The European adventure is over! I’m going home. New house, new community, and a new book release. Are you ready for a ghost story? I’ll be back in Colorado next week and life starts again!
Every once in a while, I scroll through the new offerings in my library’s YA e-books list. Often the “hottest” books are all checked out and I’m not great at waiting for the holds queue. Although if I really, really want a certain book, I will try it before resorting to buying it. Sometimes I find something available that I want to read right away. Sometimes nothing appeals and I run over to Amazon because they have a much better search engine that can find a book without me pulling my hair out! (Who designs these library search functions? I’m torn between whether I think they should be ashamed of themselves or just locked up in a mental ward.) Anyway, a recent search had me positively giddy with delight! I found a ton of books I’m interested in. I’ve listed them below and will be starting with Haunting the Deep by Ariana Mather. From there, I don’t know which title I’ll be able to get or when, but this is going to be my basic reading list. Maybe you’ll find a book below you might want to try, or comment on one you have already read. Let me know!!
Haunting the Deep– Ariana Mather
“The Titanic meets the delicious horror of Ransom Riggs and the sass of Mean Girls in this follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller How to Hang a Witch, in which a contemporary teen finds herself a passenger on the famous “ship of dreams”—a story made all the more fascinating because the author’s own relatives survived the doomed voyage.”
The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen– Katherine Howe
“It’s July in New York City, and aspiring filmmaker Wes Auckerman has just arrived to start his summer term at NYU. While shooting a séance at a psychic’s in the East Village, he meets a mysterious, intoxicatingly beautiful girl named Annie.
As they start spending time together, Wes finds himself falling for her, drawn to her rose-petal lips and her entrancing glow. There’s just something about her that he can’t put his finger on, something faraway and otherworldly that compels him to fall even deeper. Annie’s from the city, and yet she seems just as out of place as Wes feels. Lost in the chaos of the busy city streets, she’s been searching for something—a missing ring. And now Annie is running out of time and needs Wes’s help. As they search together, Annie and Wes uncover secrets lurking around every corner, secrets that will reveal the truth of Annie’s dark past.”
The Last Leaves Falling– Sarah Benwell
“A teen grapples with ALS and his decision to die in this “deeply moving” (Booklist, starred review) debut novel infused with the haunting grace of Japanese poetry and the noble importance of friendship.
Sora is going to die, and he’s only seventeen years old. Diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), he’s already lost the use of his legs, which means he can no longer attend school. Seeking a sense of normality, Sora visits teen chat rooms online and finally finds what he’s been longing for: friendship without pity.
As much as he loves his new friends, he can’t ignore what’s ahead. He’s beginning to lose the function of his hands, and soon he’ll become even more of a burden to his mother. Inspired by the death poems of the legendary Japanese warriors known as samurai, Sora makes the decision to leave life on his own terms. And he needs his friends to help him.”
It Wasn’t Always Like This– Joy Preble
“In 1916, Emma O’Neill is frozen in time. After sampling an experimental polio vaccine brewed on a remote island off St. Augustine, Florida, she and her family stop aging—as do the Ryans, her family’s business partners. In a way, this suits Emma fine because she’s in love with Charlie Ryan. Being seventeen forever with him is a dream. But soon a group of religious fanatics, the Church of Light, takes note. Drinking the elixir has made the O’Neills and Ryans impervious to aging, but not to murder—Emma and Charlie are the only ones who escape with their lives.
On the run, Emma is tragically separated from Charlie. For the next hundred years, she plays a cat-and-mouse game with the founding members of the Church of Light and their descendants. Over the years, a series of murders—whose victims all bear more than a passing resemblance to her—indicate that her enemies are closing in. Yet as the danger grows, so does Emma’s hope for finding the boy she’s certain is still out there . . .”
A Psalm for Lost Girls– Katie Bayer
“Tess da Costa is a saint—a hand-to-god, miracle-producing saint. At least that’s what the people in her hometown of New Avon, Massachusetts, seem to believe. And when Tess suddenly and tragically passes away, her small city begins feverishly petitioning the Pope to make Tess’s sainthood official. Tess’s mother is ecstatic over the fervor, while her sister Callie, the one who knew Tess best, is disgusted—overcome with the feeling that her sister is being stolen from her all over again.
The fervor for Tess’s sainthood only grows when Ana Langone, a local girl who’s been missing for six months, is found alive at the foot of one of Tess’s shrines. It’s the final straw for Callie. With the help of Tess’s secret boyfriend Danny, Callie’s determined to prove that Tess was something far more important than a saint; she was her sister, her best friend and a girl in love with a boy. But Callie’s investigation uncovers much more than she bargained for—a hidden diary, old family secrets, and even the disturbing truth behind Ana’s kidnapping. Told in alternating perspectives, A Psalm for Lost Girls is at once funny, creepy and soulful—an impressive debut from a rising literary star.”
The Inconceivable Life of Quinn– Marianna Baer
“Quinn Cutler is sixteen and the daughter of a high-profile Brooklyn politician. She’s also pregnant, a crisis made infinitely more shocking by the fact that she has no memory of ever having sex. Before Quinn can solve this deeply troubling mystery, her story becomes public. Rumors spread, jeopardizing her reputation, her relationship with a boyfriend she adores, and her father’s campaign for Congress. Religious fanatics gather at the Cutlers’ home, believing Quinn is a virgin, pregnant with the next messiah. Quinn’s desperate search for answers uncovers lies and family secrets—strange, possibly supernatural ones. Might she, in fact, be a virgin?”
Coming from Colorado to live in the Low Countries, I was immediately drawn into the wealth of colors the early breaking spring delivered here. People took great care with small spaces planting gorgeous flowers that have bloomed from early March right through. Right now, showy hydrangeas in white, blues, and pinks overflow my neighbors yards. I have enjoyed all the sights, textures, and scents as I walk the streets. It also got me thinking about books centered around a garden. Below are a few I think may be worth checking out.
The Girl from the Tea Garden- Janet MacLeod Trotter
“In the dying days of the Raj, Anglo-Indian schoolgirl Adela Robson dreams of a glamorous career on the stage. When she sneaks away from school in the back of handsome Sam Jackman’s car, she knows a new life awaits—but it is not the one she imagined.
In Simla, the summer seat of the Raj government, Adela throws herself into all the dazzling entertainments 1930s Indian society can offer a beautiful debutante. But just as her ambitions seem on the cusp of becoming reality, she meets a charming but spoilt prince, setting in motion a devastating chain of events.
The outbreak of the Second World War finds Adela back in England—a country she cannot remember—without hope or love, and hiding a shameful secret. Only exceptional courage and endurance can pull her through these dark times and carry her back to the homeland of her heart.”
The Princess’s Garden: Royal Intrigue & the Untold Story of Kew- Vanessa Berridge
“The British enthusiasm for gardening has fascinating roots. The Empire and trade across the globe created an obsession with exotic new plants, and showed the power and reach of Britain in the early eighteenth century. At that time, national influence wasn’t measured by sporting success, musical or artistic influence. Instead it was expressed in the design of parks and gardens such as Kew and Stowe, and the style of these grand gardens was emulated first throughout Britain and then increasingly around the world.”
The Secret Garden- Frances Hodgson Burnett
“Mistress Mary is quite contrary until she helps her garden grow. Along the way, she manages to cure her sickly cousin Colin, who is every bit as imperious as she. These two are sullen little peas in a pod, closed up in a gloomy old manor on the Yorkshire moors of England, until a locked-up garden captures their imaginations and puts the blush of a wild rose in their cheeks; “It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place any one could imagine. The high walls which shut it in were covered with the leafless stems of roses which were so thick, that they matted together…. ‘No wonder it is still,’ Mary whispered. ‘I am the first person who has spoken here for ten years.'” As new life sprouts from the earth, Mary and Colin’s sour natures begin to sweeten. For anyone who has ever felt afraid to live and love, The Secret Garden‘s portrayal of reawakening spirits will thrill and rejuvenate. Frances Hodgson Burnett creates characters so strong and distinct, young readers continue to identify with them even 85 years after they were conceived.”
I first became acquainted with Heather’s work through reading her book Ultreia. It’s a wonderful book about a woman named Tess and her spiritual journey while running a past-life travel agency. Such a great premise! Recently, I’ve begun reading her fun, fantasy series for middle-grade readers (ages 9-12) called The Prism Walkers.
In the first of the series, entitled Into Exaltia, we meet twelve year old Sara and her ten year old sister Molly. They are visiting their grandmother over spring break. The girls are bored and it’s up to Sara to keep Molly entertained and out of trouble. Things take a turn when a magical portal is opened and they find themselves in Exaltia. Sara and Molly are drawn into an adventure and towards their destiny.
Welcome Heather. I’m glad you could join us to talk about your books for young readers.
How did the idea for Prism Walkers come to you?
Thank you so much, Ellis, for having me today. I was working on the books about Tess that you mentioned above. My husband and I were flying to Europe for a vacation and some book research for that series in May 2014. Earlier that morning I had read an Edgar Cayce reading about myself and it mentioned that I would enjoy writing children’s books. I dismissed the idea immediately. However, the first night that we slept in Dublin, as I was waking up, the story of the Prism Walkers “downloaded” into my head. Most of my stories come to me as I am waking up and this one was no different. I told my husband that morning over breakfast, “Well, I guess I am writing a children’s book.”
Are you more like Sara or Molly? And, how so?
I am more like Sara. Although I think I may have a bit of Molly’s sass too. My younger sister and I spent a lot of time at our grandma’s house when we were growing up. We enjoyed our time with our grandmother very much. The house in the Prism Walker books is modeled after my grandma’s house.
When I was growing up, I took it upon myself to keep my sister entertained. I would make up fantasy adventures for her and make-believe the backyard was a magical land. Our uncle also gave us a prism that we loved to look through.
What were your favorite kinds of stories at their ages? Any favorite authors come to mind?
Good question. I had to go back in my mind a bit to remember. I did like the Nancy Drew mysteries. I also enjoyed Judy Blume books, E.W. Hildick’s “The Active Enzyme, Lemon Freshened, Junior High School Witch.” I also enjoyed “The Hobbit” by JRR Tolkein, and “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster.
I also read and re-read Henry David Thoreau’s “On Walden Pond”. Some of it was beyond my level of understanding as a child but I was determined to keep reading it. I took that book everywhere and still have that beat up copy.
Since you write fiction for both grown-ups and kids, I’m curious if you have a preference for one over the other, or find each allows you to express a different creative side?
I enjoy writing for grown-ups and kids and tend to write my young reader books in between the adult books. I love allowing the child-like part of me to play and explore wherever my imagination wants to take me. Writing about fantasy worlds gives me a lot of freedom. As a child I imagined all sorts of magical worlds so I’m just continuing this as an adult.
Can you give us a hint of what’s to come as the series unfolds? You leave us a tantalizing clue at the end of book 1 that Exaltia may have spilled over into the girls’ world. What kinds of things will the Prism Walkers be up against next?
In the second book, “In Search of Emerald Bay”, there is indeed a crack between worlds that threatens the survival of magical Exaltia. Sara and the other Prism Walkers are in a race against time to save Exaltia and all who live there.
In addition, I just completed the third Prism Walker book. It’s called “Inside the Crystal”. In this book the Prism Walkers, along with their elven friends, find themselves in a world very different from Earth or Exaltia—a land called Mandriland. “Inside the Crystal” will be out this year.
All of the Prism Walker books are illustrated by Martin Kaspar from Prague. He is an amazing artist who quickly understood the vision of the books and captured the characters and setting perfectly.
Thanks for spending some time with us today, Heather! To learn more about her work, please follow the links below.
Heather S. Friedman Rivera, RN, JD, PhD was born in Los Angeles. She founded a research institute for advancing past life research, PLR Institute. In addition to speaking and researching about past life and related therapies, she writes fiction and hosts writing workshops on healing through fiction. She is the author of Healing the Present from the Past, Quiet Water, Maiden Flight, Ultreia, Into Exaltia, and In Search of Emerald Bay. When not writing, she loves to bike ride by the ocean. Her best friends include a Puggle, a neurotic Chihuahua, and a black cat.
For information on her work, to read her blog, or to just say “hi”, please visit https://www.facebook.com/heather.friedmanrivera
Her website: www.heatherrivera.com
Amazon link for Into Exaltia: goo.gl/VsfOjm
Just in time for the holidays.
Order through Amazon: goo.gl/EKcVDB
What’s it about? Jurassic Park meets Micro 😉
A hundred years in the future, twelve-year-old Nigella receives a shipment from her deceased grandfather. Her inheritance is a herd of micro-elephants. While a lot of her friends have micro-pets, Nigella is at a loss on how to care for them. Why are her micro-pets so different from everyone else’s? What was her grandfather up to? With the help of her best friend, Kepler, the girls set off on an adventure to discover the truth.
Also available as an ebook.
‘Tis the season for chills & all things ghostly. Grab one of these if you dare!
Princess of the Damned (Skeleton Key) by Wendy Knight
What do you do when the face in the mirror isn’t yours?
Landon has never seen his own reflection. He saw hers instead. He grew up watching this girl in the mirror grow with him. Grew up memorizing every feature, every movement, every horror she endured. He can see into her palace, into the darkness she’s trapped in.
When he was little, he told his parents about her. They thought she was an imaginary friend, and they humored him.
But she didn’t go away.
And when Landon was seventeen, he fell in love with her.
She is a captive of the Queen of the Damned.
Now he’ll risk everything to try to save her—his life, his home, his entire world.
The queen in the mirror.
Waiting to steal your soul.
Best Friends Forever by Patti Larsen
A tragic accident strips sixteen-year-old Emily Underman of her three best friends. Depression consumes her as life becomes the endless gray place of feeling nothing. Until her little brother goes missing, jerking her out of her emotional coma. That’s when her friends appear. Haunting her, driving her to madness. Trying to tell her something. Making her question the motives of the lead detective on her brother’s case. Doubt the nice man next door. And making it hard for her to resist the only person who understands her—the detective’s son, Todd. Guilt forces her to trust the spirits of her ghostly friends who lead her closer and closer to the kidnapper—and redemption.
Sanctuary:(Shifter Chronicles Book 1) by Melle Amade
It’s survival of the fittest, but first you have to fit in.
Shae is sure the icy rage that eats away at her is driving away her friends and pulling her closer to the wrong boy. But, as her protected world unravels, she discovers the violent supernatural world that lurks in her quiet hometown and the ancient feuds that threaten to destroy both her friends and her family. To save those she loves, Shae must succumb to her own fury, but at what cost?
9/9/2016: I’m awarding books to Laura Beth, maryy-st, and Of Glass and Books. I’ll be notifying you all shortly and sending the files. Thanks to everyone who entered.
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 Friday (Sept. 9th). I’ll do a random drawing and award two books. To enter, post a comment below on what you most like(d) about school. What was/is your favorite class? Who was/is your best friend? Who was/is your favorite teacher (or who do you despise)? Spill! Don’t forget to leave me a way to contact you. Add your email or website where I can find you. If your icon doesn’t lead anywhere, I can’t find you!
JURASSIC PARK meets MICRO in this exciting MG adventure!
ELEPHANTS NEVER FORGOTTEN
A hundred years from now, twelve-year-old Nigella receives a shipment from her deceased grandfather. Her inheritance is a herd of micro-elephants. While a lot of her friends have micro-pets, Nigella is at a loss on how to care for hers. Why are her micros so different from everyone else’s? What was her grandfather up to? In her struggle to understand them, she learns that there might be a group of wild elephants left in a remote part of Africa. With the help of her best friend, Kepler, the girls set off on an adventure to discover the truth.
What readers are saying:
“Ellis Nelson’s superb writing made this book a joy to read. I felt like I was right there experiencing the journey, the concerns, the total adventure. Lessons about friendship and family, ecology abound.”
“Ellis Nelson has a way with tweens.”
“…buy it for the tweens in your life and let it instigate a discussion on animal conservation.”
“An intriguing, positive read for tweens.”
BUY FROM AMAZON
BUY FROM MUSEITUP
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
With Jupiter Gardens closing its doors, I’ve decided to re-release INTO THE LAND OF SNOWS. I’ve had an amazing time working with Anna Spies of EerilyFair (https://www.facebook.com/eerilyfairdesign/). She is a talented and imaginative cover designer and here’s a peek at the new cover design. Freakin’ awesome job!
by Susin Nielsen
What happens when two very different teenagers are forced to live under one roof because their parents decide to live together? This is the story of a blended family in modern times facing the age old dilemma: how to get along and make the best of a challenging situation. Stewart is 13, socially challenged, just lost his mother. He’s as brilliant as he is awkward. Ashley is 14, not good at school, and very concerned with her social standing and appearance. She is coping (just barely) with her parent’s divorce and her father announcing he’s gay. The story is told in alternating chapters revealing how each of them is adjusting to the changes. Stewart is a very likable character, but Ashley comes off like a spoiled brat. Their interaction shows Ashley’s ability to be cruel. I suppose, that’s why this book rings so true. The author’s use of humor certainly softens the tension and we do see Ashley begin to change over time. Issues of bullying and intolerance are core themes here. It’s an easy, entertaining read. RECOMMENDED!