Category Archives: Teen/Young Ad.

Hell, and God, and Nuns with Rulers by John Collings

Hell, and God and Nuns with Rulers

Reviewed by Please Pass the Books

In John Collings’ Hell, and God, and Nuns with Rulers we meet Tristan Adamson, a teenage boy with all the trappings that a young man in high school faces: struggles with grades, a part-time job at a burger joint, raging hormones, the unfortunate complexion of a pubescent teen, and parents that seem to understand absolutely nothing (although they certainly claim to). However, unlike the average teenage boy, Tristan has an added conflict that arises from the expectations of his bible-thumping parents and the dreaded classes meant to prepare him for the holy sacrament of Confirmation. As Tristan attempts to maneuver his way through the muddled and confusing question of faith, he is thrown into an even deeper degree of soul-searching on his own personal crusade while trying to come to terms with his sexuality.

Knights of the Withering Flame (A Saga of Sword and Stone, Book 1) by Kyle R. Zeller

Knights of the Withering Flame

Reviewed by Timea Barabas
Knights of the Withering Flame is the start of a magical story named A Saga of Sword and Stone by Kyle R. Zeller. It is a book deeply rooted in Arthurian legends, but the branches of the tree flower a fresh perspective. In a way, it is a sequel to King Arthur’s story. It sheds light on what happened to him, and Zeller cautiously weaves together those mythological times with our modern days.

This fantasy adventure novel centers on a 15-year-old teenager named Garith and his unique early graduation. Although he starts out as an average boy, who leads a pretty troubled family life, he escapes into a magical realm where he is far more than average. Kyle R. Zeller draws an interesting parallel between the troubled family life of Garith and the turmoil in the magical realm he enters. While this realm is foreign both to our main characters and our readers, it is still vaguely familiar. The inhabitants and the magical elements that build it are inspired from other fantasy worlds, but they are unique enough to stand on their own. So, there is a sense of a warm welcoming feel despite the chilly dangers lurking in the shadows. Basically, it is about the eternal war between the shadows and the light. But, this confrontation is set on many planes, both geographical ones – where the armies of the two sides fight – and immaterial ones – where invisible forces battle on the field of human conscience.

21st Century Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Carson Cunningham

21st Century Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Reviewed by Teri Davis

How would someone who lived almost two centuries ago react to waking up today in America? What if that someone was the legendary Huckleberry Finn? Huck had difficulty with the societal rules of his own time period so how is he going to handle the technology and transportation of the 21st-century?

At the conclusion of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn the readers find Huckleberry choosing between living his life and following the rules established by his Aunt Sally or to run away to Apache territory.

Naturally Huck chooses the easiest one and explores America’s southwestern region. He quickly discovers that he does not enjoy hot climates.

Seizing an unusual opportunity, Huck invests his money and himself into an expedition to the Arctic.

During this time, there were not successful Arctic explorations. The expedition has their ship wrecked and the survivors set up their camp on a glacier. Exploring the area, the last thing Huck remembers is falling through the ice.

Huck awakens about 170-years later on a table connected to various tubes and wires. A scientific team has successfully thawed and completely revived this teenage-age boy. While the medical staff dreams of how this remarkable feat will change their lives, Huck dreams of his freedom and is feeling confined and imprisoned.

However what the scientists don’t realize is the natural capabilities of Huckleberry Finn. Huck has never handled rules and regulations in his own time. Now a medical team will likely want to continue to study him.

While moving Huck by train, he manages to escape. Life has given him a second chance and he plans to take it.

How does someone from 170-years in the past hide? If anyone can succeed at this task, it would be Huckleberry Finn.

Huck quickly discovers that the world has changed during his deep freeze. Accustomed to being extremely self-sufficient, survival is not difficult for Huck since he knows how to camp, fish, hunt and to live in the wild. How will he stay hidden? How will he fit in?

One of the first lessons for Huck to learn is the people in the twenty-first century wear shoes when in public.

Huck observes three boys playing “rounders” which is similar to the game of softball. Once Huck asks to join the game, he quickly learns that life in the twenty-first century is quite different from daily life in the nineteenth-century.

Huck knows that the medical team will be searching for him. This causes him to adjust to this century so that he doesn’t seem different. Also, he now calls himself Mark Finn.

Dealing with cell phones, high-definition flat screens, automobiles, and life for teen-aged boys in today’s world is a complete shock to Huckleberry. For the never flustered Huckleberry Finn of the 19th-century this is a challenge that he completely understands.

Will he be recaptured and for the rest of his life be studied as a medical experiment? How will he get along with today’s teens?

21st Century Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a wonderful adventure in friendship.

Click Here to Purchase 21st Century Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Mystery at Rolling Dunes

Field of Prey by John Sandford

Field of Prey

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Lucas Davenport, one of the oldest ranking deputies in the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, is off of a truly wild and confusing case. The whole thing started when two young lovers were parked out in the boonies planning on a fun filled evening of what young lovers like to do. However before they got very far along in their festivities they noticed a horrendous smell in the area. They decided they could live with it for the short period and went on about their business.

Discovering Balance (A Chip Fullerton/Annie Smith Sports Novel) by T.L. Hoch

Discovering Balance

Reviewed by Teri Davis

How often is a person’s life out of balance? Think of many of the professional athletes and the numerous personal problems that draw the attention of the media, would they have these issues if their life was more balanced? How often have you prioritize your work over your family?

B.A. Smith realizes that going to a new high school can be difficult. She has successfully made new friends and been accepted as part of the girls’ basketball team even earning respect as a valued player. More importantly to her is the development of being a team with everyone working together. Of course, there will always be a few difficult people who feel threatened by another athlete, but overall, the move has been a success.

Now that the basketball season is over, will B.A. continue with her athletic stardom into softball? Her rival, Tammi still feels that since B.A. arrived, her athletic gifts have been overlooked. Will she ever have the respect that she deserves?

The Silver Sphere by Michael Dadich

Reviewed by Rich Stoehr

What makes The Silver Sphere so fun to read is the same thing that makes it hard to describe succinctly – while reading it, you never know quite what to expect.

Is it a fantasy novel? With swords and sorcery, mystical creatures, a vast new land to explore and a quest to save the world from tyranny, there’s definitely a heavy fantasy element at work here. But it also plays with modern elements, featuring six children from the world we’re all familiar with, a world of video games and schools and malls. How about science fiction? Surprisingly, there’s elements of that here too, with references to gleaming spaceships and strange new games that would be groundbreaking even for us today. There’s some urban fantasy mixed in as well, with inherited powers and a budding love interest forming.

The end result is quite the mashup of different genres, where one of the main characters might make a reference to The Legend of Zelda just before suiting up in his own set of armor and weapons, where another can’t help but think of playing Halo when he sees seasoned warriors blowing off steam by playing an interactive battle simulation. It’s a rich world that Michael Dadich spins out for us in these pages, a world of different races, different customs, and old-school intrigues. He borrows a bit from other stories – I was strongly reminded of the adventure game ‘The Longest Journey’ at several points along the way, and I couldn’t help but think of the movie ‘Willow‘ at a couple points too – but for the most part there’s a lot of originality here. Dadich tells his story well, keeping it moving without getting too caught up in the details of it.

The Ultimate Reality by Gian Kumar

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

What is the true nature of reality? How do our notions of self reality and spiritual reality influence our behavior and how we interact with others? In Gian Kumar’s third book, the intensely interesting and thought-provoking look at reality that he’s titled The Ultimate Reality, the author takes an in-depth exploration into what “experiential awareness” is, and into what the ultimate reality is for each of us.

Kumar’s previous two books showed that, in spite of material and digital comforts in the world today, we are still living a life made up of dualities, such as happiness/unhappiness, good/bad, God/devil, all of which exist side-by-side. Even when we follow the spiritual teachings of gurus or other sorts of “masters” at presenting life lessons or spiritual truths, we do not gain the solace we sorely desire. We still experience the feeling that there is something missing in our lives.

The mind, with its constant chatter and habit of delving into past experiences and anxieties about the future, does not allow us to live in the present moment and be aware in the ‘now’. By the time our mind can register it, there is already a new ‘now’ which has taken its place.

In The Ultimate Reality, Gian Kumar brings us to a realization about what the deeper existence is that we are searching for. Through experiential realization and higher consciousness, we can centralize both extremes, and ultimately realize a sense of oneness with the universe.

Chasing Normal by T.L. Hoch

Chasing NormalReviewed by Teri Davis

Who wouldn’t want to be considered the star high school athlete? To be admired by everyone is a high school student’s dream, but is there a down side? Have you ever known coaches who believe that winning is everything and the only thing? Is there more to a sport than winning?

Annie Smith has not had an easy life. Her father died in an airplane accident just as she was becoming a teenager. She quickly discovered her fascination for basketball and softball. This interest developed her skills as an outstanding athlete who strongly values her team rather than being a star. Throughout her short competitive experience, she strongly worked with her team in developing their strengths and the value of teamwork. This success caused the media in her small community in Arkansas to become obsessed with her life. Now Annie and her mother have an opportunity for change by moving to Texas.

Annie dreams of being “normal” rather than a superstar and begins her new life by calling herself B.A. B.A. joins the basketball team but is not enjoying playing guard on this team. She chooses to stay quiet with an inexperienced coach who believes that your tallest players should always be the forwards. With considerable attitude, the taller players are threatened by this newer, shorter girl who only wants to play the game and to do her best for her team and herself. Between the coach and the players being threatened and challenged, how does the new kid make friends?

Blindman’s Bluff by Faye Kellerman (Review #2)

Reviewed by Cheryl Masciarelli

Blindman's Bluff by Faye KellermanDetective Lieutenant Peter Decker, LAPD Homicide, and his wife Rina Lazarus are awakened to a late night call. As Rina hands him the phone, knowing that this is going to bad for the force to call “The Loo” during the night. And she was right.

Not only does he come upon a gruesome multiple homicide but it’s of a very well known, high profile and extremely wealthy family. The CEO and real estate tycoon, Guy Kaffey, his wife, Gilliam, and one of his son’s, Gil, are shot during what appears to be a robbery as they sat in the massive home’s living room. Bodyguards and staff have also been killed. But Gil, one son, is critically injured but has survived and gives the police a few things that he remembers from those awful seconds. But how could this have happened with so many types of security in place?

Could this be an inside job? Guy has very strong family bonds and believes in giving some a second chance. Was that his downfall? Mace, his brother, and other son Grant, travel immediately to LA from the East Coast, where they oversee the family’s holdings there.

The Severance by Elliott Sawyer

Reviewed by Patricia Reid

The Severance by Elliott SawyerThe Kodiak Platoon is lead by Captain Jake Roberts and the platoon is in the midst of the war in Afghanistan. The platoon is known as a “rehabilitation platoon”. Members are soldiers who have had some sort of problem that has landed them in this platoon. Serving in the Kodiak Platoon gives the soldiers a last chance to get out of the service with a bit of dignity left.

The Kodiak Platoon has proved that even though the group is made up of misfits and troublemakers there service on their missions is outstanding. On one of their patrols, Captain Roberts and his crew discover a large cache of American dollars. The money was in a vehicle driven by a corrupt contractor who was trying to escape the country with the money. The contractor was driving without lights, his car was wrecked, and he was killed.

The group devises a plan to hide the money. The plan involves putting the money in a container that will be shipped back to the United States. The money is referred to among the group as “The Severance”. The platoon is a group of men facing unemployment at the conclusion of their combat tour and the money will help the men get on their feet financially once they are back home.