Books Young Adult

Here’s My #FridayReads: Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart

FridayReads Steelheart (1)

This is a blast from the past. What are you reading today?

Young Adult

Remember That Time I Met RA Salvatore? Yeah, I’m Finally Getting to a Book.

Remember That Time I Met RA Salvatore? Yeah, I’m Finally Getting to a Book.

You remember that time, right?


Yeppers, that’s Salvatore himself.

I’ve been wanting to get to a book but I’m so intimidated by their thickness.

But I found one!


The Stowaway, co written with his son Geno.

It’s YA. Prolly older middle grade too.

So, I’ve just started. I’ll keep you posted.

Did I mention pirates??

Young Adult

STEELHEART by Brandon Sanderson

WOW. Wwoweee. There is a reason Brandon Sanderson (whom I’ve met. tee hee!) is the MASTER OF HIS UNIVERSE. SteelHeart BLEW. ME. AWAY.

He builds a world. Brings in some characters. Makes you FEEL for the characters.

and then BAM.

non-stop action.

There’s so much to say I don’t know where to begin.

Not much in the way of multicultural diversity, though there is a African French Canadian character and surprisingly, a character of Southeast Asian/Indian descent.


Books Young Adult

Here’s My #FridayReads: Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart

FridayReads Steelheart (1)

Young Adult

The Maze Runner by James Dashner is like OMG. For serious.

Maze Runner

So I just finished listening to James Dashner’s The Maze Runner and I am ASTOUNDED! I downloaded the book from Audible (full disclosure, I am an affiliate) and have been listening in my car for days. Last night my life bottomed out because I was approximately an HOUR from the ending and I couldn’t wait until the next time I was in the car to hear the ending! so, I bottomed out and listened to the rest at the house; something I almost never do.  Well, maybe almost never. Cuz, it seems like a pattern.

Anyway; what can I say about The Maze Runner? First of all, I think the title is a misnomer. It’s not really about the maze. It’s more about the boys; think Lord of the Flies without all the whatever. I don’t want to give ANYTHING away so I’ll just say that if you are a reader of books that you should get this book. If you like dystopian you should get this book. If you like boys you should get this book. If you like coming of age you should get this book. If you like good books you should get this book!

No wonder this book is so popular! I was on the edge of my (driver’s) seat from jump. My only complaint: I would have preferred if the last few chapters occurred in the next book. I felt way to overwhelmed by too many emotions and actions to properly process the ending. To be sure, we knew there is another book after this, so readers will want to go to the next book anyway, right? Too much too much, my brain is on overload!!!!

And there’s a movie coming out???

I’ll be first in line.

Did I mention that I can’t help but use the word “clunk” in my every day vocabulary now?

Oh I might have mentioned it on the Twitter.

Thanks Dashner!
Try Audible Now and Get A FREE Audiobook!


My Real Children by Jo Walton

Sometimes you read a book that makes you think. And sometimes you just can’t put the book down.  Isn’t it fabulous when you finally get to meet the author and he/she is as smart and great as you’d hoped they’d be? That’s the case with Jo Walton’s

My Real Children


Intrigued? Here’s a bit about it:

It’s 2015, and Patricia Cowan is very old. “Confused today,” read the notes clipped to the end of her bed. She forgets things she should know—what year it is, major events in the lives of her children. But she remembers things that don’t seem possible. She remembers marrying Mark and having four children. And she remembers not marrying Mark and raising three children with Bee instead. She remembers the bomb that killed President Kennedy in 1963, and she remembers Kennedy in 1964, declining to run again after the nuclear exchange that took out Miami and Kiev.

Her childhood, her years at Oxford during the Second World War—those were solid things. But after that, did she marry Mark or not? Did her friends all call her Trish, or Pat? Had she been a housewife who escaped a terrible marriage after her children were grown, or a successful travel writer with homes in Britain and Italy? And the moon outside her window: does it host a benign research station, or a command post bristling with nuclear missiles?

I love love this book. Thanks to a  meeting with Brandon Sanderson, I’ve discovered the joy of Science Fiction and Fantasy books! To be sure, YA includes both genres, so jumping to adult Sci Fi was not difficult.  If I can enter an alternate reality from a YA book, why not an adult?

And so I did.  I love how smart the heroine, Patricia is. She thinks about thinking.  I love that. This would be a great book for bookclubs or older teens, too.  Curious? Follow this link and read the first few chapters and see if you aren’t hooked too!

Wonder what the author looks like?


Young Adult

Q&A with “Sky’s End” author Lesley Young #SkysEnd

For someone releasing their first novel, you do an amazing job at blending genres – science
fiction, romance, adventure. What made you venture outside your roots in journalism to write
“Sky’s End,” and how did that background help make the fictional story more realistic?

Thanks! Journalism is exhaustingly serious, and I was tired of taking myself so seriously. The
minute I freed myself from those restraints, within 60 seconds of staring at a blank screen, this is what
poured (more like gushed) out of me.

That said, because I am a journalist, I wanted the story to be real. I guess the same integrity at
the heart of my health reporting was at play in “Sky’s End.” I just couldn’t buy in if Cassiel and
everything that happens to her wasn’t honest. That meant I had to root the science in some kind of
truth, and question every single scene, how the plot unfolded, her character development, the
dialogue…pretty much everything (including myself a million times — as in, ‘Can you really pull this

Your writing style really pulls readers into the action. Why did you decide to let Cassiel Winters
tell the story for herself?

Writing in past tense separates me from my characters, in the way that watching a television
show puts an ottoman, a coffee table, and 100,000 miles between me and the actual set.

Writing present tense connects me directly to characters’ here and now, and there’s not much in
life I find more enjoyable. The experience is visceral, palpitating, real-to-life, moment-by-moment
drama that I (and readers) get to live—through my characters.

Only after I started writing did I learn that people say present tense limits certain aspects of the
fiction technique, but so far I’ve found ways around that. Funny, I actually find it much easier to write
this way. I’m hooked!

What do you think makes Cassiel Winters such a unique character, especially when comparing to
other sci-fi books?

Well, for starters, she’s female – and there aren’t many in sci-fi novels out there. But mostly it’s
her voice. I didn’t want to get through lots and lots of plot before readers could get up close and
sometimes uncomfortable with her. I wanted Cassiel to be ‘naked’ to the world from day one. I wanted
her to amuse, and entertain, and disappoint readers just like real people do when you let them in. And,
hopefully, she does.

You say the science behind “Sky’s End” is based on real astrophysics?

Well, very loosely. But yes. Increasingly, a group of leading physicists have put forward a
theory to explain questions in quantum mechanics that baffled the likes of Einstein. And it is called M-
theory or multi-verse theory. Basically, string theorists make a pretty compelling mathematical case for
there being multiple universes out there. (Alert! Boring science stuff over.)

It just astounds me. Here we are, truly on the cusp of an amazing new understanding of our
place and relationship in the cosmos. I mean how could you not fictionalize that?

Other basic sci-fi stuff is rooted in some science (or credible scientific theorization). For
example, the space station is powered by helium. Then there is definitely fictionalization like how it is
Cassiel can travel between universes … I am prone to déjà vu myself. [Insert wild imagination and
‘ping’ — why, if there were, multiple universes, that would totally explain déjà vu!!] Hence, Cassiel
mistakes her ability to travel between dimensions as déjà vu for most of her life.

Soul Mate Publishing mainly releases romance novels, and you’re personally an avid romance
reader. How did that play a role in shaping the story of “Sky’s End” and the rest of the series?

100% total honesty here: I wrote what I wanted to read, and I am a romance fan.

It was only after I finished the book, and I started to query ‘romance’ agents and editors, who
rejected it because it was futuristic, or it ‘read’ sci-fi or the intern was rushed to hit that Guess sale, did
I realize how unique “Sky’s End” is. It is genre novel that is not a genre novel. Ack!

“Sky’s End” is suspense — Cassiel encounters mysterious events while chasing down clues to
find her brother and get to the bottom of the mystery of her role in the universe. It’s adventure —
there’s a combat test, high-speed chases, and other perilous cat-and-mouse pursuits. It’s sci-fi — the
book is set in the future and in outer space during earth’s early exploration days. And finally, “Sky’s
End” is romance — with lots of sexual tension between Cassiel and two strong, very different male
characters. (And no, it’s not another love triangle, or, at least, not a conventional one.)

The important thing is my editor at Soul Mate Publishing saw something she liked. She stepped
outside her wheelhouse for sure.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

They change all the time, but right now I really admire, and reread for inspiration, Charles
Portis (for the total package), Karen Marie Moning (for voice), Silvia Plath (for mood), Monica
McCarty (for pacing), and Charlaine Harris (for soft, entangled suspense). They are certainly pros for a
reason. Also can’t say enough good things about Elizabeth Wein’s “Code Name Verity.”

“Sky’s End” is the first book in a series. What’s next for Cassiel Winters?

Lots of mystery, excitement, adventure, and trials of the heart. I am up-at-night scared and
brimming hopeful for her. She’s got to sort out the big mystery she discovers at the end of Book One,
and she’s going to need help. The question is who will she turn to, and how will that play out. I don’t
want to ruin the fun, but there’s a pretty big surprise in store for her. I can’t wait to experience it!

P.S. An Unconventional Librarian is now an Elizabeth Wein fan too!

Books Reviews

Orangeberry Book Tours Past Lives #1 by Stephanie Abbott

I’m excited to bring you Past Lives #1 by Stephanie Abbott

as part of Orangeberry Book Tours

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Science Fiction & Fantasy / Mystery
Rating – PG13
Want more  details about the author ?
Want more details about the book?
Want more details about everything?
I can’t wait to get into this book, here’s why:
How many times can you die for love?
A near-fatal car crash unlocks memories from Rachel MacReady’s past life, dredging up secrets taken to the grave. And even as Rachel discovers the hidden power that is her birthright, she finds herself drawn to the reincarnates of two very different men. In that past life, both loved her. One might even have loved her to death…
oooh doesnt that sound compelling?
let’s read it together and meet back here later!


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – UPDATE

A while back I read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  My review is below. I just discovered two things that I had to share:

1.  Time Burton is thinking about making this into a movie

2.  The book trailer is really kinda great.

Here is a link to it on Youtube.

Here’s my Original Post:

So I FINALLY finished Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.  It doesn’t usually take me such a long time to finish a book but work has kept me unusually busy and I’ve been too tired to read during my free time.  Excuses aside, here’s what I thought:

I don’t normally read this type of book save for children’s books (Harry Potter, Golden Compass, A Wrinkle in Time, etc) but I thought I’d stretch myself a bit.  I’m glad I did, because I liked it.

The main character is a teenage boy who’s a misfit of sorts.  Who can’t identify with that?  When he investigates his favorite grandfather’s past, he encounters a group of peculiars and his life takes on new adventures both frightening and kinda funny:  Ymbrynes and time loops.  To be sure, the old black and white photographs enhance the story sort of like a graphic novel.  I was emotionally connected to the characters and after a while forgot that this was a fantasy story (can’t everyone make a flame in the palm of their hand?).

I will not spoil the ending but I didn’t care for the ending like I hoped I would, although I figured out what would happen and hoped it wasn’t so.  But it was.  I’m not sure whether I’ll follow along with their further adventures, although I am curious about what happens to them, so I may change my mind.

There was no indication of any multiculturalism at all, unless you count the fact that the peculiars are different and the main character could be Jewish.  There was a little bit of kissing but no sex so it was totally appropriate for teens and maybe tweens (if you like them to read scary things).

Overall I give it 3 paws and recommend it if you like fantasy.  Do check out the photographs they are an excellent addition to the book.