Posted in Teen

Tween Meme for the Emblazoners!

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! Today is the fourth Wednesday of the month and that means it’s our Tween Meme day! Whoo hoo!

Today I’d like to talk about a book that I read recently. It’s a story by Sarah Dessen and it’s titled, “What happened to Goodbye.” I have to tell you, when I first picked it up, I wasn’t sure about it. I mean when I think of Sarah Dessen, I think of Girlie Girls. I’ve always been a bit of a Tomboy. 🙂 So, I was a little hesitant at first.

However, once I got into the story I was hooked. It’s a story about a family that’s torn apart by a bitter divorce. While the parents are fighting over custody, their teenage daughter is being pulled in all kinds of directions and she’s slowly unraveling. But her parents aren’t paying attention because they’re dealing with their own issues.

It was an interesting read and I absolutely LOVED how McLean’s relationship with Dave developed. It was incredibly sweet and nostalgic. The story tugged at my heart strings and I’m sure it will tug at yours as well.

It is an excellent story to recommend to tweens who are trying to figure out who they are, or have parents who are going through a divorce. It’s told from McLean’s perspective and she gives us insight on how a tween/teen might view that type of situation.

This story also shows how a relationship should develop between a boy and a girl. The two become friends and then the relationship slowly evolves into something more.  It’s a great story to illustrate how a relationship should start. I would highly recommend this story to tweens. The cover and blurb are below.

Since her parents’ bitter divorce, Mclean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move – four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother’s new family, Mclean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, Mclean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself – whoever that is. Perhaps her neighbor Dave, an academic superstar trying to be just a regular guy, can help her find out. Combining Sarah Dessen’s trademark graceful writing, great characters, and compelling storytelling, What Happened to Goodbye is irresistible reading.

Thanks for stopping by today. Do you have a book you’d like to recommend? Leave the title in the comments, I’d love to read what it is!

And check out the Emblazoner  Tween the Weekend Page!  See what the other Emblazoner authors are up to! The link is below:

 http://emblazoners.com/tween-the-weekends/

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Posted in Children's Event

Best of Summer 2013 Kid Lit Giveaway Hop!

The winners are!

Krizia Almiranez

and

Kari!

Congratulations!

Thank you for participating in our blog hop!

Best of Summer 2013 Kid Lit Giveaway Hop - Button

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’m participating in the Kid Lit Blog Hop where you can win some amazing books for the kids in your life. There are all kinds of books available, so make sure you check out all the awesome giveaways on this hop! I’ve listed some other participants below. Be sure and check out their blogs!

One of the things that our hosts wanted us to do is to feature one of our favorite children’s books. Well, one of my absolute favorites is “To Kill a Mocking bird.” This is an awesome story and many teachers still use it in their classrooms today.

To Kill a Mockingbird

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

I loved this story. It captured the turbulent era beautifully and it’s told from a child’s point of view. I would recommend this book to tweens and teens alike. It illustrates a great lesson regarding discrimination. A lesson everyone needs to learn.

Reading fiction is a great way to learn life lessons, and it’s an important skill that needs to be developed from a young age. It improves self esteem, analytical skills, and social skills. So as a parent encouraging reading is one of the best things I can do for my children.   Here are a couple of posts on improving literacy that I wrote a few months ago.

https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/improving-our-libraries-will-improve-our-literacy-levels/

https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/could-e-books-be-the-solution-to-our-growing-literacy-problems/

Now for the giveaway! I will giveaway 2 e-book copies of my first Super Spies novel, “The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer!” The Super Spies series is for the ages between 10-16. To enter all you have to do is leave a comment with the title of your favorite childhood book! Winners will be chosen on September 6th! The cover and blurb are below!

The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer 500x750This book opens in a small town in Michigan where fifteen-year-old Sarah Cole is stuck spending the summer at her Aunt and Uncle’s with her sister, Lacey. She’s not happy with the situation until she befriends a girl named Jackie. The three girls stumble upon the ruthless murder of a reclusive neighborhood woman. One of the officers investigating the crime believes the girls are responsible for her death. Fearing that this officer will frame them for the murder, the girls organize their own detective squad. They become the Super Spies and start their own fact-finding mission.  The Super Spies can’t understand why anyone would want to murder the “Cat Lady” until they start digging into her past and discover a horrible crime that happened thirty years ago. They uncover a connection between the two crimes and attempt to bring this information to the police, only to be reprimanded for meddling in the inquest. Not only are the girls upset by the admonition, but they also struggle with the fact that their exuberant investigating could provide a legal loophole allowing the killer to go free. To make matters worse, the police don’t even believe them. Frustrated by this turn of events, the Super Spies realize it’s up to them to snare the Cat Lady killer, or die trying…

Please visit our hosts for this venture, their links are below:

http://motherdaughterbookreviews.com/kid-lit-blog-hop-22/

http://youthlitreviews.com/

To check out the other blogs (there are over seventy!) click the link below:

http://www.linkytools.com/wordpress_list.aspx?id=202201&type=basic&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win an ebook copy of “The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer!”

Posted in reviews, Teen

Book Review of “Looking for Alaska”

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’ve been up to the cottage this week enjoying the hot weather before school starts. I can’t believe summer is almost over and neither can my boys.

A few weeks ago, I read the book “Looking for Alaska” by John Green. I enjoyed the story and the cover and blurb are below:

Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award An ALA Best Book for Young Adults An ALA Quick Pick A Los Angeles Times 2005 Book Prize Finalist A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age A 2005 Booklist Editor’s Choice A 2005 School Library Journal Best Book of the Year Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.

My thoughts:

“Looking for Alaska” is the story that’s told from Miles point of view. Miles is sent away to boarding school where he meets vivacious Alaska, and his life is never the same.

Miles not only meets Alaska, but a number of new friends as well. The story documents their adventures and Miles’ reactions to them.  It’s a great novel and I like reading the story from a young boy’s point of view. There aren’t many stories that are told from that view point.

The story revolves around Miles’ fascination with Alaska and his reaction when she abruptly dies. All of her friends experience the guilt of letting her drive while she was under the influence. It was sad and maybe that’s why I didn’t like it as much as “Paper Towns.”  It deals with death and the possibility that Alaska committed suicide.

It delves into this dark issue and brings back some of the painful memories we all have of high school and our own dark days. I must say that I will probably pick up another John Green book even though this one was on the sad side for me.

Posted in Guest Author

Lynn Spangler’s back with A New Release

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’ve got Lynn Spangler here and she’s talking about her new release, “Conflicted Jewel.” It certainly sounds like an awesome read and I’ve got it on my TBR Pile! Check it out! The blurb and excerpt are below!

conflictedjewelThis story is the second in the On Main Street series. This story features Sage Whitley and Zander Havilland. I loved writing this story because it featured jewelry. I love jewelry and used to sell it as a matter-of-fact. Diamonds are indeed a girl’s best friend but so are rubies, emeralds, opals…well, you get the picture. I hope you enjoy my story!

Blurb:

Sometimes trusting your heart is harder than diamonds…

Years separated Sage and Zander. Will their reunion rekindle feelings they’ve long since kept to themselves?

Sage Whitley’s life as owner and jewelry designer for Whitley’s Jewelers was mundane and comfortable until the return of Zander Havilland. Secretly, Sage has had feelings for the handsome gemstone buyer for years and now he’s back in Jonerstown to stay. Sage’s life is soon turned upside down and Zander is there to catch her.

Zander Havilland leaves his high paying job in New York City to return to his hometown to stay with his aging mother. An opportunity presents itself shortly after his return, putting him on a collision course with the lovely, petite Sage Whitley. Soon emotions long hidden for the beauty rush in and Zander is more than ready to accept the inevitable.

Adversity draws them closer together as they try to unravel a mystery involving a large diamond, a rash of thefts, and murder. Can they solve the bizarre mystery before it’s too late and explore the possibility of everlasting love?

conflictedjewelExcerpt:

“You’re early,” she said when she noticed Sage.

“Had a hard time sleeping last night. Need the jolt sooner not later,” Sage professed. “Give me an espresso. I need jet fuel instead of gasoline.”

Sherry laughed. “Sure thing. What size? If you’re not used to drinking them, then I’d recommend going no bigger than a medium.”

“Make it so.” It never ceased to amaze Sage how efficient Sherry was at her job. Her steaming drink was before her in no time. “You make preparing my orders look so easy,” she declared, sipping the brew. “Wow, it’s strong.”

“You said jet fuel.” Sherry said and then grinned.

“I guess I did. Thanks. I’ll probably catch you later today. See you,” Sage said before turning to leave. She stopped, rooted in place, when she saw who strolled in the door.

Zander stood in all his gorgeous glory. He was wearing a tailored three-piece suit in a pleasant charcoal color, which showcased his broad shoulders. A white dress shirt and a cobalt blue tie completed his ensemble. His collar brushing, ink-black hair was pulled back into a stubby tail. The corners of his mouth curled upward when his eyes met hers.

His smile made her heart skip a beat. Sage’s knees weakened and she leaned against the counter for support. She knew she’d never see a more perfect male specimen than the man standing before her.

He ambled over toward her and stopped about a foot away.

Every one of Sage’s nerve endings seemed to fire at once. Her pulse fluttered and the pit of her stomach tingled.

“Good morning,” he said.

“Hi,” she managed and then sipped her espresso. She frowned slightly. “This is stronger than I’m used to.”

Zander leaned down and sniffed the brew through the opening. “You drinking the high octane stuff?”

“Huh…” Sage couldn’t seem to form proper words. “Yeah,” she said when her synapses worked again. “I had trouble sleeping last night.”

“You too?” He flashed a brilliant smile again. “How is the espresso?”

Buy Links:

Astraea Press

Amazon

Author Bio:

I live in South Central Pennsylvania with my wonderful, loving husband and my beautiful daughter. I also have a son who is currently serving in the U.S. Navy. I have a cat named Kolzig and a dog named Cede who allow us to live with them.

I love to write and read. I also make jewelry when the mood strikes. I’m a huge sports fan. I love football, NASCAR, and hockey. I’m also a bit of a game show freak. I love old game shows from the 70’s and 80’s like Match Game and $25,000 Pyramid. Television shows like Criminal Minds and Rizzoli and Isles are also favorites of mine.

Thanks for taking the time to check out Lynn’s book!  I hope you enjoyed the excerpt!

Posted in Uncategorized

Writing for the Tween Market

Hello Everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m writing a post for the Emblazoner Blog today and so I thought I would share  my thoughts with everyone here as well. Today, I’m talking about writing for the tween market. Here’s the link if you’d like to check it out! http://emblazoners.com/writing-for-the-tween-market/

First of all, I love this age group! When I look back on my life, I recall my tween years as some of my happiest memories. In fact, my friends and I formed our own detective squad and tried to solve a mystery in our  small town. We never did, but let me tell you that was one of the best summers of my life. When I get together with those friends, we always bring up that summer and laugh about it.

When I look back on those years, I chuckle at my attitude. We thought we were invincible and we could accomplish anything! What a wonderful feeling to believe that there are no limitations or obstacles.

So, when I decided to write for this market I wanted to bring that same feeling to my readers. And being an avid mystery fan, it was a natural choice for me to write stories in that genre. However, I had to be careful because I wanted my characters to be good role models too. So, I made sure they didn’t condone or take part in any negative behavior like bullying or teasing. I had to do that and keep the story entertaining. No small task, that’s for sure!

While keeping my stories interesting, I also weave life lessons throughout the books; that way my readers can learn the lesson right along with the characters. Fiction can be a wonderful teacher, and sometimes it’s easier to learn a lesson from a book than it is to learn one from a parent. Sometimes, it’s easier on the parent too. 🙂

I’m always striving to teach with my stories and the other Emblazoner authors feel the same way. It’s so nice to work with a group of like-minded individuals. We all use different tools to tell our story. For example, some of us use humor, and some use fantasy or history. What’s nice about that is there’s something in our selection for every type of reader. So go ahead and check out our books, I’m sure you’ll find something for even the most reluctant reader! You can find our books here:  http://emblazoners.com/our-books/

Thanks for reading my post and if you’d like to share some of your thoughts on writing for the tweens in your life, feel free. We’d love to hear from you!

Meningitis Outbreak linked to Injectable Steroid

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you. This summer is going by so fast and I just keep getting busier and busier. I’m at the pool with my kids as I write this post. One of their friends asked them to go swimming and here we are.

Last night I watched 60 minutes and I was horrified to learn the drug company, New England Compounding Pharmacy Inc. had manufactured an injectable steroid (MPA) that was contaminated. How was this discovered? Good question.

It was discovered when there was an unusually large outbreak of Meningitis. The company has recalled the drug, but they maintain they have no knowledge on how this could have happened.  However, one of their employees at the time confessed that the company got greedy and cut some corners; the way I interpret that is the company cut corners sterilizing their product.

It must be noted that at the time NECC also owned a recycling plant right next door.  Gee…I wonder how things got contaminated…but of course, I’m speculating.

Now, because of the way NECC manufactured their product they fly under the radar of the FDA. A change occurred in the law in 1998 where the FDA no longer monitored those companies that manufactured this form of the drug.

How unfortunate, because people who have been injected with this contaminated drug are dying. NECC has declared bankruptcy, but not before they pulled millions of dollars out of the company.

That makes me angry. The executives should be giving that money to the victims and helping them. Instead, they took the money and kept it for themselves.

How in the world, were they able to do that? What kind of society do we live in that tolerates this kind of abuse? The only answer that I can think of is the executives were tipped off and removed the money before the accounts were frozen. Why aren’t they in jail?

It saddens me to think that these corrupt executives don’t care about their victims, and I’m hoping that the government puts much more stringent guidelines on companies that manufacture drugs.

Of course, that won’t bring back the lives that have been lost, will it?

For more information about this click on the link below.

http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/outbreaks/meningitis.html

Thanks for stopping by and if you have any thoughts on how we can guarantee the medication that we receive from the hospital is sterile, I’d love to hear them!

Posted in Events, Literacy, Teen

Reading Rocks in Rockford this Saturday!

20111210_ABS_1296[1]Hello Everyone, I hope all is well with you! Today’s post is going to be a short one because I’m getting ready for the Reading Rocks in Rockford Festival this Saturday.

I’m really excited about this because I’m going to be conducting one of my Mystery Writing Workshops that day. So stop on down and check it out!  Information on the Festival is below! I hope to see you there!

Reading Flyer 2013 b (1)