Creatures from outer realms suck, as any gatekeeper worth their salt will tell you. Welcome to Rogan’s life, an orphaned seventeen-year-old who lives and trains with other misfits under her uncle’s roof, keeping Earth safe from non-human realm jumpers. Rogan’s biggest issue concerns her uncle’s short leash with her freedom—that is of course, until she’s taken by a notorious witch, and her life begins to unravel. Soon, the supernatural beauty discovers there’s a reason her uncle kept such a tight lock on her whereabouts, and that she has more than angel blood running through her veins.
Eighteen-year-old Max is an angel, and Rogan’s mentor and guardian. He’s well aware of her tenacious inability to obey orders, though he also knows she’s a fierce fighter. When he’s involved in a scheme that ultimately gets Rogan kidnapped, he must battle his way back to her in an attempt to save her from the darkness threatening to possess her.
I’m breaking Castle’s rules. Do I care? Not really—not yet.
Rogan’s skin prickled as she snuck through the portal leading to the city, exhilarated to be patrolling on her own for once. She walked along the sidewalk on her way to Pink, a dance club for teenagers. Although, her choice in destination would not involve dancing or enjoying the hyperactive ambiance. No, she was primed and ready to release bottled-up steam threatening her peace of mind. Deviants would be mingling with humans, and she’d be there to put a stop to it.
Crisp autumn air stirred. Inhaling its musky scent, she noticed the lengthening shadows, and prayed to be home before she was missed. I’m seventeen, she thought with pride, a gatekeeper. At least, that was what she’d been training for.
Keeping her eyes peeled for anything out of the ordinary, she tossed her braided hair over her shoulder, catching a few heads turning to look at her. You’d think they’d never seen a girl wearing leather and boots before.
A pungent odor pressed in on her, which stopped her in her tracks. Up ahead, blocking the sidewalk, was a giant of a man. The fortuitous encounter took her by surprise, sending her creepster vibes off the charts. With her legs rooted in a rigid stance, she flexed her fingers. As if the giant had been awaiting her arrival, he approached in a blur of motion, whipping his knuckled fist and clipping her on the chin.
Grimacing, her eyes watered as blood pooled over her tongue. She spat a mouthful onto the sidewalk and moved her throbbing jaw from side to side.
She recognized the Vorg towering over her, jutting his demon chin at a superior angle. To humans, he looked like an unnatural hulk of a man, but Rogan saw past his artificial veneer.
“Had enough, sweetmeat?” His sandpapery voice rubbed her the wrong way.
“Screw you.” Fast as a snap, she jerked her elbow, smashing him in the jaw.
About the Author
I am blessed with a loving family and forever friends. My world revolves around them.
I grew up in the small village of Lancaster, NY, where I married my sweetheart. I'm devoted to raising 5 cherished children, and now my grandchildren.
I love to immerse myself in great books of every kind of genre, which helps me to write purely for entertainment, and hopefully to inspire readers. When not stationed at my computer you can find me in the woods taking long walks with my dog.
Impulsive Marianne Dashwood and cautious Elinor are as different as two sisters could be, yet both are shattered by their father's sudden Death. Elinor's attachment to the reserved Edward Ferrars is torn asunder by family opposition and his own dark secret, while Marianne's brilliant romance with the dashing John Willoughby comes to a tumultuous end in a devastating public betrayal. Can the two sisters overcome these trials to find true, lasting happiness?
Jane Austen's beloved first novel, filled with romance, redemption and social critique, is brought to life for a modern audience in this gorgeous manga-style adaptation!
Sometimes, it's really easy to be an English teacher. The students can be interested in the literature or in the creative writing. Most of the time, it's a struggle. The kids typically don't see the intrigue or the entertainment in reading classic literature. Most of the kids will say that they think it's boring or dry because they simply don't want to admit that the archaic language tends to make these stories rather inaccessible. Many of my students struggle with reading pieces at their reading level, let alone anything that could challenge them. I mention this not to make my students sound unintelligent, but to emphasize the usefulness of graphic novels in the classroom.
Cue in Udon Entertainment's Manga Classic Series.
Unfortunately, I have not had the pleasure to teach with this series. I would jump at the chance.
I found their rendition of Sense and Sensibility absolutely delightful! They did a terrific job in a tremendous number of ways. In the interest of brevity, I will only discuss two here.
First, I loved the illustrations. I have read graphic novels in the past that made it difficult to differentiate between settings and characters. There was no confusion in this one. It was so easy to tell which house the action was happening in and who the different characters were. And, as an added bonus, if there was EVER any question, King and Tse made sure to clearly and artistically label it so that confusion was swiftly blasted away.
Second, the abridgment of the novel was done rather well. The story was told so well that I believe the most complex details could be easily understood by students. The language was kept rather similar to Austen's original writing, which would make for an easy transition from the graphic novel to the original should a person seek a more challenging or more "authentic" experience.
The biggest issue that I found, however, was that the digital copy that I received started at the wrong end of the book. I hated having to click through to the last page and click on the wrong side of the page to turn it. This definitely took away some of my reading enjoyment. I understand, and appreciate, the authenticity of the manga style. I just think that this particular formatting was rather annoying.
Overall, I absolutely loved this book and am excited to read others in the series.
A Skin of a Dragon by Frances Jones Genre: YA Fantasy Release date: March 17th 2018
After a chance find in a smugglers’ cave, Tom Wild is kidnapped by a stranger and whisked away to London to face a secretive and ancient group of magicians. He is presented with an agonising choice: join them and forsake his old life and family forever or face a grisly death. Tom quickly realises that all is not as it seems and that the group’s leader is engaged in a dangerous game of magic, power and war. At stake is the future of England, her King, and the very existence of magic.
My mother believed I possessed the gift of foresight. I was born at the stroke of midnight under a full moon, a curious time bestowing special abilities upon newborns, or so the midwife assured my parents. Yet, despite my mother’s belief, I had no sense of the shift my life was poised to take one rainy day in mid-September 1648 as I peered into a rock pool in search of crabs.
I wrinkled my nose and dangled my line into the water. The grey sea sloshed around the rock on which I stood, met by the rainwater that trickled down in rivulets from the cliffs above. Summer wasn’t yet a distant memory, but the storm of the previous day had been a sharp reminder that autumn had arrived. Peggy, my wiry-haired mongrel, watched the gulls scavenging amongst the rocks but had yet to summon the energy to chase them. Beside me my sister, Lizzie, shivered and looked forlornly back to the beach.
'To think the fields were ploughed but a fortnight ago,' she muttered.
I felt a tug on my line and lifted an enormous crab out of the rock pool, but Lizzie was distracted. She glanced up at the sky as a finger of sunlight broke through the clouds overhead.
‘Zooks! Look at the sun, Tom! Mother will be starting supper.’ She grabbed her bucket of crabs and scrambled back across the rocks. ‘Don't forget the tobacco for Father,’ she called over her shoulder as she crossed the beach towards the lights that were beginning to twinkle in the windows of the cottages that made up the tiny hamlet of Osmington Mills.
I replied with a wave as I set my bucket on a ledge out of the wind and began the slippery climb to the smugglers’ cave. It was a precarious route in wet weather, with fissures into which one could quite easily slip and become stuck, but in an hour's time the tide would be in, cutting the cave off from the beach entirely.
The rocks were slick beneath my feet, and the drizzling rain soaked right through to my skin as I clambered from one to the next. This exposure to every extreme of weather that the Dorset coast endured had weathered my complexion into a freckled ruddiness. My usual mop of sandy curls now lay plastered against my forehead, and my eyes squinted against the rainwater that dripped from my brow.
As I set my feet on sand once more, I stooped to pick up a small wooden box nestled between two rocks at the mouth of the cave. It was perfectly plain, cylindrical in shape, with an elaborate lock formed of tiny brass cogs, dials and pulleys, some of which were clearly missing or broken. I looked back to the beach. Only the smugglers ever came here. Perhaps it belonged to one of them- except that all the smugglers in Osmington Mills were far too careful to leave anything out in the open. There were crevices and tunnels that wound right into the heart of the cliffs where contraband was cleverly concealed from the prying eyes of the customs men. There was no need to leave anything in plain sight. Besides, the little drift of sand piled up against the box seemed to indicate it had been deposited there by the sea.
'I bet it's from that shipwreck yesterday,' I muttered to Peggy as I tucked it under my arm and ducked into the cave. The entrance was just a few feet in height and submerged at high tide, but inside it widened and rose steadily above the tide’s reach, opening out into several passageways and crevices scooped out by the sea in ancient times. It was a perfect smugglers’ cave.
I selected one pack of tobacco from a pile of goods stuffed into a cleft in the wall and tucked it into my belt. With the crabbing line, I lashed the box to my back. I would need both hands to scale the rocks back to the beach.
Outside, the wind had picked up, and the drizzle was replaced with great spots of rain. Across the beach, a flicker of firelight glowed in the mouth of another smaller cave beyond a rocky outcrop.
''Tis a fool who ventures out with a storm about to break,' I thought to myself.
Thunder rumbled overhead, and the foamy white tips of the waves collapsed against the rocks with an intensity that had become a familiar sight over the past week. The few fishing boats that had braved the rain were now gone, safely moored in the harbour. Everyone was braced for another mighty storm.
About the Author
Frances lives in Shropshire, England with her husband and two pet rabbits. She started writing to fill her evenings while her husband, a former Grenadier Guard in the British Army, was away. A Skin of a Dragon was inspired by the Tower of London ravens which her husband told her about after one of his guard duties at the Tower. Folklore and the history of magic are also a continual source of inspiration.
Aside from writing, Frances’ other passion is rabbits, and she spends far too much time watching videos of the furry critters online!
This month, the starting book is Memoirs of a Geisha.
I love this book! It's definitely one of my all time favorites. I think the movie could have been a lot better though, which brings me to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy because that movie was a major flop.
Again, another favorite book. This book takes place in England, which brings me to my third book...Pride and Prejudice.
What a great romance! As long as we're on the topic of terrific romances, please allow me to call up my favorite author, Neil Gaiman and the beautiful love of Tristran and Yvaine in Stardust.
I love Gaiman's ability to create wonderful worlds. He is such a skilled author. Lately, there has been a lot of talk about his book, Coraline, in my classroom.
Now, Coraline is a terrific book that involves a very horrific villain, the Beldam. Now, the last book doesn't have a beldam, but it does have a pretty scary monster.
And that, ladies and gents, is how we get from Memoirs of a Geisha to A Monster Calls through six degrees of separation.
Mage Rising Alina Jacobs (The Black Tower Series, #1) Publication date: December 10th 2016 Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Zsanette of the Wulfila clan has just had her world turned upside down. Her best friend, Misko, was kicked out of the clan, and her mother just told her she’s the Emperor’s daughter. After stealing away in the night, she travels to the capital city to rescue Misko. On the way she is captured to be trained as a Black Tower mage.
Teaming up with friends she meets on the way and a small dragon, Zsanette bounces from one mishap to another as she tries to control her unusual and destructive power of magyk.
As she deals with obnoxious fellow students and races to solve a dangerous mystery, Zsanette finds herself fighting to get past the defenses of the handsome and secretive Garrett Walton, the powerful leader of the mages who fascinates her as much as the enigmatic society of Black Tower mages does.
Garrett slowly raised a hand and gently took the dagger from her. “It’s me. It’s just me,” he said. “There was a…a daemon…and it…it tried to kill me… I…” she stammered, trying to explain. “There’s no such thing as daemons,” he said soothingly, as you would to a child with a bad dream. “Everything is all right.” “I know what I saw,” she snapped at him, angry at being condescended to. He ignored her, putting out a hand and petting her hair, repeating, “Everything is all right.” Zsanette brushed him off and climbed to her feet. Her legs ached, and she felt stiff. Her dragon hopped around, all four legs straight out, spitting acid that landed on the floor in smoking droplets. He had obviously seen the monster. She tried again to explain. “It was a skeleton; I touched it. It had wings and claws.” She flexed her fingers to mimic the creature. Garrett stood and stroked the side of her scratched face with the back of his hand letting his magyk heal her wounds. As he did so, he looked into her eyes, searching for something.
Author Bio: Alina is an architect by day, writer by night. Her favorite thing to do is curl up with a hot drink and a good book. She lives in a large Southern city in an old house with an old dog. Alina Jacobs is a pen name.
Newbery Medal-winning Seedfolks from Paul Fleischman tells thirteen stories from diverse perspectives—young and old, immigrant and native, haunted and hopeful. A fractured neighborhood unites with just a few seeds, turning a drab empty lot in Cleveland into beautiful green garden.
Seedfolks has been chosen as a state- and city-wide read in communities across the country for its inspiring message of unity.
Kim begins the garden, planting a few lima beans to connect with her father who died when she was a baby in Vietnam. Then Tío Juan, a farmer from Guatemala, gains purpose when he teaches the neighborhood children how to plant. Soon curious neighbors join in and together they grow a beautiful garden. With each bean sprout and cucumber blossom the residents of Gibs Street find hope and meaning in their little green paradise.
As the Christian Science Monitor noted, "The size of this slim volume belies the profound message of hope it contains."
I was introduced to this book by my town's community theater. They had come to our school to discuss an upcoming presentation of this novel as a one-woman play. At first, I was rather put off. I didn't think that the premise of the novel sounded interesting and I knew that I had to read it because our school was going to go see the play, but that didn't mean I was going to enjoy it.
I was wrong. I ADORED this book and devoured it in one night. I simply could not put the darn thing down! I actually finished it the same night that I finished The Guttersnipes. And now that I have my seventh grade homeroom reading it, they are really getting into it as well. In fact, one student got so caught up in it, he read straight past what was assigned and wanted to keep going.
My favorite thing about this book is the message. I have never seen another piece that brings so many people together despite any generational or cultural boundaries. I loved the image of a garden growing amidst the trash and a community of a wide variety of individuals coming together to beautify the place and to grow it into something that benefits an entire community.
Fleischman showed true skill by writing each chapter from a different character's point of view while telling a single cohesive story the entire way through. Not only does this allow for absolutely stunning character development, it allows the plot to be more complex.
There are very few books that I can't give any constructive criticism or negative feedback. This is one of those rare occurrences.
The Grown Ups’ Crusade Audrey Greathouse (The Neverland Wars #3) Published by: Clean Teen Publishing Publication date: March 27th 2018 Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult
Gwen has returned to Neverland with Peter Pan and the lost children, but this time, the adults are following close behind. The Anomalous Activity Department has plans to finally conquer Neverland by bringing the final battle to the vulnerable island. The children will have to rally fairies, mermaids, and allies from other magical realms to stand a chance against the shadow-casting army of grown-ups heading for them. The black-coat soldiers are far from their only problem. Lasiandra is missing. No one has seen her since Gwen left her at the lakeside with Jay, and the mermaids searching have found only grave omens in the stars. With the island on the cusp of a war that threatens to strip the land of its magic, the last thing Peter and Gwen need is the ancient flagship that appears on their horizon, sailing pirates straight for their shores. When the battle begins amid old and new enemies, Gwen’s maturity will be a double-edged sword. She will either grow stronger or grow up… maybe both.
Gwen gathered fruit as fast as she could in the dim of the early morning. Mangos and marionberries, peaches and papayas, star fruit and oranges… she shoved the land fruit into her bag, never breaking pace as she trekked weast across the island. She needed to get to the coast and back before any fairies awoke. The entire fairy population had indulged in joyful revelries the night before, celebrating some amorphous holiday unknown to humans. The dawn would find even the most temperate fairies still lolling in drunken dreams and merry slumber. But dawn had not yet arrived and not everyone slept; stars still speckled the bluing sky and certain inhabitants of Neverland were still speaking with them. Tromping over vines and fungi, Gwen bushwhacked her way through the forest-jungle on anxious feet. The mermaids had not been helpful as of late. The new mermaids she’d met wouldn’t even give her their names. Eglantine and Cynara had been snide at best, and contemptuous at worst. Gwen wouldn’t have minded it—she didn’t care what mermaids thought of her—but she felt certain they knew what had happened to Lasiandra and refused to explain. This drowsy morning offered her a chance to tempt them with an overabundance of land fruit without anyone noticing. She would persuade the mermaids to cede their starry secrets and hurry back before any stray fairy or curious child found her at the incriminating lagoon. Gwen reached the wood’s end and hurried down the steps carved into the chalky cliff face. She moved so fast she half-flew toward the slender figures half-submerged in the lagoon. Gwen had not seen Lasiandra since the night she escaped with Jay from Lake Agana. In the chaos, she had never retrieved the scale from Lasiandra, and thus lost her ability to call her friend. She hadn’t worried about it—until days and weeks passed without sight of her at the lagoon. “What business have you with Lasiandra?” Eglantine had demanded last time Gwen visited. “What matter is she to you?” “I’m just worried about her,” Gwen had answered, innocent and truthful. The region’s entire Anomalous Activity Department had been on duty that night, trying to apprehend lost children and capture whatever magic followed them. Lasiandra’s disappearance was ominous, to say the least. A few fairies had not returned from the mission, and there was no question of what fate had befallen them. In response, the mermaids had only mocked her, contorting their melodic voices into cackling imitations of her land-dwelling accent, “I’m just worried about her.” “Worried about her! Concerned about a mermaid?” Cynara had declared, insulted and amused. “We are not of such a feeble nature as you landmaids. Mermaids have more strength in a single scale than you have in all of your heart. You need not worry for a mermaid, girl. We can take care of ourselves.” Gwen had wanted to believe her.
Author Bio: Audrey Greathouse is a lost child in a perpetual quest for her own post-adolescent Neverland. Originally from Seattle, she earned her English B.A. from Southern New Hampshire University's online program while backpacking around the west coast and pretending to be a student at Stanford. A pianist, circus artist, fire-eater, street mime, swing dancer, and novelist, Audrey wears many hats wherever she is. She has grand hopes for the future which include publishing more books and owning a crockpot. You can find her at audreygreathouse.com
Published on September 29, 2016 by Pegasus Elliott Mackenzie Publishers
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.
Charlie Daniels is more than six feet tall, allergic to almost everything, and has a pet dinosaur at home. His life in Arizona is relatively normal. That is, apart from the nightmares Charlie has...
But when his dinosaur, Trike, gets kidnapped by a strange old lady and her cat-like sidekick, Charlie and his misfit friend Arty are sucked into a story bigger than both of them. Risking everything to rescue Trike, Charlie and Arty are flung into the past, landing in the chaos of New York City, 1865.
Dodging the mysterious Nasten Cobblestine, and avoiding the perils of New York's nastiest street cleaners' strikes, test Charlie's wits as well as his courage. All he wants to do is reunite with his dinosaur and somehow find a way back home...
As Charlie searches for Trike, he draws dangerously close to P.T. Barnum's eerie museum and the creature that lies within. Will he find Trike and get home alive? And who is the Ice Lady of his nightmares?
This book is truly difficult to review. There were so many things that I liked! However, there were also several things that I truly despised. In the interest of being honest, let's talk about the positive and negative aspects separately.
What I Liked
Charlie and Arty are both very well-developed characters. Barrett's ability to create and maintain such strong characters was a true delight!
Zip. He was AMAZING! He reminded me SOOOOOOOOO much of Soap from Gail Carriger's Finishing School series. I loved how loyal he was to those who were loyal to him, despite the situations that may put him in. Even though there was a wide variety of supporting characters, the story would not have been complete without Zip.
What I Didn't Like As Much
There was so much introduced that nothing was really concluded. What IS Mrs. Nedivah? Who is the Ice Lady? Why does she matter? What was Saladin trying to fix?
I never figured out who the true bad guy was. Was there one? OR was this a metaphor for life when each different situation has it's own protagonist and antagonist? I wish it would have been a little more clear.
I enjoyed how fast-paced this book was. I think that middle school readers would truly enjoy it.
The Forest Beyond the Earth Matthew S. Cox Publication date: February 6th 2018 Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Under the watchful eye of the Mother Shrine, twelve-year-old Wisp ekes out a simple, but challenging life with Dad, foraging for food and losing herself in old books from the world that came before. She loves the Endless Forest ― except when the Tree Walkers come for her. In ages past, the great rain of fire and ash destroyed the Earth, wiping out the ancients and everything they had made. Nature has reclaimed much since then, spreading out in a vast forest full of wonder and dread. Ever in fear of being taken away, she follows Dad’s rules without question while learning to survive off the land. No longer a small child, she accompanies Dad on one of his treks, her first time more than a few steps away from the cabin. A day exploring with him is the happiest time of her life, but joy is short-lived. A monster follows them home. Safe in her Haven, she hides while Dad goes outside to confront the beast. She wakes alone the next morning, and waits. Alas, her hope of his return fades with the daylight. Desperate, she breaks his strictest rule and goes outside alone. Not far from the cabin, she discovers his rifle abandoned next to the monster’s strange footprints. Afraid but determined, Wisp sets off on her own into the Endless Forest to find Dad ― before the Tree Walkers catch her.
Sheltered among the great moss-dappled trunks, Wisp peered out from her hiding place at the forest of monsters, barely breathing, lest the Tree Walkers hear her. She glanced back over her shoulder at Dad, twenty feet away and closer to the cabin. Distracted by fiddling with his rifle, he hadn’t noticed her wander off toward the little yellow flowers. Being so far away from him tightened a knot in her belly, but she pushed fear aside. Hunger had far more of a hold on her, and besides… the sun filtered down through the pines, strong and warm. Tree Walkers didn’t come out in the day. Or so she hoped. Wisp eased her toes into the soil, on guard for sharp rocks, stinging insects, or other dangers. The leather scraps of her skirt brushed at her legs with each tentative step. Dad recently made it to replace the same tattered dress she’d worn for the past two years. The frayed garment had grown so tight the fabric was ready to come apart if she breathed in too deep. He’d also given her a shirt he’d found on one of his scavenging trips, but she’d been less thrilled it with due to its bright pink color. It made her stand out. Not to mention, it had been torn so short it left her stomach bare. This outfit wouldn’t do well in the colder months, though Dad seldom let her out of the cabin then anyway, so perhaps it wouldn’t matter. While he didn’t make the pink mess, he did fix it for her. The former T-shirt had belonged to a grownup, but he’d added a crisscross of leather cord at the neck to cinch it tighter. Despite the horrid color of her shirt, at least she could move around and not worry about destroying her clothing. She squatted low to the ground, her thighs peeking out from two slits in the front of her skirt. A flap of thicker leather hung down between her legs, almost touching the soil as she brushed her hand back and forth looking for signs of edible insects or plants. Straight blonde hair fell around her, also nearly in contact with the ground. Close to home, they’d harvested everything of value already. To find food, they would have to venture deeper into the woods and risk the Tree Walkers finding them. The thought brought a shiver. “Wisp?” called Dad, worry in his voice. “Where are you going?” Suppressing a gasp of fear, she twisted around to peer back at him. Before she could say a word, a distant snap echoed behind her in the woods. She crouched even lower and whirled back to stare in that direction, fingers and toes digging into the dirt, ready to run like hell for the cabin door. Dad jogged up behind her. “What are you doing so far off? You know you’re not supposed to wander away from me like that.” She lifted one hand to point at the distant forest floor full of tiny yellow flowers. “I found yellowgreens.”
Author Bio: Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey. Hobbies and Interests: Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (