Here's the place where I feature protagonists that might be androids, clones, disabled, female, feminist, Gay or Lesbian, White or "unknown" where they don't really "fit" into the other pages. It also includes several series stories that featured different main characters.
These are just darn good books and I can't exclude a good book just because the main character isn't a Person of Color. A good book is a good book. Period. End of story -- or, well, maybe not. Maybe it's the beginning of a new story...
Click on the image to order your book online!
These are just darn good books and I can't exclude a good book just because the main character isn't a Person of Color. A good book is a good book. Period. End of story -- or, well, maybe not. Maybe it's the beginning of a new story...
Click on the image to order your book online!
The Chronicles of Prydain (Grades 4+ / Ages 10+)
This is the boxed set of all five books in paperback.
Being only a 2nd generation Welsh immigrant on my Dad's side of the family, I always feel a connection to Welsh fantasy. I loved these books and I think I'll reread them in the very near future! (RDJ)
The Book of Three
"Since The Book of Three was first published in 1964, young readers have been enthralled by the adventures of Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper and his quest to become a hero. Taran is joined by an engaging cast of characters that includes Eilonwy, the strong-willed and sharp-tongued princess; Fflewddur Fflam, the hyperbole-prone bard; the ever-faithful Gurgi; and the curmudgeonly Doli--all of whom have become involved in an epic struggle between good and evil that shapes the fate of the legendary land of Prydain. Released over a period of five years, Lloyd Alexander's beautifully written tales not only captured children's imaginations but also garnered the highest critical praise."
The Black Cauldron
The Castle of Llyr
The High King
Boxed set of all five volumes of The Chronicles of Prydain in paperback
The Johnny Dixon series - The Curse of the Blue Figurine; The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt; The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull; The Revenge of the Wizard's Ghost; The Eyes of the Killer Robot; The Trolley to Yesterday; The Chessmen of Doom; The Secret of the Underground Room; The Drum, the Doll, and the Zombie (with Brian Strickland); The Hand of the Necromancer (by Brian Strickland); The Bell, the Book, and the Spellbinder (by Brian Strickland); and The Wrath of the Grinning Ghost (by Brian Strickland) (Ages 8+)
The Drum, the Doll and the Zombie
This is the only book of this series that I've read so far. It was a fun little book and I want to re-read it before giving a full review. I did enjoy the story and I think your teen will like this book. (RDJ)
The Lewis Barnavelt series - The House With a Clock in Its Walls, The Figure in the Shadows, and The Letter, the Witch and the Ring (Ages 8+)
This is a fantasy/mystery/horror series for younger teens, although reading the stories as an adult, these books are quick and fun reads. I haven't read all the books, but based on what I have read, I'd definitely recommend all of Bellairs' books for teens and reluctant readers who like "things that go bump in the night".
The House With a Clock in Its Walls
Orphaned Lewis Barnavelt is sent to live with his uncle in an old mansion. When he arrives, he discovers that his uncle is a wizard, his uncle's best friend is a witch, and there's a clock ticking in the wall. Typical of a teen, Lewis experiments with his uncle's spell in a graveyard and rouses an evil ghost. Plenty of adventures and a race to stop the clock! (RDJ)
The Face in the Frost (Ages 15+)
The wizards Prospero and Roger Bacon set out on a journey to investigate an unreadable book and find answers to a mystery linked to Prospero's former classmate. It romps through an improbable fantasy world. A talking mirror, a king obsessed with galaxies, magic, spells and an evil that seeks to destroy Prospero. Funny, clever and eccentric, this is my favorite of the Bellairs books, I wish he'd written more stories with these characters. (RDJ)
Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Shaman (Ages 13+)
From the author: "The stories in this collection were first published in Analog science fiction magazine between 1990 and 2011. They feature the adventures of eccentric kilt-wearing anthropologist / archaeologist / xenologist Rhys Llewellyn and his able assistants, Yoshi Umeki and Roderick Halfax. Given my fascination with archaeology, first contact…and all things Scottish, I suppose these stories were inevitable."
The Rissa Kerguelen Trilogy - Young Rissa, Rissa and Tregare, and The Long View (Ages 18+)
The trilogy is a stand alone set featuring Rissa Kerguelen. Orphaned, she's alone in the world after being separated from her brother and uncle. She escapes the tyranny of the corporations that rule the Earth and planets. A powerful series that speaks to young women especially of determination, confidence, courage and compassion. The prequel, Zelde M'Tana is found on the "Black" page. Not suitable for young teens, there are very mature scenes of sex and violence in the books.
Lake Caerwych (Ages 13+)
J. Conrad's debut novel, Lake Caerwych, has already drawn international attention, with an author interview featured on WalesOnline.co.uk. You can read the article at http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/need-to-read/2012/06/18/snowdonia-the-setting-for-fantasy-novel-by-texas-author-91466-31203101/. Since my own Grandfather came over from Wales with his parents, I'm very interested in any and every Welsh-based fantasy story! I've read the free sample pages offered on Amazon.com and I'm very impressed by this up-and-coming author's debut book. I'm certainly ready to read the rest of the story! (RDJ)
"[Book One of the Copper & Cobalt Trilogy] After finding what appears to be an ancient, Celtic necklace in a second-hand boutique, Bridget and her best friend Celena have the strange feeling that they've seen the pendant before, a long, long time ago. This, and the unusual familiarity they've felt ever since they met, leads them to ask questions and trace their find back to its source. Once in Wales, Bridget is compelled to an eerie, megalithic structure and suddenly finds herself in another time and place – as Enid, the dark-haired servant girl she was thousands of years ago. She is immersed in her horrid past and forced to relive it, helpless to avert the tragedy, save her dearest friend or even herself. Waking at dawn inside the ring of stones, she and Celena begin to embark upon the true adventure laid out before them. They need to right the past not only for themselves, but for a much higher purpose. And Paul, a mysterious stranger who jealously guards his own secrets, may be able to help them."
Outsystem: An Aeon 14 Novel (Volume 1) (Ages 16+)
A science fiction novel with a strong female protagonist? Be still my heart! I am so excited to add M.D. Cooper's novel to Alien Star Books. I so wish that there'd been a few strong female main characters in science fiction and fantasy when I was growing up. (No, Podkayne of Mars absolutely does not count!!) Some violence and mature themes may not be suitable for a younger teen. (RDJ)
"Someone is out to stop the GSS Intrepid, an interstellar colony ship, from being completed on schedule and beginning its journey to 82 Eridani. When anti-colonial activist groups are suspected, Major Tanis Richards, an officer in the field of military intelligence and counterinsurgency, is brought onboard to hunt them down.
"A public disgrace Tanis suffered at the hands of the military has motivated her to leave Sol and start a new life elsewhere. She soon discerns that more than simple activist groups are arrayed against the ship and its crew. There are corporations and governments that have a vested interest in ensuring that the Intrepid never leaves the Sol system.
"Tanis tightens security and fights political red tape while running up against assassins and mercenaries sent to the stop her and the Intrepid at every turn. The new friends and relationships she forges strengthen her resolve to protect the ship and keep its crew and colonists safe as they endeavor to head outsystem."
A Path in the Darkness - An Aeon 14 Novel (Volume 2) (Ages 16+)
"In this, the second installment of the stories chronicling Lieutenant Colonel Tanis Richard's exploits across known space, Tanis wakes to find the GSS Intrepid in dire straits.
"The colony ship's planned route had them passing close to the red dwarf, LHS 1565, to collect isotopes streaming in the star's stellar wind. However, when Tanis awakes from stasis she finds the duty crew missing and the ship falling into the star.
"Now, she must regain control of the ship and stop whomever is responsible before the Intrepid is destroyed and the 1.5 million colonists perish without ever reaching New Eden."
Sabrina - An Aeon 14 Novel (Volume 3)
Queen Mab Courtesy (Ages 13+)
"Set in a near-future Chicago, Queen Mab Courtesy is part adventure, part mystery, part science, and all fun.
"Tito, the main character, is a 'Denver Dwarf'--victim of a birth defect caused by a biological terrorist attack while he was in the womb. It certainly didn't affect his mind or his spirit, though.
"He meets up with Charlie Sleazer, a hot chestnut vendor who quotes Shakespeare and has a few interesting sidelines (like helping people out of jams). They are trying to unravel what happened to Tito's father, who disappeared years ago. The C.O.P.S - biomechanical enforcers of a nanny state that wants to protect the people from everything, including human nature - seem to be engaged in a massive cover-up. They're closing in on Tito and the only way out leads through Blanktown.
"Queen Mab Courtesy is a fast-paced novel that's fun and easy to read." Rated "PG" for intense scenes.
That Which Is Human (Ages 13+)
"The war with the Rilz is pushing humanity to its limits and Intruder pilot Lt. Alan 'Mac' McAllister and his flying partner 'Ivan' Ivchenko are in the thick of the fighting. Battling the Lizards is bad enough, but fighting a planet full of rebel humans tests their friendship and Mac's integrity as a Naval pilot. But the biggest test for Mac is maintaining his own sanity in the face of a creeping dependence on the electronic link that allows him to fly the most advanced combat spacecraft ever devised. When a vicious counter attack by the Rilz places the lives of his ex-wife and her new family in harms way, he must set aside that which is still human within him in a final showdown with mankind's most implacable enemy." Rated "PG".
Paul and Kaja Foglio
Agatha Heterodyne series - Graphic Novels (Grades 9+ / Ages 15+)
These madcap graphic novels are described as "Adventure, Romance, Mad Science!" Not only are they all of the above, they're a 19th century alternate reality, gaslight fantasy, with a dash of steampunk mixed in! For high school and adult readers. These are graphic novels. (RDJ)
Girl Genius Volume 1: Agatha Heterodyne and The Beetleburg Clank
"Adventure, Romance, Mad Science! Meet Agatha Clay, Transylvania Polygnostic University student with the drive to create and the worst luck in the world!"
Girl Genius Volume 2: Agatha Heterodyne & The Airship City
"In a time when the Industrial Revolution has become an all-out war, Mad Science rules the World...with mixed success. At Transylvania Polygnostic University, Agatha Clay was a student with trouble concentrating and rotten luck. Dedicated to her studies but unable to build anything that actually worked, she seemed destined for a lackluster career as a minor lab assistant. But then the University was overthrown and Agatha was taken aboard the giant airship Castle Wulfenbach - where it begins to look like she might carry a spark of Mad Science after all."
Girl Genius Volume 3: Agatha Heterodyne & The Monster Engine
"The collection begins as Agatha finds a new ally in Krosp the Cat (a genetic experiment with a smattering of Napoleon's brain cells) and becomes better acquainted with Gilgamesh, the Baron's son - who gently breaks the news that Agatha has the spark for Mad Science. Othar Tryggvassen escapes the Baron's lab as the Monster Engine is activated by a revenant, and pandemonium ensues on the city-sized airship as Agatha and Gil battle the awakened behemoth. Adam and Lilith arrive in time to make crucial explanations about Agatha's identity and attempt her rescue, but are devastated by the Baron's forces, and Agatha and Krosp must make their dramatic escape alone."
Girl Genius Volume 4: Agatha Heterodyne & The Circus Of Dreams
"The Adventure, Romance & Mad Science continues as Agatha Heterodyne's damaged aircraft comes roughly to rest in the Wastelands. She encounters a traveling circus and proves her mettle by destroying a massive spider-clank as it attacks. Meanwhile, a frustrated Baron Wulfenbach dispatches his son, Gilgamesh and deposed pirate queen Bangaldesh DuPree, to capture Agatha, whose very existence threatens the peace. However the cunning circus folk succeed in hiding Agatha, who quickly discovers she is only one of their many secrets. She begins warrior training with the circus's expert swordswoman, Zeetha, meets a trio of Jagermonsters, and attracts unexpected attention by saving everyone from the grimmest of fates. This book collects issues 11, 12, 13, & what would have been issue 14 of Phil & Kaja Foglio's Gaslamp Fantasy series in a beautiful art-book format."
Girl Genius Volume 5: Agatha Heterodyne & The Clockwork Princess
"Agatha Heterodyne is the last heir to the Maddest of Mad Scientist families, and on the run from the current ruler of Europe. In a fairy-tale castle on a mountain pass, she finds herself at the center of an evil plan to bring back one of the deadliest enemies of recent history."
Girl Genius Volume 6: Agatha Heterodyne And The Golden Trilobite
"The climax to the second Girl Genius story arc. The Wulfenbachs discover that Agatha is still alive and come to get her. Things are complicated by the fact that Agatha is currently possessed by the evil mastermind responsible for the Long War. A issue chock full of daring-do, political intrigue, and plumbers."
Girl Genius Volume 7: Agatha Heterodyne and the Voice of the Castle
"Adventure, Romance, Mad Science! Agatha Heterodyne is the last heir to the Maddest of Mad Scientist families, and now she's returning home to claim the family castle. Unfortunately, it turns out that she's not the only one with that idea in mind. This collection represents an all-new installment of Phil & Kaja Foglio's award-winning gaslamp fantasy series and includes an extra four-page story in addition to the main plotline."
Girl Genius Volume 8: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones
"Agatha Hetrodyne has finally returned home to the family town of Mechanicsburg to reclaim the ancestral castle, which is actually a giant fractured artificial intelligence that is badly in need of repairs. If that wasn't bad enough, she had to contend with a murderous impostor claiming to be her, as well as the not-entirely-unwelcome-but-is-this-really-the-right-time attentions of several suitors." (I HATE it when they do stuff like this, you can get the whole series in softcover/paperback, except this one volume! It's available only as hardcover graphic novel.)
Girl Genius Volume 9: Agatha Heterodyne and The Heirs of the Storm
"Adventure, Romance, Mad Science! Agatha has finally made it to her ancestral castle, but so has a whole crowd of her friends - and enemies! Worse, the lives of two them are in danger, unless she can get the Castle's power source back up and running-quick!
Girl Genius Volume 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse
"Adventure! Romance! Mad Science! Deep in the heart of the damaged machine that is Castle Heterodyne, Agatha discovers her mother''s long-abandoned secret laboratory. But waiting inside is a relentless guardian that is not what it seems!"
Girl Genius Volume 11: Agatha Heterodyne and the Hammerless Bell
"Adventure, Romance, Mad Science! Heroes and villains fight for control of Mechanicsburg, as Agatha finally repairs the damaged machine that is Castle Heterodyne. Book Eleven of the Three-time Hugo Award-winning, Eisner-Nominated series!"
Todd A. Fonseca
Aaron and Jake Time Travel Adventures - The Time Cavern and The Inverted Cavern (Age 10+)
The Time Cavern
"The Mystery began a hundred years ago. It was never solved. Now it's happening again. When ten-year-old Aaron moved from the big city to the country, he thought it was a boring sleepy town. Then he met Jake, a know-it-all farm girl who said his house was haunted. She claimed an Amish boy disappeared without a trace after hearing the wind call his name. Aaron thought she was just trying to scare him...until the night he heard his own name in the wind."
The Inverted Cavern
"Aaron and Jake received a message from the Amish boy they had returned a hundred years back in time, proving their experiment had been a success. When they discover the diary containing entries of their own adventures, it gives them the confidence to explore the past and future for themselves. They made careful preparations--thought of every possibility--and took every precaution. So how could everything go so incredibly wrong?"
Zadayi Red (Ages 13+)
"A young Shaman of the Galayi people has had a powerful and frightening vision: it is of the Eagle Feather Cape, the gift of the Thunderbird, which is worn by the Seer of the People to see the future and gain the guidance of the gods. The cape is torn and bloody, and it will no longer bring visions to the Seer of the People. But the Shaman's vision also tells her of the cure: a child will be born to the People, a hero who will restore the cape and return the goodwill of the gods to the People. Dahzi may be that hero, if he can survive the hatred of his grandfather. He was born after his mother’s death, as she fled from her father’s anger. But Dahzi carries the hope of all of his People, along with the power to become a great Chief. He will be tested--by his family, by his people, and by the Gods. Zadayi Red is a magnificent retelling of a Cherokee legend. It brings to life an ancient people and a time of magic in a warm and intimate storyteller’s voice."
Wow! What a great story, based on Native American mythology and the Turtle Island creation story. This was a quick and engrossing read about a medicine woman who had a vision of death and destruction. With the help of Buzzard, she raises the child that will restore the people and peace. There were a couple of scenes that might be a bit much for a younger teen and a bare description of a rape, but in general, I wouldn't have any fear of a teen reading this great book. (RDJ)
Shadows in the Cave
"In this sequel to Zadayi Red, Caleb Fox continues his fantasy retelling of the stories and history of the first peoples of America, the tribes we know today as the Cherokee. Shonan and his son Aku are as different as night and day–the father a down-to-earth War Chief, leader of his village; his son a young shape-shifter who has been forbidden by his father to practice his gift from the gods. But such gifts are given to the people for the protection of the tribe, and Aku will not long be able to obey his father. This lovely, intense journey among the earliest inhabitants of North America will thrill readers with deep truths and timeless adventure."
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. In fact, I liked it even better than the first book, Zadayi Red. Author Caleb Fox has wound the classic threads of a father and son's conflicts as the young man comes of age around and through the stories of Turtle Island and the first peoples of the Americas. Aku is a very likeable protagonist as he finds his way as a shapeshifter and grows into his manhood. I don't want to say too much about the story because I don't want to spoil it for the reader. I will say that it comes to a very satisfying conclusion. I've found myself several times going back and rereading the final couple of chapters, which is a good sign -- I liked it so much that I'm rereading portions of it already. This book will stay on my "favorites" shelf for a long, long time. There are a few scenes of sex and violence that might be disturbing to young teens and their parents. (RDJ)
Alas Babylon (Ages 15+)
This is the classic nuclear apocalypse story. Air Force office Mark Bragg sends his family to what he hopes is safety when nuclear war threatens. His brother Randy, back in the old home town of Fort Repose, Florida, picks up his sister-in-law and two children at the airport. They're all hoping that Mark is mistaken, despite his code message to Randy, "Alas Babylon". After the nuclear missiles strike, Randy and his family work to survive, alongside their Black neighbors and rest of the town. Human nature being what it is, the good, the bad and the ugly coexist among the survivors. Set in the Cold War era, some of the scenes may seem unreal to a younger reader but rest assured, that really was "the way it was". (My ex-husband was in the Strategic Air Command and trust me, Pat Frank got it right.)
I believe this book is required reading in some high school and college classes. If your teen is obsessed with "zombie apocalypse" disasters, I'd encourage him/her to read this book, about the war that was a real possibility not that long ago. I'd also encourage reading the true story of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, and its effects on six survivors -- Hiroshima by John Hersey. (RDJ)
Snow White in New York - Picture Book
"Pulsating with the rhythm and vibrancy of the Jazz Age, this dazzling picture book is set in New York City in the 1920s. The story may be familiar, but the cast of characters will surprise you. Snow White is a beautiful jazz baby, protected by seven hot jazzmen. Instead of a wicked stepmother, her arch-enemy is the Queen of the Underworld. And her Prince Charming is a crack reporter from the New York Mirror. The breezy and clever text complements the style and color of the art deco illustrations, making this a picture book of astonishing originality. This winner of The Kate Greenaway Medal is at last available in paperback."
This retelling of the classic Snow White fairy tale is a very quick read with absolutely fabulous art deco illustrations. An excellent choice for a reluctant reader who loves art, especially art deco and Jazz. This little 32 page picture book really is all about the art! (RDJ)
The Aspen Experiments (Ages 15+)
"When seventeen year old Dara is accepted into an elite boarding school, her first weeks are ruined by a frustrating illness. Throwing up in front of your crush? More than once? Emphatically not fun. As Dara gets to know her school and the school’s creepy doctor, she begins to realize that she wasn’t recruited for her grades, and her illness isn’t innocent. John is only pretending to be a student, and he knows exactly why Dara is sick, but he can’t risk telling her. When someone is playing with time, altering anything can be disastrous, and John has a very specific mission. But when Dara’s life is at risk, he'll risk telling her the truth. Because even with all the facts, Dara and John may not be able to escape the aftermath of the school's dangerous experiment."
Chosen (Ages 16+)
"A paranormal romance that keeps you wanting more, Chosen is the first novel in a three part fallen angel trilogy. With the story line told from two points of view, no detail is left out. The scenery is based on the lush green state of Oregon, making the writing that much more picturesque. Set in the fictional towns of Brightwood and Everlast, Chosen weaves the lives of two young teenagers who enter a fantastic world they never knew existed.
"Karbon and her older brother, Liam, are your basic average teenagers. They have a close bond, more so after their Father’s death. One afternoon, while visiting their Father’s grave a very strange man appears. Sullen. He boasts that he knew their father very well and gives them an opportunity that he knows they cannot refuse -- to become Angels. Karbon and Liam are hesitant at first, then take the chance. In turn they grow massive colorful wings. They leave their previous lives behind and live at Soulstice, the massive twisted tree that the Angels call home. Karbon soon meets another Angel, Kolten, who has a disheveled past and tells Karbon that she made the wrong choice. They are now fallen angels collecting souls for the Devil. One of Devil’s main Angels, Krimson, heartless and cold, loves tearing people’s souls from their flesh. She has it out for Karbon and her brother. Stricken by this choice, Karbon and Liam refuse to do the Devil’s work. This ultimately leads to dire consequences for Karbon.
"Torn between the choice she has made and what her heart tells her she should do, Karbon has been chosen." This book is not recommended for younger teens due to language and two violent scenes.
Select your preferred ebook or digital format (Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Sony Reader, etc.) on the order page
Companion Dragon Tales, Volume 1: A Familiar Name (Grades 5+ / Ages 11+)
From the Creative Mind of Fantasy and Pulp Author Nancy A. Hansen comes the first volume in an exciting new imprint from Pro Se Productions! COMPANION DRAGONS TALES VOLUME ONE: A FAMILIAR NAME marks the debut of a new universe of action and excitement created by Hansen and authors Lee Houston, Jr. and Roger Stegman as well as the first book in Pro Se's YOUNGPULP line!
"Nancy Bittergreen is a busy author. She's also a witch who regularly travels to the wondrous worlds brought to life by magical writing. A dangerous occupation to say the least. Nancy decides she needs a familiar- a small, intelligent creature who can be trusted to watch over things while she's gone or come to her rescue when situations get just a little too weird. The very best familiars are miniature dragons, but they come with a high price and no instructions.
"Unfortunately there are powerful people who would prefer all magical creatures be registered, regulated, or even eliminated! Bringing a familiar home with her becomes a race against time with a dangerous opponent as this middle aged witch has to find out her new companion's true name before sunrise turns him to stone." Suitable for all ages.
The Sisters Arcana (Grades 5+ / Ages 11+)
"Children from the town of Patterson, Oregon are disappearing. And it does not appear to be ending anytime soon. Until two sisters rise to the challenge of the bizarre mystery. Pro Se Productions presents THE SISTERS ARCANA by Ken Janssens. The latest entry in Pro Se’s YOUNGPULP! imprint is an eerie adventure novel about the ties that bind and bend in a family of passionate people and the mysteries a person can uncover if they just choose to believe.
"A friendless, science geek and a feisty, sci-fi fanatic, Rowan and Nova are cut from a different bit of cloth. They don’t always get along, but they may be the only ones with enough guts and smarts to save their missing classmates from something straight out of Nova’s imagination. All they need is the right motivation. And to not disappear themselves. Equal parts adventure and mystery, THE SISTERS ARCANA invites readers into a world where nothing is as it seems at first glance and strength is found when and where least expected. An Adventure for all ages- THE SISTERS ARCANA by Ken Janssens from Pro Se Productions." Suitable for all ages.
The Owlstone Crown (Ages 9 - 11)
"This afternoon would be great for skating, but Timothy and Verity Tibbs must work in a frozen field, digging parsnips for mean Maw and Paw Grimble to boil into bad-tasting medicine. What a life! When private detective Lewis O. Ladybug brings news from another world, everything changes. Gran and Gramp are in trouble, and it's up to Timothy and Verity to rescue them. Led to Other Earth by the tiny detective, they meet a crew of unlikable characters, make some amazing new friends, and find themselves in the midst of one adventure after another." I just read this charming little book and enjoyed it. I'd like to point out that the twin Verity is vision impaired, but it doesn't hold her back in this lovely fantasy adventure story. RDJ
The Eagle as Wide as the World (Ages 9 - 11)
"Mystery and adventure fill this intriguing modern fantasy--a companion to X.J. Kennedy's The Owlstone Crown. The rumor that giant killer bees, six feet long, are invading the country, is confirmed when Mustard, the half-brother of the Tibb twins is kidnapped by the bees. This sometimes scary, frequently hilarious story builds to a rousing conclusion."
Added 5-5-2014 (Everybody else)
Neal F. Litherland
Summer People (Ages 16+)
"Bethany just wanted to get a job and get away from home for the last summer before college. Her aunt’s café seemed like the perfect place. Of course that was before she met Sean with his angel’s voice and devil’s eyes. And it was before Danny, who keeps paying mysterious calls, came into her life. It might be her last summer as a girl, but does she want to become a woman with a man that has secrets?" Recommended for mature teens and young adults. At 11,528 words (approximately) this paranormal romance is a quick read for a cold winter night.
My 5-Star review of Summer People - published on Amazon, Razzberry Jam blog and The Griffith Girls.
"Now, I’m not a fan of romance in any form, not classic, not historic and definitely not paranormal. But I was pleasantly surprised, while there are romantic elements in Summer People, it’s not what I’d call a romance. No, not at all.
"To make this clearer -- I LOVED it!!
" Litherland’s writing evokes the lyric prose of Ray Bradbury, Patricia McKillip and John Bellair’s classic, The Face in the Frost. As I read Litherland’s words, I could literally see the café and smell the pastries, teas and coffee.
"Yet there was always a sense of something lurking, behind the peaceful scenes of summer and oncoming fall that Neal painted of this New England town. Something ancient and whether for good or evil, the undercurrents slip between the characters -- hidden pasts and secrets that lie just out of sight, amid sunlit leaves and under the streetlights at night. Of music that speaks of beauty and darkness.
"Litherland starts off with the peaceful scenes of early morning in the cafe and then slides us subtly into a world of magic and mystery, of the potential of young love, love triangles and awakenings, and then, little by little, shares with us the darkness that lies behind a smile and a promise.
"Nope, you don’t get a spoiler, you have to read this lovely tale yourself. It’s just the right length to sit in front of a crackling fire, tea at your elbow, and savor the plot and prose before you go to bed and dream of magical lands just out of sight, just past the trees and meadows of the mundane world.
"I have just one small criticism of the story. It wasn’t long enough!!" RDJ
Cat Tales and Whiskers: A Young Adult Paranormal Christian Novelette (Ages 10+)
"When fourteen-year-old Ash is forced to move, the world as he knows it turns upside down. Soulville is a strange town, and the house his mom inherited from a distant relative should be condemned. It’s spooky. Possibly haunted. What Ash initially believes to be a string of bad luck has nothing to do with luck at all and everything to do with a demonic curse on his family. Does Ash have what it takes to break the curse, or will his life be cut short like those before him?"
I bought this book this morning, after a friend and fellow author on Facebook recommended it.
Written by a 13-year-old, all I can say is charming!! A few little formatting issues, nothing worse than extra blank lines now and then. A charming little Christian tale of generational curses and forgiveness. As long as you're still breathing, you CAN make that U-turn and this young author expressed it wonderfully in this short, interesting and easy to read paranormal story. I don't give many 5-star reviews, but this tale really caught me and kept me reading through the entire story. I hope to see more of this young author. (RDJ)
The Dying Breed (Grades 8+ / Ages 13+)
"Three hundred years have passed since the exodus. Aiden is forced to roam the earth cheating and stealing among the lowest forms of life he knows, the humans. The exodus was the answer to a war between two gods. Kilmanagh and his evil sister Dunath. Kilmanagh created the new world for Aiden and his people to escape the reach of Dunath and her children but somehow Aiden had managed to get left behind. Kyle and Vespa, two humans in need of his help track Aiden down. He is unwilling to help them until they produce a Gatekeepers stone. Realizing the possibility was real that he could join his people he agrees to help search for the other two stones. However Dunath, has other plans and sends her children to kill them and retrieve the stones for herself.Their quest takes them across most of the world as they know it. They will encounter many strange things and people. Talon Gall, brought back from the dead to aid them, ambushes by Dunath's Children, the mysterious bag of coins. What is the mystery of the church at Tinnehinch and the cargo they protect. Worst yet, how to kill the banshee hunting them."
I actually wrote a little blurb for James when his first book, The Dying Breed, came out. Here's what I thought at the time. "Wow! As a huge fan of Tolkien and other classic fantasy writers, I have to say that James Pasch is making a place for himself! I haven't read such a fascinating new book in a long time. I thoroughly enjoyed his characters and the intertwining of Irish legend into a new fantasy tale. It was both an easy read and totally entertaining at the same time. I sat down and read it cover to cover in one sitting! I am looking forward to his next book, which I hope is coming out soon. Good job James!" I still feel that way, James is a great writer. Now I want to get my book back from my sister so I can read it again... (RDJ)
The Defiant Breed: Book 2 of the Breed Trilogy (Grades 8+ / Ages 13+)
"The Defiant Breed is the continued story of four unlikely heroes in an ancient Ireland that never was.Delve further into the mysteries of this ancient land as you follow the adventures of our heroes, an alliance between the humans and the last Elf on earth. Each of them searching for something different, for the humans Kyle and Vespa, its a shaman powerful enough to undo the curse placed upon their friend Teddy, for the elf Aiden, its a way to escape this world and get back to his own people. Nothing is sacred or safe from them as they are forced to deal with many unexplainable bizarre events as well as break into monasteries and tombs, steal from the dead, capture by Dunaths Children, and for Aiden, a temporary pact with the one life form he finds lower than the humans, the dwarf Rory."
The Breed Wars: Book 3 of the Breed Trilogy (Grades 8+ / Ages 13+)
"The Breed Wars is the third book in the Breed trilogy, an epic story about an ancient Ireland that never was. A story dotted with as much mystery and intrigue as the people and places of Ireland itself. It brings conclusion to our group of unlikely heroes as they try and save both worlds from the clutches of Dunath and her Children, a group thrown together by fate and circumstance. Voyage with them as they discover 'Old Kilcullen Springs,' a village where all the inhabitants died so fast that their spirits are damned to live as 'Darkwalkers.' What are the tragic consequences of this for our heroes? Follow along as they race across both worlds to save one of their own, kidnapped right before them by force. What is the secret Lawynn and Kyle are hiding from the others and how will it decide the future of both worlds? Discover how and why the curse that plagued Teddy suddenly vanished. Witness the return of the Dead Kings as they lend their sword and shields once more to defeat Dunath. Journey with our heroes as they are forced to crossover into Dunath’s world for the final showdown against Dunath and her minions."
H. Beam Piper
Complete Fuzzy (Ages 13+)
This is a bind-up of H. Beam Piper's famous novels Little Fuzzy, Fuzzy Sapiens, and the last book of the triology, published after his tragic suicide, Fuzzies And Other People. Note that these books were written in an earlier era, when people thought nothing of drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. A few scenes, including a Fuzzy being murdered by a human, may be disturbing to younger readers.
"The chartered Zarathustra Company had it all their way. Their charter was for a Class III uninhabited planet, which Zarathustra was, and it meant they owned the planet lock stock and barrel. They exploited it, developed it and reaped the huge profits from it without interference from the Colonial Government. Then Jack Holloway, a sunstone prospector, appeared on the scene with his family of Fuzzies and the passionate conviction that they were not cute animals but little people."
Fuzzy Sapiens (first published as The Other Human Race)
From the jacket flap: "And the troubles multiply in The Other Human Race, as Jack Holloway goes after a band of unscrupulous space rovers who capture Fuzzies and force them to steal supplies of Zarathustra's sunstones -- the most precious gems in the universe. To make matters worse, the Fuzzies may soon die out because of a genetic disease that threatens their entire race. And, to Jack's horror, there's nothing medical science can do to stop the dreaded malady..."
Fuzzies and Other People
The last of H. Beam Piper's Fuzzy novels, it was lost, then found and published 20 years after his suicide. It continues the Fuzzy stories, with a new villian determined to take over Zarthustra and its riches, including the Fuzzies.
Douglas E. Richards
The Prometheus Project series - Trapped, Captured, and Stranded (Grades 4+)
This trilogy is listed as "Recommended Literature" by the California Department of Education and highly praised by the science fiction magazine Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine.
"Ryan and Regan Resnick have just moved to the world's most boring place. But when they discover their parents are part of an ultra-secret project called Prometheus they are plunged into a nonstop adventure: one that will be the ultimate test of their wit, courage, and determination. Soon they are under attack and facing hostile alien worlds, alien technology, and unimaginable dangers at every turn. Now, with their mother facing certain death, they must race to solve a seemingly impossible mystery to have any hope of saving her. But if they save their mom, they will have no way to save themselves. . ."
"THE PROMETHEUS PROJECT: CAPTURED is the second book in a science fiction series praised by kids and adults alike. (Note: This book is about 50% longer than book 1, and contains a bonus chapter).
"Ryan and Regan Resnick are the youngest members of a top- secret team exploring the greatest discovery ever made: a vast alien city buried deep underground - as potentially deadly as it is astonishing. When the city is captured by highly trained soldiers led by a ruthless alien, the adult members of the team are taken hostage. Now, Ryan and Regan are the team's only hope of survival.
"With the future of the world at stake, the Resnick Kids must do the impossible: outwit the brilliant alien, free the prisoners, and thwart an unstoppable invasion. But not everything is as it seems. And time is quickly running out. . ."
"THE PROMETHEUS PROJECT: STRANDED is the third book in a science fiction series praised by kids and adults alike.
"A fantastic alien city buried deep underground. What wonders - and what dangers - is it hiding?
"Ryan and Regan Resnick are the two youngest members of the Prometheus Project, a top secret team exploring a vast, abandoned alien city. But when they journey through a portal to a primitive alien planet, what begins as an ordinary day will quickly become a nonstop fight for their lives.
"Soon they are stranded on the distant planet, surrounded by vicious predators, and in the path of a raging river of lava. But surviving on the deadly planet might be the easy part. Because if they can get back to Earth, they will have to face a ruthless adversary who controls a mysterious alien device. A device that is the most powerful, dangerous, and unstoppable weapon the world has ever known . . ."
Gunnerkrigg Court, Vol. 1: Orientation - Graphic Novel (Grades 8+ / Ages 13+)
"Antimony Carver is a precocious and preternaturally self-possessed young girl starting her first year of school at gloomy Gunnerkrigg Court, a very British boarding school that has robots running around along side body-snatching demons, forest gods, and the odd mythical creature. The opening volume in the series follows Antimony through her orientation year: the people she meets, the strange things that happen, and the things she causes to happen as she and her new friend, Kat, unravel the mysteries of the Court and deal with the everyday adventures of growing up. Tom Siddell's popular and award-winning webcomic (www.gunnerkrigg.com) is here collected in print for the first time." This is a graphic novel. While Amazon.com had an age / grade of 8 and 2nd grade, I disagree. As the story progresses, it becomes a little too mature for a younger age group.
Gunnerkrigg Court Volume 2: Research - Graphic Novel (Grades 8+ / Ages 13+)
"Annie and Kat begin their second year at Gunnerkrigg Court! Parts of Annie's past are revealed, as well as mysteries that tie back to the origins of the Court itself. Finding a secret tomb of ancient robots beneath Kat's workshop leads the two friends to question how they are linked to the mysterious ghost that attacked Annie the year before. And as a new Medium In Training, Annie is able to visit the powerful trickster god Coyote in Gillitie Forest, a visit that reveals more than she ever imagined."
Gunnerkrigg Court, Vol. 3: Reason - Graphic Novel (Grades 8+ / Ages 13+)
"In the third volume of this critically acclaimed Webcomic series, Annie and Kat continue to uncover terrible secrets about their school, Gunnerkrigg Court, while relationships grow and the boundaries of reality are blurred. In the meantime, Coyote begins to show that things in the forest are not quite what they seem! Plus, Annie's second year at the Court comes to a dramatic end!"
Tales from Outer Suburbia - Graphic Novel (Grades 6+ / Ages 12+)
"An exchange student who's really an alien, a secret room that becomes the perfect place for a quick escape, a typical tale of grandfatherly exaggeration that is actually even more bizarre than he says... These are the odd details of everyday life that grow and take on an incredible life of their own in tales and illustrations that Shaun Tan's many fans will love." This is a graphic novel.
The Arrival - Graphic Novel (Grades 6+ / Ages 12+)
"The Arrival is a migrant story told as a series of wordless images that might seem to come from a long forgotten time. A man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country on the other side of a vast ocean. He eventually finds himself in a bewildering city of foreign customs, peculiar animals, curious floating objects and indecipherable languages. With nothing more than a suitcase and a handful of currency, the immigrant must find a place to live, food to eat and some kind of gainful employment. He is helped along the way by sympathetic strangers, each carrying their own unspoken history: stories of struggle and survival in a world of incomprehensible violence, upheaval and hope." This is a graphic novel.
For author Shaun Tan's commentary about the concept and evolution of this graphic novel, please click here.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Ages 10+)
"Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (French: Vingt mille lieues sous les mers) is a classic science fiction novel by French writer Jules Verne published in 1870. It tells the story of Captain Nemo and his submarine Nautilus as seen from the perspective of Professor Pierre Aronnax. The first illustrated edition (not the original edition which had no illustrations) was published by Hetzel and contains a number of illustrations by Alphonse de Neuville and Édouard Riou." Remember, the original novel was in French and translated into English. Like nearly all of the classics, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea has its flaws, including a lack of diversity and when there are POC characters, they aren't usually portrayed in a favorable manner. However, in my opinion, Verne was the original sci-fi/steampunk author, before science fiction and steampunk was even thought of. Read with an awareness of the era and enjoy the amazing concepts that were many, many years ahead of his time.
If you read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and wished that Verne had written more of Captain Nemo's story, all is not lost! Just scroll down to J. Dharma & Deanna Windham's new book, I, Nemo and their upcoming book Raise the Nautilus to read 'the rest of the story'!
The English translation
French edition of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
FREE Kindle edition - the classic translation by Louis Mercier
FREE Kindle edition -
new English translation by F. P. Walter
FREE Kindle edition
The Shadows - The Books of Elsewhere, Vol. 1 (Grades 4-8 / Ages 10+)
Winner of the 2010 Cybils Award for Fantasy & Science Fiction.
"Old Ms. McMartin is definitely dead. Now her crumbling Victorian mansion lies vacant. When eleven-year-old Olive and her dippy mathematician parents move in, she knows there’s something odd about the place—not least the walls covered in strange antique paintings. But when Olive finds a pair of old spectacles in a dusty drawer, she discovers the most peculiar thing yet: She can travel inside these paintings to a world that’s strangely quiet . . . and eerily like her own Yet Elsewhere harbors dark secrets—and Morton, an undersized boy with an outsize temper. As she and Morton form an uneasy alliance, Olive finds herself ensnared in a plan darker and more dangerous than she could have imagined, confronting a power that wants to be rid of her by any means necessary. It’s up to Olive to save the house from the dark shadows, before the lights go out for good."
I read the sample pages online and thoroughly enjoyed the snippet of this book. It was a creative premise, interesting and an easy read, perfect for a reluctant reader. West's prose was evocative without being overbearing or too long. I'd like to read this book myself, just for the fun of it! (RDJ)
Spellbound - The Books of Elsewhere, Vol. 2 (Grades 4-8 / Ages 10+)
"With no way into the McMartin house's magical paintings, and its three guardian cats reluctant to help, Olive's friend Morton is still trapped inside Elsewhere. So when Rutherford, the new oddball kid next door mentions a grimoire--a spellbook--Olive sees a glint of hope. If she can find the McMartins' spellbook, maybe she can help Morton escape Elsewhere for good. Unless, that is, the book finds Olive first. The house isn't the only one keeping secrets anymore..."
The Second Spy - The Books of Elsewhere, Vol. 3 (Grades 4-8 / Ages 10+)
"In Olive's third adventure, what lurks below the house could be as dangerous as what's hidden inside... Some terrifying things have happened to Olive in the old stone house, but none as scary as starting junior high. Or so she thinks. When she plummets through a hole in her backyard, though, she realizes two things that may change her mind: First, the wicked Annabelle McMartin is back. Second, there's a secret underground that unlocks not one but two of Elsewhere's biggest, most powerful, most dangerous forces yet. But with the house's guardian cats acting suspicious, her best friend threatening to move away, and her ally Morton starting to rebel, Olive isn't sure where to turn. Will she figure it out in time? Or will she be lured into Elsewhere, and trapped there for good?"
J. Dharma & Deanna Windham
I, Nemo (Ages 18+)
"What if the Nautilus and its famous captain wasn’t fiction?
"Every legend has a beginning. Every man has a name. But none as dark and mysterious as the depths of the seas he stalked. The world in time would come to know him as Captain Nemo and his fabulous submarine the Nautilus. Here, for the first time, the tale is told in his own words of how he came to be: I, Nemo.
"Born Jonathan de Chevalier Mason, he had it all: a prestigious position as chief naval engineer to Queen Victoria, a beautiful wife and children, and a bright future, but he was betrayed by the very people he served and loved because he would not divulge the secret of a weapon so terrible that whoever possessed it would rule the world. Thus begins a sordid and shocking ordeal unsurpassed in history. Arrested on false charges and tried in the Star Chamber, a secret court, he is convicted and sent to Belial Island to toil endlessly in its steaming tropical jungles. Then fortune smiles on him in the guise of a frail elderly French priest and his little band of followers. Together the two men hatch a plot to escape and forever be free of tyrannical governments that cast them aside like trash. But Jonathan has a score to settle and soon his betrayers will feel his wrath." Two sex scenes, racier than the Twilight series. There's also one scene where it gets a little kinky. There's also violence and mention of drugs and drug use. Parents, you should read the book to ensure that it doesn't offend you before you let a teen read it.
Raise the Nautilus (Ages 18+)
More to come:
J.R.R. Tolkien - The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings
Patricia McKillip - Riddle Master of Hed, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
Marion Zimmer Bradley - Avalon, Darkover
Anne McCafferty - Pern
Norton – Witch World
Rowling - Harry Potter series
Edgar Rice Burroughs - John Carter books
HG Wells - War of the Worlds
Jules Verne - 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
Asimov - I Robot
more Andre Norton - Sea Siege, Witch World,
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - The Lost World
Frank L. Baum - The Wizard of Oz