Posts tagged ‘romance’

ON THE TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: MAKING A DIFFICULT JOURNEY

The Boy Who Became Father Christmas: The Story of Santa Claus

Written by James Wilmot

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The Prologue gives a hint as to how the story line will evolve. In this short story, the reader learns that Niklas was born at the foot of a mountain range. He lived in town with the wealthy and prosperous settlers. Once a year the mountain folk came down to trade with them Their meat, cheese, animal skins and wool were exchanged for the coal, wax, grain and oil the mountain people needed to survive.

Shortly after Niklas turned twelve, tragedy struck. Both his parents were killed in a house fire. Niklas discovers a grandfather he never knew existed; now Niklas’ life would be turned upside down. He must leave town and go live up in the mountain with his grandfather. After a rough period of adjustment, Niklas becomes skilled in woodworking and learns the ways of the mountain people. He becomes acquainted with the “wee folk” legends and the animals of the forest. The teen develops a strong friendship with a girl named Rose. Niklas discovers the joys of the Christmas season and ventures forth to embrace it. As the boy grows, he experiences love and loss while meeting the challenges of mountain living and surviving a test with the King of the Mountain.

Wilmot selects many of the Christmas legends and weaves them into a novella featuring characters that embody familiar traditions. A heartwarming and uplifting short story that can be enjoyed by middle grade, young adult and adult readers. Perfect read for sitting in front of the fire for a couple of hours.

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CHRISTMAS COLLAGE

Children’s Book: Saving Christmas (Kids Action Adventure)

Author: Morris Fenris

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The book description, cover and reviews suggest that this book is appropriate for children of all ages. Some parents might argue that it is not at all appropriate for children, but rather suited to young adults and adults.

There are four parts. In the first, readers meet a girl named Mary who generally spends Christmas alone. On Christmas Eve, she is out for a ride on her horse when she hears a strange noise and meets with an accident resulting in her being thrown from her horse. When she wakes up, Mary finds herself in a strange cabin with a white haired man. She is surrounded by unfamiliar sights and sounds. The second story features Mrs. Claus at the North Pole many years later supervising the elves on Christmas Eve. She experiences a strange sense of foreboding and a dramatic change in Santa’s personality. Part Three leads Mary to a sleigh ride in order to find Santa’s mother. The reindeer Vixen knows that she will be able to save Christmas. Finally in the fourth part, Mary realizes her true role and the reader learns what happened to Mary’s horse on the night of her accident.

The stories contain many run on sentences and grammar that needs some editing. It is difficult to classify the genre of these stories. Elements of romance, mystery, and adventure, but definitely not a kids book. This book contains some familiar characters and symbols, but adults should be aware of multiple layers of meaning and some inappropriate language.

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REALITY CHECK

Dreasmscape: Saving Alex

Written by Kirstin Pulioff

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An intriguing young adult novel that combines elements of fantasy, adventure, coming of age, romance and suspense. I was drawn to the book by the image on the cover; the eyes invite you to investigate further.

As the story opens, sixteen year old Alexis is distraught over the fact that not only is her family moving away, but her mother has just informed her that the move has been pushed up to this weekend. The teen’s best friend, Natalie has come over for a sleep-over and is enlisted to help her pack. I must admit that in the beginning of the story I thought Alexis a spoiled brat: Natalie seemed so much more centered. After packing many boxes, the teens decide to play a video game that they used to love. This is where the action begins.

Natalie falls asleep, but Alexis is somehow transported into the adventure game that she used to know by heart. Once inside, she is confused because she cannot differentiate between reality and the game. Suddenly she is called upon to be the heroine who will rescue the queen. Alexis discovers that appearances are not always what they seem. She learns that life is an adventure that we live everyday: sometimes we play a part that can be altered, but that is not always the case. During Alexis’ time in the game, she learns a lot about character, commitment and relationships.

The characters are well-developed; they evolve as the plot unfurls. I would like to know more about what the future holds for Alexis. Perhaps a sequel? Highly recommended for adults and young adults twelve and up who enjoy adventures with suspense and a touch of romance.

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CROSSING THE SANDS OF TIME

Sons of the Sphinx

Written by Cheryl Carpinello

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I received a copy of this book from Double Decker books as part of a blog launch for the author in exchange for an honest review.

First off, I will openly admit that I am a historian with an avid interest in the field of ancient history. The author has done a marvelous job of negotiating the disputed points of this era and woven them into a seamless time travel historical adventure for middle grade, teen readers and adults. Her characters are well-developed and manage to appear authentic in both the ancient and modern time periods. Carpinello includes a glossary to assist the reader in understanding the historical figures and background.

Rosa is a fifteen year old tenth grader who has inherited a special gift from her grandmother. This teen is able to speak to people of the past, who appear to her at most inconvenient times like during a math test. At the outset of this adventure, King Tut himself not only speaks but appears to her in her room. He urges her to travel back in time with him to find the spirit of his love, Hesena. Rosa has never dated, but finds herself falling for Tut. She agrees to help him, if they can get back before her parents return from dinner and the movies. Tut assures her that the time wrap will allow them to do so.

Rosa will need to draw upon her inner spirit to connect with Hesena, fight off tomb robbers, traverse the hot sands of the Egyptian desert, and fend off the evil Pharaoh Horemheb in their attempt to complete their quest and right the wrongs that have been done. She will travel back more than 3000 years in time, but never have the opportunity to share her experience with her family and peers. Yet Rosa’s talent and spirit shine through and allow her to fight her fears and grow stronger.

This was a perfect read to curl up with on a cold, snowy afternoon. Highly recommended for all lovers of history, adventure, fantasy and fun for all ages ten and older.

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DISASTER IN THE DISTANCE

Sweetly The Dragon Dreams

Written by David Farland

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Novella is a a combination of sci-fi, fantasy, romance and technology rolled into one. The humans have lived for more than 100,000 years under the subjugation of a superior alien species. As the story opens, a young human girl named Tallori is gathering damselflies as an offering for the goddess known as the Holy Mistress. Humans must bring these offerings to the palace where the resplendent being resides with her skraals. When Tallori finds a dragon’s skull, she alerts her drunken father, Angar who gossips about his good fortune. Meantime Anduval who is gifted with four brains and favored by the holy maiden, is ordered to retrieve the dragon’s head. Angar has already split it with an axe; the magical lights from it arise, and Anduval catches and is blinded by one of them. The Holy Mistress realizes than an attack by the enemy is imminent and the entire kingdom is put to work to build a worldship on which to escape. The Holy Mistress urges Anduval to bring Tallori to the palace; he treats her as his sister, but Tallori falls in love with him. As the Holy Mistress prepares to give birth to her chrysalis, the kingdom struggles to put their escape plan into effect.

The plot is amazingly well developed considering the length of the tale; readers get a good taste of the characters. At the end of the story, I wanted still wanted more. Though this type of story is not my preferred genre, I felt compelled to read it cover to cover in one sitting. There are some veiled sexual references, but nothing objectionable for teen readers. Recommended for sci-fi, tech geeks, and even fans of romance.

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TIP OF THE ICEBERG

Face-Off

Written by Stacy Drumtra-Juba

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Fast moving young adult novella centering around the issues of sibling rivalry, family relationships, the sport of hockey, coming of age, and divorce. The McKendrick Family is undergoing a crisis. Parents are constantly fighting and are on the verge of divorce. A.J. McKendrick is an out of work architect struggling to make ends meet, placing additional strain on the marriage. High school juniors and fraternal twins, Brad and T.J., strive to shine in hockey, but T.J. has the better grades. Dad places unrealistic expectations on T.J. When finances force the parents to remove T.J. from private school, the brothers are faced with a new situation for rivalry; how to play together on the same hockey team. Their younger brother Chris gets into fights in school and attempts to run away. All this emotional stress plays havoc on the lives of the family, their school, and their friends. In addition, there are the coming of age issues related to romance and future career plans.

The short tale offers a lot to young teen readers. It is packed with action, emotional tension, details about the sport of hockey, and well-defined characters facing issues with which the reader may empathize. This book would be a good choice for a reluctant reader as the tone is conversational and smooth flowing. Juba immediately draws you in and holds your attention. Highly recommended for teens, particularly boys who love sports.

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THREE’S COMPANY

A Silent Yes: A Novella (A Quiet Life Book 1)

Written by Charlotte Thorpe

Asilentyes,picShort novella of approximately fifty pages that portrays the gentle tale of two orphaned brothers living in Kansas circa 1884. Matthias and his younger brother Justus live a quiet life on their farm. One day Silas Mitchell and his wife drive up in a wagon with a strange request. They have a sick cattle drive cook that they want to drop on their doorstep. They can’t keep her on the drive and have no one to care for her. These two brothers go in the house to discuss the situation when Silas takes off in a hurry. After a few days, the woman named Grace recovers. The brothers stay in the barn to avoid impropriety and treat her with respect. She asks to stay and volunteers her services as a cook, seamstress and housekeeper.

Matthias and Justus quickly acclimate to the new situation enjoying a lifestyle lost to them since their mother died twelve years before. Soon both the boys are attracted to Grace. They learn that Grace has no real family and no one to rely on for help. Will Grace find the courage to marry one of them or will she resign herself to disappear and go back to a life of poverty? Can the two brothers sort out their individual feelings toward their new resident? When the preacher arrives for a visit, they both know the time has come for a decision.

This is a sweet tale with no profanity or sex that alludes back to a simpler time. Kind of a cross between a piece of historical fiction and romance. The book is appropriate for readers age twelve and up. Characters are amazingly well-developed in the simple plot line. Nice well-written feel good kind of book for a lazy afternoon read.

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