EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN by Lindsey Lane

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Tommy Smythe is a geeky teen who’s gone missing from a small town in Texas. We learn about him through bits of his diary (he loves quantum theory) and police interviews of the townsfolk who know him. Tommy is socially awkward, a loner. What happened to Tommy? Did he run away seeking the truth about his birth parents? Did something bad happen in the turn around? And what about his almost compulsive fascination with the possibility of alternative universes? Did he slip into another dimension? All we know is, as the entire town searches, all these possibilities are equally valid.

We never meet Tommy but we do meet some fascinating interconnected characters who dance near him. Some of their tales are sweet. Some are harsh and horrifying. The book contains mature themes including child labor abuses, violence, rape, and child prostitution.

The last place Tommy is seen is used to anchor the story and becomes almost a character in and of itself. The construction of this novel is fascinating and worth a read for that alone. This is a memorable book. The ending is somewhat open ended but satisfying at the same time. Certainly, the book that will stay with you after you close its cover.

Amazon link: goo.gl/nOo8Cm

Good News for Elephants

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photo: Johnny Ljunggren

With 2017 getting off to a limping start, I am happy to report some good news this week for the long term survival of elephants. China will end trade in ivory this summer. Prior to European colonization of Africa, elephant numbers were thought to be around 20 million. The continent today  is home to less than 500,000 elephants.

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My latest book, Elephants Never Forgotten, envisions a time when the great African plains no longer support these majestic creatures. They are missed and an effort is underway to bring them back. To write the book, I did a lot of research on these sentient creatures and their emotional lives. I hope readers get to know these animals on a deeper level and come to see their value (and the value of all life).

Amazon link: https://goo.gl/EdYS3C

FREE: Into the Land of Snows

This is the only time I will be doing this promotion. Get your FREE Kindle copy from Amazon (now through Dec. 10th). Snuggle up by the fire and join Blake as he treks in the Himalayas. Happy holidays to everyone! (We have a house in Brussels and we’re moving in Jan. I’ll join you from Belgium in the new year.)

GRAB YOUR FREE COPY HERE:   https://goo.gl/O6Bvxq

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3 Creepy Tales for Middle Graders

The days grow shorter and the nights carry a chill. Halloween is just around the corner and here are some suitably scary tales for fall.

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox

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Twelve-year-old Katherine Bateson believes in a logical explanation for everything. But even she can’t make sense of the strange goings-on at Rookskill Castle, the drafty old Scottish castle-turned-school where she and her siblings have been sent to escape the London Blitz. What’s making those mechanical shrieks at night? Why do the castle’s walls seem to have a mind of their own? And who are the silent children who seem to haunt Rookskill’s grounds? Kat believes Lady Eleanor, who rules the castle, is harboring a Nazi spy. But when her classmates begin to vanish, one by one, Kat must face the truth about what the castle actually harbors–and what Lady Eleanor is–before it’s too late.

Brightwood by Tania Unsworth

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Daisy Fitzjohn knows there are two worlds: the outside world and the world of her home, a secluded mansion called Brightwood Hall. But only Brightwood is real for Daisy–she’s never once set foot outside its grounds. Daisy and her mother have everything they need within Brightwood’s magnificent, half-ruined walls, including Daisy’s best friends: a talking rat named Tar and the ghost of a long-ago explorer who calls herself Frank.

When Daisy’s mother leaves one morning, a peculiar visitor, James Gritting, arrives on the estate, claiming to be a distant cousin. But as the days tick by and Daisy’s mother doesn’t return, Gritting becomes more and more menacing. He wants Brightwood for himself, and he will do anything to get it.

Curse of the Boggin by DJ MacHale

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There’s a place beyond this world, beyond the land of the living, where ghosts go to write their unfinished stories—stories that ended too soon. It’s a place for unexplained phenomena: mysteries that have never been solved, spirits that have never been laid to rest. And there’s only one way in or out.

It’s called the Library, and you can get there with a special key. But beware! Don’t start a story you can’t finish. Because in this library, the stories you can’t finish just might finish you.

 

Excavating Pema Ozer by Yudron Yangmo

 

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As you all probably know, I have a deep interest in Buddhism and recently came across this book. It is a wonderful story of a teenager coming into contact with Tibetan Buddhism for the first time.

Here’s the blurb:

Weslyn Redinger wants one thing: to be normal again. Racked by panic attacks that have ruined her life and driven off her friends in the months since she saw the body of a young boy she loved rolled out to a waiting ambulance, she is now drawn into a circle of seekers who surround a mysterious stranger living in her grandmother’s backyard shed. After reluctantly attending his teachings, a series of dreams is unleashed—as vivid as her waking life. At night she is an attendant to the female teacher Uza Khandro from the Tibetan countryside, during the day she is a flawed sixteen-year-old struggling to get control over her body and her life. Why does she care so much about this man’s story of a long-lost set of Tibetan books hoarded by a greedy collector?

Amazon link: http://goo.gl/TFX8sy

 

BORN OF ILLUSION by Teri Brown

 

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This is an engaging story of teen Anna Van Housen’s life as a stage magician during the 1920s. When Anna and her mother relocate to New York City, their lives become more stable with sold-out shows. Unfortunately, Anna’s relationship with her mother is strained and when she insists that they continue to do séances on the side, Anna becomes worried. Although the séances are totally fabricated, Anna has real psychic ability she has yet to come to terms with. Continuing with the séances also puts them under the scrutiny of the police and debunkers (not the least of which is Harry Houdini who happens to be in New York as well). As success with the magic show and the séances grow, Anna gets mixed up with paranormal researchers, a high society bachelor, and a kidnapping plot. It’s a fast moving book with lots of well-researched facts about New York and the 1920s. And Harry Houdini might just be Anna’s father.

BOOK GIVE-AWAY CONTEST:

June 9, 2016  CONTEST CLOSED:

The winners are TA Sullivan and wildteadrinker. I’ve sent messages to you both. Congratulations!!

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It’s contest time! Leave a comment below and be entered to win a copy of the electronic version of Elephants Never Forgotten. Contest closes at noon (EST) on Tuesday (June 7th). Two books will be awarded on Thursday, June 9th. As a theme, name a sci-fi book (or author) you like.

Here’s a Story for You:

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I was the kind of kid who read stories about kids doing things. Going places, discovering things, solving mysteries. Of course, there had to be obstacles. Maybe a bad guy, difficult situations to overcome, parents to get rid of (not in the kill’em off sense) but more in the way of finding freedom and doing what you want. In some ways, it was a huge fantasy! I grew up with four brothers and two sisters and doing anything without someone knowing was close to impossible. BUT, some of them could be bought off. Silly fantasy, really. I was the biggest tattle tale there was! Always being “on the straight and narrow” prevented lots of escapes and adventures except for in books and in my mind.

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photo: Laslovarga, 2013

A headline from this week’s news (try finding one that’s not about the insane election, right about now), has challenged my sense of adventure. What if a 15 year old boy discovers a lost Mayan city no one else knew was there? He’s a smart kid, maybe even gifted, and he gets this ludicrous idea that by studying star maps he can decode the placement of an entire civilization? He sets out to prove this, but silly adult organizations like NASA and the Canadian Space Agency won’t loan him their satellite photos. Said kid takes to the road, abandoning his sane life, and becoming a young version of Indiana Jones- except his temples turn out to be real. Anyway, once the book’s out, Steven Spielberg will be making it into a movie.

For more about the real kid, named William Gadoury, click the link. The space agencies did support him and it looks like he’s made quite a find!

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/forgotten-mayan-city-discovered-in-central-america-by-15-year-old-a7021291.html