Marie Powell

M.E (high)Marie Powell

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Hawk – young adult historical fantasy

Quick description: If only Hyw could tell someone about his ability to scout through the eyes of a hawk, maybe it would secure his place in Prince Llywelyn’s guard. If only Cat could see her future, now that she’s thirteen and promised to a boy she barely remembers…

When a messenger summons the prince to a secret meeting, Cat and Hyw find themselves in the middle of a war that threatens to destroy Wales. Can they master their special abilities in time to save the royal family – and themselves?

Set during the events of 13th Century Wales, Hawk is a fantasy novel that recreates what life might have been like for two teenagers coming of age.

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Brief biography:
Marie Powell was born and raised in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, but now calls Regina home. She has a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Her 30 children’s books are published by Scholastic Canada, Amicus Publishing, Lerner, Crabtree, and others. Her poetry and short fiction appear in literary magazines, while her articles appear in regional and national magazine, broadcast, and online markets. Hawk is her first young adult novel.

Links to buy Marie’s book:
Chapters
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo Books

Marie’s promo links:
Five Rivers Publishing
Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

What are you working on now?
I’m working on the second book in this set, under the working title Hawk and Crown, due out in 2016. As well, I have two more young adult novels on the go, and another historical novel set in late 13th Century Wales. I’m always writing something.

Marie’s reading recommendation:
Lately I’ve been catching up on the new books in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. I started watching The Dresden Files on TV a few years back, and quickly discovered the books are even better. Two parts cheeky urban fantasy hero and three parts hardboiled detective, Dresden is Chicago’s only wizard private investigator. He and his human and supernatural crew face a full range of villains — everything from the Winter Court to the Sasquatch. Right now I’m enjoying Skin Game, the latest in the series of 14 books (so far).

Karen Bass

2011 portrait_smallKaren Bass

What is your latest release and what genre is it? My latest release is Uncertain Soldier, a YA historical novel that, as I like to say, is “suitable for adults.”

Quick description: Seventeen-year-old Erich is a German prisoner of war working at a northern Alberta logging camp. Twelve-year-old Max, the son of German immigrants, goes to school, reluctantly, in the nearby town. The two would be unlikely friends, except that neither has anyone else to turn to. At the height of World War II, nobody wants to befriend a German.

When a series of accidents shake the logging camp, the other loggers pressure Erich to question the Canadians and find the saboteur—even if his questions get him into trouble. Caught between angry prisoners and suspicious captors, Erich is afraid to take any action at all. It is only when Max’s schoolyard tormentors cross a dangerous line that Erich realizes his real loyalties lie not with a regime or a country, but with his friend.

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Brief biography:
Karen Bass grew up in northern Alberta and never intended to be a writer. Then she went to work at her local library near Grande Prairie, Alberta. After four years of reading an ever-growing number of books, the idea took root that she could write as well as some of the authors whose books she was shelving. As soon as she gave writing a try, she was hooked, thus proving that libraries are dangerous places.

After writing down a half million or so words that are now stored in her “practice” drawer, a publisher took on her first YA novel. Her last novel, Graffiti Knight, won some provincial and national awards, has made several “best of” lists, including being named a 2015 “Outstanding International Book” by USBBY. This spring, her fifth YA novel, Uncertain Soldier, was released.

Along the way she went from being rather shy in public gatherings, to discovering she likes talking about writing with anyone, from elementary students to adults, and yes, even (or especially!) junior high students.

Links to buy Karen’s book:
McNally Robinson
Chapters/Indigo
Amazon Canada
Amazon US

Karen’s promo links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads

What are you working on now?
I am currently working on a story that might best be called contemporary fantasy. It involves two teens in a remote area of Alberta, and the spirit world they accidentally enter. It doesn’t have a final title yet but Pajama Press has scheduled it for release in the spring of 2016.

Karen’s reading recommendation:
After hearing he had died, I picked up Tamar by Mal Peet, and found it engrossing, especially the WWII scenes. It was my first Peet novel, but I enjoyed it so much that next up on my pile is his last book, The Murdstone Trilogy.

Marty Chan

webversion-1022 Marty Chan

What is your latest release and what genre is it? The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles: Infinity Coil is the second in a YA steampunk fantasy trilogy.

Quick description: Now a fugitive from Demon Watch, Ehrich Weisz hides in the underbelly of an alternate New York. Amid growing tensions between New Yorkers and Dimensionals, Ehrich searches for Kifo, the assassin who has locked Ehrich’s brother’s soul inside an ancient medallion. With the help of his friends, including Nikola Tesla, Ehrich poses as a stage magician named Harry Houdini to draw out Kifo’s next target—the commissioner of Demon Watch, Thomas Edison. Ehrich is willing to risk the outbreak of war to save his brother, but he must decide whether or not he can betray his friends.

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Brief biography:
I write plays for adults and books for kids. In theatre, I’m best known for my cross-cultural comedy hit, Mom, Dad, I’m Living with a White Girl and my thriller The Bone House. For kids, my Marty Chan Mystery Series has been a favourite among young readers for over ten years. I live in Edmonton with my wife Michelle and our two cats, Buddy and Max.

Links to buy Marty’s book:
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Chapters/Indigo

Marty’s promo links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

What are you working on now?
I’m splitting duties between a few projects. I have to complete the third book in the Ehrich Weisz Chronicles in which the young Ehrich Weisz must save his brother and find his way home. I’m also working on a fantasy thriller for reluctant teen readers. In theatre, I’m collaborating with composer Kevin Wong to write a cross-cultural musical comedy about a young Chinese actor trying to break into Hollywood.

Marty’s reading recommendation:
I’m a huge fan of Arthur Slade’s books. His Hunchback Assignments is an amazing steampunk fantasy series for young readers.

Tricia Drammeh – an update on a new novel

Tricia Drammeh has previously been featured on Reading Recommendations. I have also listed Tricia as one of my All-Star Authors and I highly recommend her writing. Tricia is back now to tell us of a new release!

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Sweet Sorrow
by Tricia Drammeh
Young Adult Romance

Rowan achieves her greatest desire when she earns the part of Juliet in the school play, but it’s impossible to concentrate on her lines when her secret crush is cast as Romeo. Eddie is a fallen football hero and the subject of widespread gossip. Not only has he lost the respect of his peers, he’s also earned the open animosity of Rowan’s father, the high school’s football coach. Eddie isn’t the only one with a tarnished past—Rowan has secrets of her own. When the truth is revealed, will Rowan replace Eddie as the most hated student in school, or will Rowan and Eddie share the stage together?

Available to purchase from Amazon
*Sweet Sorrow is available for free download beginning today and through the weekend and will be available in a paperback edition soon.

Lorna Schultz Nicholson

lorna8370Lorna Schultz Nicholson

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Fragile Bones – YA Contemporary

Quick description: Two teens: Two voices. Harrison is a 15-year-old boy with high functioning autism/Asperger’s and Anna is an overachiever in her senior year of high school. They are paired together in the Best Buddies club at their high school. Harrison and Anna meet for ice cream and at the Science Center and develop a friendship that goes through many emotions. Written in alternating voices, Fragile Bones is the story of an unlikely but beautiful friendship.

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Brief biography:
Lorna has published over thirty books, including picture books, middle grade fiction and YA fiction and non-fiction. They have been nominated for the Golden Eagle Award, Diamond Willow Award, and Red Cedar. She loves writing series. Fragile Bones is the first book in her One-2-One series. Oh, and she divides her time between Edmonton and Penticton and lives with her hubby, and two dogs: a whiny Bichon Shih Tzu and a naughty Mexican rescue dog.

Links to buy Lorna’s book:
Amazon
Chapters/Indigo

Lorna’s promo links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter

What are you working on now?
The second book in the One-2-One series. There is no title as of yet but it will be about Erika, (a 15-year old born with Down syndrome), and Gianni, her Best Buddy. It will be released in March 2016 with Clockwise Press.

Lorna’s reading recommendation:
Since I’m a voracious reader and always have a book on the go I will tell you what I just finished. 1) The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. I’m a bit of a crime fiction junkie and this was an entertaining read. 2) Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius. This is a very interesting and deeply emotional memoir about a young boy locked in his body. Since Canada has so many wonderful children’s writers I also recommend Teresa Toten and the Unlikely Hero of Room 13B. And Crush, Candy, Corpse by Sylvia McNicoll. My mother has Alzheimer’s so this book resonated with me. Also, Janet Gurtler, Beverley Brenna, Natalie Hyde, (loved Hockey Girl), Susin Nielsen, Deborah Ellis (my hero) and there are so many more. Oh, and I can’t forget Ann-Marie MacDonald and Jane Urquhart. I could go on and on with this question so I’ll stop.

Shirlee Smith Matheson

Shirlee Smith Matheson - January 2015 008Shirlee Smith Matheson

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Young adult novel titled Prairie Pictures

Quick description: This award-winning book was first published in 1989 by McClelland & Stewart. It has been completely updated and was released in 2014 by Heritage House Publishing Company Ltd. under their hot new young adult imprint, Wandering Fox.

For twelve-year-old Sherri, moving is a way of life – migrating with her wanderlust family from Calgary to Fort McMurray to Regina. Now, she’s preparing to start Grade Six in Gardin, an Alberta prairie town that has recently been shaken from its cowboy culture to become an industrial hub. Sherri must once again meet new teachers, adapt to a new curriculum – and try to make friends amidst the cultural conflicts found in this wild country.

Prairie Pictures is told with compassion and stark realism, and portrays a lifestyle that is becoming increasingly common across North America. Author Q & A, and Questions for Reading Comprehension included in book.

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Brief biography:
Shirlee Smith Matheson was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, but has lived in over 20 different communities. Her own experiences of making new friends and leaving familiar things behind inform many of her stories. Shirlee is an alumna of Banff Centre’s writing program and Athabasca University, and has published 20 award-winning fiction and nonfiction books for adult and young readers. She currently makes her home in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

(Shirlee’s story “Valley Girl” also appears in the collection Country Roads: Memoirs from Rural Canada, ed. by Pam Chamberlain, that was previously featured on Reading Recommendations.)

Links to buy Shirlee’s book:
Heritage House Publishing Co. Ltd.

Shirlee’s promo links:
Website
Twitter
Facebook

What are you working on now?
City Pictures, a sequel to Prairie Pictures, is currently receiving the same quality updates and will be released by Heritage House as part of its Wandering Fox series in the summer of 2015. This story takes the family back to Calgary, where Sherri instantly makes a new friend of her next door neighbor – with calamitous consequences in her ill-fated attempt to be cool.

Shirlee’s reading recommendation:
Lori Hahnel is a Calgary-based author whose latest book After You’ve Gone was released by Thistledown Press in 2014. I found it to be a most enjoyable and insightful story, detailing the lives and loves of two generations of family musicians. (Lori was previously featured on Reading Recommendations.)

Ken Rivard is also a Calgary-based author with many publications to his credit, including his latest novel, Motherwild also by Thistledown Press. This book is set in Montreal – an area Ken knows well – and tells the story of a mother and son relationship with all its joys and heartaches. (Ken was previously featured on Reading Recommendations.)

I attended the dual book launch for Lori’s and Ken’s books in Calgary last November and of course bought – and have enjoyed – reading both of them!

John Wilson is a writer after my own heart, with his spellbinding historical tales that are widely enjoyed by young readers. I especially enjoy his stories that embrace aviation (one of my favorite subjects, and the focus of eight of my published books!). John’s titles such as Shot at Dawn and Wings of War (chronicling tales of the First World War) — and especially his newly updated book, And in the Morning, just released by Heritage House as part of their new Wandering Fox series, are highly recommended.

Nicholas C. Rossis Recommends Charles E. Yallowitz

Hero Cover Final

Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero by Charles E. Yallowitz

Genre: Fantasy/YA

Quick description:
Luke Callindor was born into Windemere’s most decorated family of adventurers. Since his birth, he has been treated with the greatest amount of respect and awe. Now, with a lifetime of training and the reckless cockiness of youth, Luke sets out to prove that he deserves the admiration that comes from being a Callindor.

Soon, he finds himself in over his head and constantly in trouble, until he realizes that the only things he has on his side are some new friends and his unwavering courage.

Charles author photo B&W
Why I recommend this book:
Yallowitz weaves an intricate plot that begins with Beginning of a Hero and already spans half a dozen books. He has plans for publishing a total of 15 books! His world is richly detailed, but it’s the characterization that makes his books an exciting read. More than anything, his characters are three dimensional. They bleed, laugh, suffer and make mistakes. In a sense, the major plot of story is not as important as the subplots that force the characters to mature along their path. These focuses make his books relatively quick reads and help them appeal to a wide audience. For more information about Charles, visit his website, The Legends of Windemere.

Links to purchase Charles’s book:
Amazon

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Guest reviewer’s latest title or project:
Nicholas Rossis lives in Greece, is the author of an epic fantasy series, Pearseus, has also published The Power of Six, a collection of short sci-fi stories, and was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in Oct. 2014.

Runaway Smile: An unshared smile is a wasted smile is his most recent publication. It’s an illustrated children’s book you may currently read free online.

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Laura Best

In December, I stumbled upon Laura Best’s blog and realized that I had been her sales rep (for Nimbus Publishing) when her first novel Bitter, Sweet was published. I remembered that being an enjoyable book, so I invited Laura to Reading Recommendations to tell us about her latest novel.

CROP3434Laura Best

What is your latest release and what genre is it? My latest release is Flying With a Broken Wing and it’s a historical YA novel.

Quick description: Cammie Deveau began life with a few strikes against her. She’s visually impaired, abandoned by her mother at birth, her father was a casualty of the Second World War—and if all that isn’t enough, she’s being raised by her bootlegging aunt. No wonder she dreams of starting a brand new life.

When Cammie learns about a school for blind and visually impaired children she becomes convinced a new life is waiting for her in Halifax, but how will she ever convince her aunt to let her go? With the help of her best friend, they devise a plan to blow up the local moonshiner’s still. But Cammie has not managed to change her luck, and things get worse than she ever imagined.

Flying book

Brief biography:
I live in Nova Scotia, Canada. In 2010, my first YA novel, Bitter, Sweet was short listed for The Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People and made the 2011 Best Books for Kids & Teens list. I also write short fiction for adults and my work has appeared in numerous literary magazines across Canada as well as several anthologies. My short story Alexander the Great was nominated for the Journey Prize.

Links to buy Laura’s book:
Amazon Canada – eBook and paperback
Amazon US – eBook and paperback
Chapters/Indigo – paperback
Kobo – eBook
Nimbus Publishing website
Laura’s promo links:
My blog
Facebook
Twitter

What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on an adult novel about a woman’s life-long journey through mental illness and the effects of the disease, not only on herself, but those closest to her.

Laura’s reading recommendation:
I enjoy the writing of Syr Ruus. Her books, Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart, Devil’s Hump and The Story of Gar inspire to me strive for more in my own writing.

Katrina Jack

kj 2 Katrina Jack

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Dawn Horizon, YA urban fantasy

Quick description: This is the third and final book in The Silver Flute Trilogy. The series centres on mute musician, Jeremiah Tully, and his quest to find his true identity.

dawn horizon

Brief biography:
I was born, and still live in the great city of Liverpool. I started out writing short stories and articles, but after an unexpected windfall, invested in taking an MA in creative writing at John Moore’s University in Liverpool. From there, I graduated to writing novels, and finally settled on the YA urban fantasy genre.

Links to buy Katrina’s book:
AMAZON UK
AMAZON US

Katrina’s promo links:
Facebook Land of Midnight Days Page
Facebook Author Page
Twitter
Blog

What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on the first book in a new trilogy, a follow up to the first, called The Songstress Trilogy; book one is called: Elawyn’s Song.

Katrina’s reading recommendation:
The epic fantasy written by Sophie E Tallis, called, The Darkling Chronicles, White Mountain.

Glenna Jenkins – update on a new novel

Glenna Jenkins was previously featured on Reading Recommendations in September, 2014. Glenna is back now to tell us about the publication of her first novel.

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Somewhere I Belong
By Glenna Jenkins
Published by Acorn Press
Young Adult Fiction

Upcoming Book Launch date in Halifax:
Thursday, November 27 at 7:30
Writers Federation of Nova Scotia
1113 Marginal Road (across from Pier 21)

In Somewhere I Belong, we meet young P.J. Kavanaugh at North Boston Station. His father has died, the Depression is on, and his mother is moving them back home. They settle in, and P.J. makes new friends. But the P.E.I. winter is harsh, the farm chores endless, and his teacher a drunken bully. He soon wants to go home; the problem is how.

A letter arrives from Aunt Mayme announcing a Babe Ruth charity baseball game in the old neighbourhood. But Ma won’t let him go. P.J is devastated. The weeks pass, then there is an accident on the farm. P.J. becomes a hero and Ma changes her mind. He travels to Boston, sees his friends, watches Babe Ruth hit a home run, and renews his attachment to the place. But his eagerness to return to the Island makes him wonder where he really belongs.

Glenna Jenkins is a writer whose Prince Edward Island roots date back to the early 1800s. The characters and events in her stories are gleaned from real-life family events that took place both on the Island and in New England. Her short stories have appeared in Jilted Angels: A Collection of Stories and Riptides: New Island Fiction. Glenna lives in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia with her husband, four children and two dogs.

Somewhere I Belong is her first novel.

Where to purchase Glenna’s book:
Acorn Press
Amazon Canada
Chapters/Indigo

Glenna’s promo link:
Facebook Page