Tag Archives: Young-adult fiction

Book Review: Flying with a Broken Wing – by Laura Best

Book: Flying with a Broken Wing
Author: Laura Best
Publisher: Nimbus Publishing
Date: September 6, 2013
Genre: young adult
Pages: 216
Price: $12.95; also available on Kindle
My Rating: a story of hope with characters the reader will cheer on

This is Laura Best‘s second novel. As Laura told us in this interview, Flying with a Broken Wing is a young adult novel set in a fictitious community in Nova Scotia.

Nearly twelve-year-old Cammie is the main character in Flying with a Broken Wing, and we get to see most of the adventure from her perspective. She is a young girl with a big dream – the dream of somehow starting a better life for herself.

All Cammie knows about her past is that her father was lost in the Second World War, her mother left her with an aunt who is the local bootlegger, and now her life feels full of shame and disappointment. Her aunt is harsh and not the most popular person around – among people who don’t buy moonshine, that is. Add to that the fact that Cammie’s eyes don’t work well. Being visually impaired has been a terrible burden, especially when everyone treats her differently because of it, and her aunt doesn’t even want to let her go to school. To Cammie that is very unfair, especially when she wants to go! When Cammie learns about a school for the blind in Halifax, that becomes her new goal and her hope for the better life she wants.

Cammie gains a friend along the way, one her aunt does NOT approve of because of her own personal reasons, which suits Cammie all the better. That’s when the excitement really begins … and the hilarity, and the trouble – big trouble. What kind of trouble? you may ask. Well, I’m sorry but you have to read about that yourself. Let me just say, it was a daring and dangerous plan, and the author certainly held my interest! Now I’m hoping for a sequel.

This is a delightful young adult novel for anyone to read. Laura Best created very believable characters in a post-war community setting. She is expert at writing real people who talk and act as one might expect, including some who aren’t always nice. If you have never had the privilege of reading any of the author’s work, read this one.

You can find Flying with a Broken Wing listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Please return here for an interesting interview with Laura Best – to be posted April 17’14 – after which you will have the opportunity to try to win a copy of “Flying with a Broken Wing” donated by Nimbus Publishing located here in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂


Book Review: Triangles – by Kimberly Ann Miller

Triangles - Kimberly Ann MillerBook: Triangles
Author: Kimberly Ann Miller
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Date: June 18, 2013
Genre: young adult
Pages: 216
Price: $9.95
My rating: a fairly good read based on a fascinating concept

I received this book (ARC) from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

This story is told mostly from the point-of-view of a seventeen-year-old girl, Autumn, who is an unhappy complainer. She gives her sister a hard time, their dad died, their mother is very ill, and we find out she is not happy about a nice guy who is constantly bestowing her with little gifts at work – which she rewards by attempting to get rid of his attention through her rude behaviour toward him.

When Autumn agrees to go on a cruise with her sister she does so with reluctance. It was what she thought would be a good temporary escape, a chance to get away from the pain they are going through in their family life. What she gets on this cruise is a trip through the Bermuda Triangle that is confusing and very strange.

Each time Autumn has an alternate reality experience she is as shocked as before, even though she is aware it is happening. Her life gets more messed up each time a change occurs, but it doesn’t change her rude and hateful attitude.

The author did a convincing job of making Autumn an unlikeable person and – if I remember correctly – she is the only one in the book to use bad language. She comes across as crude, rude, and a hateful brat a lot of the time.

On this cruise she is pursued by two guys, and in each alternate reality shift they also change in personality and circumstance. Terrible things happen, confusing things happen, surprising things happen, and Autumn’s fear is that she will be trapped in the Bermuda Triangle forever and not be able to live the life she is learning she really wants.

Triangles – by Kimberly Ann Miller – is a fairly quick read. The mystery of the Bermuda Triangle is a fascinating topic to write a fictional young adult novel around. Although a few places did not make sense to me and tripped me up a bit, the idea of someone getting caught in the Triangle and living through it is an interesting one. It certainly makes the reader think.

You can find Triangles listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: Sinking Deeper OR My awesome brilliant Questionable Heroic Decision to Invent a Sea Monster – by Steve Vernon

Sinking Deeper by Steve VernonBook: Sinking Deeper OR My awesome brilliant Questionable Heroic Decision to Invent a Sea Monster
Author: Steve Vernon
Publisher: Nimbus Publishing
Date: September 1, 2011
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 168
Price: $12.95
My Rating: a bizarre maritime adventure not to be missed

This book has the longest title of any I have reviewed so far.  🙂

Sinking Deeper OR My awesome brilliant Questionable Heroic Decision to Invent a Sea Monster could be called hilarious, or it could be called reminiscent of younger days – for those of us who are old enough to have “younger days” and who found themselves in impossible situations, or it could be called adventurous, or … well, you get the picture. This book is all of the above and more.

Steve Vernon, known for his very creative storytelling, has written this enjoyable story based in the fictional laid-back fishing community of Deeper Harbour, Nova Scotia. His main character, who is relating the adventure, is a fourteen-year-old boy trying to do the right thing, but – as a member of a rather dysfunctional but loveable family – he is persuaded to do the unusual and ofttimes the outlandish, by his two best friends – one being his grandfather!And it’s his grandfather who adds the most to the craziness.

The emotional thread is that this teen boy, whose name is Roland, is determined to find a way to stay in Deeper Harbour. His parents are divorcing and his mother has decided to move to Ottawa, Ontario, taking him along. He has to do something to change her mind. What he ends up doing is creating a sea monster, but – through events that grow and grow – what transpires is far greater than anything he ever could have imagined.

I would like to tell you more but I don’t want to spoil it for you. What I will say is Steve Vernon included everything – humour, adventure, suspense, sadness, mystery, hilarity, unexpected twists and turns to keep the reader involved, and did I say it’s funny? It’s funny.

Oh, and I will also say … I urge you to add this action-filled, entertaining book to your ‘to be read’ pile. It’s great for middle-grade readers right on up to, and including, grandmas. (I very much enjoyed it. 🙂 ) Its short chapters are very convenient when one does not have much time to read in one sitting, but you really won’t want the time between readings to be long.

This book has been noticed in high places, which the author will tell about, so … Please come back on Thursday, January 31, for my entertaining  interview with Steve Vernon. He is offering a copy of “Sinking Deeper  OR My awesome brilliant Questionable Heroic Decision to Invent a Sea Monster” for one of you who leaves a comment after that interview.  you’ll love it!

You can find Sinking Deeper  OR My awesome brilliant Questionable Heroic Decision to Invent a Sea Monster listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk – by Jan L. Coates

Book: A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk
Author: Jan L. Coates
Genre: Young adult fiction
(based on a true story)
Pages: 286
Publisher: Red Deer Press;
distributed by Fitzhenry & Whiteside
Released: October 2010
Price: $12.95 CDN
My Rating: A gripping, moving, hard to put down must-read!


In 1983, southern Sudan was thrust into civil war and thousands of boys were displaced. Families and whole villages were destroyed, torn apart, lost forever.

This story is based on the true story of Jacob Deng who was a child of the Sudan. The author, Jan Coates, has masterfully woven fiction around the deeply moving, horrific story of a young child running for his life. Jacob was only seven years old when his village was raided and he barely escaped certain death. Having to leave his mother behind, along with everything he knew, he began walking for what turned into many months, and along the way he joined up with hundreds of others – all boys – on the same journey. After crossing a crocodile-infested river the survivors became refugees in another country, but even there they were not safe.

This is such a gripping, well-written story that at times I gasped, aloud said, “oh no!”, and winced at the suffering and struggles those young children endured. Hungry, afraid, and without their parents, they did what they knew to do – stay together, keep walking, keep ahead of the enemy, and somehow survive another day of exposure to the elements and wild animals. This is one of those books that was truly hard to put down – when eating and sleeping seemed a nuisance while reading a story in which both food and sleep were hard to come by for those children.

A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk is not overly graphic to read, but at the same time it is real. Jan wrote a powerfully descriptive story that pulls the reader into the life and climate of Africa where daily existence is fraught with the challenge simply to survive. And this story is a story of survival and the strength of the human will along with an underlying faith to rise above one’s circumstances.

The amazing gem is that Jan Coates met Jacob Deng here in Nova Scotia, and after talking with him she felt compelled to write his story. The result, A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk, has gained well deserved attention, now listed as a 2011 finalist for the Governor
General’s Literary Award.

In the back of the book there is an interview Jan had with Joseph Deng. There is even a glossary to which the reader can refer to understand the meaning of some African words, such as abaar, which means orphan, and wadeng – a Dinka word which means look always to tomorrow; it will be better.

This book is an excellent way to learn about the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Proceeds from the sale of A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk are shared with Jacob’s charity Wadeng Wings of Hope, which is another good reason to add this novel to your personal library.

BONUS: As soon as we can complete it I will be posting my interview with Jan Coates. Stay tuned! After the interview you will have the opportunity to try to win a copy of her book.

You can find A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

I love books! Know of any new ones to tell me about?

I ‘love’ books.  Did I say yet that I love books?  Well, I do.

Last Saturday on Twitter I got into a chat thread in which author Susan Gilmore was being interviewed, Twitter style, by Bookmaven.  I made a comment about not seeing any of her books yet, but her new one being discussed … The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove  … I must purchase!  It sounds like a great read.  During the two hours of tweets from people asking questions of Susan and making comments about her books, there were five copies of her new one being given away.  And what a surprise, I won the first copy!  Imagine that!  I love books!

Tonight I read on http://lauraabest.wordpress.com/ about a new book by Jan Coates who lives a few miles from me, but whom I’ve not yet had the pleasure to meet.  Her book is A Hare in The Elephant’s Trunk.  That is another must have.  Jan wrote about the true experiences of Jacob, a Sudanese boy who suffered through much while fleeing for his life with other “Lost Boys.”  I knew I had heard about this book through a radio interview, and I’m sure I heard Jacob on there.  Anyway, I am eager to purchase a copy of this YA novel, and maybe even meet Jan at a local book signing.  I love books!

Another new book is by KC Dyer and is called Facing Fire – a time travel book.  Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?  Note the interview at http://evbishop.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/facing-fire-by-kc-dyer-win-a-free-book/   I just thought I would add the link for the fun of it, which you can too, and be entered into the draw for a copy of the book.  Because … well … I love books!

Finally, I want to make mention of something else rather important.  Please go here and place your vote :


Laura Best’s novel “Bitter, Sweet” has been shortlisted for the Geoffery Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People – so I voted for her.  And because it’s a really good book, I enjoyed my copy signed by her.  And she is a nice person .. does that count?  🙂  And … yes, you guessed it … I love books!

So, now that I have all that good news out of the way I must get back at putting together another issue of Valley Sunshine publication.  Time is ticking away.

Oh, and in case you missed it, I love books! —   just sayin’.  😉

So, do you know of any new books to tell me about that I must read?  Sure want to hear about ’em!  ‘Cause … you know …

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂