Plan B by Steven Verrier

 Danny Roberts is enjoying life. He’s a straight A student playing in the school orchestra and on the fast track to university. But when Danny defies authority for the first time, things go wrong quickly. Luckily Danny doesn’t let these challenges get him down. He decides to fight back on his own terms and charts his own course to success. With the support of his parents, Plan B might just work.

In his second book, Steven Verrier, author of Tough Love, Tender Heart, switches gears to bring young adult readers a fun and engaging story of teenager Danny Roberts, whose life goes from charmed to downright awful in the span of a few days. I don’t want to spoil anything for potential readers by giving away too much of the beginning, but it is certainly the perfect opener for Plan B. Just imagine what it might have been like at your high school: your next class is at one end of the building, you’re at  the other, you’ve just eaten lunch, and unfortunately the distance is so great between Point A and Point B that you can’t fit in the crucial pee break without being late for class.

Such starts the downward spiral of Danny’s high school career. From there, it just gets funnier, as inept school administrators and educators use Danny’s first challenge to authority to derail his model high school career and potentially his future.

Problem is, after Danny gets beyond the high school issues, he doesn’t have a lot of conflict to deal with–unless you want to count deciding which girl to spend time with. That’s where the book lagged a bit for me, because the conflict didn’t keep pace with the rest of the story: it came on strong in the beginning and then waned. Because Danny is pretty much a genius, he is able to easily meet most of his challenges. I wanted to see his resolve tested more.

Despite that, Plan B kept me turning the pages, and I found it to be a quick, light read that I believe many teens will enjoy. I would definitely be interested in reading more from Verrier in the future.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Saga Books
  • ISBN-10: 1897512309
  • ISBN-13: 978-1897512302
  • SRP:  $15.95
  • Plan B

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    Writing for Young Adults by Stephen Masse, Author of Short Circus

    Today’s guest blogger is Stephen Masse, author of the young adult novel, Short Circus.

    Twelve-year-old Jem Lockwood has been fatherless for four years and finally gets a Big Brother, but just as the best summer of his life is about to begin, he discovers that Jesse Standish’s rented house is about to be sold. Jem does all in his daring imagination to make Jesse’s house unmarketable, and the neighborhood unfit for prospective buyers. This three-ring circus romps with Jem’s boyhood friends and older brother Chris, all recognizable kids who share in the rough-and-tumble delight of living in a northern Massachusetts city whose newspaper is delivered by kids on bikes, where kids play in the streets, and the local convenience store is owned by the family of Jesse’s girlfriend, Andrea. Sadly the city’s swimming pond has been sabotaged, and the city has to close it to all recreation after two boys are injured. Jem is sure he knows who did it, and helps carry out a plan to punish the evildoer. 

    Since Stephen also writes books for adults, I asked him to discuss the similiarities and differences in writing for two markets. Here’s what he had to say:

    I’d have to admit I’m not an authority on writing for young adults.

    What I do know is that it’s always a good idea to read a manuscript to a few kids before publishing. It could be an imperfect test, since your voice or personality may carry a flawed story – but in general kids will stop you cold in the middle of a sentence if logic, character, plausibility or relevance are lacking. When reading an excerpt of Short Circus to my 12 year old cousin, she caught me on a few points that surprised me – mostly because I had been blind to them. But even when a book has been polished, edited, copy-edited and published, it would be complete folly to assume all kids in the targeted audience will enjoy it, or find it relevant. Short Circus has a market mostly for boys between the ages of 12 and 16 who have struggled with loss or abandonment of a parent, grandparent, or guardian. Having said that, I find it amusing that adults are getting a kick out of the book, too. One reader e-mailed me that “reading Short Circus was like taking a hit on the crack pipe of childhood memories.” 

    To my mind, writing for adults and young readers is different only in the matter of choosing the subject and audience. The quality of the writing has to be excellent for either audience. Many classic stories are read by both children and adults. Obviously stories about children will be of more interest to children, and stories with adult themes will be of more interest to adults. The bottom line is for writers to trust their instincts and also trust their test readers.

    Stephen V. Masse was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He wrote his first novelat age 13, handwritten into a school composition book.

    Educated at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, he studied creative writing, and was author of a weekly newspaper column, “Out of Control.” His first novel for children, Shadow Stealer, was published by Dillon Press in 1988. Short Circus is his second novel for children.

    In addition to children’s books, Masse has written A Jolly Good Fellow, winner of the Silver Medal in the 2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards, as well as honorable mention in the 2008 New England Book Festival for best books of the holiday season.

    You can read more about Stephen and his work at



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    The Elf of Luxembourg by Tom Weston

    Alex and Jackie are back with a new adventure in The Elf of Luxembourg by Tom Weston.

    Sisters Alex and Jackie O’Rourke vacation with Aunt Anne and Uncle Jim in Luxembourg. Along with shopping, they find an unexpected adventure involving vampires and an elf.

    Hundreds of years ago, the lands of the Muisca were invaded and the wife and son of Cuchaquicha, kidnapped. While many treasurers were gained, what the invaders truly sought was El Dorado. The vampires believed Cucha could draw out the elf who was the guardian of El Dorado, but their plan failed.

    Four hundred years later, Jackie and Alex are traveling the streets of Luxembourg, when they are given a strange gold coin. The coin and a meeting with a handsome and mysterious stranger pulls the girls into a dangerous adventure that places them in the middle of a battle between the vampires and the elf.  

    As with the first book in this series, First Night, Tom Weston uses an historically rich location and his own imagination to create a young adult fantasy novel that is both unique and engaging. While The Elf of Luxembourg is the second book in this series, you do not have to read the first book in order to follow these events, as this is a stand-alone book. And just like in First Night, Jackie and Alex manage to stumble into the thick of things without realizing it. Don’t you think they should learn by now? 🙂

    The story of Cuchaquicha and his desire to be reunited with his wife and son connects Alex and Jackie to the past, but it is also a love story that readers get to see unfold as the book progresses.

    Weston has a different style than many of the YA books I’ve read. He chooses a third person narrator to unfold the story, versus having it be told from the point of view of one of the young main characters. As a result, he is able to share the rich history of landmarks in Luxembourg up to the present day. This decision does have its drawbacks, however, as it doesn’t allow the reader to get inside Jackie’s and Alex’s heads. For a character-driven reader, this style might be a challenge. That said,  this was the same style Weston used in First Night, and even though I am a character-driven reader, I requested to review the second book in the series.

    The Elf of Luxembourg is a great addition to the Alex and Jackie series. With the popularity of Twilight, I’m certain this book will have many fans.

    Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: tom weston media 
  • ISBN-10: 0981941346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981941349
  • SRP:  $10.95

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    Winner of Raccoon Tales by Joy DeKok

     Our congratulations go out to Jenni, winner of a copy of Raccoon Tales by Joy DeKok!

    Raccoon Tales is the true-life journey in the first year of the lives of these little “wash bears.” Written in easy-to-read verse, author, Joy DeKok, tells the story with tenderness and energy. Readers will leave the story glad they came, knowing more about raccoons, and what a wild animal rescue and release looks like. Illustrator Leslie Helen Colwin’s art brings the story to life. 

    Sad that you didn’t win a copy of this wonderful book? We understand, but don’t fret. Just click on over to Joy’s B4K website to pick up a copy.

    Thanks to all who participated in this giveaway.  Look for more giveaways coming soon from The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection!

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    The Raindrop by Brian D. McClure – Giveaway

    Through the uplifting rhymes and profound messages of acceptance, respect and understanding, author Brian D. McClure educates and entertains children, parents and grandparents in the adventurous journey of The Raindrop. In this story, The Raindrop experiences many emotions as it travels from feelings of uselessness to the discovery of its importance and Interdependence of all things big and small.

    The Raindrop, like the other seven books in The Brian D. McClure Children’s book series, offer universal life lessons that empower and educate the whole family.

    Read an Excerpt!

    I am just a raindrop; I am smaller than small.
    What am I doing here? I have no use at all…

    “What are you talking about?” asked the Cloud, “You are part of the water system, and you should be proud.”

    “No,” said the Raindrop, “I am sure you are wrong. I am good for nothing, and soon I’ll be gone.”

    “I know your problem,” the Cloud said in reply. “I can do nothing to help you, I can only stand by. However, before you go, there is something I would like you to know. Without you, there would be no life on earth. I urge you to rethink, the state of your worth!”

    Read What Reviewers are Saying!

    “I enjoyed speaking with Brian on “A Call to Consciousness.” The questions he asked gave me the space to share my message with his loyal legion of listeners.” –Dan Millman, International Bestselling Author “The Peaceful Warrior”

    “I Support The Universal Flag From The Core of My Being.” –Dr. Wayne Dyer

    “We can all benefit from being a part of Brian McClure’s “A Call To Consciousness” radio program.” – Adrian Windsor, Program Coordinator for Inside Edge

    Note: We’ll be reviewing this title soon.

    Ohio born native Brian McClure is the Founder and President of The Universal Flag and its affiliate companies. He is an author, human rights advocate and messenger of the oneness of all. Inside of the Universal Flag Companies, he set up a Non Profit Foundation to help relieve the suffering which he has witnessed in third world countries, along with spreading the Universal Flags throughout the World. The flag was recently paraded and flown at The United Nations as part of World Peace Day.

    Brian has been interviewed on countless national radio shows and has been in a number of publications including CNN, CBS & NBC TV. He is the host the hit radio show, “A Call To Consciousness” – which is heard weekly on KTLK 1150AM in Los Angeles and KFNX 110AM in Phoenix Arizona.

    He has spoken at many organizations, churches and institutions including The Agape Spiritual Center, The Inside Edge and The Onion based at the Unity Spiritual movement Center. Brian’s humanitarian efforts have extended worldwide. Recently Brian took it upon himself to visit and document impoverished communities in Sierra Leone which had just ended an 11 year war several years before, and Uganda. Upon his return he has been very proactive creating awareness about the real conditions which go largely unreported in the US.

    Brian once stated: ”The power of a symbol cannot be underestimated. Politicians use symbols to gather and mobilize support. Corporations use logos to create effective, profitable brand loyalties. Now, the world has a new symbol, the Universal Flag is one that calls forth promise and potential for all. It defines our interconnectedness and oneness with ALL.” As Brian has said many times, “the Universal Flag Symbol acts as a signpost reminding us of our deepest truths. The symbol represents a world filled with infinite possibilities.”

    Brian has developed an awareness of equality among all people and nationalities. His primary goal is to help people remember that inside each of us we hold the higher truths that are transforming our world.

    You can visit Brian online at and

    Enter to Win a Copy of The Raindrop by Brian McClure!

    Now that you’ve read how great this book is, don’t you want to own a copy for your child, grandchild or other special kid in your life?

    Here’s how to enter:

    1) Leave a comment here with a working email address so that we can contact you if you win.

    2) Tweet about this contest for an extra entry. Leave us the link to your tweet. 

    3) Announce this contest on Facebook for two additional entries. Show us you did.

    4) Blog about this contest for three additional entries. Make sure you leave us a link to where you blogged about it.

    This contest will run from today until 11:59 PM (Eastern) on April 30th. We’ll announce a winner in early May.

    Good luck to all who enter!


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