Category Archives: Child/YA Fiction

DBoyz of Dogwood by C.B. Smith

Review: This is the second book I’ve read by author C.B. Smith who seems to focus on young adult novels.

It’s a fast-paced story centered around Kyrie, a skater girl wanting to get in with one of the best teams around, the DBoyz of Dogwood. From mental conversations ranging from sexploration with her skater boyfriend, to whether its possible to “hook up” with an older pro, or finding her “bio-dad”, we are inside Kyrie’s head, with her likes and dislikes, things that gross her out and others she doesn’t understand like her mom Monique’s unique personality and way of being. The whole tale moves up to a climax that touches your heart, as it’s a situation almost anyone can empathize with.

The story has all the skate terms, slangs, euphemisms and references to ring true with those who are “in the know” about such stuff, but there is so much of it seemed like overkill to me. It took attention away from the central plot and character development for me, but it depends on what you looking for out of a book.

Overall, I really liked this book. It’s got great messages for young people, some serious things to think about, and certainly events that would try even an adult’s emotional maturity, plus it’s fun. I’d definitely recommend this book to both teens and adults.

Description: The only thing standing between Kyrie Elias and her skateboarding dreams is one hard-headed skater who seems to take great joy in breaking her stride. But when you go up against a girl who has the desire, the will, and mad skater skills to boot, you ve got a whole world of hurt on urethane wheels ripping for you at full throttle!

Published: August 17th 2010
Publisher: M.H. Dartos
ISBN: 0011071699
ISBN13: 2940011071690
Available at Smashwords
Source: Author

Author Bio:

C.B. Smith is a full time writer. He spends his days chasing words around the page to capture just the right ones for his latest work. Website: http://www.freewebs.com/authorcbsmith/
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Per the author, 13 July 2011, regarding this title:

D-Boyz of Dogwood has morphed to Krazy Dreamz and was rereleased on 30 June 2011. This title can be found at Smashwords and http://www.freewebs.com/authorcbsmith/    Readers wishing to contact me can do so by emailing: cbsmith3000@yahoo.com

The new cover image…

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Filed under Child/YA Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Reviews

The Dinosaur Games by Christopher Gordon

Review: Book One in the Tyrannosaur Series. The Dinosaur Games has an interesting and rather unique story concept and plot which reminded me of animation series from the 1980’s. There were plenty of Saturday morning cartoons with story lines featuring good vs. evil in fantasy worlds or fictional settings. In this case, it’s young people forced to battle dinosaurs directed by diabolical people with a secret, nefarious plan to perhaps rule the world, or at least their part of it. Think “Dungeons & Dragons” with dinosaurs set in an alternative or futuristic Texas.

There’s lots of action and a fast moving pace, with terms and phrasing that young adults would identify with, and the author obviously has a strong idea and direction in which they wish to take this series. For me, the drawback was structuring and style, as the narrative is almost entirely in present tense, a screenplay-like mode. We’re always being told or described scenes and events with little or no transition, and this came off as rather disjointed. If you read the description, it reflects “The Dinosaur Games” style (available below). As I had an ARC copy, perhaps paragraph structure and formatting is different in the official released edition. Overall a unique premise, but I would be curious if the same style continues in Book 2 “The Revenge of the Gladiator,” which has recently been released. Dependent upon that, I would consider continuing an adventure among dinosaurs.

Description:

One week ago they took Jack’s neighbours.
Six days ago his parents.
Five days ago his brother.
Four days ago the girl he loves.
Three days ago he surrendered to them.
Two days ago Jack rode his first T-Rex.
Yesterday they made him a Gladiator.

Today he’ll save the girl he loves even if it means his own death.

Tomorrow they’ll wish they never let Jack Reaper enter the Dinosaur Games.

Publication Date: February 5th 2011

Publisher: Christopher Gordon

Buy Link: Smashwords

Source: Author

Author Bio:

Author of sci-fi/Fantasy thrillers for YA and adults with an emphasis on high adrenalin action and nerve jangling tension.

Books that both kids and adults can enjoy.

Website: http://www.Read-Chris.Blogspot.com

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Filed under Child/YA Fiction, Fantasy, Reviews

Drum Dance by Bonnie Turner

Review: “Drum Dance” begins with a believable premise many people might identify with: the attempt to get know a parent again after being separated for some time. As young David is flown to the icy trading post which his father manages, the battle through the elements was particularly outstanding. Not trying to stereotype all seventeen year olds, but I found some of the thought processes, reasoning and observations suggesting experiences were somewhat beyond the main character’s years, and more representative of a matured man in his thirties. I realize, however, this is taking into consideration the time period as well as David’s expressed Christian upbringing.  Perhaps this was an unspoken element dating the setting, for many young people then had responsibilities beyond some of the social media, fashion and/or entertainment obsessed adolescents of today, so very self-centred in concerns.

Some things which worked against the pacing for me was the fact it is a dialogue heavy manuscript where the speaker isn’t always clearly confined, which I sometimes found confusing. Changes in sentence and paragraph structure might have helped this. I felt providing scene details and background information would have been better served in smaller portions at a time, or at set times within a scene which didn’t isolate sentences of a conversation.  Such as in the scene when David meets his father again after long years of separation, during a rather emotional exchange, we’re panned off to a couple of paragraphs describing the room before it picks up again. There are some editing issues, especially towards the end but I would attribute this to the fact I was supplied with a final manuscript in .doc form and not the finished .pdf version.

It’s an engaging tale, rather a “coming of age” of sorts, and it’s a nice step outside the bounds of truly contemporary works though it’s not quite historical fiction. It’s set in the late nineteen thirties, yet except for a few references to the Great Depression and the beginning of World War 2, it could have been any time period, for the way of life in the snow and ice of the great Canadian north is in many ways unchanged in basic needs, daily life and activities. Plotting was good, and the author’s knowledge of the Canadian Artic and this particular indigenous tribe was apparent, which is a huge plus in “Drum Dance’s” favour. The supporting characters, mostly in the form of natives, were “real” for me, and the main character David, likeable. Although I had a lingering wish for more narratives and less “spoken” words to provide a greater depth and inspiration for empathy, I was satisfied with the story as a whole, and found the work one to admire.

Personal Note: As a Native American, I particularly respected the author’s not presenting native customs and life in a derogatory manner simply because it is different than Euro-Christian beliefs.

Description: A young-adult historical novel set in Canada’s central Arctic in the late 1930s.

Seventeen-year-old David Jansson moves to an isolated fur-trading post at Gjoa Haven to live with his estranged father, Per Jansson, manager for the Hudson’s Bay Company. Expecting a loving reunion when he arrives on the harsh, sunless island in late February, David instead finds an alcoholic father with a flash temper. David’s struggle to stay sane amid conflict over a half-blood Inuit girl, a shaman who sees the youth’s potential for shamanism, plus David’s chilling psychic abilities, lead him to risk his life by underestimating the weather … and his own heart … in the same area where Sir John Franklin and his crew froze to death searching for the Northwest Passage.

  • Paperback, 240 pages, also in Kindle format
  • Published December 6th 2010 by Lulu.com (Imprint: Aurorawolf) (first published November 14th 2010)
  • ISBN13-9780557855216
  • Buy Link: Amazon, Smashwords, and Lulu.com
  • Source: Author
  • Genre: Young Adult, Recent Historical Fiction

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Filed under Child/YA Fiction, Fiction, Historical Fiction

Riders on the Rez by Jan Lofton

“I had mixed feelings about this story. First, I must say that being Native American myself, I naturally look for a writer’s ability to present the characters and their actions and speech as authentic. And for the most part, I found it in this story. The relaxed, almost lacksidaisical nature many natives display amongst themselves is evident in the dialogue and scenes.

The writing style was somewhat choppy in places, but I understood this to be evidence of a young voice narrating the tale. There are plenty of terms and descriptions of skateboarding which I found a little distracting. For me they were unnecessary but they were within descriptive scenes displaying more about the character’s personality, attachments, and were at a key point in story development.

I work with Native American children and teens in the community I’m in and will certainly recommend they read “Riders on the Rez”. I would greatly like to know their impression of this somewhat “coming of age” story, and hopefully it may prompt them to write their own stories.

As a whole, I found “Riders on the Rez” to be a noteworthy story even though Native spirituality isn’t an easy concept for many people to understand, as most either over-complicate it or alternatively see it as primitive.  It simply is what it is.”


Blurb: When Billy Tsosie meets his relatives on the Navajo Reservation he does not quite know how to fit in. His Mom has never told him anything at all about about Dine traditions and he is sure that his older cousin Danny looks down on him because of it. But when Billy gets into a fight at the Kayenta Skateboard Park, it is Danny who comes to his rescue.

Extended Description: Young skateboarder Billie Tsosie is quick to take on kids who tease him about his Native American heritage, and equally quick to jump into a fight with the kid who kicks his little cousin, Shawna.

When his mother takes him to visit the Navajo reservation and he interacts with his “rellies” for the first time in his short life, he finds out that he has a heritage to be proud of. Through the teaching of his older cousins, his uncles, and Spiderwoman, he comes to understand the meaning of hozho, the Navajo term for walking in consciousness and beauty.

Published: Jan. 02, 2011
Category: Fiction » Children’s Books » Fiction
Words: 6173 (approximate)
Language: English

Visit Smashwords to download your copy.

Source: Author

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Filed under Child/YA Fiction, Short Story