by his grandfather, with agents close at hand, Elliott desperately hopes to find a way to stop Project Alexandria. All of history past and yet to be depend on it.

From an early age, Brett Armstrong had a love for literature and history. At age nine, he combined the two for his first time in a short story set in the last days of the Aztec Empire. After that, writing’s role in his life waxed and waned periodically, always a dream on the horizon, till he reached college. At West Virginia University, he entered the Computer Engineering program and spent two years pursuing that degree before an opportunity to take a creative writing class, for fun, came along. It was so enjoyable, he took another and in that course he discovered two things. The first was the plot for a short story called Destitutio Quod Remissio, which the others students really seemed to love. The second, he realized he absolutely loved writing. For him, it was like the proverbial light bulb coming on. In the years since, describing that epiphany has been difficult for him, but he found the words of 1924 Olympian Eric Liddell are the most eloquent expression for it: “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” God gave Brett a passion for writing, and so feels His pleasure when writing.

After a few years passed, Brett got his Computer Engineering degree, but also completed a minor in each of his real passions: history and creative writing. In 2013, he began graduate school to earn an MA in Creative Writing. During that time he completed the novelization of Destitutio Quod Remissio and entered the 2013-2014 CrossBooks Writing Contest, which won the contest’s grand prize. As of March 2015, Brett completed his MA and is presently employed in the West Virginia Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology as a programmer analyst.

Brett lives in Saint Albans, West Virginia, with his beautiful wife, Shelly. In the summer the pair gardens together, and each day Brett continues writing his next novel.

My Impressions:

Day Moon by Brett Armstrong is a rather ambitious novel that creates a futuristic world in which all knowledge is codified in a central data bank for the good of all  mankind. At least that’s what the government is professing. In actuality Project Alexandria has a sinister side that the reader soon comes to suspect is subverting knowledge rather than making it available to all who seek it. The future is not so far away as the action takes place in 2039. Technology is pretty advanced, but not unbelievable — cars are all self-driving and consumers have had all their social and financial needs anticipated by commercial entities. It’s rather unsettling to see the world Armstrong envisions; it is just that plausible. But the insidiousness of control goes further in Project Alexander as all written word is digitalized causing the need for source materials to cease to exist. And cease to exist they become as all physical copies are destroyed. Main character Elliott is made aware of discrepancies through clues left by his deceased grandfather. As he and other friends and family embark on an adventure to uncover the truth, danger occurs around every corner. And no one can be trusted.

Day Moon explores the issue of what constitutes truth — what is given by God or dictated by humans. The danger of corruption of that truth is the main focus of this novel. The chillingly possible reality of Elliott’s world is very credible. The novel is carefully crafted and exhibits Armstrong’s knowledge of both technology and literature. While it is an action-adventure novel, it is a bit slow to develop and the language is a bit more formal than needed. I wished for a bit more activity and less thinking by the characters. Suspense is maintained throughout the novel — Elliott and the reader are continuously kept off balance. The book is the first in the series, so while some things are resolved, Elliott’s quest is not concluded. A strong Christian message is woven throughout the novel, a welcome addition to YA speculative fiction.

All in all, Day Moon is an interesting novel. Although a bit slow, it is nevertheless worth a look by those who like this genre.

Audience: older teens and adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE. (It is currently 99 cents on Kindle!)

(Thanks to the author for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

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2017 Christy Award Finalists

21 Sep

Congratulations to all the finalists of the 2017 Christy Awards. The winners will be announced November 8, 2017.

 

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Her One And Only by Becky Wade

The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson

Rescue Me by Susan May Warren

FIRST NOVEL

Counted with The Stars by Connilyn Cossette

Like A River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart

Stars in The Grass by Ann Marie Stewart

GENERAL FICTION

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

The Promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus by Beth Moore

HISTORICAL

Like A River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart

The Mark of The King by Jocelyn Green

Miriam by Mesu Andrews

HISTORICAL ROMANCE

A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander

From This Moment by Elizabeth Camden

The Lady And The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

MURDER/SUSPENSE/THILLER

If I Run by Terri Blackstock

When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks

Without Warning by Joel C. Rosenberg

SHORT FORM

Looking Into You by Chris Fabry

Mirror Image by Laura Scott

Restoring Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

VISIONARY

The Alliance by Jolina Petersheim

King’s Folly by Jill Williamson

The Long Journey to Jake Palmer by James Rubart

YOUNG ADULT

If You’re Gone by Brittany Goodwin

The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson

Unblemished by Sara Ella

 

 

 

Book Spotlight + Giveaway! — The Secret Slipper

12 Jun

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

About the Book

The Secret Slipper final

Book title: The Secret Slipper

Author: Amanda Tero

Release date: May 25, 2017

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Being a cripple is only the beginning of Lia’s troubles. It seems as if Bioti’s goal in life is to make Lia as miserable as possible. If Lia’s purpose is to be a slave, then why did God make her a cripple? How can He make something beautiful out of her deformity?

Raoul never questioned the death of his daughter until someone reports her whereabouts. If Ellia is still alive, how has she survived these ten years with her deformity? When Raoul doesn’t know who to trust, can he trust God to keep Ellia safe when evidence reveals Bioti’s dangerous character?

As time brings more hindrances, will Raoul find Ellia, or will she forever be lost to the father she doesn’t even know is searching for her?

About the Author

Amanda bio picAmanda Tero is a homeschool graduate who desires to provide God-honoring, family-friendly reading material. She has enjoyed writing since before ten years old, but it has only been since 2013 that she began seriously pursuing writing again – starting with some short stories that she wrote for her sisters as a gift. Her mom encouraged her to try selling the stories she published, and since then, she has begun actively writing short stories, novellas, and novels.

If something she has written draws an individual into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, it is worth it!

 

Guest post from Amanda Tero

Do you ever have plans that come up from almost nowhere? That is kind of how “The Secret Slipper” started. I had written a fun novella, “Befriending the Beast.” It was a stand-alone. Just for fun. My relief project during a longer project. Well, no sooner had “Befriending the Beast” released when a friend asked me, “Hey, have you considered a father/daughter Cinderella story?” That night I stayed up until after midnight, mulling over ideas and coming up with the title. Lord Kiralyn, who appeared in “Befriending the Beast” as Belle’s uncle now had a story—involving a daughter that I didn’t know existed, but whose existence created a whirlwind of adventure, heartache, and excitement. And now that I have two books in the series, my brain is already pulling at ideas for a book three. But that’s another story for another day.

 

Blog Stops

June 6: Desperate Homeschoolers

June 6: Remembrancy

June 6: Pursuing Stacie

June 7: It’s Storytime with Van Daniker

June 8: Fiction Aficionado

June 9: These Splendid Sentences

June 9: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

June 10: Blogging With Carol

June 10: Reading Is My SuperPower (Spotlight)

June 11: The Power of Words

June 11: Karen Sue Hadley

June 12: Moments Dipped in Ink

June 12: A Path of Joy

June 13: Bukwurmzzz

June 13: cherylbbookblog (Spotlight)

June 14: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

June 15: Zerina Blossom’s Books

June 16: Live.Love.Read.

June 17: A Baker’s Perspective

June 18: History, Mystery & Faith

June 19: Henry Happens

June 19: Bookworm Mama (Spotlight)

To celebrate her tour, Amanda is giving away a grand prize of paperback copies of Amanda’s three novellas: Journey to Love, Befriending the Beast, and The Secret Slipper. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b994

Book Review: Dauntless

24 May

Where Legend and History Collide,
One Young Woman Will Fight for the Innocent

Born a baron’s daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father’s failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village – -a group that becomes known as “The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest”. Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he’s forced to reexamine everything he’s known.

Award-winning author, Dina Sleiman, writes stories of passion and grace. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Since finishing her Professional Writing MA in 1994, she has enjoyed many opportunities to teach literature, writing, and the arts. Her debut novel, Dance of the Dandelion with Whitefire Publishing, won an Honorable Mention in the 2012 Selah Awards, and her cross-over YA novel, Dauntless, won the 2016 Carol Award. Also look for her books, Love in Three-Quarter Time, Dance from Deep Within, and the rest of her Valiant Hearts series with Bethany House Publishers. Dina serves as an acquisitions editor for WhiteFire as well, and she loves to represent them at writers conferences throughout the US. Join her as she discovers the unforced rhythms of grace. For more info visit her at http://dinasleiman.com/.

 

My Impressions:

Merrie Olde England is not so merry during the time of King John. Many know the Robin Hood legend in which the noble Robin robs from the rich in order to take care of the poor oppressed by John and his sheriffs. Building on this framework, but with a fresh voice, Dina Sleiman’s Dauntless takes the reader into a time of chivalry and honor, with an endearing young heroine determined to protect the most vulnerable. The first book in her Valiant Hearts series, Dauntless presents the story of Lady Merrie Ellison and her Ghosts, the children of her village left orphaned by the ruthlessness of King John. They live by their wits in the forest hoping to one day re-enter society.

Dauntless is a YA novel that will appeal to high school girls. Main character Merrie Ellison is a courageous and determined young woman who doesn’t let her weaker sex keep her from protecting those she loves. Smart and talented in the ways of defense, she leads her band while eluding detection from the kings’s men. There certainly is danger in the forest, and Merrie must use her wits and her loyal men to escape from her childhood friend Timothy. The characters are wonderful, and the romantic thread is just right. The adventures of the group keep the pages turning. Historical details abound and add a depth of authenticity. Merrie wrestles with injustice leading her to reject God as impotent or cruel. That struggle is the main thrust of the spiritual thread woven throughout the novel.

I liked Dauntless and would not hesitate to recommend it. There are two more novels in the series as well — lots of reading adventures!

Recommended.

Audience: young adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Bethany House for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Book Review: Paralyzed

11 Jan

510awAwXYvL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Kennedy Stern has returned to campus after surviving an abduction, but old scars cut deep. Vivid flashbacks and terrifying dreams paralyze her, threatening to ruin her academic career and any chance she has at peace or happiness. This mental anguish, however, constitutes only a small fraction of her post-traumatic nightmare.

A partner in Kennedy’s kidnapping remains at large and will not stop until he has silenced her witness permanently. His violent resolve risks not only her life, but the safety of anyone who tries to help.

Kennedy must engage in a deadly battle of the mind as she struggles to stay alive. While fighting on two fronts — one psychological and one physical — the question isn’t whether she’ll come out of the war stronger in the end.

The question is whether she’ll come out of it at all.

71UOWUiHJXL._UX250_Alana Terry is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mom, self-diagnosed chicken lady, and Christian suspense author. Her novels have won awards from Women of Faith, Book Club Network, Grace Awards, Readers’ Favorite, and more. Alana’s passion for social justice, human rights, and religious freedom shines through her writing, and her books are known for raising tough questions without preaching. She and her family live in rural Alaska where the northern lights in the winter and midnight sun in the summer make hauling water, surviving the annual mosquito apocalypse, and cleaning goat stalls in negative forty degrees worth every second.

 

My Impressions:

Alana Terry’s novels set in China and North Korea are some of the best books featuring the persecuted church. Her Kennedy Stern Suspense novels are spin-offs of a sort since they feature the daughter of missionaries figured in her other novels. Suited for a YA audience the 2 interconnected novels feature a college freshman who struggles with life back in the United States, her pre-med coursework and bad guys determined to silence her. The first book is titled Unplanned (you can read my review HERE), and I rated it a recommended read. Paralyzed is book 2 and is not a standalone, as it continues the storyline from book 1. Terry’s exploration of how Christians deal with trauma — therapy vs prayer alone — is realistic. However, I found many of the character’s actions to be unrealistic and the plot a bit implausible. For such a high profile kidnapping case, the police seem to be nowhere in sight. The characters’ reliance on their own devices may create suspense, but I found myself wanting to yell call the police!

While Paralyzed didn’t really appeal to me, I am looking forward to more from Terry, especially Flower Swallow, her new North Korean series release.

Audience: young adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE. (Unplanned is currently FREE for Kindle and Paralyzed is 99 cents.)

(Thanks to the author for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: The Fairest Beauty

5 Mar

724391A daring rescue. A difficult choice. Sophie desperately wants to get away from her stepmother’s jealousy, and believes escape is her only chance to be happy. Then a young man named Gabe arrives from Hagenheim Castle, claiming she is betrothed to his older brother, and everything twists upside down. This could be Sophie’s one chance at freedom—but can she trust another person to keep her safe? Gabe defied his parents Rose and Wilhelm by going to find Sophie, and now he believes they had a right to worry: the girl’s inner and outer beauty has enchanted him. Though romance is impossible—she is his brother’s future wife, and Gabe himself is betrothed to someone else—he promises himself he will see the mission through, no matter what. When the pair flee to the Cottage of the Seven, they find help—but also find their feelings for each other have grown. Now both must not only protect each other from the dangers around them — they must also protect their hearts.

UnknownMelanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer’s Apprentice and The Merchant’s Daughter, both Christy Award finalists, winner of The National Reader’s Choice Award for 2010’s Best First Book, and winner of the 2012 Carol Award in Young Adult fiction. She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama. She has taught children with special needs in Georgia and Tennessee, and English to adults in Germany and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.

My Impressions:

What girl doesn’t like the thought of her Prince Charming riding in to rescue her? Having grown up reading fairy tales, I knew I had to read Melanie Dickerson’s retelling of Snow White — The Fairest Beauty. I have to say I like her version better than my old storybook or Disney’s movie. Here is a tale in which the hero and the damsel in distress save each other. This book would be perfect for a youth girl’s discussion group.

Sophie is a scullery maid in Duchess Ermengard’s castle. Long the recipient of the Duchess’ hatred, Sophie’s kindness and beauty stir up Ermengard’s wrath. Meanwhile in another Duchy, Gabehart, the second son of the Duke, learns of Sophie’s plight and her true identity — the daughter of the dead Duke and step-daughter of Duchess Ermengard. Determined to make a name for himself and prove his worth to his parents and older brother, Gabe sets out to rescue Sophie. But there are lots of obstacles to his quest — his own missteps, along with Sophie’s disbelief and of course the evil schemes of the Duchess. But this is a fairy tale, so there is sure to be a happily ever after.

I mentioned that The Fairest Beauty would make an excellent choice for a discussion group. There are lots of things to discuss — what is true beauty, where do we find our true worth, how to block out the voice of the world, and how does God see us. I loved the transformation of the seven dwarfs into seven men who were shunned by the world, but found community with each other. I also liked the contrast of evil hearts and evil schemes with hearts and plans dedicated to God. And as a bonus, Sophie is much more assertive and attentive than Snow White — she doesn’t just sit back and let the Duchess have her way or let Gabe do all the heavy lifting. And for those who like romance, The Fairest Beauty has an abundance — another discussion point on the merits of keeping a sensible distance!

All in all, The Fairest Beauty is a book I highly recommend.

Highly Recommended.

Great for a youth girls book club. 

(Thanks to DJC Communications for a review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase The Fairest Beauty, click on the image below.