Young Adult Adventure Novels: Tales of Survival and Adventure for Teen Readers

Young Adult readers have many different media sources marketing to them today. Getting them to read can become increasingly difficult if they do not already enjoy reading. Adventure and survival stories are often the genre of books that will capture the imagination and interest of the more reluctant readers of this age group. Here are five of the best adventure books to offer your reluctant teen reader.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi offers readers a female lead on the high seas. The story that takes place during an 1802 transatlantic journey that turns mutinous and even more dangerous than expected. Thirteen-year-old Charlotte must decide whom to side with and find her courage in order to survive. This is a fantastic historical novel with a real feel for the time and place of the story as well as the emotions of the lead character. Thankfully, if your reader enjoys this book Avi is a prolific writer of quality historical and realistic fiction.

Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt is the first book in the Tillerman series. Four siblings must find a way to survive when they are abandoned by their mother in the middle of Connecticut. They struggle to find their great aunt in Bridgeport only to discover that she has past away and the home is not the safe haven that they had hoped to reach. This is a story of survival, family and discovering the history of where you have come from. If your readers enjoy this book, they can continue reading about these siblings in the six books that follow.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen focuses of thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson. He is riding in a two person aircraft when the pilot haws a heart attack and dies. Brian must crash land the plane then survive in the Canadian wilderness alone. He must plan ahead, survive and find his way home with only the hatchet his mother gave him as a gift, a tattered windbreaker and clothing. Life and death situations are frequent and Brian discovers how to move past self-pity and survive. Paulsen is a master of description and shows his skill in Hatchet. He also wrote several other books that fans of Hatchet would enjoy, such as Dogsong.

The Island on Bird Street by Uri Orlev brings World War II to life. Alex is on his own in a ruined home in the Jewish ghetto of Warsaw. He must find a way to stay hidden and survive. The book is an easy but enthralling read that really gives readers a human connection to the holocaust. Alex is a courageous and resourceful character that holds on to his faith that his father will somehow return. The Island on Bird Street is inspiring and everyone should have an opportunity to read it. Do not cheat and just watch the movie, the book is well worth adding to your permanent collection.

The Cay by Theodore Taylor is a historical novel that tells the story of eleven-year-old Philip fleeing his home when war comes to close to comfort. The ship is torpedoed and he is left blinded from the blast and adrift with a cat and black ship hand. They eventually make it to a deserted island where Philip learns to deal with his lost eyesight and grow to realize who unimportant skin color is. Philip grows as a person and becomes able to fend for himself despite his blindness. Survival, unexpected friendship and adventure on the ocean make the book a great read for young adults especially.

Early Book Review: Even Monsters Say Goodnight by Doreen Mulryan Marts

Even Monsters Say Goodnight is a picturebook written and illustrated by Doreen Mulryan Marts. It is currently scheduled for release on August 1 2015.  Avery hates bedtime, and she just knows that there are monsters under her bed.  After a thorough discussion with her mom about the monster situation, Avery finally goes to her room. Does she dare check under the bed?

Even Monsters Say Goodnight is a sweet picturebook that most families can relate to. Whether a child is really frightened, or just stalling because they do not want to go to sleep, the notion of monsters has arisen in almost every home There is a nice use of story text and speech bubbles through the story, which paired wonderfully with the illustrations. I really liked those illustrations, they blended fantasy and reality very well.  I loved the mother's description of how all monsters need to sleep too, and as Avery asks more questions mom comes up with the perfect answers. In fact, I might use some of them myself during bedtime arguments in the near future.

I think Even Monsters Say Goodnight is a wonderful book for bedtime and for sharing at any storytime, group or one on one. It might just be a good tool to quell you favorite kiddo's bedtime fears.

Book Blog Tour with Author Message and Giveaway: Hell or High Water by Jullie Ann Walker

Did you see my 4 star review of Hell or High Water? Well, here is a special message and giveaway from the author!

Message From The Author

Hi everyone!  My name is Julie Ann Walker and I'm tickled pink to be here today talking about my BRAND SPANKING NEW romantic suspense series, Deep Six!  It revolves around six newly retired Navy SEALs who just can't seem to shake their past and the Navy SEAL motto that "the only easy day was yesterday."  Set in the Florida Keys, the series is filled with sun, sand, danger, intrigue, adventure, and plenty of half-dressed alpha hotties.  LOL!  Sound like a good time?  I guarantee it is!  And I guarantee you're going to fall in love with these six men. 

Take Leo "The Lion" Anderson.  With his sun-streaked, sandy blond hair and perpetual tan -- not to mention those hazel eyes and beard stubble -- he's sure to win your heart.  And that's before you get to his no-bullshit, take-command-of-any-situation attitude and the fact that he's trying to fulfill his father's dying wish. 

Then there's Brando "Bran" Pallidino.  A native New Jerseyan, Bran grew up on the mean streets of Newark.  He's rough.  He's tough.  And his Italian-American heritage means he comes complete with soulful brown eyes, a face that belongs on billboards, and a love for good food and good wine.  (That last part means his beer-loving teammates give him a lot of grief. *wink*)

You won't be able to resist Mason "Monet" McCarthy.  As a boy from Beantown, Mason learned to use the F-bomb in really colorful ways.  He's big.  He's burly.  He's not the kind of guy you'd like to meet in a dark alley.  Yet his thick black hair and crystal blue eyes soften what would otherwise be an entirely intimidating appearance.

Who doesn't love a country boy?  Dalton "Doc" Simmons was born and raised in Montana.  He's a lean, mean, fighting machine, with a face that's all angles as if it's been carved down to its barest essentials by a hot, stinging prairie wind.  Doc has a tragic past.  And he's fighting to come to terms with it.

Next up is Ray "Wolf" Roanhorse.  Wolf's Cherokee heritage makes him strikingly handsome, with a blade of a nose, high cheekbones, flashing black eyes, and a lush, beautifully-shaped mouth.  Born into poverty on a reservation in Oklahoma, Wolf has more than himself to worry about.  He has his whole family depending on him.  But if anyone can shoulder that burden, it's Wolf.

And last but certainly not least, we have Spiro "Romeo" Delgado.  Romeo likes to play up that whole Latin-lover thing.  And with his swarthy skin, precisely trimmed goatee, and honed physique, he does a pretty good job of it.  But that's just what's on the surface.  Underneath it all, Romeo is desperately trying to make up for the mistakes of his past.

See?  What did I tell you?  You love them already, don't you?  Read on for a bonus scene from HELL OR HIGH WATER where you get to meet all of the Deep Six heroes!

Book Information

Title: Hell or High Water
Author: Julie Ann Walker
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Deep Six, Book #1

Only two things could make former Navy SEAL Leo Anderson return to the world of weapons and warfare. First, a capsule of chemical weapons lost on the ocean floor, and second, a plea for assistance from the one woman he can't seem to forget-CIA Agent Olivia Mortier.

Now, working together to race against the clock and a deadly terrorist faction, Leo and Olivia must find the missing capsule, all the while battling the intense desire burning between them. If they can survive, can their growing attraction become more than just a momentary flare?

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Author Biography

Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award. Her latest release was named a Top Ten Romance of 2014 by Booklist. Her books have been described as "alpha, edgy, and downright hot." Most days you can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

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Early Book Review: The Maloneys' Magical Weatherbox by Nigel Quinlan

The Maloneys' Magical Weatherbox by Nigel Quinlan is a middle grade book that is currently scheduled for release on July 28 2015. Neil and Liz Maloney have a secret; their father is the keeper of the Weatherbox, a magical phone booth that rings four times a year, signaling the changing of the seasons. But this summer when the family gathers to send off the season, the phone doesn’t ring and autumn does not arrive. Instead a mysterious tourist of magic shows up at their doorstep, along with two nonsensical hags and one cat-shaped bog beast. The only one not taken by surprise is their neighbor Mrs. Fitzgerald, who seems to be able to make the elements of weather itself do her bidding.  Now it’s up to Neil and Liz to discover the source of Mrs. Fitzgerald’s power and restore order to the climate.

The Maloneys' Magical Weatherbox is a story that has adventure, some mystery, and plenty of character development. The story alternates between viewpoints, which bothers some readers, but I think the transitions work well here. The Maloney siblings and parents are all interesting characters with much more to them than you expect when you start the book. In fact, even the most innocent and basic character (such as a cat) are much more than they appear. I loved the layers of each and enjoyed the discovery of their more unique aspect. The action and adventure of the story starts out like an expected fantasy novel, but as the story continued and we learn more about their world and how important each character is in the big picture it just expanded more and more. While there was a solid resolution, I would love to return to this world and have another adventure with the Maloneys or their friends.

The Maloneys' Magical Weatherbox was a great middle grade novel that can appeal to the older children and adults can also enjoy. THe characters and the story are quite dynamic with several layers and simply so much going on that it should have been overwhelming, but it wasn't. I love the world Quinlan created here, and hope that there will be further adventures here, even if it is unrelated to the Maloneys. 

Book Review: Omega by S.M. Reine

Omega is the first book in the War of the Alphas series by S.M. Reine. Ten years ago, Deirdre Tombs died. When she was reborn the next day, Deirdre had become a shapeshifter who can't shift shapes. Nobody knows what animal she's supposed to be. She's definitely not a werewolf. The Alpha, Rylie Gresham, can't force her to transform like other members of her pack. Now Deirdre is considered an omega, the weakest shapeshifter in the pack, a vulnerable position. When Everton Stark publicly begins his efforts to be the new dominant Alpha, the only Alpha. Stark can make every shapeshifter obey him by force of will alone, except for Deirdre. Now she is the only chance to defeat Stark, by surviving undercover in his den. But can an omega's will be stronger than that of a charismatic, deadly Alpha like Everton Stark? 

Omega is a strong opening to a series that promises high action, plots, and subterfuge. Deirde has been treated as a throw away since the Genesis that changed so many into shifters and other paranormal creatures. She has no love for the current system, but does not like that Stark is compelling innocent shifters to kill indiscriminately.  Her ability to withstand the compulsion makes her the only hope in a fight against a violent and relentless Stark taking over. Even when his charismatic words hit the right cords, his ruthless nature leave readers and Deirde alike knowing that he is not quite right. Add in a partner from Riley's pack as a partner, and old friend that has fallen into Starks fold, and a right hand man with more violence in him than Stark and Deirde really has her work cut out for her. The danger and tension is high throughout the entire book. My only complaint is in the very end of the book. While two things that happened were fairly expected based on the build up, one shocked me and not in a happy way. I know I do not need to agree with every plot turn, and the fact that it effected me so deeply means that I was very involved in the story and characters, so the author was doing their job and doing it well. 

Omega is a solid beginning to a series that promises well developed characters and heart rending action. I am not sure what the long game will end up being for Deirde, but discovering where she going from here promises lots of action, tough choices, and high tension moments. If these sounds like a good thing, and you are not looking for a lightweight book to keep you smiling on a weekend or beach trip, then I would pick it up. I think I will need some recovery time before picking up Beta or Alpha ( the next two books in the series) but I am sure I will follow this through to the end.

Terry Spear’s Spotlight Tour for SEAL Wolf Hunting

Did you see my 4 star review of SEAL Wolf Hunting
Well, here is some more information with an excerpt and giveaway!

Title: SEAL Wolf Hunting
Author: Terry Spear
Series: Heart of the Wolf, #16
Pubdate: July 7th, 2015
ISBN: 9781402293825

Paul Cunningham has eluded many traps in his long career as a Navy SEAL, but there’s no way out of this one. On a rare visit home, he gets “volunteered” for a local charity bachelor auction, and the community is counting on him. Then he discovers that the sexy she-wolf with the winning ticket is Lori Greypaw—the one woman he could never resist. And she has plans for Paul that go way beyond a simple date. For the first time in his bachelor life, this alpha wolf SEAL is going to have to prove his worth…

USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear has written over fifty paranormal and medieval Highland historical romances. In 2008 Heart of the Wolf was named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry also creates award-winning teddy bears that have found homes all over the world and is raising two Havanese puppies. She lives in Crawford, Texas.

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Meet the Bachelors of Cottage Grove

Full Name: Allan Rappaport
Occupation: SEAL and now Special Undercover Operative
Height: 6 ft
Hair Color: Dark brown hair
Eye Color: Green
Age: 30
Wolf: Gray
Originally from: Northern Montana

Where is your go-to spot in Cottage Grove to relax and unwind? I love diving—for treasure, lost items. It’s another world under the water. It’s like a new, unexplored wilderness. Now, if I could just find a she-wolf who loved diving as much as I do, that would be even more perfect.

An Excerpt:

Allan was next up, and the bidding was going strong as he got into the fun of the auction, flexing his muscles and smiling brightly.
“Way to go, SEAL!” Lori and Rose shouted.
“Take off your shirt!” Emma shouted.
Catherine whooped and whistled. Paul had to smile at Emma and Catherine.
Lori’s face reddened a bit, probably because her own grandma had shouted out the recommendation.
Allan began unbuttoning his shirt slowly and the crowd went wild.
Paul laughed. He hadn’t thought that a honey-do bachelor auction would be anything like this. Then again, Emma was a wolf and they could change the dynamics of a situation in a heartbeat. The ranch hands made a big deal of jerking their shirts out of their waistbands and then starting to unbutton them.
A woman shouted, “Just the shirts, gentlemen.”
And that had everyone laughing.
Stripper music began to play, and Paul removed his shirt to the beat like the others did.
Clapping hands, wolf whistles, and shouts indicated the women were just as excited to bid for the SEALs as they were for the cowboys.
Paul tossed his shirt to Lori for safekeeping. When she grabbed the shirt and held it close, he smiled at her.
Allan went for two hundred and fifty dollars to a lady wearing a pink cowboy hat…

Book Review: I Yam a Donkey by Cece Bell

I Yam a Donkey! is a picturebook by Cece Bell that will make English teachers and grammar fans smile and laugh along side young readers. Reminiscent of the classic Who's on First routine readers met a donkey that proudly proclaims “I yam a donkey!” A yam hears the announcement, and since he is very particular about sloppy pronunciation and poor grammar he begins trying to explain the mistake. An escalating series of misunderstandings leaves the yam furious and the clueless donkey bewildered by the yam’s growing (and amusing) frustration. The yam finally gets his point across, but regrettably, he’s made the situation a little bit too clear.

I Yam a Donkey! is a fun, and highly entertaining book for all ages. While it could easily be used to help explain some grammar and pronunciation it is also full of bright and energetic illustrations that will capture the eye and make everyone smile. The yam gets angrier and more erratic with his arguments as the confrontation continues. I love that a crowd of vegetables come to watch the argument, and end up meeting the same fate as the grammar obsessed yam. 

I Yam a Donkey! is highly entertaining. While the heart of the book is grammar and pronunciation awareness, it is also fun and has a twist(ed) ending to the tale. When I saw this book come across my desk I just had to stop and read it, and I know of several school teachers, librarians, and writers that need a copy of this book for their classroom or home collections.

Early Book Review: The Art of Sinning by Sabrina Jeffries

The Art of Sinning (Sinful Suitors, #1) by Sabrina Jeffries avid Jeffries fans will recognize characters from previous series, but even if this is your first book from Jeffries (gasp!) you will not be at a loss. This historical romance is currently scheduled for release on July 21 2015. American artist Jeremy Keane refuses to return home and take over his father’s business. He’d much rather sample beauties abroad, in search of a model for the provocative masterpiece he’s driven to paint. When he meets Lady Yvette Barlow at a London wedding, he realizes she’s perfect for his work, and is determined to capture the young heiress’s defiant spirit and breathtaking sensuality on canvas. No stranger to scandal, Yvette agrees to be Keane’s subject in exchange for his help gaining entry to the city’s brothels he knows intimately, so she can track a missing woman and solve a family mystery. But when their practical partnership leads to lessons in the art of sinning, can they find a bold and lasting love?

The Art of Sinning is a fun romance that has many of the elements I love. The main characters have troubles in their past, but maintain strong sense of self and a powerful wit. Jeremy has suffered, he is a widower losing his wife and child in one fell swoop. Not many know about the previous marriage and Jeremy allows everyone to see him as a rogue rather than admitting that he just is not interested with putting another woman through a marriage with him. Yvette's had a close call with scandal herself, and uses her causes and quick wit to keep men at bay. When the two meet they will need to decide if love, or just some lessons in sin, are worth the risk to their hearts. I loved the strength in Yvette, when combined with her innocent trust in her brothers, made be really care about her. Jeremy is such a good guy under his disguise as a rogue, although blind to how his past is coloring his future. Together the pair made for an entertaining and page turning story.

The Art of Sinning is a satisfying and entertaining read. If you enjoy historical romance with strong, dynamic characters all around then this would be a great weekend read. This book reminded me why I love Jeffries' work, and why she is such a powerhouse in the genre.

Adventure Novels for Middle Grade Readers

Children between nine and twelve are a hard group to suggest books for. They are trapped in the middle of being young children and teens, and feel the challenge of trying to find their place. Books marketed to children in this group often miss the mark because they aim for minds too young or too sophisticated. Thankfully there are some great books from every genre out there for his age group, they are just a little harder to find. Here are ten of the best classic adventure books for this challenging age group.

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George gives reader the story of an Inuit girl who leaves her people. At thirteen Miyax is an orphan and married. She is hoping to reach San Francesco but becomes lost is the tundra where she survives with the help of a wolf pack. Eventually she needs to decide if she belongs with people or wolves. The book is touching, poignant and extremely powerful. 

Island of the Blue Dolphins
 by Scott O'Dell is about twelve year old Karena who jumps from a ship to save her brother who had been left behind while the rest of her tribe is evacuated. Unfortunately he dies and she is left alone. She must fend for herself and learn how to survive by herself on the island through her determination and memories of her tribe. It was based on a true story.

My Side of the Mountain by Jean George is a story of survival and discovery. Fifteen year old Sam Gribely runs away from home to live on his own in the Catskill Mountains. He makes a home for himself and befriends animals. Sam lives the dream that most children have had at some point, and shows how hard it really is to survive in the wild. Intelligence, discipline, and determination are key aspects of Sam's survival. 

The Sign of the Beaver
 by Elizabeth George Speare shows readers the struggles of thirteen year old Matt. He is left alone to protect his family's homestead when his father travels east. After he is stung by bees he is treated and cared for by a local Native American man. To repay the kindness he teaches the man's grandson to read who in turn teaches Aaron about the wilderness. This is a story of friendship, hard choices and survival.

The Half-a-Moon Inn by Paul Fleischman is an engaging tale about a twelve year old mute boy named Aaron. He is off on a search for his mother in a blizzard but is held captive by an evil innkeeper after spending the night there. The book is suspenseful and Aaron is a proactive hero that will keep anyone reading.

Toliver's Secret by Esther Wood Brady tells the story of ten year old Ellen who disguises herself as a boy during the Revolutionary War to complete her wounded grandfather's mission. She needs to deliver a secret message George Washington to help defeat British troops. The book is a phenomenal historical novel for the age group and gives a great feel for the time period. It also helps show that sometime it is a good thing to step outside your comfort zone and do something difficult and to persevere when things do not go as planned.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry is an adventure story set in Denmark during World War II. It is a true story interpreted by Lowry and told through the eyes of ten-year-old Annemarie Johannesenin. Annemarie and her family are doing their best to help her best friend Ellen and her family. The story moving and really gives readers a feel for the danger and trauma that the characters faced. It is even more poignant because it is based on truth. I think everyone should read this book at least once.

A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer is an adventure story about an eleven year old girl named Nhamo living in Mozambique. Circumstances force her to flee her home to escape an unhappy marriage. She starts out on a two day river voyage to her father's family in Zimbabwe, but things do not go as planned. Her journey ends up taking over a year, with Nhamo making mistakes and almost starving but ultimately surviving. The book has spiritual aspects as well as adventure and great information on cultures children might not otherwise have exposure to.

Monkey Island by Paula Fox tells readers about eleven-year-old Clay. His father loses his job and after becoming distant from his family just disappears. Soon his pregnant mother disappears as well and he is alone. Clay soon takes to the streets and finds a way to survive while searching for his mother in New York City. This is an unflinching look at the realities of urban homelessness. There might be disturbing moments for less mature readers, so I do suggest parents read first to see if it is to harsh for your readers.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg is not about surviving in the wild or during war times. Thos adventure follows siblings Claudia and Jamie who have run away to live in an art museum. They need to find a way to avoid notice and live. They are only there a short time when they discover a mystery that needs to be solved. This Newbery Medal winner is a timeless book that can be enjoyed by boys, girls and their parents.