Mixed might mean mixed race, a mixed group of characters, humanoids of color, or even a mixture of genders or sexualities! For example, in Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea Cycle, the lead character Ged is described as copper-colored. In Andre Norton's Solar Queen series, the group of Free Traders is a mixed group comprised of several races and ethnicities, adding non-human crew members in the later books.
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City of the Beasts (Grades 9+ / Ages 15+)
"When Alexander Cold's mother falls ill, the fifteen-year-old is sent to stay with his eccentric grandmother in New York. A tough and prickly magazine reporter, Kate Cold takes Alex along with her on an expedition to the Amazon to verify the existence of the fierce, gigantic, legendary creature known as the Beast. Joining them on their adventure are a celebrated anthropologist; a local guide and his daughter, Nadia; a doctor; and a local entrepreneur. But not everyone's intentions are pure—and dangerous discoveries await Alex and Nadia as they embark, with the aid of a jungle shaman, on an epic journey into the realm of the mythical Beasts of the Amazon." This series features a mixed cast of characters, set in a variety of locales. The books are also availablein Spanish and have AR tests available in both English and Span.
La Ciudad de las Bestias (Spanish Edition)
"Alexander Cold, un joven de quince años está a punto de embarcarse con su temeraria abuela, en el viaje de su vida. Una expedición de la International Geographic se dirige hacia la remotas y peligrosas tierras salvajes de Suramérica para documentar al legendario Yeti del Amazonas, más conocido como 'La Bestia.' Alex y su amiga Nadia descubrirán que el impenetrable mundo de la selva tropical esconde mucho más de lo que jamás hubieran imaginado. Con la fuerza de sus dos animales totémicos -- el jaguar para Alexander, y el águila para Nadia -- ambos jóvenes se embarcan en una apasionante e inolvidable aventura que los lleva al descubrimiento de . . . "
Kingdom of the Golden Dragon (Grades 9+ / Ages 15+)
"Alexander Cold and his best friend, Nadia, the heroes of Allende's City Of the Beasts, are reunited in a new adventure. This time, Alexander's fearless grandmother and International Geographic are taking them to another remote niche of the world -- a forbidden kingdom tucked into the frosty peaks of the Himalayas. Their task: to locate its fabled Golden Dragon, a sacred statue and priceless oracle, before it is destroyed by the greed of an outsider. With the aid of a sage Buddhist monk, his young royal disciple, and a fierce tribe of Yeti warriors, and armed with the power of their totemic animal spirits, Alexander and Nadia fight to protect the holy rule of the Golden Dragon."
El Reino del Dragon de Oro (Spanish Edition)
"Unas meses después que el joven Alexander Cold se internara con suabuela en el corazón del Amazonas en busca de una legendaria Bestia, vivirá otra aventura. En esta ocasión, la reportera Kate Cold acompaña a su nieto y a Nadia, la mejor amiga de Alexander, junto con los fotógrafos de la International Geographic, en un viaje a otro remoto rincón del mundo. La misión del equipo es adentrarse en un reino prohibido, oculto en los picos helados del Himalaya, y localizar el legendario dragón de oro, una estatua sagrada y oráculo invaluable capaz de presagiar el futuro del reino.
"En su carrera para llegar a la estatua antes de que sea destruida por la avaricia de un intruso, Alexander y Nadia deben usar el poder espiritual de sus animales totémicos: el Jaguar y el Águila. Con la ayuda de un sabio monje budista, su joven discípulo, el príncipe heredero, y una feroz tribu de guerreros Yeti, Alexander y Nadia lucharán para proteger el reino del dragón de oro."
Forest of the Pygmies (Grades 9+ / Ages 15+)
"Once again Alexander Cold and his indomitable journalist grandmother, Kate, are braving the mystical unknown, this time in the heart of Africa. Along with Alex's friend Nadia Santos and a photographic crew from International Geographic magazine, they have travelled to Kenya to work on an article about the continent's first elephant-led safaris. But when a missionary approaches their camp in search of companions who have mysteriously disappeared, Alex, Nadia, and their group find themselves embarking on a dangerous mission to Africa's equatorial forest to aid a clan of Pygmies. For the Cold expedition is the tribe's last hope for survival in a world where poaching, corruption, and slavery run rampant.
"Forest of the Pygmies is the concluding volume of acclaimed author Isabel Allende's celebrated trilogy, which begins with City of the Beasts and continues with Kingdom of the Golden Dragon."
El Bosque de los Pigmeos (Spanish Edition)
"El último tomo de la aclamada trilogía de Isabel Allende narra las aventuras de Jaguar y Águila en una tierra exótica, poblada de espíritus y seres misteriosos y cuenta la evolución de una extraordinaria amistad.
"Alexander Cold sabe muy bien que su abuela Kate siempre anda en busca de una nueva aventura. Cuando la International Geographic le pide que escriba un artículo sobre los primeros safaris africanos en elefantes, Kate, Alexander y Nadia -- junto con el equipo de fotógrafos de la revista -- deciden adentrarse en las ardientes planicies de Kenya. Sin embargo, no tardan en conocer a un misionario católico que se acerca a ellos para preguntarles si han visto a sus compañeros que, misteriosamente, han desaparecido. Kate, Alexander, Nadia y todo el equipo de la International Geographic deciden ayudarle. Contratan una mujer piloto de la localidad que los lleva a las pantanosas junglas de Ngoubé. Ahí descubren una tribu de pigmeos y entran en un mundo que se revela feroz y sorprendente, un mundo de corrupción, esclavitud y crueldad pero también de nobleza y magia.
"Con la ayuda de los poderes mágicos de sus animales totémicos, Jaguar y Águila, Alexander y Nadia se lanzan en una espectacular lucha por restaurar la libertad de los pigmeos."
Ship Breaker (Grades 9+ / Ages 15+)
"A gritty, high-stakes adventure set in a futuristic world where oil is scarce, but loyalty is scarcer.
"In America's Gulf Coast region, grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts by crews of young people. Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota-and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or by chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life....
"In this powerful novel, Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future." Mature themes including strong language, war and violence
The Drowned Cities (Grades 9+ / Ages 15+)
"This thrilling companion to Paolo Bacigalupi's Michael L. Printz Award winner Ship Breaker is a haunting and powerful story of loyalty, survival, and heart-pounding adventure.
"In a dark future America where violence, terror, and grief touch everyone, young refugees Mahlia and Mouse have managed to leave behind the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities by escaping into the jungle outskirts. But when they discover a wounded half-man--a bioengineered war beast named Tool--who is being hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers, their fragile existence quickly collapses. One is taken prisoner by merciless soldier boys, and the other is faced with an impossible decision: Risk everything to save a friend, or flee to a place where freedom might finally be possible" Mature themes including strong language, drug use, war and violence.
Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due
Devil's Wake (Ages 15+)
"What happens when an unprecedented infection sweeps the world, leaving the earth on the brink of the Apocalypse? But this infection goes far beyond disease. Beyond even the nightmare images of walking dead or flesh-eating ghouls. The infected are turning into creatures unlike anything ever dreamed of . . . more complex, more mysterious, and more deadly. Trapped in the northwestern United States as winter begins to fall, Terry and Kendra have only one choice: they and their friends must cross a thousand miles of no-man’s-land in a rickety school bus, battling ravenous hordes, human raiders, and their own fears. In the midst of apocalypse, they find something no one could have anticipated . . . love."
Domino Falls (Ages 15+)
"It began on Freak Day—that day no one could explain, when strangers and family members alike went crazy and started biting one another. Some thought the outbreak was caused by a flu shot, others that it was a diet drug gone terribly wrong. All anyone knew is that once you were bitten and went to sleep, you woke up a freak."
Maurice on the Moon (The Maurice Series) (Grades 3+ / Ages 9+)
"Maurice on the Moon is a science fiction adventure book for kids about a teen growing up on the Moon, his adopted homeland. Maurice hates the Moon and dreams of leaving it for Earth, the big jewel in the lunar sky that taunts him and where life would be so much better. He can't understand why his parents left Earth, making him work at a mining company whenever he isn't in school and where he's stuck living in a crater! His parents have dreams of gaining citizenship on their adopted planet while Maurice brainstorms ways to get away from deadly radiation and frozen lava to a home where he doesn't have to wear a pressure suit and helmet just to go outside and play. Maurice's mischievous ways even have him considering a stolen ride on a space liner! But leaving home isn't as easy as it seems and paradise doesn't always keep its promises!
"In this realistic science fiction book, follow Maurice and his best friend Cassie, as they jump over people, avoid landslides, search for helium and more - all things kids do on the Moon, in this fantasy space series."
**Maurice on the Moon is a Common Core reading and science resource.
**This updated paperback version includes an extensive glossary for educational purposes.
Teaching Science Through Literature:
Maurice on the Moon is currently an adopted science text for students from 5th to 8th grade in several districts across Southern California. The book meets California State Science standards for Earth and Space Science, Physical Science, and Biological Science / Ecology. A complete curriculum guide containing chapter by chapter science standards, questions, activities, and investigations that integrate science with literature, mathematics, writing, art, and other multi-disciplinary subjects is available at www.MauriceOnTheMoon.com Teachers who are interested in using Maurice as a classroom text are encouraged to contact the author for suggestions and assistance in implementing this exciting book into their own classrooms. The curriculum is easily scalable for students at every level from the most basic to the most advanced. The discovery oriented activities closely follow the adventures of Maurice and his friends in the book. Let Maurice on the Moon help you put the sense of adventure back into your classroom!
Maurice and the Doomed Colony of Mars (Grades 3+ / Ages 9+)
"Maurice and the Doomed Colony of Mars continues the adventures of Maurice Haberman, a young boy growing up in a frontier mining colony which began in Maurice on the Moon. In Doomed Colony of Mars, Maurice and his ecologist mother are shanghaied into going to Mars to try and save the Eureka Colony, which is on the verge of ecological collapse. On the way to Mars, Maurice meets Shannon Kappel, the daughter of an Irish flight engineer who has also been recruited in the rescue effort. Sparks fly as the cultured girl from Ireland meets our frontier boy from the Moon!
"On Mars, Maurice becomes convinced that the problems plaguing the colony are not just accidents; he begins to see spies and saboteurs around every corner. Could someone living in this remote colony hundreds of millions of miles from Earth really be trying to destroy the environment upon which all their lives depend? Mars is a challenging environment for Shannon, who has never been to space before; and for Maurice, who has never spent much time on a planet with real weather. Can they survive Martian storms and dust devils as they explore craters, ancient lake beds, and the fabulous Mariner's Valley on Mars? Maurice continues to look for evidence of sabotage, but there doesn't seem to be any motive for one of the colonists to destroy their own home, and no one is quick to believe a notorious prospector and buggy pirate from the Moon! The tension mounts as Maurice and Shannon continue to explore; Maurice could be right about the saboteur - dead right!"
Crisis on the Far Side (The Maurice Series) (Grades 3+ / Ages 9+)
"Crisis on the Far Side is the third book in The Maurice Series of books, a series of science fiction adventure books for kids. Maurice is back from Mars and off for a well deserved vacation with his friend Cassie at summer camp - on the lunar far side! The culture of the far side is vastly different from the Lunar Union, and Maurice has trouble fitting in. The troubles only increase when Shannon Kappel shows up at camp too!
"In this realistic science fiction book, Cassie is convinced that Shannon is there because Maurice's parents are trying to set him up with a good match - and arranged marriages aren't uncommon on the lunar frontier! Danger threatens and the trio is drawn into a web of intrigue and adventure as an interplanetary mining company tries to take over the fiercely independent lunar colony of Zalinski - and their local industry, making the fastest computers in the solar system. But the NovaLunik computer company has a secret much more sinister than a super fast computer chip - and they won't hesitate to kill to protect it!"
John Claude Bemis
Clockwork Dark trilogy - The Nine Pound Hammer, The Wolf Tree, and The White City (Grades 6+)
This trilogy is based on American tall tales, including John Henry and Johnny Appleseed as well as African-American and Native American stories and mythology.
The Nine Pound Hammer (Grades 6+ / Ages 12+)
The protagonist, Ray, is traveling on a train taking a group of orphans, including he and his sister, to good homes for adoption. He decides that his sister would be able to find a home if he wasn't there, so he leaps off the train in the dark. The story moves through the South as he discovers the legacy that his father left him, as well as a mixed group of young people, including the famous John Henry's son. Together, they battle against evil and the machine that killed his father. This teen fantasy trilogy is intermingled with the traditional American tall tales. (RDJ)
"Twelve-year-old Ray is haunted by the strangest memories of his father, whom Ray swears could speak to animals. Now an orphan, Ray jumps from a train going through the American South and falls in with a medicine show train and its stable of sideshow performers. The performers turn out to be heroes, defenders of the wild, including the son of John Henry. They are hiding the last of the mythical Swamp Sirens from an ancient evil known as the Gog. Why the Gog wants the Siren, they can’t be sure, but they know it has something to do with rebuilding a monstrous machine that John Henry gave his life destroying years before, a machine that will allow the Gog to control the will of men and spread darkness throughout the world."
The Wolf Tree (Grades 6+ / Ages 12+)
"Look no further for the perfect book for boys and girls who love fantasy, adventure, and white-knuckle action!
"'Can you imagine eternal Darkness, sir?'
"So asks the sickly stranger who staggers into Peg Leg Nel's birthday party. Before the man dies, he tells Ray and his friends of a Darkness spreading like wildfire across Kansas, turning good people bad and poisoning anyone who tries to escape. It's clear that though the evil Gog is dead, his devilish machine has survived and is growing stronger.
"Now a full-fledged Rambler, Ray leads his friends on a mission into the heart of darkness. Vital to their success is tracking down the legendary Wolf Tree, rumored to be a pathway to the spirit world. Only with one of the tree's limbs can the Nine Pound Hammer be repaired and the Gog's terrible machine finally destroyed. The search for the Wolf Tree grows desperate as the Darkness spreads, threatening Ray, his friends, and all of humanity.
"The Wolf Tree is the second fantasy adventure book in John Claude Bemis's series The Clockwork Dark, and adds new layers of myth and magic to Bemis's original take on American tall tales in The Nine Pound Hammer."
The White City (Grades 6+ / Ages 12+)
"In The Nine Pound Hammer, John Bemis introduced middle-grade readers to a whole new approach to epic fantasy, founded on characters and themes from American mythology and lore, including the legend of John Henry. Now in the third and final book, the heroes come together at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago for a final confrontation with a businessman and tycoon who is in fact an ageless evil known as the Gog. With his Dark Machine, he intends to bend the world to his ruthless vision of progress and efficiency. It's man versus machine all over again, fighting for the soul of humanity in front of Ferris's Wheel. For fans of adventure fantasy like Percy Jackson and Peter and the Starcatchers."
Mad Shadows: The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser (Ages 13+)
"Valdar is a city of swordslingers and necromancers, witch cults and halfhuman races. It's a city in a world of darkness, black magic and creatures of the night . . . a city where demonic entities serve the needs of any witch or magicman who can open a doorway into their domain. This is my city. This is my world. With a special dowsing rod, I can detect the ectoplasmic residue of any supernatural presence or demonic entity and sense the vestiges of odylic power and vile sorcery used in the commission of crimes. I hunt anyone and anything that poses a threat to the people of my city. My name's Dorgo. Folks call me the Dowser.
"From infernal depths where lost souls mutate into hell-spawned devils, from the other side of the veil that separates the earthly from the unearthly, from an ancient land whose borders cross into other dimensions, Mad Shadows-The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser, will transport you to a world where sentient shadows, vengeful vampires, malevolent puppets, and raging werewolves haunt the night . . . a world where life is cheap and souls are always up for sale."
Joe kindly provided me an electronic copy of Mad Shadows and I'll tell you, I'm pretty excited about his writing. I've only read the first two stories and I'm captivated by his mastery of the genre! The stories move right along, no dragging, no excess or overblown verbage and yet he paints a picture of this city filled with humans, magical creatures and plots within plots, while Dorgo tries to find the answers to questions that he's forced to answer. Written with a sense of humor and a bit of the "bad" boy without being filled with graphic images of sex and language, this is a fun romp through Joe's new version of sword and sorcery. Now, I know you're thinking of classic sword and sorcery like Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian or John Norman's Gor series. Nope. Not even close! For one thing, Joe isn't disrespectful of women. His female characters are strong and intelligent; there's no dumb blondes here! Honestly, Joe's style of writing makes me think more of Roger Zelzany's Doorways in the Sand mixed with the best of Harry Harrison with a swirl of Clifford Simak for flavor and set into a world of magic. I'm really thrilled about this new voice in sci-fi and fantasy. Parents, I'd rate this story somewhere between G and PG-13. There's some mention of breasts and some descriptions of a lady's assets, a little bit about his desire-to-grope, a little groping and kissing, but when the sex scene comes, it's more like, they kissed and the story continues in the morning. No graphic sex, only a little innuendo. (RDJ)
Three Against the Stars (Ages 13+)
"On the distant alien planet of Rhajnara a conspiracy created by the facist Khandra Regime is set into motion to overthrow the rightful Rhajni Republic and instigate a policy of ethnic-cleansing. The conspirators are cunning and it seems nothing in the universe can derail their mad apocalyptic scheme. Nothing that is but three rambunctious Space Marines from the Third Regiment Company E of the United States Space Marines assigned to Rhajnara with the Terran Expeditionary Force. Sergeants Fernado Cortez, Seamus O’Hara and Claudia Akira are the most unlikely trio ever to don jarhead camouflage and become military heroes. To their superiors they are wild, reckless and incessant troublemakers always in the thick of things. Yet their courage, loyalty and devotion to duty prove them to be the toughest Devil Dogs in the Corp.
"Now, with the aid of a Medical Corpsman named Makki Doon, a young Felisian native proto-feline humanoid, these three futuristic musketeers are about to become the one factor capable of exposing the traitorous Khandra coup. But to do so they will have to put their lives on the line one more time and risk all to save the day facing off against incredible odds. To save an empire they will truly become…THREE AGAINST THE STARS. Joe Bonadonna delivers a fast paced, action packed space opera fans of Edmond Hamilton and E.E. “Doc” Smith will not soon forget."
Author Joe Bonadonna kindly provided a copy of Three Against the Stars for review. Let me tell you, this isn't just a nod to the classics of pulp novels, it's a rip-roaring, testosterone-laden, science fiction space opera suitable for any teen, boy or girl, who loves the genre! (And their parents too!) Space Marines, bad guys, traitors and aliens are all interconnected in a fast moving tale that features a terrible trio of Marines who are always down for a fight. Plus the good guy alien sidekick who's really, really a nice guy who wants to be a Marine too. The main characters are diverse, with flaws, ideocyncracies and just enough information to make them real, without delving into any mushy nonsense that'd slow the story down.
"There's plenty of fighting for military sci-fi fans and plot ins-and-outs for the rest of us. Even the love interests don't hold the story back, they have a place in the story and fulfill it nicely. The only reason I gave this four stars is because I would've handled the very, very end a little differently with the female character. But then again, I can't hold it against the story just because I think, well, if I tell you, I'll give it away, so I'll just leave it at -- I would've changed it slightly. All-in-all, I highly recommend this book to lovers of the classic era of pulp science fiction. (RDJ)
Joe Bonadonna & David C. Smith
Waters of Darkeness (Ages 15+)
"Bloody Red Buchanan and Crimson Kate O'Toole sail against the tides of Hell. 1640. The Age of Pirates. Bloody Red Buchanan and Crimson Kate O'Toole sail for eastern seas and the Isle of Shadow, looking for treasure. Their galleons take them into the tides of Hell. More of their crews die than stay alive as they fight the ancient sorcery of an undying priest of Dagon and the sorcerer with efreet who follow his commands. The seas will fill with blood, and Hell will scream with the freshly dead, before these pirates fight their way free of the evils they have loosed."
Authors David Smith and Joe Bonadonna provided a copy of Waters of Darkness for review. To be honest, I've never really been into pirate stories, so I probably would've passed this by. I would have been wrong. Dead wrong!
This multicultural adventure on the high seas was another riproaring homage to old style pulp with a huge swirl of classic Edgar Rice Burroughs mixed with a dollop of Robert Louis Stevenson. Pirates, magic, revenge, horror and a little love mixed by the creative genius of this dynamic duo of the New Pulp movement made this a fast and fun read. This tale of cursed treasure and ancient evil is tightly woven together, with twists and unexpected turns as Captain Bloody Red Buchanan, his first mate Mose Cooper, Captain Crimson Kate O'Toole and their crews face destruction, dismemberment and death while unraveling the mystery of the lead coins, alchemy, demons and unavenged betrayals.
With plenty of battles between "me hearties" and "my uglies" against monsters, the undead and other pirates, the action is non-stop. My only uncomfortable moments were when the pirates called the Arab pirates "dogs." That did give me some pause, as there are some pretty deep and ugly connotations with that term. I had to get a grip and remind myself that it was and still is a common term used in reference to sailors and pirates. So I set aside my 21st century mores and simply enjoyed the tale for what it is -- a great story.
I'd rate this tale at "PG-13". (RDJ)
Summerland (Grades 5+ / Ages 10+)
"Ethan Feld is bad at baseball. Hopeless, even. But when his father mysteriously disappears, Ethan is recruited to save him and the world by traveling the baseball-obsessed Summerlands to stop Coyote, the trickster, from unmaking existence. With help from a ragtag group of friends he meets along the way, Ethan must not only find his father and stop Coyote, but also master his position on the field. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon has created a distinctly American fantasy experience with baseball at its heart. "
The Hunger Games series - The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay
(Grades 7+ / Ages 13+)
Note that despite the movie casting, the books describe the residents of the districts and the Hunger Games participants as darker complected than the residents of the Capitol. Katriss is described as gray-eyed and olive-skinned, not White. Therefore, I placed these wildly popular books in "Mixed" because, at least to me, the characters are obviously of mixed races and ethnicities. Some themes in this series may be too intense for younger readers.
The Hunger Games (Grades 7+ / Ages 13+)
"In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, 'The Hunger Games,' a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed."
Catching Fire (Grades 7+ / Ages 13+)
"Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge."
Mockingjay (Grades 7+ / Ages 13+)
"Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what's worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss's family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins's groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year."
3-volume boxed set
Quinton Douglass Crawford
Moochie the Soochie - Visits the Peace People (All ages)
"This is a two story Childrens book. Story-1: Moochie travels to visit children on every continent to learn a little of their languages. Story-2: Moochie travels through human history to find people in times of peace." I know Quinton personally so I really can't give an unbiased review of this wonderful, gentle story of Moochie the alien and how she travels the world in story 1 and through time in story 2. Safe for all ages.
Spellbound (Ages 13+)
"The Demon Re’Vel stalks his prey in the forest of dreams, slowly gaining control over the mind of his victim. "Rachel doesn’t realize the Demon is real. In fact, she doesn’t believe in magic, Demons, Hunters, or any of the other things the Alexanders have warned her about. She resists their protection, but can’t resist her overwhelming feelings for Jace.
"Alisa has been drawn to Jace since the day she saved him from a Hunter attack. A mere human in a world of Spellbringers, Alisa has been embraced by the Alexander family as a hero, but not everyone is willing to accept her. Jace’s intimidating older brother, Bryce, keeps his emotions and his secrets hidden. When Bryce confides in Alisa, it puts her relationship with Jace and the entire Alexander family at risk.
"Danger, secrets, and betrayal collide, and when the Demon makes his claim, the small, southern town of Oaktree becomes a battleground for Rachel’s life."
"Formerly published under the title 'The Claiming Words,' Spellbound is a completely re-written, re-vamped novel featuring added scenes, additional chapters, and a new ending."
David Macinnis Gill
Soul Enchilada (Grades 9+ / Ages 14+)
"The devil made 'em do it.
"Girl meets boy at a car wash. And probably this would have been a sweet teen romance . . . except that the girl's grandfather sold his soul for a classic Cadillac and he used her soul as collateral, too. Which the devil has come to collect, along with the car. Now eighteen-year-old Bug Smoot has to fight for both. Good thing she knows how to fight dirty. Good thing nothing frightens Bug Smoot: not the repo man, not the paranormal creatures, not seances or driving too fast. And good thing that boy from the car wash is actually a supernatural secret agent.
"This is one helluva ride."
Bug is Black and Tejana (Texan-Mexican-Latina) and alone in the world, trying to make it with just her grandfather's classic 1958 Caddy -- and now her grandfather has somehow managed to evade the Devil's repo man who's looking for a soul to keep in exchange for the car... (RDJ)
Singing the Dogstar Blues (Ages 12+)
"Seventeen-year-old Joss is a rebel, and a student of time travel at the prestigious Centre for Neo-Historical Studies. This year, for the first time, the Centre has an alien student: Mavkel, from the planet Choria. And Mavkel has chosen Joss, of all people, as his roommate and study partner. Then Mavkel gets sick. Joss quickly realizes that his will to live is draining away. The only way she can help Mavkel is by breaking the Centre's strictest rules - and that means going back in time to change history. This new Firebird edition of Alison Goodman's acclaimed first genre-bending adventure features a short story about Joss and Mav's after-book adventures, originally published in Firebirds Rising." Some parents may be disturbed by Joss' mother's same-sex relationship. There's nothing graphic, nothing more than what a teen would see in today's world and relationships.
Friday (Ages 16+)
Genetically-enhanced Friday is a courier for the Boss in a chaotic world of corporations, small countries in what used to the be the United States and corruption. Until something goes wrong with her last job and her life is ripped apart. Despite the book cover, Friday is clearly described as being of mixed race with brown skin and she discovers, as her group family breaks apart, that her darker skin was of concern to at least one member of the family. It's one of the few Heinlein books that has a female main character that isn't horribly written, although I think the end is definitely weak and could've been much better. Female characters were not his strength, he was definitely a man of his era. Descriptions of genetically-enhanced humans, a rape, group marriages, non-descriptive sex and same sex relationships may be disturbing to parents and teens. (RDJ)
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (Ages 15+)
Winner of the 1967 Hugo Award for Best Novel, this is a tale of the former Lunar penal colony -- filled with plenty of adventure, politics, rebellion, a computer technician, and a sentient computer on the Moon. This is one of my favorite Heinlein books, right up there with Have Space Suit, Will Travel. Mentions of group marriages and some "pillow talk" may be disturbing to parents and teens. (RDJ)
"It is a tale of revolution, of the rebellion of the former Lunar penal colony against the Lunar Authority that controls it from Earth. It is the tale of the disparate people--a computer technician, a vigorous young female agitator, and an elderly academic--who become the rebel movement's leaders. And it is the story of Mike, the supercomputer whose sentience is known only to this inner circle, and who for reasons of his own is committed to the revolution's ultimate success. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one of the high points of modern science fiction, a novel bursting with politics, humanity, passion, innovative technical speculation, and a firm belief in the pursuit of human freedom."
Hayward's Reach (Ages 14+)
"Hayward's Reach is a series of short stories told by the last survivor after an unexpected cataclysm destroys the birthplace of Pan-Humanity and its attendant species. Glendale Mokoto, now as a Scout of the Corvan Empire which rescued the remnants of Pan-humanity, has time on his hands and uses it to study temporal records in which the entire history of Old Earth is embedded. Looking though time and space he reminisces about an Earth that no longer exists. In these tales, Mokoto studies both the past and the future of Pan-Humanity, its allies and enemies, and learns even in his current state of in-humanity what it really means to be truly human.
"Hayward's Reach is divided into four sections:
"The Fables of Old Earth: Stories about humans as we might remember them still struggle for survival against a world which only seems to be under their control; instead a hidden reality is just beyond the sight of these early humans, a reality which affects the ultimate destiny of the species.
"A Time of Troubles: The quest for wealth and power affects the choices of both man and god alike. Dark pacts are often made in order to satisfy avarice and the innocent are its first victims.
"Entering the Penumbra: Tales of the darkest nature; a descent into depravity, deprivation and destruction. Each tale reinforcing the horror of the last. But even in this time, a single hope always flickers, a voice brave enough to claim victory, at least some of the time...
"The Diaspora of Earth: the final tales of the Human species after the destruction of Earth. Six adventures of Pan-Humanity's struggles in a hostile universe, more alien than they imagined with creatures whose powers are only hinted at, capable of altering matter and energy which hint at even recreating the Earth, for a price." This book is impeccably written, with a single F-bomb used in dialogue (and appropriate in the context of the story), in the story "Mammon (Only Here for the Food)". There is no other strong language used. (RDJ)
Demona - Book One (Ages 16+)
"There is a world beyond our own whose magic still runs rampant; it runs deeper than the roots of the earth and thicker than the air we breathe. While humans of Earth have forsaken the natural order for technological advancement, Billayo still lives and breathes the magical essence of nature and of the soul. A planet much like our own, with vast seas, awesome mountain ranges, and its own giant sun and moon, Billayo could be the long lost twin of our Earth. Perhaps eons ago, the worlds had been closer, or travel had been possible, as Earth retains myths and legends of incredible creatures that are of flesh and blood on Billayo. Dragons, fairies, gryphons, shapeshifers, sylphs, all with their own various races and cultures are alive and thriving, including those with their own innate talent that the humans of Earth have forsaken, labeling those with traces of that talent as “witches”.
"While humans strangle their world with technology, the Majiki, those with magic in their blood, co-exist with the natural order of Billayo.
"No world, however, is perfect.
"Even here, prejudices have split the peoples, peace is threatened by the humans and their hatred, and hidden at the edge of the world, an ancient evil watches and waits, compelling those who are easily manipulated. Should the evil become too powerful, it would consume Billayo and move on to other worlds to appease its insatiable appetite.
"It would come for Earth.
"Demona begins the story of the struggle to save the worlds. A young woman of mixed race, born of both good and evil, contains the key to Billayo’s salvation. Abused, starved, treated like a wild animal, her journey begins in the cell of a human beast. She’s given up all hope of rescue, family, love — until the unthinkable happens. She is freed. Released from unendurable slavery, she has the power to save two worlds.
"But first she has to learn how to be human."
Due to violence, mature themes, and an attempted rape, this book is not suitable for younger teens. I'd recommend it for mature older teens and adults. As I'm the editor of this book, I can't give you an unbiased review of this excellent and imaginative story. Please note that there was an early Lulu edition of Demona. The book has been entirely rewritten by the author; it is a new story. Book Two is "in progress" and waiting for me to hurry up and finish editing it... (RDJ)
NEW Lulu paperback edition
Land of Midnight Days (The Silver Flute Trilogy) (Ages 13+)
"What would you do if your life was filled with fear: hide, run away - or would you fight back?
"In a city at war with itself, Jeremiah Tully already knows how to survive, now he must learn how to live. Mute from birth, of mixed race heritage and his only possession a charmed flute, Jeremiah tries to discover where his remarkable talent as a musician will take him."
TRIO - Book One H*E*R*O*E*S (Ages 12+)
"What if someone came along and offered you a chance to take the 'road less travelled', the chance to live a dream? It began as a day no different than any other. Three men are brought together by circumstances that will forever change their lives. Each one are from a different walk of life but become connected through one particular event and little did they know that their day was about to be a whole lot different. A strange man arrives, claiming to be a wizard, talking of magic and of a different world. He offers the three 'an offer you will find very hard to refuse'. What they discover is a world where magic thrives! Where races thought to be of folklore and one's imagination are actually real! It is a world threatened by a witch bent on vengeance! The three are asked to help in a quest for three stones, which, when united can provide the power to stop the approaching darkness. Fighting their own disbelief's, the witch's minions, and even those they are asked to lead, the three need to find a way to overcome them all and in doing so, perhaps prove not only to those who have asked for their help, but to themselves that they are the 'heroes' this strange world has been looking for. With a little luck, they might even show that there is a little bit of 'hero' in all of them."
TRIO - Book Two: Dark Dragon's Dawn (Ages 12+)
"What if someone came along and offered you the chance to 'take the road less traveled', the chance to live a dream? Such was the case for Neil Baxter, Zach Thomas and Tony Merello in Book One of the TRIO series, Heroes. Now the story continues in Book Two: Dark Dragon's Dawn. Helana has been banished, and peace has returned to the new world of Avalon. A royal wedding is about to take place as Neil and the princess Tasha are to be wed and hence become the new King and Queen, beginning a new chapter in Avalon's Monarchy! However, Helana had an apprentice, a young lady who has her own agenda for the throne of Avalon. Her plot involves the alliance with another race, Dragons, and to use them to assist in her quest for the throne. She hopes to acquire the aid of one particular dragon, The Dark Dragon, once a creature of destruction, now a statue of stone. It can only be freed with a long forgotten spell and used only once before in its entrapment. A rare eclipse is about to occur, and it can provide the necessary energy to make the spell work and Helana's former apprentice is counting on the wizard Malcolm to use the same eclipse to achieve his own agenda. For if he does, then the door is opened for her. A magic forgotten is invoked A dark malevolent force is freed The purest of magic's is hunted And a friend returns... As shadow spreads over the land it is time to Return to the Adventure and Return to the Magic."
TRIO - Book Three: Ascension (Ages 12+)
"What if someone came along and offered you a chance to take the road less traveled? A chance to live a dream? That was the case for Neil Baxter, Zach Thomas and Tony Merello in TRIO Book One. A strange man showed up one day and offered them exactly that, a chance to help and begin anew on a strange world where magic thrives and all creatures of myth and magic do exist. The adventure continues in Book Three: Ascension as Neil, now crowned King with Tasha as his Queen, has begun a new era of the monarchy on the world of Avalon. In the six months that have passed since the destruction of the Dark Dragon they are making every effort to bring the races of the world together. The wizard Malcolm, while investigating regions in the south, discovers an abominable evil on the verge of escape and after his return to Kildare Castle an old nemesis re-emerges with a legion of demons at her command and threatens to conquer not only Avalon but to cross over to the 'old world' and annihilate 'all who refuse to bow down to her'. The Trio is once again separated to fulfill different quests to fend off the approaching demon storm bent on destroying everything in their path in their desire to subjugate the world of Avalon. All the races join forces against the oppression of a witch gone mad and all the powers of darkness at her disposal. Amidst it all, a mythical wizard of lore and bedtime stories joins in the battle to save not only one world but two! New alliances are forged, legends become reality, and destinies will be determined. All will not be as it was before. The War of Magic's is about to commence."
The Earthsea Cycle - A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, Tehanu, Tales from Earthsea, and The Other Wind
The peoples of LeGuin's fantasy world are red-brown, black and white. Unlike the television mini-series which, like most television and movie adaptations, mangled her books, her characters are multi-cultural and multi-racial young people.
A Wizard of Earthsea
"Ged was the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, but once he was called Sparrowhawk, a reckless youth, hungry for power and knowledge, who tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death's threshold to restore the balance."
The Tombs of Atuan
"When young Tenar is chosen as high priestess to the ancient and nameless Powers of the Earth, everything is taken away -- home, family, possessions, even her name. For she is now Arha, the Eaten One, guardian of the ominous Tombs of Atuan. While she is learning her way through the dark labyrinth, a young wizard, Ged, comes to steal the Tombs' greatest hidden treasure, the Ring of Erreth-Akbe. But Ged also brings with him the light of magic, and together, he and Tenar escape from the darkness that has become her domain."
The Farthest Shore
"Darkness threatens to overtake Earthsea. As the world and its wizards are losing their magic, Ged -- powerful Archmage, wizard, and dragonlord -- embarks on a sailing journey with highborn young prince, Arren. They travel far beyond the realm of death to discover the cause of these evil disturbances and to restore magic to a land desperately thirsty for it."
"Years ago, they had escaped together from the sinister Tombs of Atuan -- she, an isolated young priestess; he, a powerful wizard. Now she is a farmer's widow, having chosen for herself the simple pleasures of an ordinary life. And he is a broken old man, mourning the powers lost to him through no choice of his own. Once, when they were young, they helped each other at a time of darkness and danger and shared an adventure like no other. Now they must join forces again, to help another in need -- the physically and emotionally scarred child whose own destiny has yet to be revealed."
Tales from Earthsea
"Five stories of Ursula K. Le Guin's world-renowned realm of Earthsea are collected in one volume. Featuring two classic stories, two original tales, and a brand-new novella, as well as new maps and a special essay on Earthsea's history, languages, literature, and magic."
The Other Wind
"The sorcerer Alder has the power of mending, but it may have become the power of destruction: every night he dreams of the wall between the land of the living and the land of the dead, and the wall is being dismantled. If the wall is breached, the dead will invade Earthsea. Ged, once Archmage of Earthsea, sends Alder to King Lebannen. Now Alder and the king must join with a burned woman, a wizard of forbidden lore, and a being who is woman and dragon both, in an impossible quest to save Earthsea."
Left Hand of Darkness
"A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can change their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters. Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction."
Magian High (Ages 13+)
"The Punkers moved towards us, and Amity and I were forced to back down the steps. When we reached the bottom, they formed a ring around us, all flying just a few inches above the ground. With their shoulders almost touching, they locked us in and began to rotate slowly around us, like a hovering wheel of stupid. Except that they all either had Water Balls or flaming thumbs. We’re not supposed to use any magic on campus except Flash Jumping to get to outbuildings for classes, but I knew no one would really see what they were doing. Amity and I found ourselves back-to-back like the trapped heroes in the movies always do, except that I knew we didn’t have any awesome moves to bust out with."
From an Amazon review- "What if the schools in your town were completely segregated--by ability. Imagine one school for the brainiacs, one for kids learning trades, one for those strange kids with magic, and a power structure that is threatened by change. Kincaid, a teenaged 'mage,' give us the 'and then what' story that follows his controversial but successful campaign to desegregate the city's schools. Perhaps he's bitten off more than he can chew?"
Added 6-4-2013 (Mixed cast of characters)
Justin Martin - R-Squared Comicz
Przemyslaw R. Dedelis - Artist/Letterer & Lya - Colorist
Light Weightz - The Anthology Part One - Graphic Novel (10+)
"Who are the Lightweightz?
"The Lightweightz are a group of teenagers who discover that they have unique abilities. A diverse group of individuals, they will each experience and deal with their abilities in different ways. Each of the abilities will be interpersonal in nature, and the comic will be based on Christian principles, principles that as people help us better relate to each other.
"The debut of R-Squared Comicz and the official launch of the Lightweightz universe has arrived! In the first part of this two-part anthology, meet Solomon, Grace, Abaddon, and Kayin. Coming from diverse backgrounds, each of these teens must come to terms with their newly-discovered abilities, and do so in a world that now looks different through the lense of those abilities. Featuring introductory stories for each of the Lightweightz plus additional artwork from a variety of talented artists, Lightweightz: The Anthology Part One has something for everyone!"
I like this. The art is very cool, well drawn and evocative of each character. The teens are all facing personal crisis and angst. The introductory sketch of each teen gives us just enough to know that they're going through it, but there's more going on than it appears to the outside world. There's a message of Faith, but the author doesn't beat you over the head with it, it's a natural part of their lives. I'm eager to see what happens in the next volumes.
I highly recommend this series, especially for teens and adults of Faith. Unlike most comics (even the ones I like), there are no inappropriate or disrespectful images or concepts. (RDJ)
*Purchasing note: Upon purchase, you will be sent an e-mail with the link to download the comic in PDF format.
Lightweightz: The Anthology Part Two (Ages 10+)
"The follow-up to Lightweightz: The Anthology Part One is here! Inspired by 1 Corinthians 12:7 ('Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good'), Lightweightz: The Anthology Part Two introduces the remaining four California teenagers, their abilities, and how they are struggling to make sense of them. Join Ayden the pusher, Qasim the revealer, Emi the adapter, and Gabriel the inscriber as they begin carving out paths that will forever change their lives. With four unique stories providing a closer look into the Lightweightz universe, plus tons of bonus art, Lightweightz: The Anthology Part Two has something for everyone!"
*Purchasing note: Upon purchase, you will be sent an e-mail with the link to download the comic in PDF format.
Cerece Rennie Murphy
Order of the Seers (Ages 18+)
"Order of the Seers poses this question within a story that fuses action, mystery, romance, and adventure in a science fiction novel that keeps you at the edge of your seat.
"Order of the Seers begins with the journey of Liam and Lilith Knight, a brother and sister who are hunted by The Guild, a ruthless world organization that seeks to capture and exploit Lilith’s unique ability as a Seer to envision the future. Soon after they are forced to leave their home, Lilith and Liam discover that she is not alone. Other Seers like Lilith are routinely kidnapped and enslaved by the Guild for the purpose of consolidating wealth and power around the world.
"But from within the organization, Marcus Akida, a captured Seer with powerful visioning capabilities, quietly plots his daring escape with the help of a beautiful and tortured Seer named Alessandra. When the escaped Seers are drawn to the same remote commune in Iowa as Liam and Lilith, they each find a place where they can rebuild their lives and rediscover their passion for life and love. As the Guild’s efforts to find them intensifies, the Seers ban together with outlaws from the commune to fight back against the organization that threatens their lives – setting off a chain of events that will unleash the full power of the Seers and change everything we know about the true potential that lies dormant in each of us." Due to strong language and some sexual content, the author has recommended this book for readers 18 and older.
Mayhem at Grant-Williams High (Ages 13+)
"Think your high school experience was Hell? Vampires, werewolves, mummies, ghouls... and moron idiot students. Welcome to Grant-Williams High."
--- Includes Two Adventures in One Volume ---
HELL WEEK AT GRANT-WILLIAMS HIGH
(Grant-Williams High: 1st Adventure)
"If you love kickass high school monster mayhem, then Grant-Williams High is the place to be. In this hilarious original adventure that started it all, freshman Jimmy Ross and his senior sister Emily, together with all of their friends, fight to survive finals -- also known as Hell Week -- since all the faculty and staff turn into monsters that week, literally. Armed with their wits, Supernatural Protection kits, and plain dumb luck, the students battle vampires, werewolves, and various ghouls -- an army or evil under the command of the Principal who this year is none other than the Prince of Lies Himself. First in the 'Grant-Williams High' comic horror adventure series of connected works."
HALLOWEEN AT GRANT-WILLIAMS HIGH:
(Grant-Williams High: 2nd Adventure)
"It's Halloween, and kickass high school monster mayhem is once again unleashed at Grant-Williams High. In the second adventure, Jimmy Ross is now a sophomore and he is about to get a taste of the scariest and wildest Halloween of his life. Emily has graduated and gone to college, Jimmy's best friend Theo is hanging with the bad crowd, there's a new girl in school who's the butt of everyone's jokes, and something really stinks on the Grant-Williams school premises -- stinks literally. At midnight on Halloween, Jimmy and the gang will find out exactly what it is (not curry!), and that possibly it's an evil that's even greater than Satan. Second in the 'Grant-Williams High' comic horror adventure series of connected works, and sequel to 'Hell Week at Grant-Williams High'."
Dreams of the Compass Rose (Ages 13+)
"The world is shaped by two things — stories told and the memories they leave behind.
"The Compass Rose universe -- an ancient milieu where places have no names, cities spring forth like bouquets in the desert, gods and dreams walk the scorching sands in the South, ice floats like mirror shards upon the Northern sea, islands that do not exist are found in the East, death chases a thief on the rooftops of a Western city, immortal love spans time, and directions are intertwined into one road we all travel....
"You come to this place when you wonder, and sometimes, only when you dream.
"What is the nature of evil?
"When a young warrior of a dark race finds himself bound in servitude to a beautiful cruel princess, his loyalty becomes entwined with something more horrifying and mysterious than endless night falling over the ancient desert.
"When a courageous young servant reveals her hidden wisdom to the madman conqueror of the world, her fate is joined to a nightmare suspended beyond death and outside the universe.
"Two souls from different times -- their destinies connected through hundreds of other lives and generations, through soft whispers of the wind, through ancient truths that lie buried in an island between worlds.
"Both souls enslaved through dream and desire in an endless conflict between truth and illusion. They can only be set free by the wonder of the Compass Rose."
Dragon Magic (Grades 4+ / Ages 10+)
"A Hidden Treasure
"Sig, Artie, Kim, and Ras live in the same neighborhood and go to the same school, but they have nothing in common…until each of them sneaks into the old abandoned house on the corner and discovers the strange puzzle box covered with pictures of four dragons. Drawn by powerful magic, the boys find themselves bound together by a mystery that will transform them all--and transport them into worlds that are populated by heroes and dragons of lore…." Note, for some reason the publisher decided that several Norton books with "Magic" in the title are part of a set. Except for Dragon Magic and Dragon Mage, these are stand-alone stories.
Dragon Mage Written with Jean Rabe (Grades 4+ / Ages 10+)
"Shy realizes that she is lucky to be taken in by her grandparents after her father dies–but life above an antique store in Slade’s Corners, Wisconsin is not exactly the place a teenage girl wants to be. One day while going through boxes of her father’s boyhood stuff, she comes upon a rare old set of dragon puzzles … all of which are missing pieces. Her grandmother recalls the fantastic tales Shy's father would tell about his travels to lands of dragons and adventure. She always thought that these fantasies were inspired by the puzzles Shy has found. Shy realizes that by mixing and matching the different sets she can complete a single dragon puzzle that combines all of the others. Upon doing so she is whisked away to ancient Babylon where she must continue the duties of her father’s legacy as a servant to the dragon and a savior of the world."
Fur Magic (Grades 4+ / Ages 10+)
"Enter a world of ancient magic
"When his father is called to active duty in Vietnam, Cory Alder is sent to spend the summer with his adopted Native American uncle, Jasper. Accustomed to life in the city, Cory finds the reality of the ranch scary--every shadow is full of menace. But when an encounter with a medicine man catapults Cory into a world of Native American legend, conquering his fears becomes a matter of survival. Transformed into a beaver called Yellow Shell, Cory is now part of a war between the People, animals whose intelligence equals that of humans. In order to return home, Cory must help Yellow Shell and his allies defeat the Changer, who is attempting to enslave the People in this world--and in Cory's world as well. With two worlds hanging in the balance, Cory will have to use every ounce of courage and animal instinct within him to defeat this enemy . . ."
The Solar Queen series: Sargasso of Space, Plague Ship, Voodoo Planet, Postmarked the Stars, Redline the Stars, Derelict for Trade, and A Mind for Trade (Ages 13+)
Note that Norton books are safe for all ages. No sex and violence only in the context of the story, her imaginative and glorious sci-fi/space operas and fantasy stories are classics in the genre.
The Solar Queen
Includes the first two volumes of the series: Sargasso of Space and Plague Ship. Dane Thorson, aka "Viking," joins the Free Trader ship, the Solar Queen, and its crew. With Captain Jellico, apprentices Ali (Arabic?) and Rip (Black), and the rest of a diverse crew, they blast off for adventure to Limbo -- a Sargasso of space. Plague Ship continues the Solar Queen saga, taking the ship to a newly discovered planet, Sargol, and trade with the cat-like Salarki. But something goes terribly wrong and it's up to the apprentices to solve the mystery and save the Solar Queen and her crew. (RDJ)
The third book in the Solar Queen series, Voodoo Planet is set on a planet settled by African settlers who escaped Earth on a spaceship stolen from their captors. The evolution of their African culture and the adaptations to a new planet as well as a mystery of magic wound through a science fiction tale is fascinating. Voodoo Planet is bound with a second short novel, Star Hunter. (RDJ)
The Kindle edition of Voodoo Planet includes a random selection of 13 novels and short stories by Norton. Unfortunately, the selected books are in random order, including books from several different Norton series. Included are: The Gifts of Asti, All Cats are Gray, Key Out of Time, Plague Ship, Ralestone Luck, Star Born, Star Hunter, Storm Over Warlock, The Defiant Agents, The Time Traders, Voodoo Planet, Rebel Spurs, and Ride Proud, Rebel
Postmarked the Stars
The crew of the Solar Queen on a mail run, trying to mind their own business. When Dane nearly misses the ship and they find a dead stranger in his bunk, the new adventure begins. (RDJ)
Redline the Stars (written with P.M. Griffin)
This revisiting of the Solar Queen series adds the mysterious Rael Cofort, half sister to a competing Free Trader and only half human. Sensitive, smart and beautiful, can they trust her as they race to save the city of Canuche of Halios? (While this is a good book, it's not the same as the previous four, which were all written from Dane's point of view. I miss Norton's sure hand at exciting sci-fi/space opera.) (RDJ)
Derelict for Trade (written with Sherwood Smith)
The second new book in the continuing saga of the Solar Queen and her crew finds them on the outer edges of human civilization. Nearly running into a derelict ship when snapping out of transit, the Solar Queen has to solve the mystery of the ship while navagating the strange customs of aliens on a giant space habitat. Better than Redline the Stars, much of the book is told from either Dane or Rael's point of view. (RDJ)
A Mind for Trade (written with Sherwood Smith)
Continues the Solar Queen story. Blasting off to an uninhabited planet, there's plenty of adventure with pirates, marooned Free Traders and aliens fighting against a planet's extinction. Not really a Norton, but a pretty good read anyway. (RDJ)
The Time Traders Series
The Time Traders
The Defiant Agents
Key Out of Time
In the fourth book of the Time Traders series, Ross Murdock and Arthur Ashe have traveled to the uninhabited ocean world of Hawaika. Accidentally traveling into Hawaika's past along with Polynesian settler Karara and her two trained dolphins, Tino-rau and Taua, they discover that the alien “Baldies” destroyed the original inhabitants and their civilization. With the help of three strange women of a highly advanced race, the last of their kind, the trio set out to save the Hawaikan civilization. (RDJ)
Echoes in Time
The Stygian Conspiracy (Nexus Arcana) (Ages 15+)
This is hard sci-fi at its best. No long explanations of how it works and not a bit of magic betweeen the pages -- except for the magic of technology wielded by the young Space Marines and their leaders.
"Kabuto Tokugawa was no novice when it came to war. He'd fought through his fair share of conflicts in the past, but this one was different. It wasn't about nation against nation or conflicting ideologies. No, his keen instincts told him the secrets held by the alien ships found at Alpha Centauri were the impetus for this new struggle. So dangerous was the information that he was willing to do anything to keep it out of the wrong hands.
"Gideon Krieg didn't join the Earth Federal Space Marines to become a hero. He was not sure why he signed up. Maybe it was to impress the girl he was madly in love with, or maybe it was to prove to himself he was worth something. Deeper still, perhaps it was due to the woman that plagued his dreams...sometimes his nightmares. Whatever had drawn him into the war, it did not prepare him for the destiny that lay ahead.
"Alphonse Zhukov risked everything: his career, his position, his friends, even his life in order to free his people from the iron-fisted grip of the Solar Empire.
"Each man's intentions were different, but collectively their destinies were rapidly intertwining on a path that would change the course of human existence forever and invoke the wrath of The Stygian Conspiracy."
Chrysalis (Ages 15+)
"In the annals of dysfunctional families, the Chisholms are working their way to the top. Drug abuse, an unwed mother with multiple fathers, and the questionable cash flow for the 'pretty one'. All this from a seemingly normal, two parent, middle class family. But were the choices truly made of their free will?
"Bad choices are a Chisholm family trait, one that confounds the youngest child, Ellie, who's trying to separate herself by making smart decisions. And falling for Oscar Jeffreys, the hottest guy at school, would be number one on the list of Chisholm family disasters. Yet the crazy part is it's not a one-sided attraction. Somehow, Ellie has caught Oscar's eye. Sure, she could see the barriers between them. Race, age, popularity. They were at the opposite ends of the spectrum. But a demon set to destroy her family? She can't see that.
"Oscar provides security and acceptance Ellie never imagined she deserved. As the passion of first love grows, Ellie honestly believes she has a chance to beat the odds and live a happy, normal life. Then her world collapses around her. With the help of a guardian angel, Ellie learns of a world that has unknowingly surrounded her for years. And she'll have to find strength buried deep inside to sae not only her future, but flush out and stop the demon in her midst.
"And Ellie will have to learn that sometimes the hardest lesson about growing up is accepting that you're worth more." Mature themes and passionate scenes (but no sex) make this paranormal romance inappropriate for young teens.
The sequel to Crystalis, due in October 2012
"When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.-Corinthians 13:11
"There comes a time in everyone’s life when they must put aside their childish ways. In the past year, Ellie Chisholm has fallen into the security of her relationship with Oscar Jeffreys, emerging with a stronger sense of self. For the first time, her mother has started to insert herself into Ellie’s life, treating her as if she were a child even though Ellie has begun to make very adult decisions for her future. Having finally consummated her relationship with Oscar she learns that the powers inside of her stretch further than vaporizing demons.
"Maria, the demon bent on revenge, has been reigned in by God. That doesn’t stop her from disrupting and threatening those around Ellie and Oscar. Ellie becomes off balance as Maria switches strategy to destroy Ellie from the outside. This causes the gauntlet to be thrown down. Ellie must now help her family achieve positive change and finally break the tie between her mother and Gaap or risk losing everyone she loves.
"Can Ellie maintain her sanity while walking the last steps as a child?"
Pulpwork Press Anthologies
How the West Was Weird (Ages 13+)
This anthology includes stories by Russ Anderson Jr., Derrick Ferguson, Joel Jenkins, Bill Kte'pi, Mike McGee, Ian Mileham, Chris Munn, Barry Reese, Joshua Reynolds, Ian Taylor, Tom Deja
"Aztec vampires gorge themselves on a small Mexican village. A masked hero of the 1940s stumbles onto a town that time forgot. A gunslinging exorcist works to save a boy from demonic possession. These are the stories of the American West your history teacher never told you about... because she was scared! Includes nine original tales of the weird, wild west."
How the West Was Weird - Volume II (Ages 13+)
"The Old West has been invaded! No longer just the home of cattlemen and saloonkeepers and soiled doves, the western now plays host to cannibals, grey aliens, steam-driven robots, ghosts, dinosaurs, and murderous creatures of every kind.
"How the West Was Weird, Volume II continues the bestselling series of anthologies from Pulpwork Press, bursting with twenty stories that blend westerns with horror, science-fiction, and fantasy. Featuring the work of Derrick Ferguson, Josh Reynolds, Ron Fortier, Barry Reese, Tommy Hancock, and more of the best names in New Pulp."
Author Derrick Ferguson rates these anthologies at PG-13 due to some of the themes and violent scenarios.
Added 6-17-2013 (Mixed cast of characters)
Project Titans (Ages 12+)
"What if the world’s greatest conspiracy is that superheroes do exist?
"Three men and two women will discover a secret, kept from the world for decades: Project Titans, an international corporation designed to protect the world, select five men and women with supernatural abilities in order to train and send them to missions aimed to save the world from its greatest enemies.
"This time, they have been chosen."
Proyecto Titanes. Cuando lo imposible sucede. (Spanish Edition) (Años 12+)
"La mente de Anouk se ha convertido en una amenaza: es un arma capaz de levantar objetos enormes sin que su dueña se lo impida; Etienne es capaz de recorrer ciudades en segundos, aún y cuando él no busque huir de nada; Olivia cree que el sentirse invisible se debe a su soledad…hasta que descubre que ciertamente desaparece en el aire; Kenji es capaz de controlar la temperatura de las cosas, pero no puede utilizar su habilidad para proteger a quien más ama, y Marco es incapaz de ser lastimado, a menos que le recuerden su pasado.
"Proyecto Titanes les ofrece una solución a sus problemas, pero ésta no vendrá gratis: a cambio, deberán entregar sus vidas para salvar al mundo."
Memory's Child (Ages 18+)
I'm excited to introduce Lynnette Spratley's first novel, set in a distant future where the memory of history, science and the arts are carried by genetically-enhanced individuals, the Preservationists. They live in a dangerous world, peopled by the ignorant Myths who search for those who are "different" and brutally destroy the remnants of the old civilization. Note: Contains very mature themes including vengence, rape and murder.
"Shelana is a genius with a lot to learn. A descendant of genetically enhanced humans known as Preservationists, Shelana roams a landscape devoid of civilization in a world that long ago managed to advance itself right back to the Stone Age. Presers have only one lifetask: to pass on to their children the knowledge stored in their enhanced memories so that eventually, when mankind is ready to use it wisely, civilization may be restored. The tragedy that leaves Shelana on her own too soon also sets her on a second path that threatens to end her life before her lifetask is complete. To make matters worse, she faces a constant battle against prejudice directed not at race, religion or means, but at intelligence.
Fomenting and spreading this prejudice is the powerful, mysterious and bloodthirsty group known as Myths. Vernon, leader of the Myths, is determined to wipe out the Preservationists and control the redevelopment of civilization. Vernon has made one mistake that may ruin his plans and cost him his life, a mistake the Myth leader doesn't even remember he made. But Shelana does."
Available soon in an audio edition!!
Phoenix Rising: The Battle Begins (Ages 18+)
The sequel to Memory's Child begins with this sneak peek that ties the end of the first book to the upcoming sequel.
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L A Taylor
Bedbugs: (Can You See Them?) (Ages 15+)
"In 1977, an alien spaceship crashed down to earth, landing deep within the soil in a small County called ‘Lemonsville’. During the night people were slaughtered, but the next day the killers disappeared. In 2020, the area where the spaceship landed was leveled and new houses were built over it.
"Then, in 2050, a small earthquake shook Lemonsville. This was the opening needed for the new creatures of the night to attack the living. Deep, deep down beneath the ground, the alien queen had given birth to a new killer. The earth tremor had produced an escape route for her new babies to hunt for food. Human food...
"Now a young boy has been brutally slaughtered by someone -- or something? His parents are accused of his murder. There are no clues to convince the police otherwise, and the parents aren’t talking. They are too shocked to say anything.
"Daniel Boone, the local police chief, must find a way to solve the mystery of why the poor boy was torn apart in his bed, and why people have gone missing from their homes. As the days unfold and the nightmare continues, it takes Daniel back in time to what happened in 1977. He remembers a conversation he had with his Grandfather of a murder spree that happened in Lemonsville, one night in the summer of 1977. His Grandfather was eight years old back then. Now Daniel is fighting against time to work out the link between the murders back then to the murders of now.
"Will Lemonsville suffer more heartache or will Dan and his officers succeed in their attempts at putting a stop to the misery of this town?? As each hour ticks by, more victims are falling prey to something. Will Daniel work out the link and save the people of Lemonsville, or will he too fall down and be destroyed by the things that want to take over the WORLD..." Rated PG-13 by the author, Lee Taylor. The description of the first murder is pretty gross to this Mom, but I'm not a fan of grisly horror movies either. I wouldn't recommend this fast-moving science-fiction horror story to younger teens, but older teens will read it with the lights on and love every minute. (RDJ)
The Galahad series - The Comet's Curse, The Web of Titan, The Cassini Code, The Dark Zone, Cosmic Storm, and The Galahad Legacy (Grades 6+ / Ages 12+)
Originally self-published by the author, this wildly popular teen/young adult science fiction series is being republished by Tor Books. With a multi-racial, multi-cultural cast of characters, the surviving scientists race to send 251 teens into space before they get too old. An epidemic virus is killing everyone over the age of 18 and these teens are humanity's only hope. The story of their journey is amazing, sad, funny and gripping.
From the author's website,www.domtesta.com: "This is an award-winning book series about 251 extraordinary teenagers who must leave home in order to save the human race. They have only themselves to rely on -- no parents, no adults, no help of any kind."
The Comet's Curse
From Library Mix: "...super competent teenagers who are chosen to save humankind from extinction by voyaging into outer space when Earth becomes tainted with a deathly virus. As the young crew of spaceship Galahad departs Earth, they leave their families behind forever. While this is deeply sad if one takes time to ponder it, the characters in Comet’s Curse are far too busy doing their jobs and solving a dangerous mystery to let grief overwhelm them." Click here to read the rest of educator Alicia Rudnicki's review of The Comet's Curse.
The Web of Titan
From Library Mix: "Triana and crew have been in space for less than a year and are still adjusting to the loss of their families and recovering from a near collision with tragedy... As it zooms toward deep space in Web of Titan, the crew is worried about its mysterious, upcoming assignment to retrieve a 'transport pod' orbiting Saturn’s largest moon, Titan... Puzzlement becomes fear when a bizarre illness and other unusual occurrences begin to cripple Galahad." Please click here to read Alicia Rudnicki's full review of The Web of Titan.
The Cassini Code
"The teenage crew of Galahad has survived their first encounter with an alien race. Though shaken by the power of The Cassini, Triana and her Council are determined to continue their mission. But some of the crew don’t agree. Led by the charismatic Merit Simms, a small group of crew members begins lobbying for a return to Earth—just as the ship enters the Kuiper Belt, the deadly minefield of asteroids that surrounds the solar system. As Galahad dodges a storm of asteroids, Triana finds herself dealing with an increasingly hostile crew. Even some members of the Council are beginning to listen to Merit’s arguments. Can Triana find a way to prevent a mutiny aboard Galahad, and lead her crew to safety?"
The Dark Zone
"With the help of the mysterious alien force known as the Cassini, the teenage crew of Galahad has managed to navigate safely through the minefield of the Kuiper Belt. But just as they exit the Belt, they are confronted by their next challenge: a group of incredibly fast and maneuverable organisms waiting in their path—like vultures. With no way of knowing if the organisms are friends or foes, Triana and her Council decide to push forward, setting into motion a chain of events that will lead to the opening of a wormhole (a shortcut across space and time), and the first death aboard Galahad…."
"Just a year into their mission, the crew of Galahad has endured a sabotage attempt, alien encounters, and a dangerous passage through an asteroid belt. Now, as unpredictable waves of radiation threaten the very survival of the ship, Council leader Triana has disappeared. Not knowing if she is alive or dead, the crew must hold an election to replace her. Council member Gap seems the most likely candidate—until an old flame shocks him by adding her name to the ballot. Does she want what’s best for the ship? Or are her motivations more personal? Facing threats both internal and external, Galahad and its crew must confront…a cosmic storm."
The Galahad Legacy
"The electrifying conclusion to the epic young adult science fiction series that began with The Comet’s Curse. Council leader Triana Martell has returned from her journey through the mysterious wormhole, but she isn’t alone. She is accompanied by the ambassador of an alien race—the Dollovit. While the Council and crew of Galahad struggle to come to terms with the existence of the Dollovit, the ship begins to flounder. The radiation shields threaten to fail, damaged by the appearance of multiple wormholes. The Dollovit have a proposal for the crew: an offer of assistance that could be their only hope for survival. But their offer comes with an astronomical price. Beset with doubts and surrounded by danger, can Triana and her crew find a way to reach their destination—a new home for the human race?"
Coda (Grades 8-12 / Ages 14-18+)
"Ever since he was a young boy, music has coursed through the veins of eighteen-year-old Anthem—the Corp has certainly seen to that. By encoding music with addictive and mind-altering elements, the Corp holds control over all citizens, particularly conduits like Anthem, whose life energy feeds the main power in the Grid.
"Anthem finds hope and comfort in the twin siblings he cares for, even as he watches the life drain slowly and painfully from his father. Escape is found in his underground rock band, where music sounds free, clear, and unencoded deep in an abandoned basement. But when a band member dies suspiciously from a tracking overdose, Anthem knows that his time has suddenly become limited. Revolution all but sings in the air, and Anthem cannot help but answer the call with the chords of choice and free will. But will the girl he loves help or hinder him?
"Emma Trevayne's dystopian debut novel is a little punk, a little rock, and plenty page-turning." Parents, please note that there are somewhat mature themes of drugs, music as a drug, sensual but not explicit sex and bisexuality/homosexuality. This novel may not be suitable for younger teens.
Note: There is a French translation on Kindle. Please click on the linkt: Coda T01
Chorus (Grades 8-12 / Ages 14-18+)
"The dream is all white from a memory that is too real, and its melody has continued to haunt Alpha, even though she has moved as far away from temptation as possible. Eight years after she was exposed to her first and only addictive musical track from the Corp, Alpha has established a new life with a band of her own in a city that has given her the space she was seeking, Los Angeles.
"However, it only takes one urgent call to bring Alpha back home to Anthem, the older brother who raised her as well as a revolution, and Omega, her twin brother whose contrasting personality makes her feel whole. As Alpha spends more time in the Web, she notices that the number of people who look sickly and addicted seems to be rising. With Anthem's health declining, Alpha and her friends will have to dig deeper into the mainframe than ever before in order to find the root of the Corp's re-emergence.
"Emma Trevayne’s sequel to Coda concludes the series with a crescendo of unexpected twists, hard-earned triumphs, and agonizing decisions—all coming together as a symphony of pure emotion."
Greg van Eekhout
Kid vs. Squid (Grades 4+ / Ages 10+)
"Thatcher Hill is bored stiff of his summer job dusting the fake mermaids and shrunken heads at his uncle's seaside Museum of Curiosities. But when a mysterious girl steals an artifact from the museum, Thatcher's summer becomes an adventure that takes him from the top of the ferris wheel to the depths of the sea. Following the thief, he learns that she is a princess of the lost Atlantis. Her people have been cursed by an evil witch to drift at sea all winter and wash up on shore each summer to an even more terrible fate — working the midway games and food stands on the boardwalk. Can Thatcher help save them before he, too, succumbs to the witch's curse?
"With sharp, witty writing that reads like a middle-grade Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Greg van Eekhout's first book for young readers is a wild ride packed with as many laughs as it has thrills."
The Boy at the End of the World (Grades 4+ / Ages 10+)
"In a future world, Fisher is the last boy on earth. But evidence suggests there may be a far-away survival bunk with other humans. In order to get there, he'll need to rely on a ragtag team he assembles, including a robot, a mammoth, and a prairie dog with basic English skills. Readers will be riveted as this unlikely team races toward survival."
Norse Code (Ages 18+)
"Is this Ragnarok, or just California?
"The NorseCODE genome project was designed to identify descendants of Odin. What it found was Kathy Castillo, a murdered MBA student brought back from the dead to serve as a valkyrie in the Norse god’s army. Given a sword and a new name, Mist’s job is to recruit soldiers for the war between the gods at the end of the world—and to kill those who refuse to fight.
"But as the twilight of the gods descends, Mist makes other plans.
"Journeying across a chaotic American landscape already degenerating into violence and madness, Mist hopes to find her way to Helheim, the land of the dead, to rescue her murdered sister from death’s clutches. To do so, she’ll need the help of Hermod, a Norse god bumming around Los Angeles with troubles of his own. Together they find themselves drafted into a higher cause, trying to do what fate long ago deemed could not be done: save the world of man. For even if myths aren’t made to be broken, it can’t hurt to go down fighting…can it?" This book is von Eekhout's first foray into adult fiction. It is intended for mature teens, young adults and adults.