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Eri cannot believe that her best friend and protector was just collected by the Opprimere soldiers, that Kaynan has become another “tax of human life” for the empire.
As she fights with the soldiers, one of them gapes at her fiery hair and violet eyes, wanting to procure her as well, but that was not the order. His shock was due to the fact that Eri is practically a twin to her mother, a rebel force leader. Why was Eri not taken?
Her stepfather and stepbrother were collected three years prior leaving Kaynan as their provider and friend.  With Kaynan gone, Eri must hunt for meat, taboo for women in the Tolareean village of tree dwellers. She begs for information from the friendly, eldest woman of the village, Clarity. Increased village threats, and a hunger for answers to her mother’s and other family members’ disappearances lead Eri and Leah to hike to Imperii, the empire capitol.  They leave armed with a unique bow, Eri’s eagle necklace, their talents, and light camping gear.
Their quest takes them to a submerged Washington, D.C., a gigantic gulf, destruction of a large section of the Midwest, and southern Utah. An encounter with soldiers solidifies that going back home will never happen. The next city must be crossed even though there are obvious dangers and clever technology, which adds to the enjoyment of the read.
When a civilization falls changes invariably happen.  This Disaster does create a decline in language and an increase in superstitions outside of the privileged cities and classes.  Doctors are called “medicine men” for instance, and the taboos subjugate women. It also is the mother of inventions to help deal with new dangers and new needs.
Eridale was a typical teenage girl who had conflicts with her mother.  In this case it was exacerbated by her mother’s disappearance. Eri suffered from simplistic grudges and teen self-righteousness.  The conflict between an almost grown woman and her mother, who wants to parent a child who has been independent for years, is a real phenomenon.
 I liked Melanie’s word choices, of which “my body halts,” “tax of human life,” and “entrenches my resolution” are a few.
Not being familiar with either, I could feel her familiarity with archery and land formations of the southern Utah national parks, very clever natural fortresses.The map was intriguing and I hope that the final graphic can enlarge well in order to read the lettering clearly.
Dystopian novels give the writer full creative rein, and Melanie has chomped down on the bit to create strong female protagonists and a unique story among the forest of dystopian novels.  I look forward to the sequel; and by all mean, don’t let her shoot!
      
I volunteered to review an advanced reader’s copy of Storm Child.  Joan Enders
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Melanie is an author, designer, photographer, and flight attendant all rolled into one. She has told stories all her life and finds her passion in sharing the plots that spin through her head. She now lives in Portland, Oregon, with her two dachshund-chihuahua dogs. She loves the beauty of the Pacific Northwest that feeds her imagination.

When no one is listening, Melanie loves to belt Broadway songs in her living room and car. Someday she hopes to be on a flight where someone is reading her book.
Connect with the Melanie here:
~ Facebook ~ Website ~ Amazon ~
~ Goodreads ~ Twitter ~ Blog ~
To view the blog schedule  for STORM CHILD and follow this tour visit the Official Event Page: 
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small coverHere’s an excerpt from his debut book.  Enjoy!

Cody took another left into a residential neighborhood. Looking back, I saw a barrage of blue and red lights flooding through the rear window. I could not tell how many police cars were behind us. They seemed to fill the entire scene, like some procedural television crime drama.

Cody took another wild turn and headed straight for the end of the street. At the end of the street was not a home, but a small field with some scattered trees and a creek.

“We gotta ditch out,” Cody shouted.

“What!?” I shouted back, exasperated at the notion.

“Better idea?” he asked frantically. I barely had time to think.

“’Ey, wipe the car down,” I shouted to the back. “Grab everythin’ we touched. We don’ want ‘em to get our fingerprints.” I thought of every crime show from television, distinctly remembering they always looked for fingerprints in those shows. “Come on, ya’ll!” I wiped vigorously around with my gloves. Brett barely moved. Juan was in a complete daze.

‘Not like this,’ the thought continued to rumble around my mind. ‘Phantom of the night…’

Juan yanked his seatbelt on and tightened it. Brett crammed himself close to his door, hand on the handle, getting ready to jump.

Looking directly ahead, I witnessed the car take flight from the road toward a colossal tree. Two car doors flung open. Cody and Brett leapt from the car.

I considered briefly, opened the passenger door, and jumped.

Umph. Ahhh! Clank, clank, crack! Ahhh!

I hit the ground, rolled over several times, ended up on my back, and slid for several meters. At the same time the loud bang of the car crashing thundered through the night sky.

I scurried to my feet and disappeared into the brush. The small grove we bailed into was quickly filled with police cruisers.

I hobbled between the trees and shrubbery. My knee was throbbing, which made the rest of my leg go numb. About twenty feet into the brush, I stumbled down a small ravine and into the creek I saw earlier. The water soaked my shoes and splashed up my pant leg.

I heard distant voices shouting, but could not make out much from the scene of the crash. I listened for only an instant before making my way off the bank of the creek and to a nearby house.

I crouched down and took a moment to catch my breath. Wisps of frozen breath evaporated into the winter air. My hands shook and teeth chattered, my body soaking in the cold from my wet clothing.

‘Where is everyone?’ I wondered. ‘Where are Cody, Juan, and Brett? Did anyone peel off the same direction as I, or did they head the opposite direction?’

 

I reached down and felt tenderly around my injured knee. I felt for any fluid in it that would indicate swelling or damage.

‘What was that loud crack?’ I wondered silently. ‘Must have been a tree branch of some sort.’

I did not feel anything to indicate injury and immediately felt relief. I had not done something that would hinder my ability to run.

‘I need to get home.’ I thought. ‘I’m not going down like this. Phantom of the night…’

In my thinking, if I got home, then time would reset itself. The phantom of the night would disappear. I would be Mike Mabe again: the normal kid from high school. I could retire the phantom, if I wanted, and no one would be the wiser.

I took another deep breath and pushed away from the side of the house.

‘I need to get moving,’ I acknowledged.Author

Goodreads Book Giveaway

This is a one-of-a kind interactive history and biography which presents primary sources, newspapers, photographs and other sources to help the reader learn about the subject, Joshua H. Bates.  What kind of person was he?  What were his dreams?  Will he marry the girl?  Will he gain fame in France in the American Expeditionary Force of World War I?  If you love historical discovery or puzzle solving or genealogical research, you will have a panic with this book.  Each chapter divulges more about Josh to help you pull out information from the sources in the chapters.  After that, you can compare your answers with mine.  A detailed bibliography follows.  Enjoy!

Evidence is Lacking. Yet I Still Hope. by Joan Enders

Enter Giveaway

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Each year boys rate all the girls and clandestinely publish (but everyone knows) the list of the ten hottest girls in school.  Kenzie hasn’t a clue as to how she rated fifth on the list. Her life begins to change as the other hotties adopt her as their own.  Oh yeah, and when number one suddenly dies. She is terrified.

Hottie lists have made national news. The tension as the Hottie List girls are picked off will keep readers glued to the pages.

The book delves into the dangers of choosing superficial friends, trendy dress, or actions that are motivated only for increased popularity. The author achieves this without being preachy.  The point is made! Check out her other books on Roxanne’s website.97088

Roxanne’s Website

Michael lives and works with his grandparents.  Granddaddy’s favorite response to him is “Patience son, patience.”  They grow vegetables, fish and cut wood together.  One day, not a Sunday, Grandma gives Granddaddy his newly pressed suit.  He hugs her, puts on the suit and a camera strapped around his neck.  With Michael in tow he is off to vote for the first time, the happiest day in his life.  After he picks up the ballot Michael takes his photograph.  As he is ready to turn it in, a registrar throws down a book and tells Granddaddy to read it.  He cannot and the registrar tears up the ballot.  Though angry, he only turns and leaves.  He dies without ever having voted.  But Michael takes the photograph of Granddaddy with him when HE votes.

Come on!  Ransome illustrations?  Heart-rending family story?  What is not to love about this well-crafted picture book that shares a dark time in African American history and yet gives the reader hope for justice at the ballot box.  A must read, imho.

Girls Like Us by Gail Giles

Posted: January 17, 2017 in General Fiction

Quiney and Biddy have graduated from their high school special education program.  Neither can believe that they are placed to live with each other in the upstairs apartment of an elderly woman whom they are to assist.  Quiney works an outside job also.  She is so angry at the world, and especially at the guy who made her “special.’ Biddy is afraid of everything as she learned that her trusting nature could not trust  Chapters alternate between the two girls sharing their take on their lives.  Little do they realize that this placement and what they experience next will show fortitude never imagined.

Giles writes convincingly about the challenges of growing up special, and the added persecution and manipulation and abuse because of it.  Excellent for anyone to consider a different point of view and for point of view studies.

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A companion book to “Flirting in Italian,” the overseas school experiences of Violet and her new girlfriends at the exclusive school moves to the next level. Her visceral attraction to Luca di Verperi is extinguished, reluctantly, due to the family secrets held by his parents and hers. In the meantime Kendra has fallen for their teacher and the discovery of their rendezvous forces extreme actions by the school administrator.  In a climatic revelation, Violet and Luca learn their fate.

There is no eye-popping literary appeal to this girly beach novel, but just enjoyable escape. And happy endings.  It was a fun, relaxing read.  The book will qualify for lovers of teen romance, while showing teens the importance of accepting the results of their actions.

lauren                                                kissing-in-italian-cover

What Light by Jay Asher

Posted: January 3, 2017 in General Fiction

“But soft, what light through yonder window breaks”? Instant attraction, worried parents, rivals, high possibility of personal tragedy…. What Light has it all, with a different ending.
Jay admirably builds the tension of the central love theme, while interlacing conflict with friends, parents, and one’s pass. Intrinsic to the novel is the philosophical question “Can a person improve his life or will he always stay the same?” Is a person equivalent to a leopard? Not only can a person turn from past destructive behavior, but the story illustrates how a person becomes his better self. Jay also illustrates that restoration can be made, that light from candles within a chapel on Christmas Eve or lights strung from trees on a hill can illuminate the world for good and replace the darkness; that a person’s actions can erase pass errors. This is a powerful book cloaked in an alluring young adult love story.

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Firebug by Lish McBride

Posted: September 8, 2016 in General Fiction

Ava can start fires with her mind, and the magical mafia, Coterie, employs her as their top hit human.  Ava and her friends go on the lam when Coterie’s godmother, Venus, requires her to kill a family friend.  McBride once again introduces the reader to a story, truer than true, in a fantastical setting.  Verbal repartee between characters illicits snorts or guffaws.  This author introduces a blatently impossible plot and sucks the reader into the reality of the improbability.

Fantasy readers who enjoy clever wordsmithing will enjoy this along with the sequel, Pyromantic.
lish Lish’s Website                        firebug

Allen Say, Portland, Oregon author, reflects on moving to California from Japan only eight years after World War II.  A cold father dumped Allen into a youth military camp where he endured persecution, finally being thrown out.  His alter ego, a cartoon based on himself by his Sensie,  Noro Shinpie, was his only companion.  But opportune guardians helped him with  kindnesses along the way:  Willard who taught him to drive, the train engineer, Mr. Price who called him son, and Mrs. Swope, the art teacher who set him on the path to his eventual career.  He gives homage to them while not minimizing the trials.  Artfully done!

I am a fan.  Rather “Grandfather’s Journey,” or “The Boy of the Three-Year Nap” (Caldecott winner), Say has a way of harvesting a human experience from the reader’s heart by sharing his own.

say_allan_lg                                                                         inkers

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