young adult

All posts tagged young adult

Free Fiction, New Reviews, & Things to Creep You Out

Published October 31, 2017 by admin

Happy Halloween, all! Time once again to see all that I’ve been getting up to, and since it’s a special day, I’ve got some spooky stuff lined up. But first, if you’re looking for a last minute read that will creep you out, or one that will amuse you and not be as creepy but still be weird, might I offer the following suggestion:

 

Buy My Stuff

 

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at where I’ve been in the past week or so.

 

baba yaga's assistant

My latest review for Books by Violet covered one of my favorite new discoveries: Baba Yaga’s Assistant. I love this book. It doesn’t hurt that it’s about Baba Yaga, who’s one of my favorite folklore characters, but it’s also the way she’s used. I love the combination of folklore and modern life, I love the main character, I love the art, I love this book. Be sure to check out the full review full of my love here!

 

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I’m back with the Ladies of Horror flash fiction picture project – the above was my image for this month. It gave me a ton of ideas, but ultimately I went with something that I hope will creep you out this Halloween. Read my entry here,  then be sure to click around to read other fantastic, free reads to get you in the holiday mood!

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You can’t have autumn without leaves, right? Well not only have I kidnapped the HorrorAddicts.net blog, but I’ve done it with a story all about fall leaves – and decorating. By now you’ve probably figured out that there’s more to it than that, but I’ll let you discover what else is up, yourself. Check out the story here.

And I’ll be nice and not include a picture for this next one – if you haven’t read my clown piece The Moments Before, that’s the feature for another kidnapped blog on HorrorAddicts.net’s blog. A strange little piece about a new take on the end of the world, I have to say it pleases me. Check it out here.

 

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Creepy Reviews, get yer creepy reviews!

Published October 24, 2017 by admin

So, being down a week means I have more fun stuff to share with you today!

black butler

My latest manga review for I Smell Sheep is up – to celebrate all that’s creepy this month, I’m taking a look at Black Butler! While it’s not without it’s problems, it does some really good things to subvert typical horror cliches and characterizations – if you can stick with it. To read the full review, go here!

princess decomposia

 

And to prove I can write about and even like cute stuff, too, I reviewed Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula over at Books by Violet! It’s a really fun, different sort of look at vampires and monsters, plus there’s a plucky heroine and some fun scenes in this quick read. Definitely be sure to read the full review!

ghostopolis

 

Also at Books by Violet, I’m taking a look at Ghostopolis – I mean, with Halloween around the corner, you’ve got to have ghosts, right? Fast pacing and some really original world building are the big features in this story about what life is like on the other side – and what happens if one of us might get dragged over there before it’s time. Definitely worth checking out the full review if you like a lot of action and interesting twists and turns with your creepy. Read more here!

 

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It occurs to me that I shared this around media but not here – so a long time ago I did a thing for Friday the 13th (the day, not the franchise. I’ve had dealings with Jason, but that’s a whole other story). Once in a while I fanfic myself and the not completely good and not actually a bird character Clyde, from Olde School. So, if you’re in the mood for something to read to kill some time and laugh at me getting sucked into one of my own worlds, here you go. 

Also, it’s October, and I write creepy stuff, so…

Buy My Stuff

Specifically, might I suggest the 1800’s vampires vs lumberjacks short read Mooner? 

Or how about taking a chance on a bunch of shorts ranging from weird to what the hell in Lost in the Shadows?

I’ve also got a story in the horror anthology The Grotesquerie, as well as shorts in Curious Incidents,  The Big Bad and The Big Bad 2

 

 

 

 

Review Roundup!

Published October 10, 2017 by admin

Time to see what I’ve been up to this week!

anyasghost

I’m looking at some creepy YA graphic novel offerings this month, so of course I had to go with the classic Anya’s Ghost for Books by Violet! A tale that really hits on the outsider theme in school/teen years, it also includes a really unique ghost and some truly unnerving moments. Read the full review here!

 

babyandme

 

I’m back at I Smell Sheep with another manga review! This time it’s the shojo-tastic, downright adorable Baby & Me. If you want a decent-sized series that’s full of cute to take your mind off your troubles, this is definitely one to check out. Read the full review here!

 

 

SJ Reads: YA Graphic Novel Edition

Published April 4, 2016 by admin

I thought I’d open up the week with some fun, so it’s time for another edition of SJ Reads! This time I wanted to touch back on what is probably one of my biggest comfort reading genre – graphic novels, though because I have a lot of friends with kids and I’m always curious about what the youngin’s are puttin’ in their noggins, this edition has a YA slant.

Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel – Combining the stories of a rough paranormal investigator and a boy accidentally pulled to the other side, this is a fast-past story that kids will easily get into. It’s probably geared more to boys, but the characters are likable enough that I think girls would get into it, too. As an old person, there are several plot points that I would’ve liked developed a little more, but it’s probably good that the action and characters take precedent. A fun, loose art style that’s very eye-catching, and just a really nice, just-dark-enough title all the way around.

Cardboard by Doug TenNapel – I think I liked this a little bit more than Ghostopolis, because there was a somewhat bigger cast and more attention was paid to how they interacted with each other, even if it was just for a fleeting hint in a panel or two. Cam’s out-of-work father gives him a cardboard box for his birthday. Even though it’s all he can afford, it also gives them time to spend together…and, as it turns out, the cardboard has special abilities. I love all the different creatures and worlds that come from the cardboard, I love the interactions between characters, and because this is so grounded in real-world problems, it really made me pay attention.The only thing that made me go ‘eh’ is the ‘villain’ was the somewhat stereotyped misunderstood rich goth kid. However, a lot is done with the character and although I would’ve liked to be a little less predictable/get in his head a little more, he’s actually my favorite character in the whole book and there are some fun things done with his progression. So, while there is the usual kind of archetypes/tropes that you’re used to seeing in mid grade lit or entertainment (especially if you grew up in the 80s or 90s), there is some comfort to that and there are some interesting things done with it. Nice pace, great art, and it made me want to go make something.

Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula by Andi Watson – an underworld princes is the pseudo-ruler of her kingdom because her hypochondriac father doesn’t want to deal with stress of politics. Add to that the pain of hiring an unusual new chef who becomes her only confidant and you get a very cute, very tame creepy romance. What I like is that the relationship is not the foremost thing – or it shares the spotlight with Decomposia’s feelings about her father, her stress at trying to put up a front running the kingdom and determining what kind of ruler she wants to be. Plus, Count Spatula is a really unique vampire. Just a kind dude who can cook and happens to have fangs. There’s a lot of moments here that gave me a chuckle, and I love that the major focus was Decomposia standing up for herself. The art is cute and while not as detailed as some titles, it really fits the tone of the book.

Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale – I love fairy tales. I love warped fairy tales. This may be one of the greatest things I have ever read. Rapunzel, set in sort of the villa/slavery system of the old west, where the witch rules the territory out of her villa and controls the water and harvest of the villages through her growth magic. You see how Rapunzel was put in the tower, but also her escape and her growth as she makes her way across the territory to face down the witch with outlaw Jack (from Jack and the beanstalk fame). A totally new slant is given to most of the characters, and it fits the fairy tale narrative in that there are a lot of little adventures along the way of the big journey. There’s no being saved by a prince (though there’s a hilarious hat-tip to that), and Rapunzel takes down foes with hair lassoing. She is second fiddle to none, and there’s a lot of time given to talking about her role, her place, her gender, her journey.  Also HUGE props to how many female characters are in this book, and characters of color. It’s fantastic. This was one I read and reread and re-re-read and then forced upon everyone around me because it is that much fun. The art is beautiful, vibrant, and earthy and the themes of growth magic are consistent while still really feeling like it all belongs in the old west. Love.

Curses! Foiled Again by Jane Yolen and Mike Cavallaro – In the first Curses, Aliera stumbled upon a fencing foil that made her defender of the Seelie kingdom. In this volume, she deals with what that means. Not only is she trying to keep up with fencing to get to nationals, but her lab partner is a troll and declares himself her servant. The powers of darkness are out to get her foil, and it’s hard to know who to trust when her cousin Caroline is attacked. Again, I love this for the female lead – Aliera has unique strengths, but she’s also a normal girl and needs help along the way. Her cousin Caroline is an incredible gem of a character – wheelchair bound and supposedly “frail,” it’s Caroline who guides Aliera with advice and her RPG and fantasy knowhow. Both girls tell it like it is in their own way. It’s also intriguing that the whole school paranormal romance angle is turned on its head with some of the characters, so it’ll be interesting to see where that goes. Plus, Baba Yaga makes an appearance and there’s no way I could ever be mad about that. A fun romp with classic Jane Yolen awesomeness.

 

Book Blast: Evolution: The Revelation by Jim Reilly

Published February 29, 2016 by admin

Time for another book blast while I prep my other posts for this month!

Evolution-Blast-Banner

 

Evolution

 

Title:  Evolution: The Revelation

Author:   Jim Reilly

Published:  February 28th, 2016

Publisher:   Sayville Books

Genre:  Science Fiction, Fantasy, Religion

The Revelation is  Jim Reilly’s follow-up to his science fiction novel, Evolution. In The  Revelation cloaked Ancient Visitors plan man’s future enslavement for a  menacing purpose. Two groups, one in the present and one a thousand  years in the future, investigate a conspiracy thousands of years in the  making. In the present, Jennifer and David Cho’s son Cameron’s  investigation uncovers a plot to continue what Bishop Terapion started.  In the future, Steven Moran and his team combat the mysterious Prince  and the Ancient Visitor armada heading for Earth

The present and  future look at scripture for clues as they learn the battle is bigger  than all of them. Religion and science are once again at the forefront  and must work together to overcome the Ancient Visitors. Not only are  the people of Earth in peril, but the whole universe is in jeopardy of  eradication from existence. The present and the future discover shrouded  secrets full of mystery needed to be solved to save mankind, but will  it be too late?

The Revelation  explores mankind’s resolve to fight for its future. Will mankind’s fight  be successful or will the Ancient Visitors succeed in enslaving mankind  to supplement their army used for a battle for the heavens? Jim  Reilly’s Evolution explored mankind’s roots. The Revelation explores  where we are going from here

Amazon | GoodReads

31st Century.

 

“Thirty survivors?” asked Steven Moran. “It can’t be! There were only twenty-nine of us!”

He quickly jumped up out of his sickbay bed and grabbed the Super Homo sapiens nurse by the arm, “Can I see the list of survivors? Please, it’s important.”

The enhanced woman waved her hand and a virtual reality image illuminated the list of survivors.

The former Kansas wrestler with Midwestern rugged farm boy features and an impressive muscular physique, even for an enhanced Super Homo sapiens, viewed the list and asked, “Are all of them out of the sleeping pods?”

“Yes…” she replied, with wonder in her voice about his motives.

“That name there, Walter Sikes. He survived?”

“Yes, he’s resting comfortably on a lower deck two floors down.”

“Show me where I can find him?”

She showed him a diagram of the tremendous spacecraft traveling a great distance from Earth. “Why do you want to know about him?”

He dashed out of the ship’s sickbay room without looking back. “Because he died on the mission and shouldn’t be here.”

The nurse sounded the alarm, but Steven was already halfway down the hallway grabbing an orderly to take him on the lift system to get to the right floor and Walter Sikes’ room.

As the lift took him two floors below, a hologram of the ship’s captain, Commander Christine Carroll was projected in front of Steven. “I understand we may have a stowaway?”

“That’s right,” he responded, “I personally witnessed Walter being killed in the initial battle aboard the alien craft.  He was cut down by the mysterious entity ruling the Ancient Visitors, aliens or whatever they were. I helped set every one of the survivors in the sleeping pods when we escaped the Ancient Visitors ship’s destruction. I can, without any doubt, say that Walter was not one of them. Whoever that is, it isn’t Walter Sikes.”

“Well then, we’ll need to talk to Mr. Sikes,” said Commander Christine Carroll, an old by-the-book veteran leader, as she mentally linked the conversation to her security detail. “Please apprehend Walter Sikes for questioning and use extreme caution.”

When Steven reached Walter’s sickbay room, he and the arriving security detail found a pair of unconscious nurses lying on the floor next to the recovery bed.

The leader of the security detail tapped his earpiece linked to his mind and the hologram of the ship’s captain reappeared. “The target is not here and is on the run. He is also not showing up on our sensors.”

As security personnel attended the fallen nurses, Steven looked around at the empty sickbay room.  He detected the holographic screens that were used to scan patients. “How would he escape the ship?”

Without answering Steven, the Captain ordered, “All security personnel report to the transport docking bay immediately.” Images of Walter Sikes began showing in every corner of the ship.

When Steven and the security detail arrived at the docking bay, they were met by the Captain in person who ordered the door of the docking bay to be opened.  When the door wouldn’t open as requested, she ran to the large window looking into the bay. Many of her personnel were scattered along the floor, at the very least, unconscious. It was then that one of the transports powered up and fled the docking bay into space. Without the interior pressure, the transport glided up and out of the docking bay into space. The various unconscious bodies began floating up and out following the transport as the docking bay’s atmosphere was sucked into the darkness of space. Seconds later the wide metal doors shut; the Captain mentally initiated the containment field.

Steven, in all the confusion going on, wondered out loud, “We shouldn’t have come back. Look what we did. We brought one back, and it may be the worst of them all.”

Hearing Steven’s words, the Captain responded, “We’ve had to deal with them in the past, our ancient ancestors had been changed by them. Then there was Bishop Terapion during the Followers of Divinity conflict.  It didn’t stop there as there were others.”

Steven ran his hands over his face and through his hair then said, “There were others?”

As the Captain tracked the ship heading toward Earth on the computer in her mind, she ordered the helmsmen to set a course to intercept and then alerted her communication officer to warn Earth Command.  She then looked at Steven and repeated, “Yes, there were others…”

Jim-Reilly

 

Jim Reilly is the author of science fiction and fantasy novels, Evolution and Seaville. He is a married father of four, born and raised in Long Island. From an early age, Jim always had a fascination with science, religion, and science fiction. He now enjoys leveraging those interests to develop fascinating and unique stories.

Amazon Author Page | Twitter | GoodReads | blog

Published February 25, 2016 by admin

Wickedly-They-Dream-Blitz-Banner

It’s that time again! While I get myself together, I thought I’d share a new title with you!

Wickedly-They-Dream

 

Title:  Wickedly They Dream

Series: The Wickedly Series, Book 2

Author:  Cathrina Constantine

Published:  Feb. 20th, 2016

Publisher:  CHBB

Genre:   YA Fantasy

Recommended Age:  14+

Synopsis:  Evil never rests.

Jordan hoped her life would change after the fiery death of the devious sorcerer, Asa Trebane. She was wrong. The Black Order of the Cult is gearing up to select a new Supreme Leader, and Lucifer will be judge and jury.

The aberrant half-breeds scheme to impregnate an influential psychic to create a prodigious creature with exceptional powers to overthrow the Order. After her mom, Seeley, is possessed with an exponential curse, even the priests can’t find a solution to defeat the evil that is devouring her. Jordan is sick of delaying the inevitable and takes matters into her own hands. She must dig deeper into the Satanic realm and guardedly joins forces with an old friend and a wicked witch. Against Markus’s direct orders, Jordan offers herself, body and soul in a blood covenant to rescue Seeley from the clutches of hell.

Jordan knows her guardian angel will not leave her to fight alone. The formidable Markus always has her back. But a circumstance beyond her control drives her angel away. There’s trouble in paradise, and Markus has been reassigned.

Can Jordan defeat her internal and external demons to win him back? Or, this time, is he gone for good?

Amazon | GoodReads

Cathrina-Constantine

Cathrina resides in Western New York with her husband and five grown children. She has a penchant for too much coffee and chocolate. When not with her family or stationed at the computer, you’ll find her walking in the forest with her dog conjuring up a new tale.

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

 

Juniper Grove Presents: Ariel Rising

Published January 12, 2016 by admin

Ariel Rising Banner.png

Blog tour time again! I’ve got a great interview today for you, but first, you know the rules…let’s check out the book!

 

Ariel Rising Wrap

 

Title:   Ariel Rising

Author:  AJ and CS Sparber

Published:  October 30th, 2015

Publisher:  Mind’s Eye Press

Genre:  YA Paranormal

Recommended Age:  14+

Synopsis:

My dreams were simple. College, a career, and let’s see what happens from there. But things don’t always go according to plan.

My name is Ari Worthington and I’ve had a very eventful week. A life-changing week. The kind of week that would make the average person whimper.

It started when my ex-boyfriend Luke accosted me in the woods.

How badly was I injured? Not a scratch. And Luke? Not so lucky. Nope, I whupped him good. It surprised the heck out of me. And it probably surprised him, too—once he woke up.

And then I met Davin. Handsome, witty, amazing Davin. Perfect in every way, unless you think being an alien, from a planet called Olympus, might be a liability.

“Seriously? Your planet is named after a Greek mountain?” I ask him.

“Actually, it’s the other way around,” he tells me. “The mountain was named after us. We’ve been visiting Earth for a very, very long time. As a matter of fact, we are responsible for human evolution.”

So, ancient aliens are real? Yeah. But there’s more. Davin’s an angel, which I could have handled, would have handled, if only he hadn’t told me I was one, too.

“But we don’t have wings,” I say.

“Real angels don’t need wings,” he counters.

“Ah, that explains everything,” I reply.

So, you think this is just another angel story? Well, it’s not. It’s got humor, romance, adventure, science, tragedy, and… did I say romance? It’ll make you think, and laugh, and cry.

Davin and I, you see, are part of a larger plan. A noble plan. A plan to save the sons and daughters of man, or what’s left of them, after the war. A big war.

Okay, enough of my rambling. Davin and I need to get back to training. And you’ve got some reading to do, yeah?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads

***

SJ: Every writer has some sort of process. Give us a glimpse into yours. Do you meticulously outline? Do you write depending on what calls are out there?

AJ&CS: We frame a very broad outline, covering major plot points, chronology, and character descriptions. From that point, we tend to let the characters pull us through their story. In many ways, they develop a life of their own. Perhaps it can be called FI (fictional intelligence). We’ve heard it before, but never believed it until we started writing. Yes, our characters do speak to us. They really do.

As a writing team, we assume very clear roles. For example, AJ is the lead writer for this series, and CS (Carol) is the lead editor. Each chapter, when completed, gets uploaded to our Kindles, where we use the Notes feature to make edits and recommend changes. We then discuss those edits and commit them to the manuscript. We’re not sure how many writers work this way, but we’ve found it amazingly productive.

And since we are a happily married writing team, we get to practice the love scenes. Okay, probably a little too much information, but…

SJ: What’s the book/story that’s closest to your heart? Is there a piece that you clearly feel is a piece of you? Do you play favorites?

AJ&CS: Well, Arial Rising is the first book in our first series, so right now it is nearest and dearest to our hearts. That said, there is a lot of my husband and me in Davin and Ariel. We’re kind of all very closely related.

SJ: If you could only write one genre ever again upon pain of being sacrificed to Cthulhu, what would it be and why?

 AJ&CS: Young Adult. Young adults are old enough to have formed an intellectual foundation, yet young enough to be open to new ideas. Of course, there is no age limit to being a young adult. In fact, many of our favorite young adult friends have a few wrinkles. Of course, being a professor and a software engineer, we do get back to the real world often enough to keep things interesting. And my husband has this idea of someday writing paranormal software applications, but every time he finishes one, it kind of disappears…into thin air. He’s working on it, though. He really is.

 SJ: What’s your biggest frustration as a writer? What do you consider the downside, or is there one? Is there any cliché that makes you want to wring people’s necks?

AJ&CS: Downside? Hmm. Not really. I think that if you write because you love to write, and you have a story to tell, then there is only an upside—that your voice will be heard. On the other hand, if your chief motivation is profit, it could make for a frustrating journey.

There are many clichés we’ve seen in the hundreds of YA books we’ve read for research. There’s the bad boy character that seems to be in an awful lot of books. Last we checked, there are still a fairly large number of good boys…at least where we live. That’s not to say we don’t like a little edge to our characters, because we do. But a girl shouldn’t always have to endure emotional torture in order to win her guy’s heart. It gets old sometimes.

SJ: If you had to be stuck in one of your own books/stories for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? If you had to stick a loved one in one of your own books, what would it be and why? An enemy?

AJ&CS: I think I’d like to be stuck in Episode 3 of Between Two Worlds: A New Beginning. It’s due out in late 2016 and there’s going to be such a surprising turn of events. In fact, I think I’ll take the whole family there. Our readers will never see it coming. For my enemies, I will banish them to live in the dystopian world of  Episode 2: The Battle for Earth. It will be very tough for them to survive (play evil laugh track here).

SJ: Do you think it’s possible to develop a sure-fire recipe/formula for success as a writer? Would you want to, or does that compromise the art or the fun of it?

AJ&CS: The best laid plans? I’m not certain a surefire plan can even exist. Stuff always seems to happen. Things change. We change. I’d hate for us to have to file away a great idea just because it doesn’t fit a certain formula. I hope that the artistic aspects of storytelling always take the spotlight for us. Yeah! I think that’s the fun part.

SJ: Everyone has words of wisdom for young writers, so I’m not going to ask you about that. With a few unknown writers becoming success stories, a lot of people seem to think it’s an easy career choice. What would your words of wisdom be to these people?

AJ&CS: Learn to write well. Paint with words. Alliterate. Command the English language. Understand that Tom and me did not go to the mall. Tom and I did. And know that Jill did not follow Bob and I. She followed Bob and me. If you do not have a seasoned command of grammar, then seek out someone who does, and have him or her read your manuscript. If a bad report is had, then you will want to find and hire a good editor.

SJ: It seems like everyone likes to gang up on certain genres as being inferior, less meaningful, or cheap entertainment (especially if it’s speculative in nature). Make a case for the genre you write.

SJ&CS: The best case we can make for our genre is that we like it, it fits the story we want to tell, and so it is comfortable for our project. The story comes from the heart and the brain; the genre comes from the story. It’s a kind of natural flow.

SJ: What do you want people to instantly think of when they hear your name or your work mentioned?

AJ&CS: Quality writing and immersive stories.

SJ: Please tell us what’s up next for you. It’s plug time, so go for it!

AJ&CS: We are currently close to a first draft of the second book in our Ariel, Between Two Worlds series, which will be called The Battle for Earth. The middle volume in Ariel’s story will take a darker, more dystopian turn as the angels of Paradise mount a war against the Fallen. You’ll be riveted, we promise, and you’ll get to meet some uniquely fascinating new characters!

AJ and CS Sparber

When it comes to being a husband and wife (or wife and husband) writing team, there are advantages, or benefits. Chief among them is that you get to practice the love scenes. He writes, she steers, and…well, it’s fun. He is a software designer and she is a doctor of education. AJ and CS Sparber live in the lovely town of Hudson, Ohio, with their son Ryan, their daughter Melanie, and an Aussie shepherd named Hunter.

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