Tag Archives: YA

For the Love of Books – What’s Your Favourite Genre?

Reading is a true pleasure, and not only do we all have books we love,
stories we adore, but we often have genres that we lean towards
when we’re searching for new books.

So, where’s your heart when it comes to the books you read?

For the Love of Books - What's Your Favourite Genre - The Last Krystallos

These days books are very much pigeon-holed into genres, which when I first began writing didn’t occur to me at all! I just wrote the story inside my head before discovering it really didn’t fit a particular genre. In the end, my first series of books, The Hope Within Novels, actually fit very well into the Young Adult field, and we all know YA can be read and loved by any age at all!

Since my first book, I did learn that to succeed it’s pretty important to know your genre, and through flash fiction and short stories, I discovered my passion is fantasy – moving into steampunk and post-apocalyptic.

I grew up with Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five adventuresexploring ruins, islands, castles, and moved into Narnia, The Hobbit, and my favourite The Dark is Rising Sequence. I was hooked. From there Philip Pullman, Tolkien, Eoin Colfer, and again, my favourite author, Garth Nix and his Old Kingdom series captivated me. I read many genres, but love writing contemporary and fantasy.

So, what do you love?

My love of fantasy arrived with dragons and after Smaug, I fell for some friendlier types in the rather wordy Eragon series by Christopher Paolini. Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea is a classic, as is anything by Tolkien, and I’ve loved current books Orison by Daniel Swensen and the beautiful Quest of the Dreamwalker from Stacy Bennett. I am also entranced by Patrick Rothfuss, and fell in love with The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Are you a romance reader? I went through some steamy romances in my twenties, my bored housewife/young mum years, but my palate grew up and I now love fantasy and contemporary romances. I have been completely enchanted by Sophie Moss and her Seal Island Trilogy, and can’t wait for her latest book in the Wind Chime series… And you’ll love ditsy Katie Button from Lizzie Koch.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Or does horror chill you? I was never a horror fan, preferring movie versions of most horror stories if any, but I did love James Herbert’s Portent, and I’ve read a few Stephen King. J. Whitworth Hazzard blew the zombie genre right out of the water with Dead Sea Games, and I adored the chilling literary tales from Max Power and Darkly Wood.

Horror-genres-you-love-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Do you love the classics? Are you a Bronte fan, or do you go weak at the knees for Mr Darcy? I’ve always loved fairy-tales, stories that chill, enthral, and fascinate bringing us dragons, fae, and much more. I love Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, then there’s The Count of Monte Cristo from Dumas, and so much more. The classics are right there, standing the test of time.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Are your tastes more eclectic? I remember raiding Dad’s bookshelves to read John Wyndham, introduced to Chocky by the BBC TV series on Children’s Television back in 1984 – and I then devoured The Midwich Cuckoos, The Chrysalids, The Kraken Wakes and more. Sci-fi is still up there with my favourites, but I tend to watch sci-fi much more than read it.

Autobiographies, Mum and Gran loved reading about people, real people, and my husband enjoys it too, not so much my cup of tea.

Contemporary, is a hit and miss thing for me these days. There are some brilliant books out there like Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep from Joanna Cannon, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, but you can easily hit some real misses.

I also enjoy Thrillers, Harlan Coben being my favourite.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Children’s books, I still read kids’ books, why not? They are what introduced me to reading and inspired me to write myself. The Silver Brumby absolutely entrances me, and I will always love it. I’ve even been known to reread Blyton’s The Castle of Adventure as an adult…

From children’s books to Young Adult…a genre that is a law unto itself. Harry Potter broke the mould with children’s books, bringing them to children and adults simultaneously. Now, you’ll see YA in the hands of all ages. John Green and Meg Rosoff inspire when they pen great stories, and so do some much lesser known authors, like Angela Lynn who had me completely in love with All the What Ifs, and Louise Gornall with an emotional journey through Under Rose Tainted Skies. Another book that made me weep was Loser from Jerry Spinelli, a book I would read again and again, and Anne Holm’s I am David. My books, Beneath the Rainbow, Old Oak, and Distant Star, also inspire through difficult journeys and true to the YA genre have been loved by all ages!

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© Lisa Shambrook

Lastly, I love short story books. I love a book I can pick up while I’m waiting, and I’m often waiting for children, dentists, Drs, and other appointments. Short tales are inspiring, eclectic, a good use of spare time, and they also introduce us to new authors, or an author’s writing style, when you fall in love with their writing, you can search out full-length novels and bury yourself among your favourite words! And, like with Human 76, you can sometimes find a completely original and exciting concept, this time a book of tales by different writers, brought together in the same world, but each telling a unique story.

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© Lisa Shambrook

So, tell me, what books do you love, where is your passion,
and what genre is your ‘go to’ when searching for a new read?   

Author Feature – Angela Lynn

I like to read raw stories, tales that sweep me up and tug at my emotions,
and though I’m not generally a fan of High School YA,
All The What Ifs from Angela Lynn did all that and more.

all-the-what-ifs, angela-lynn, novel, YA,
Angela Lynn radiates an exuberance that will beguile you, that’s for sure! She is a sensitive writer and her words are able to pull you right inside her stories. I met her on the Flash Fiction circuit and she immediately became someone I wanted to know. Do yourself a favour, follow her quirky brand of humour and her love of life and you won’t go wrong. In her own words she lives in the desert with her mister and their four awesome kids, and if you ask me you should engage with her on Twitter and have some fun! After reading her debut novel I was keen to interview her. You can read my review of All The What Ifs on Goodreads.

Angela Lynn, All The What Ifs, YA novel,

Angela Lynn

Angela Lynn

One of the things that struck me in All The What Ifs is the authenticity of your writing and the way you easily got inside the head of a young adult. Your dialogue is brilliant and every word, quip and comment is how I imagine a group of teens chatting. Did you find it easy to inhabit a teenager’s mind to write and did you enjoy your teens or were they difficult years? 

Oh man…where to begin!

First off, thank you SO much for having me on your lovely site and for reading All The What Ifs. I’m beyond grateful and thrilled you enjoyed it!

On finding it easy to inhabit a teenager’s mind, I’m often mistaken for one which is basically part of my master plan to never EVER grow up. 😉

As far as approaching the dialogue in All The What Ifs, I’ve been asked this question before and have yet to come up with a good response that doesn’t sound like a bunch of hot air. Ashley and her friends—Natalie, Kendra, Emma, Tyler, and Lucas—felt like close, personal friends of mine. From day one, I could hear them. Some nights they kept me up far too late with their chatter until I got it all written down. From time to time, I still hear them and I hope they’ll never leave me. We had such a good time together and I learned a lot from them.

Lastly on my experience being a teen, like most young adults, I faced many challenges as a teen. Being a young adult is terrifying and painful and beautiful in its newness and discovery. I think adults often forget that wrapped up in all that insecurity and impulsiveness is so much stinking promise. So while I can’t say my teenage years were easy or that I’d go back to them, I do try to weed through my experiences and look for the good that made me—ultimately—me.

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All The What Ifs – Angela Lynn

There is a real honesty in the novel. What inspired Ashely’s character and situation, and do you fondly or awkwardly recall your own first love?

Ashley and I are two different people. Where Ashley is quiet and withdrawn, I’m loud and easily upset. Where Ashley is methodical in her overthinking, I’m a hot mess of panic attacks. But something we both share is a deep seeded desire to please the people around us and do right by them. Ultimately, Ashley wants to be loved and accepted by her father for who she is, not what he wants her to be. And when that doesn’t work for him, she tries to change for him. What I find complex about her situation is what her father is demanding she follow through with seems perfect for Ashley, but in the end, no matter how perfect the fit might seem, it’s up to Ashley to decide. At the heart of this is a universal problem we all face, do we bow down to the seemingly oh so perfect fit or do we make ourselves uncomfortable and reach for something more?

And I do remember my first love. His name was Michael Shower and I sang “True Love” by Madonna from across the playground to him. Sadly, it was an unrequited love since I had to move the next day. And yes, I’m being serious. I loved that seven-year-old boy with all the love my own seven-year-old heart could muster.

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All The What Ifs – Angela Lynn

Your Nevada backdrop is evocative and I could feel the heat as I read, as someone from rainy Wales it’s always fun to drop into another location. You mention the Grand Canyon in the book too, have you ever been and where would you like to visit most?

Shockingly enough, though I live a four hour drive away from the Grand Canyon, I’ve never been! It’s most definitely on my must visit list. And right about now, I’m wishing for some rain, so how about I hop on a plane and visit you in a completely non-creepy kind of way!

I loved the scene where Ashley recalled Lucas’s visit and what she’d have said (I won’t add any spoilers) because I’ve had a similar experience in my own life. It really hit home. What was your favourite part of writing All The What Ifs?

This is a big question and I really, really suck at picking favorites.

But if I MUST, I’d say my favorite part about writing All The What Ifs was having my best friends alongside me. I dedicated the book to the two people who pushed me to follow through and believed in me and Ashley more than either of us ever could. Writing this story was a five year long journey, during which I pushed myself to not only be a better writer, but follow through and believe in my ability. My friends—from my mister and my bestie to my editor and my beta readers—made that a reality for me, which is the best part. It’s a beyond corny answer, but I’m learning to embrace that I’m a sappy soul.

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All The What Ifs – Angela Lynn and Buttons/Badges

We often talk of the need to create or write because of an innate desire, what does writing do for you?

Writing helps me escape and gives me a sense of accomplishment. I started writing during a time in my life when I felt like I was losing myself in the mundane everyday responsibilities that had started to rule me. It took all the energy and passion I had stored up in me and released it onto a page. At first, I did it for fun, but soon it became something I wanted to grow and mature in. There’s always a new story just around the bend and there’s always something new to learn to stretch myself as a person, a reader, and a writer.

all-the-what-ifs, angela-lynn, novel, YA,Thank you, Ang, you’re most welcome to come to rainy Wales and swap your hot, golden desert for cool, green, rolling hills and valleys! Like I said I don’t generally read High School YA since Sweet Valley High in my teens, but this gave me something new and exciting in the genre. I loved Ashley’s vulnerability and Angela’s beautiful writing. I’m looking forward to more from this author!

You can find All The What Ifs on Amazon UK and US and your local Amazon store in both eBook and paperback. You can find out about Angela Lynn on her Amazon Author Page.

You can follow Angela’s Facebook Author Page and find her on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads and you should also stop by her Blog Ang Writes.

Great Books – Buy Indie this Christmas…

With Christmas coming, I’m sharing my favourite Indie reads…
So if you want to share the love and read some amazing books –
take your choice from a great mix of genres.
There’s something for everyone!

indie-support-the-last-krystallos-titleThe most important thing you can do to help an indie author or creative, is to support them by buying and reviewing their product, and then sharing and spreading the word as much as you can. I’m not asking you to shout about every book you read, but if you love it, then share the love and tell people – we’ll love you forever!

My_Name_Is_RowanMy Name is Rowan – Tracy Hewitt Meyer
Young Adult

This three-in-one book compiles all three Rowan Slone novels, so you get great value and a fantastic YA story.
This book has a depth and raw edge that many YA novels don’t, dealing with real teen issues and no sugar coating. Tracy Hewitt Meyer‘s writing is authentic and her words draw you right into Rowan’s life. The characters are so well drawn that I was still considering their arcs days after finishing each book.  It’s a story of damage and abuse, loss and despair, but ultimately of absolution and trust, hope and strength.
This book is a real page-turner and its heartfelt beauty will draw you in as you find out if Rowan can get her life back on track…

Dead_Sea_Games_J_HazzardDead Sea Games – Zombies – J. Whitworth Hazzard
Horror/Zombie

If you like stories about survival, about beating the odds against the flesh-eating hordes, then ‘Dead Sea Games’ is the book for you! J. Whitworth Hazzard’s Deathwish will keep you biting your nails as you urge him to outlive the forces against him…
I was gripped from the very first page of this harsh tale of life in a post-apocalyptic world, where the city’s surviving inhabitants live in tower blocks and stay away from the streets below. As the stakes rise, the characters are thrown into life and death situations, and this brilliantly disturbing series will stay with you…and you won’t want to put it down!
*Includes adult language

Wind Chime Cover_5Wind Chime Café – Sophie Moss
Romance

Whenever I visit Heron Island, I feel like the wind whispers through my hair, and I can taste salt on my lips, and hear the ocean lapping at my feet… If you love romance then Sophie Moss is the writer for you – she has a way with words that will draw you deep into life on the island and connect you with her characters. Gorgeous detail and imagery bring her stories to life setting you right there making you twirl like a butterfly as the tale infuses your senses. Taste the ocean, see the colours and inhale the aroma of sweet cinnamon rolls. You’ll hear crashing waves and the story will touch you, leaving you wanting more…

Orison-Cover-daniel-swensenOrison – Daniel Swensen
Fantasy

Captivating, riveting, fast-paced fantasy – ‘Orison’ enchanted me. Daniel Swensen is an intelligent and delightful writer, and if you haven’t read ‘Orison’ yet, you absolutely should.
From the beginning I was caught up in Story’s tale, as she leapt from rooftop to rooftop and several times, thanks to the author’s superior description, my heart was in my mouth. Swensen intertwines his characters and their individual tales so well, you won’t predict the plot, but you’ll be waiting for them to overlap, and you won’t be sorry when they do! Each character, from the quietly rebellious Story, worn-down Wrynn and loyal Ashen, weaves through the background of Calushain and an epic tale unfolds…you will be bookmarking this author for more.

cover front04 mainYou’re Not Alone – An Anthology
Mix of Genres

This anthology was put together by Ian D Moore and a group of authors who wanted to make a difference, all proceeds go to Macmillan Nurses as they help in the battle against cancer. Many of the authors have first-hand experience of cancer or know someone close who’s suffering, and were delighted to contribute to this book.
You will be whisked into a magical world of remembrance with Sylva Fae’s gorgeous tale ‘Lilies for the Mantel’, enchanted by my own fairytale ‘Love’s Silent Ache’, have your heart stolen byNico Laeser’s ‘No Longer Broken’ and stirred with ‘A Year Afterwards’ by Lesley Hayes. Throw in a great mix of stories including Max Power’s ‘Babes’, ‘Last Goodbye’ by Paul Ruddock, ‘If the Shoe Fits’ by Katharine E. Hamilton and ‘Ooh Air Margrit’ by Rebecca Bryn, and you’re onto a winner. These are just some of my favourites and there are plenty more!
The tales are a wonderful mix of genres and beautiful writing from great authors.

228148_417400521642905_511546514_nOceanswept – Lara Hays
Historical Romance

Swashbuckling pirates and romance on the high seas… I got caught up and swept along in this period pirate romance. I enjoyed Lara Hays‘ intricate and beautiful description and very much felt as if I was there on the ocean myself.
Tessa Monroe is lost at sea and rescued by pirates. On the ship, she finds herself in all kinds of trouble with only one protector, the dashing and mysterious Nicholas. She finds herself falling for this dark and enigmatic man in a way that she tries to fight, but as he consistently defends her honour he earns her respect and admiration. Tessa is a feisty lead and is a good match for Nicholas, but can they find happiness aboard a pirate ship?

EW-Cover-for-eboo-nEdgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire – Paul Ramey
Young Adult

This story held my attention and delighted me with its wonderful description and characters. This is a tale of gothic fantasy and contemporary relationships which will intrigue you.
Edgar is a teenager with an obsession for graveyards and history. He very soon finds himself in direct competition with the local society of ladies hunting down the fabled lost grimoire. Some fabulous characters emerge, one of my favourites being Corinthian, the cemetery attendant, who helps Edgar in his search. Edgar enlists the help of fellow teen Shelby and they get wrapped up in a beautifully described relationship and detective work.
You will love the history intertwined with the contemporary setting and a tale that will both delight and enchant you. I am looking forward to reading much more from Paul Ramey and Edgar Wilde!
*Includes adult language

lizzie-koch-adventures-of-katie-button-2015The Adventures of Katie Button – Lizzie Koch
Chick Lit

If you’re looking for a fun read, you’ll have just that with Katie!
Katie has a dilemma, two brothers, both vying for her attention…and her choice is made all the more difficult as she’s dreaming about one of them. As her dreams begin to collide with reality, scatty Katie must make a decision, but will it be the right one? Katie’s dreams begin to affect her work and she needs to find an answer…
Lizzie Koch writes with a sassy and fun attitude and Katie will warm your heart as she struggles to make her way through the day without making a faux pas. Katie Button is a character you’ll relate to and  and this chick lit book will both delight you and make you laugh.

MinstrelMinstrel – Marissa Ames
Historical Fantasy

A riveting tale of medieval intrigue. A powerful and captivating story set in medieval Tir Athair. Strong, fully-fleshed characters drive this tale, drawing you into a world where everything is about to change. Subterfuge and mistaken identities abound and you will be enthralled as you begin to follow frustrated Liam, feisty Molly, and formidable royal twins amid an intense power struggle.
The strength of Marissa Ames’ writing lies within beautifully realised characters, well-developed world building, tightly drawn politics and authenticity. This is a delightful and intriguing story that will keep you reading, and leave you wanting more from Tir Athair.

10898273_1521902424750674_3752184837970645176_nSkin Cage – Nico Laeser
Contemporary Fiction

An intriguing and enchanting read… The stylish cover piqued my curiosity, along with the idea of being trapped within one’s own body, and I knew I wanted to read this story. It’s an absorbing tale of a young man imprisoned inside his paralysed body, and his struggle to be heard. It’s one of those taboo subjects, and something that horrifies us, to be caught still totally lucid and alive, but frozen and unable to be heard.
Nico Laeser takes us through the inner workings of Danny’s mind with such fluidity and believability; it’s hard not to believe the author’s already been there himself. His language and writing and imagination creates an authenticity that drew me right in.
The beauty of Laeser’s writing kept me reading, particularly at the end, where it brought me to tears, leaving me wanting more and keen to read further works from this talented author.

12140898_1912278298997938_6642693972730892579_oThe Drowned Phoenician Sailor – Lesley Hayes
Contemporary Drama

I’m only 20% through this book, but it’s written with such beautiful prose and style that it has to be included… I’m hooked and intrigued and keen to see where the author is taking me. This is a character driven story and the protagonist is both flawed and fascinating. One of the best things about a story is the ability the author has to take me on a journey, and this one is exhibiting twists and turns, and a title that just makes me want to read on… Fynn is in therapy, but right at the start, her sessions are rudely interrupted by fate. You will want to know more, and as I know several readers who rate this book, and its author, incredibly highly, I know I’m going to enjoy it!

Final-Front-CoverThe Complicated Geography of Alice – Jules Vilmur
Autobiographical

There are stories in life that should be told, that need to be told, and this is one of them. Alice is alive with the fire of life, a yearning to be who she is and to be accepted, and my heart ached for both Alice and for her family. Teenage years are stormy for most, but for a transgender teen, life can be almost impossible. However, this book presents an honest portrayal of a family trying to cope through times of helplessness with humour, love and compassion.
The tears I shed for Alice and her family were genuine and heartfelt, as were the words tying this story together. Alice’s mother shares her story and writes with raw emotion, truth and grit. This story is a tough read, but one of the most rewarding you’ll find. I hope you will come away, like I did, with both greater understanding and compassion.
*Includes adult language

Cutthroats and Curses - An Anthology of PiratesCutthroats and Curses – A Piratical Anthology
Pirate

Ahoy there shipmates! If you’re looking for a swashbuckling, piratical tale…you need look no further…for ‘Cutthroats and Curses – An Anthology of Pirates’. Featuring eleven great writers: Michael Wombat, Lisa Shambrook, Boyd Miles, Marissa Ames, Bryan Taylor, Beth Avery, Matt Jameson, Eric Martell, Michael Walker, Stephen Coltrane, and Alex Brightsmith, there will be something for everyone!
My tale is a Steampunk tale of Captain Jericha Blacklocke’s bid to survive both catch twenty-two and a vengeful dragon to save her crew aboard The Paroxysm. A story thick with emotion and tension, corsets and longing, goggles and jewels, and a desire to survive and atone…
However, you’re going to love the eclectic mix of fantastic writing from some amazing authors.

There’s definitely something for everyone here! 

Click on the book or the title and find the Amazon.co.uk link…
to find your local Amazon replace the .co.uk with your own country link eg: .com .fr