Category Archives: Young Adult Books

Release Blitz for Justin’s Season by SM Sawyer

Release Blitz for Justin’s Season by SM Sawyer at NineStar Press.

justin's season
S. M. Sawyer takes you on an amazing journey in his debut novel Justin’s Season. Be prepared to witness a miracle and journey of discovery, hope, and love.

I would recommend this book to readers 15 years and older.

Click here to see my Five Star blog review: http://wp.me/p69RB3-ke

As Always, Keep Writing/Keep Reading ~ janisf

 

Making Faces by Amy Harmon is releasing today in stores everywhere!

Today is a big day for Amy Harmon and I’m so excited for her.

Today her book Making Faces (one of my all-time favorite books) is releasing in stores everywhere!!! If you haven’t read this book, then go out and get it. Making Faces is the kind of book with all the feels and everyone should read!

You can check out my review of Making Faces here: http://wp.me/p69RB3-4w or see all my Amy Harmon book reviews here: https://bookreviewsjanisf.com/?s=amy+harmon

making-faces-release

As Always, Keep Writing/Keep Reading ~ janisf

Strange Truths by SD Wasley an Alice England Mystery

Strange Truths is a Young Adult Novel containing social and family issues with a little bit of mystery thrown in.  This is the first book in the Alice England Mysteries.

strange-truths

My FIVE Star Review:

Alice England is a very unique character and I loved her immediately.  She’s a young woman in her senior year of school who lives with her father in a funeral parlor.  She sees things that others don’t and she always speaks the truth.  Kids in her school find her odd and basically stay away from her.  Mikey Warrender thinks she’s a bit odd as well but then Alice takes him on an adventure that changes their lives.  This is a kind of detective story with lots of twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages.

I very much look forward to more of Alice’s adventures.

More About Strange Truths:

Why did she have to be so goddamn weird?

Mikey Warrender’s goals are within his grasp. On track for a spectacular swimming career in the last months of his senior year at school, his life seems ideal. A successful Senator father, a pretty, popular sister, and a girlfriend who acts and looks, well, perfect. They’ve had their share of trouble in the form of Mikey’s late twin, but that trouble died with Toby and now things can finally get back on track.

Until Alice England. Mikey couldn’t have been less interested in a friendless undertaker’s daughter who sees strange things and always speaks the truth—until she starts stalking him at school. Alice has reason to believe Tobias Warrender was reluctant to take that fatal dose of crystal meth. What’s more, she insists Mikey is grieving for his twin. Curious, Mikey lets Alice in—just for a moment—and before he knows what’s happening she’s wedged her foot in the door and busted his world wide open.

Alice leads him through a series of discoveries that make him look more closely at his own carefully constructed reality. Innocent yet knowing; kind yet devastatingly honest, Alice effortlessly unravels Mikey Warrender’s falsely safe world—and what really happened to Toby.

Strange Truths is a coming of age detective story that will appeal to adults both young and old(er), especially lovers of classical mystery with a twist.

Find SD Wasley here: FacebookInternet WebsiteGoodreads, Amazon.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.

As Always, Keep Writing/Keep Reading ~ janisf

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon #HappyReleaseDay

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon is a Historical, Inspirational, Romance you are absolutely going to love.

Releases today, December 1, 2016 and recommended for readers 16 yrs and older.

from-sand-and-ash-ash

My FIVE Star Review:

I really tried to prepare myself.  I knew this was a historical novel about World War II.  I knew reading From Sand and Ash was going to be emotional, it was going to dragged me places I was sure I didn’t want to go, and I knew even before I opened it to page one, that Amy was going to make me take this journey and I was going to be changed by the end. I absolutely was.

Most people in the world know the stories of WWII.  You either learned them in school or maybe you had a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle who lived through it.  What Amy gives you in this book is a story of two young people, Angelo and Eva, who are thrown into this horrific war and work to do whatever they can to help people.  There is laughter along the way and joy, there is family and love, there is sorrow and horror, there is commitment and trust but most of all there is determination to keep going.

Amy Harmon is Magical.  There are no other words to describe her.  She puts a pen to paper and gives us everything from deep down in her soul and I for one am truly grateful.  Each of her novels have filled me with such joy, even with a few tears.  If you don’t normally read historical novels, please do me a favor and give this one a try.  You will not regret it.

I’ll leave you with these:

“Fear is strange.
It settles on chests and seeps through skin, through layers of tissue, muscle, and bone and collects in a soul-sized black hole, sucking the joy out of life, the pleasure, the beauty.
But not the hope.
Somehow, the hope is the only thing resistant to the fear, and it is that hope that makes the next breath possible, the next step, the next tiny act of rebellion, even if that rebellion is simply staying alive.”

“Life is hard.  What an understatement! Hard is too mild a word for the trouble we’ve seen. Life is hell shot with just enough heaven to make the pains of hope all the sharper. Life is impossible. Ugly. Agonizing. Inexplicable. Torture.”

“Our immortality comes through our children and their children. Through our roots and branches. The family is immortality. And Hitler has destroyed not just branches and roots, but entire family trees, forests. All of them, gone.”

More About Sand and Ash:

Italy, 1943—Germany occupies much of the country, placing the Jewish population in grave danger during World War II.

As children, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were raised like family but divided by circumstance and religion. As the years go by, the two find themselves falling in love. But the church calls to Angelo and, despite his deep feelings for Eva, he chooses the priesthood.

Now, more than a decade later, Angelo is a Catholic priest and Eva is a woman with nowhere to turn. With the Gestapo closing in, Angelo hides Eva within the walls of a convent, where Eva discovers she is just one of many Jews being sheltered by the Catholic Church.

But Eva can’t quietly hide, waiting for deliverance, while Angelo risks everything to keep her safe. With the world at war and so many in need, Angelo and Eva face trial after trial, choice after agonizing choice, until fate and fortune finally collide, leaving them with the most difficult decision of all.

Pick up From Sand and Ash here: Amazon.

Find Amy Harmon here: Internet, FacebookGoodreads, Twitter

To read more of my reviews of Amy’s books, click here: janisf Amy reviews

As Always, Keep Writing/Keep Reading ~ janisf

 

Justin’s Season by S. M. Sawyer

S. M. Sawyer takes you on an amazing journey in his debut novel Justin’s Season.  Be prepared to witness a miracle and journey of discovery, hope and love.

I would recommended this book to readers 15 years and older.

justin's season

My FIVE Star Review: 

Justin’s Season is journey of discovery, redemption and love with Justin touching the lives of everyone he encounters.  As many of you already know, I will never include spoilers in my reviews so believe me when I say, this book is totally worth reading.

It’s 1977 and Justin Davis, a high school senior, has it all.  He’s the class hero, most likely to succeed, he excels in every sport, and he is the top quarterback recruit in the nation.  All the powerhouses in the Big Ten want him.  But then one night, while Justin is trying to understand his own feelings and sexual orientation, everything changes.

Now it’s 1988 and Justin has spent the last 12 years drinking, doing drugs and hiding away from the world.  He’s journey begins one morning with the sun shinning into the basement of his brother Mark’s house where Justin has been staying.  Will Justin take this opportunity he’s been given and follow the path and journey his angles are leading him on?

You will not regret reading this book and following along with Justin.  You will meet some interesting people along the way and see how one man’s journey and destiny can alter many others.  I truly believe God has a plan for each of us and we have to be open enough and trusting enough to go where we are lead.  I’m very thankful S. M. Sawyer shared Justin’s journey with me.

There is a speech Justin gives towards the end of the book and it’s my favorite scene.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Favorite Quote:

“None of us is an abomination.  We’re all here in His image, no matter the color of our skin, our orientation, our infirmities, and we are loved and celebrated by Him unconditionally.  And one day, as all are better able to accept His plan for us, then we, too, will love and celebrate each other as He does.”

After you’re done reading: 

Click on this link and listen to “Life is Beautiful” by Vega 4.  It will have new meaning for you and remind you of Justin’s journey.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iv6k1wbrPC0

More about Justin’s Season:

“The year is 1988, and Justin Davis, a former nationally recruited football prep star, awakens from twelve years of masking his shame with drugs and alcohol to find he has been returned to his former self through what can only be described as a miracle.

Triggered by the confirmation of his closely guarded sexual orientation, his fall from grace of over a decade before sets the stage for his redemption. The fulfillment of his destiny is prompted by Providence and the serendipitous deeds of those who are a part of his new life, as their intertwined lives are likewise impacted. Though his rapid evolvement and acceptance of his homosexuality is countered by setbacks, Justin perseveres and eventually triumphs as fate, he believes, has led him back to the sports arena to recapture past glories.

In a stunning finale, however, he learns his destiny is not what he had envisioned. His calling has been thrust upon him by circumstances beyond his control. Can Justin embrace it and become the man he was always meant to be?”

About S. M. Sawyer:

S. M. Sawyer is a retired military officer. He has also served as a defense contractor and as President for a nationally accredited charity whose mission is to recognize exceptional maritime rescues and assist voluntary search and rescue organizations worldwide. He lives in Virginia with his wife, Natalie. They have five grown children. Justin’s Season is his debut literary effort.

Email S.M. here: justins.season@gmail.com 

Read an interview with S. M. Sawyer here: http://ninestarpress.com/s-m-sawyer-interview-part-1/

Find S. M. here: Facebook

Pick up your e-copy of Justin’s Season at Amazon: http://amzn.com/B01CC9UEWU

Pick up your print copy of Justin’s Season at Amazon: https://amzn.com/1911153781

Pick up both print and e-copy at NineStarPress:  http://ninestarpress.com/product/justins-season/

As always, Keep Writing/Keep Reading ~ janisf

Excerpt from Justin’s Season:

S.M. Sawyer © 2016  All rights reserved

A sliver of light from the early morning sun came through an exposed slit of the basement window blind, creeping its way against the wall until it came to rest upon Justin’s eyes. He lay sleeping in a jumbled mass of musty blankets on an old steel-framed bed. After a few moments of the sun’s focused rays beckoning him to awaken, he flinched and turned his head away, and then rolled onto his left side toward a dark corner in a vain attempt to deny the day’s arrival.

For Justin, it had been another long night, and the reminder of a new day came with a reluctant anticipation akin to that of a prisoner serving a life sentence without a chance for parole. He lay there motionless, holding the sheets close to his chin as he gazed upon an iconic black-and-white poster of James Dean. The actor walked down a puddled street with a cigarette between his lips, hands in his coat pockets, and his collar turned up to keep the cold and drizzle at bay. Marching down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams and into immortality.

Though it had been hanging on the wall for fifteen years, Justin, enjoying a rare and lucid moment of circumspection, studied the poster in silence as if he were looking at it for the first time. You did it right, Mr. Dean, he thought. You died early…frozen in time. Leaving everyone wanting more. Never having to answer for life’s failings.

The unwelcome light from the sun continued to fill the room, exposing the remnants of Justin’s life before the troubles. Dusty citations, press clippings, photographs, scholarship offer letters, and trophies from his high school years. Collected over a decade before, they now served as the remaining threads that connected to past glories.

This is what happens, isn’t it? You peak early and get a little cocky that you’re in control, and instead of leaving on top, you live long enough to mutate into some bad apple that people use to warn their kids. “Don’t get too full of yourself or you’ll turn out like Justin Davis.” That’s right…I’m not remembered for what I was and what I should have been. It’s easier for voyeurs to whisper among themselves about the broken, washed-up, slow-motion train wreck I’ve become—how I let my charmed life slip away.

Justin sat up and swung his legs over as if getting out of bed, but stayed sitting there to give his head time to clear from another all-night bender and to gain a semblance of balance before stepping onto the cold cement floor. His still imposing six-foot-four-inch body, an inch taller than in his high school days, was out of shape and bloated. It served as a metaphor for everything else his life had become, contrary to the Greek god physique he’d had when he was seemingly in total charge of his life and circumstances.

His blond hair was long and greasy, and his face contorted by the miseries of daily self-flagellation through alcohol, drugs, and slovenly habits. His tongue felt thick and dry, and his eyes appeared as if seared on an iron skillet. He did his best to gather whatever strength remained to get up and to live what had become his own recurring Groundhog Day. He wanted water to quench his alcohol-induced thirst and to be bathed by a sympathetic and nonjudgmental geisha, washing away impurities and regret. But again he thought of sleep and of beckoning the dreams to reacquaint him with his previous life. He eased his head onto the pillow with hopes that sleep would allow him to wander back to his senior year in high school—to a time when he was admired by all and treated as the town’s favorite son.

Justin Davis was the class hero and the most likely to succeed. He had excelled at everything—sports, scholastics, popularity—and as the top quarterback recruit in the nation he received offers from scores of college football powerhouses representing the Big Ten and other major conferences. Why then, he continually asked himself, had he let his guard down—putting everything on the line and seeking confirmation from strangers?

Throughout his life he had felt that guardian angels were with him, but they’d abandoned him when he needed them most, so they could steward over someone more deserving…someone who wouldn’t risk all for a taste of what he had been brought up to consider the forbidden fruit. He couldn’t explain it, but life’s confusions made him feel that he no longer fit the role his angels had paved for him. That maybe he’d had a hand in sabotaging it before it went too far; a secret he kept hidden from himself and others with the aid of any mind-numbing substance he could get his hands on.

With his room in the basement of his brother’s home now bathed in full light, Justin drifted back to sleep, and from his sleep he could hear the marching band and cheers from the packed stadium as he led his team, charging onto the field through the gauntlet of cheerleaders. In reliving the moment, he managed a slight smile as his dreams took him back twelve years to the fall of 1976 and the sound of the PA system announcing the starting teams for the state of Ohio’s high school football championship game.

And as the dreams continued and the light of the sun streamed through the basement’s walk-out French door and remaining windows, Justin subconsciously felt a strange and unique sensation upon his dormant soul. The feeling of his angels returning to envelop his body like fresh snow on a blemished landscape—lovingly transforming his unkempt and damaged being. They had come to caress and heal his body and spirit, and renew his faith to trust what lay ahead.