First Chapter Review: Seventh Dimension – The Door by Lorilyn Roberts 

Seventh Dimension – The Door by Lorilyn Roberts is a Christian young adult fantasy novel.

BLURB: The Door is the first book in the Seventh Dimension Series that combines contemporary, historical, and fantasy elements into a Christian “coming-of-age” story. A curse put on Shale Snyder, because of a secret, shrouds her with insecurity and fear. Following suspension from school, Shale’s best friend isn’t allowed to see her anymore and she feels abandoned by her family. When a stray dog befriends her, she follows it into the woods. There she discovers a door that leads to another world…

COVER: This is a beautiful cover. The colors, the artwork, and the font all work together nicely to create a cover that catches the eye and makes you want to read what the story is about.

FIRST CHAPTER: While hiding, Shale overhears Judd, Rachel, and Chumana talking about a horrible accident. Two years later, on the way home from school, Judd and Shale have a difference of opinion. That’s when Shale sees the white dog for the first time.

KEEP READING: If it weren’t for the cliffhanger of the white dog appearing at the end of the chapter that piqued my curiosity, I’m really not sure. Judd and Chumana are not likeable from the start. Rachel and Shale engage in a conversation that seems to be nothing more than an info dump on Shale’s life. I might keep reading a chapter or two to see how the story progresses. This book has won numerous awards, so maybe it is just starting off slow for me.

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B009R8Q1WC
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Rear Guard Publishing, Inc.; 2nd edition (December 19, 2013)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ December 19, 2013
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 3384 KB
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 255 pages

I picked this up as a Kindle freebie in December 2012. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

New Release: Mara the Space Traveler by An Leysen

Mara’s biggest wish is to become an astronaut ― to discover new planets. Sometimes dreams and wishes come true . . . She lands on the most beautiful planet she has ever seen. But the planet is in trouble and only Mara can help.

A wonderful space adventure about a small girl with big dreams and a big heart. For astronauts and explorers ages 6 and up.

Age Range: 6 and up
Grade Level: 2 – 3
Lexile Measure: 600L
Hardcover: 56 pages
Publisher: Clavis (June 16, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1605375276
ISBN-13: 978-1605375274

Order here!

 

 

Interview with Brian Wilkinson, Author of Battledoors: The Golden Slate

Brian Wilkinson is a first-time author who was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario, and now lives in Toronto with his family. He has a background in journalism and a couple of degrees in the arts that have led him to his current career as a high school teacher and librarian.

Prior to all of this, Brian was a journalist who worked in various capacities for publications like the Toronto Star, the Toronto Sun, and Kidscreen Magazine. He even landed an issue of X-Men working for Marvel comics.

Combining his love of teaching and writing, Brian is releasing his first two young adult books, Battledoors: The Golden Slate, and Paramnesia, through Blue Moon Publishers in the fall of 2018.

You can find out more at his website, bewilkinson.wordpress.com.

Thank you for joining us today, Brian. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I have a great job working in education, a wonderful and supportive wife, two kids, a dog, the whole nine yards. It’s been a long road to get here with lots of hard work, setbacks of various kinds, and all the rest, but ultimately I have done my best and now here I am.

Now that I’m lucky enough to be writing books (and getting them published!) things are even better. I had some experience as a journalist and as a freelance writer for Marvel Comics, but all of that took a backseat to my main career as a teacher. Luckily, my career dovetails with my love of writing and has given me the opportunity to tell my stories!

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I remember quite clearly being in the 11th or 12th grade, in a creative writing class, and getting an assignment that was to put together a collection of poems or short stories, or to write a novel. I’m sure the last one was a bit of a lark on the part of a teacher who didn’t expect it, but I went home and wrote a 120 page novel over the course of a day or two. It wasn’t brilliant, but it also wasn’t too hard to put together.

I say that and people roll their eyes. But honestly, it wasn’t hard for me. That’s when I realized that it wasn’t so much an easy thing to do as it was something that I had a knack for. Kids who excelled in other subjects like science baffled me… how can you just take to that stuff? That’s how it was for me and writing. Yet, I didn’t push it any further. I was content knowing that it was something I could do. I was a writer who didn’t write. Until recently, that is.

Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?

I write for young adults for a couple of reasons. One, they are my main audience as a professional and I interact with hundreds of them on a daily basis. They are amazing, intelligent people who are bursting with imagination and potential. Plus, they’re just fun.

As a teacher and librarian, I take in a lot of teenage culture both passively and actively. When I buy books for the school, I want to make sure that they are reading quality things. Part of that involves reading the books and YA in particular. Thanks to all of those influences and my personal enjoyment of the genre, it all naturally tends to bend in that direction. 

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

For me, it’s the instant feedback. I have groups at the school who share writing amongst each other and they just get really into things. Adults will read things, take it in and let it go, but kids breathe it. They become much more invested. Seeing kids argue about my characters and my work was just kind of surreal. They believed in my stories to a level that most others wouldn’t. It was humbling, to be honest.

Which is also where the challenge comes. You want to make sure that it rings true, especially the characters, that the book is accessible, it’s enjoyable, and that is has some staying power to hold their interest. You also want to make sure that it speaks to them about ideas and themes in a mature way that isn’t condescending.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

My books are meant to be fun. The tone is lighthearted, but there are serious moments and beats that hopefully make them a compelling read.

My first book, Battledoors: The Golden Slate, is about a teenager named Owen dealing with the loss of his mother and a move to Toronto for a fresh start. Though he tries to be invisible, he catches the attention both of a pair of bullies and a pair of girls, one of whom he has a crush on. All five of them then stumble across a magical object, called a Battledoor, which opens a doorway to a parallel version of our world. These kids need to make either/or choices that the Battledoor presents in order to get the story they are living to come to an end and get back home. It’s sort of a modern take on the old choose-your-own-adventure stories. They go to strange places, meet interesting people, and of course, take on the villain.

My other novel is Paramnesia. This is a supernatural story about a girl named Nora who finds she has the ability to see the dead after she and her boyfriend are attacked by a creature known as the Revenant. Her boyfriend dies and she tries to get on with her life, but it’s hard when he still comes to see her.  Nora meets other people, living and dead alike, who try to help her deal with her new reality. There’s a mixture of humour and horror here that I think works really well.

What inspired you to write it?

I wrote my books shortly before the birth of my children. I was a writer who didn’t write because I didn’t have a particular need. When my children were coming, I looked around my house to see what there was that I might leave them one day. What was here that would remind them of who their dad was and how much he loved them? When I realized I was just looking at a bunch of ‘things’ I decided to write them stories. What you have now are edited and evolved from those stories; the originals of which I’ll find some way in the future to put in their hands. Really, though, these books are for them.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

The books aren’t out yet, but when they are, they’ll be available through most major book stores including Chapters/Indigo, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. Order away! 

What is up next for you?

I have a sequel already written for Battledoors called The Black Spyre. Beyond that, I have several other books planned to follow up both Battledoors and Paramnesia. Hopefully people will want to read them!

Do you have anything else to add?

I’ve never written books before, certainly not on a scale like this. My hope is that people enjoy them and find something in them to connect with!

Thank you for spending time with us today, Brian. We wish you much success.

Thank you!

Guest Book Review: More Than This by Patrick Ness

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Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (July 22, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0763676209
ISBN-13: 978-0763676209
Genre: Dystopian
Suggested reading Age: Grade 9+

Three stars

Seventeen-year-old Seth drowns; in fact his action is deliberate. He wants to escape the horror of his existence. Racked with guilt over the fate of his younger brother, an event he feels is his entire fault, he doesn’t have much to live for. Then he wakes up, back in his old home in England, and things start becoming very weird indeed. He is wrapped in silvery bandages, and his old street is deserted. The whole place is uninhabited and overgrown. He seems to be the only person left alive in the world. He must now forage and scrounge for clothing, food and water. He wonders if this is hell. His dreams don’t help because his previous life comes back to him in huge, unwelcome chunks of memory. Then he meets two other people, with their own unique and strange tales to tell.

Despite the fantastic beginning, with a description that pulled me right into the ocean with Seth, I struggled to finish this book. Parts of it were incredibly exciting and then would grind to a halt with unnecessary introspective and philosophical meanderings on the part of the main character, meanderings which became boring and one had the urge to say, “Oh, just get on with it!” The plus side: an utterly riveting and plausible story premise that comes much later on (just when you are wondering what on earth this is all about and is he dead or not, and if everyone else is dead, then where are the bodies?); really wonderful descriptions that have the reader in the grip of the moment; action and tension to add to the positively bleak and hopeless situation; events that come out of nowhere that have a cinematographic and surreal feel to them; the depth of emotion Seth feels for the loss of his younger brother and his friends. In fact, Seth’s guilt is so palpable that one is consumed with curiosity to learn the truth. The two characters that join him are so different, so lost as well, and so eager to hide the circumstances of their lives/deaths. One feels the pain of the characters as they reveal the humiliating and tragic burdens they each carry.

What I did not enjoy: the flashbacks were sometimes jarring and intrusive, until I accepted them as part of the story-telling process; the fact that this world, while it began as an interesting construct, did not have enough to sustain the story and/or the last three inhabitants. I found the ending abrupt and it short-changes the reader in a way. There were many loose ends in the unfolding of this tale that I feel the author might have tried to answer. The characters were confused and, as a result, the reader becomes confused. It is as if the author didn’t bother to work things out to the last detail, which is possibly not the case, but feels that way. The reference to same sex love/relationships was dealt with sensitively and delicately, in an almost tender way. However, this might surprise readers who are not prepared for it, especially if the reader is younger than the protagonist’s age of 17. Ultimately, the characters’ thoughts on what constitutes life and death, and the option of living in a constructed world, avoiding the reality of a life too sad/tragic/hopeless to contemplate should give readers food for thought. However, I have no doubt that the intended audience of older teens and YA readers will love this book.

http://www.amazon.com/More-Than-This-Patrick-Ness/dp/0763676209/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

 

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.

Interview with Kristi Helvig, Author of Burn Out

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Writer Kristi Helvig makes her authorial debut with her young adult sci-fi novel “Burn Out” (Egmont USA) in spring 2014.

Helvig was born in North Carolina and grew up in Delaware. She holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Fla. She has spent her career in Colorado as a successful clinical psychologist and life coach. She regularly gives lectures
as a professional psychologist and visits schools where she talks with students about books and publishing.

Helvig has contributed as a guest blogger at LiteraryRambles.com and keeps her own blog updated with musings about “Star Trek,” space monkeys, books and other assorted topics.

The geek-for-science-fiction lives outside of Denver, Colo., with her husband of 17 years, two children and their behaviorally challenged dogs. In her spare time, Helvig practices yoga, hikes and loves trying new wines.

Visit Kristi online at http://www.kristihelvig.com/

How did you research the true science involved in “Burn Out?”

Google is a writer’s best friend and I always start there, but it can only take you so far. I watched a lot of documentaries on NatGeo, Science Channel, etc. and then contacted an astrophysics department at a large university. Nothing beats talking to experts in the field, and I was flattered that they took time out of their busy schedules to help me.

As you were learning about these scientific concepts, was there anything that surprised you?

I learned that sending all the world’s nuclear weapons into the sun wouldn’t cause it to burn out. Who knew? Finding a plausible way for the sun to burn out early was challenging, and where I definitely relied on assistance from astrophysicists.

Tell us about the themes you explored in the book and what you hope they mean to readers.

Trust is a huge theme throughout the book, as well as how to move forward after devastating losses. Weapons also play a big role in the book. New technology in my main character’s world has allowed for smarter, more lethal guns and she struggles with their impact on Earth’s remaining survivors.

Did your work as a clinical psychologist influence your writing?

Absolutely. I’ve seen hundreds of clients over the years and though everyone processes events according to their unique perspective, the experiences of love, fear, pain, and loss are common to humanity. It’s interesting to see how people interpret life events within their own personal construct.

What do you like about writing science fiction?burn out

That’s easy. I get to make up whole new worlds and then see what happens when I let characters loose in them. It’s creative and fun, and I get paid to do it. I couldn’t imagine anything better.

What advice do you have for other aspiring writers?

Never give up. Eat lots of chocolate. Drink lots of wine. Seriously though, the most important thing is to keep writing and find some good, honest critique partners…and then listen to them. Always strive to improve your craft. Read a lot. Reading is just as important to me as writing.

If your book were turned into a movie, who would you like to see play Tora, Markus and James?

What a fun question! I think Emily Browning would make a kick-ass Tora, and Skylar Astin as Markus would be awesome. James is tougher. Either Cam Gigandet or Alexander Ludwig is close to how I pictured James as I wrote him.

Who are some of your favorite science fiction and fantasy writers?

Lois Lowry, Madeleine L’Engle, Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury to name a few. Additionally, though they’re not straight sci-fi writers, Neil Gaiman and Stephen King have had a huge influence on me.

What’s the best compliment you’ve received about your book so far?

My favorite so far was when a fellow author told me how much she loved my main character, Tora, and called her “the female Han Solo.” You can’t get a cooler compliment than that.

Is there a second “Burn Out” book in the works?

Yes, I’m hard at work on the second book, and I’m having a blast with it.

Hardcover, $17.99; eBook, $13.07
ISBN: 978-1606844793
Young Adult Science Fiction, 272 pages
Egmont USA, April 8, 2014

Purchase here!