Aline and the Blue Bottle by Carolina Ugaz-Morán

A truly outstanding coming-of-age fantasy.

When you read of the exciting life this author has had, it is no wonder that she can produce such a spellbinding fantasy story. Having travelled widely as a child, and having a love of animals, Carolina Ugaz-Moran went to the University of Wisconsin where she majored in Biochemistry and Creative Writing. Now a wife and mother, the author has, through her incredible imagination created this amazing fantasy adventure set in a magical enchanting world inhabited by strange creatures.

However, as this story begins, the protagonist Aline, is a young girl who, is being brought up by her mom, and grandmother in our world. Halloween, which also happens to be Aline’s twelfth birthday, is in three days…

Aline struggles to fit in at school, often being teased and taunted, and this year, her birthday was no exception, however, all this is about to change. This Halloween evening is destined to be like no other, because, as the evening draws to a close, Aline is told by her grandmother that her life is in danger, and she is whisked off, through a portal into another, magical world. Once there, suddenly her life begins to make sense as the secrets of her heritage are revealed.

Here, in the magical One World is where she belongs, and now is time for her to learn her real past, and purpose. She discovers that her destiny is to undertake an important mission. However first she has magical powers to unlock, and then, only when she is prepared, can she set off on her dangerous quest, which is to find the powerful blue bottle before the evil warlock Dashiok does.

This wonderful story contains all the excitement, mystery, and fantasy a reader could wish for.  Gargoyles, dragons, sylphs, dryads, and guardians are just a few of the magical creatures which come to life as Aline and her two friends pass through One World on their perilous journey.

Having read this book, it is no surprise that it won the 2020 NYC Big Book Award under Juvenile Fiction, received the Independent Press Award Distinguished Favorites under Children’s in 2020, and the 2019/2020 Reader Views Literary Award Honorable Mention under Children’s Teens (Ages 12-16). Reading it I was reminded of my favourite author, the legendary J. R. R. Tolkien’s incredible The Lord of the Rings and feel that this outstanding work of coming-of-age, fantasy is something truly special. I look forward to reading more of Aline’s incredible adventures. Highly recommended.

About the Author:

Carolina Ugaz-Morán is an award winning author of a seven middle-grade book series. Her first book, Aline and the Blue Bottle, has won the 2020 NYC Big Book Award under Juvenile Fiction, and received the 2020 Independent Press Award Distinguished Favorites under Children’s Fiction and the 2019/2020 Reader Views Literary Award Honorable Mention under Children’s Teens (Ages 12-16).

Carolina builds unique and fascinating universes by drawing on ancient Incan mythology and languages. Her work contains linguistic guides, glossaries, and Tolkien-esque maps to help readers feel like they are a part of Aline’s journey. She combines elements of traditional fantasy with strong female characters and a backdrop uniquely her own. Her work includes magical secrets throughout that readers will delight in finding. Like the best fantasy, an unfamiliar vocabulary adds to the richness while also underscoring the importance of language. In addition to her world-building prowess, Ugaz-Morán gives her books deeper significance by rooting parts of the book in real-life history and Latin American culture.

Carolina was born in Spain then raised in South America and the U.S. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in biochemistry and creative writing. When she’s not spending time with her family, three dogs (one rescue), and 4 rescued cats, Carolina enjoys traveling with her family and joining forces with her husband when explaining history on location to their children. At the moment, Carolina is enthusiastically working on her book series.

In addition, Carolina is very passionate about youth education and provides workshops in alignment with School’s/Teacher’s curriculums focusing on the Art of Storytelling, Writing & Publishing books, etc. in order to engage teens & preteens on reading, literature, & creative writing.

For more information, visit www.adventuresofaline.com, email her at admin@adventuresofaline.com or IM her on Facebook @adventuresofaline, Twitter, @AlineAdventures, Instagram AdventuresofAline.

About the Book:

A sinister sorcerer set on ruling every realm. Can a rookie tween spellcaster prevent his reign of terror?

Twelve-year-old Aline has always struggled to fit in. And just when she starts to make friends at her Halloween birthday party, her grandmother whisks her away and claims she’s in danger. And she can’t believe it when she’s told she has magic powers and must defend the eight different worlds against a wicked warlock.

Unlocking her new abilities, Aline teams up with two fairy sisters to train to face the devious wizard. But she must learn on the go after she’s called to locate a powerful enchanted bottle before her foe, or all dimensions will fall to his terrible domination.

Can Aline protect the multiverse from a ruthless villain?

Aline and the Blue Bottle is the first book in the clever Adventures of Aline middle grade fantasy series. If you or your child like strong female characters, fantastical creatures, and detailed map illustrations, then you’ll love Carolina Ugaz-Morán’s thrilling tale.

Available from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Aline-Blue-Bottle-Carolina-Ugaz-Mor%C3%A1n/dp/1734072806/ref=sr_1_1?crid=ZEU8JZYTQZEJ&dchild=1&keywords=aline+and+the+blue+bottle&qid=1635082557&s=books&sprefix=aline+and+th%2Cstripbooks%2C149&sr=1-1

Even the Losers: A Saga from the Summer of 1980 by Bryant Delafosse

NEW RELEASE

A wonderful coming-of-age adventure set in the summer of 1980.

After reading ‘Remember the Future,’ I couldn’t wait to download this latest book by this talented author. This excellent story is set in Texas where the author was born and raised. In it, Bryant Delafosse who holds a degree from the University of Texas at Austin and is a screenwriter, now living in Southern California, takes his readers on the coming-of-age journey of Neil Thibodeaux which takes place through the summer of 1980.

Neil lives with his short-tempered dad and bully of an older brother in Houston Texas, however, the day our adventure begins is Monday 5th May, memorable, not only because it is Neil’s 17th birthday, but also because it is the day he is being torn from his friends and everything he knows to move across state and live in Philton, in his words, the ‘butt-crack’ of the State of Texas.

At his new job (the cause for the move) Neil’s dad has found him work, however, Neil has other ideas and finds himself a job working in the local movie theatre, the Lone Star Six. He is interviewed by a jaw-dropping beauty Cecilia, or CC as she is known, and instantly Neil has a crush on her. However love seldom comes easy and is sometimes not reciprocated, so Neil can only look on and hope his time will come, whilst enjoying his new friends and work colleagues at the theatre.

And so the summer begins. At home, things have never been the same since the death of his mom. His father and the two brothers are both struggling to cope with the loss in their own ways. Jake is off the rails, angry and resentful, and sibling rivalry is strong, making life hard, and even more stressful for their hard-working dad.

However, this is the summer of 1980, a summer of great music like AC/DC’s Highway to Hell, and incredible films including the much anticipated new box office hit, which is now considered the best Star Wars movie of all time, The Empire Strikes Back. When it arrives in Philton it causes a stir and the theatre has record sales. Neil is loving his job and has been promoted to the projectionist, and the author uses his own memories of working as a movie projectionist to add special touches to Neil’s experiences in the story. I challenge anyone who was alive in 1980 not to be transported back in time by their own wonderful memories this story evokes.

Like any teenager, Neil dreams of driving, and owning his own car, getting a girl and having fun, however these things are not always easy or straightforward to achieve. Yet through the authors wonderfully descriptive writing, we join Neil on the rollercoaster of life lessons which he learns that summer. Whether it is harsh realities, loves found and lost, friendships, or dreams, we spend this summer with him having fun, laughing and crying with him as his future begins to unfold, and starts to reveal the opportunities to come…

A wonderfully nostalgic coming of age story, written sensitively and in a thought-provoking way by this talented author.

About the Author:

Bryant Delafosse was born and raised in Southeast Texas and currently lives in Southern California. His previous novels include the thrillers THE MALL, HALLOWED, and REMEMBER THE FUTURE. EVEN THE LOSERS is now available exclusively on Amazon.

You can contact him at: bryantdelafosse@yahoo.com, follow him on Twitter @BryantDelafosse, and become a friend @ https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6153967.Bryant_Delafosse.

About the Book:

What was it like to work at a small-town Texas movie theater in the summer of 1980? For seventeen-year-old Neil, it meant his first job, his first love, and the release of the most anticipated movie of his lifetime, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. He never counted on meeting the girl of his dreams or that she would become his boss. But if he was ever going to have a shot at an older woman, he would need a car, some spending cash, and the respect of the guys in the projection booth of the Lone Star Six.

Even the Losers is available from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Even-Losers-Saga-Summer-1980/dp/B088XWV689/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=even+the+losers&qid=1590742820&sr=8-6

The Domino Effect by Andrew Cotto

 

 

A rollercoaster coming-of-age story.

The people who shape us, and the influence they have on us is something which we probably only realise when we look back over our lives. There can be no doubt that strong parenting, and the ideals which our family, culture, and the neighbourhood in which we live affect us, either consciously or subconsciously as we grow up.

In this incredible story, which was a finalist in the Readers Favorite Award, the author has written a spellbinding coming-of-age story.

The protagonist, Danny Rorro or Domino as he is known to his childhood friends, is a loveable rogue, a prankster and mischief maker. He lives in Queens, in the neighbourhood his Sicilian mother has grown up in, and he idolises his Italian father who is a musician. His life is good, until the Italian neighbourhood is taken over by the Spanish. Then, Danny quickly discovers that life will never be the same again.
After trouble between the two factions escalates at his school, Danny suffers a savage beating and he ends up in hospital. Distraught, his parents, doing what they think is best, move house and change his school, still Queens but a different neighbourhood. The impact the beating has on him, and the resulting damage to the relationship he has with his father is catastrophic. Resentful, argumentative and extremely happy, Danny is reacting as only children know how, yet it has to stop. After discussion it is decided boarding school is the answer, and Hamden Academy seems just what he needs, especially when he falls in love on the first day with the beautiful Brenda Devine. In his rollercoaster years at this sports obsessed academy, in his own way Danny makes a difference, standing up for what he feels is right, making plenty of blunders, having conflicts with other pupils, and having bumbling attempts at romance along the way.

Throughout this fast paced, exciting story I found myself going through a myriad of emotions. As a mother I felt protective of him and, yet as a parent of a son I saw his parents’ side of things.

In conclusion, this book was a real joy to read, as I watched this young vulnerable boy evolve into the young man he became, overcoming hurdles, achieving more than he could have imagined, and surviving boarding school.

Highly recommended as a wonderful read for all ages.

About the Author:

Andrew Cotto is the award-winning author of three novels. He has written for The New York Times, Men’s Journal, Rolling Stone, Parade, Maxim, The Huffington Post, Salon, Conde Nast Traveler, Italy magazine and more. Andrew has an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Author’s Website: https://andrewcotto.com/

About the Book:

The Domino Effect is the story of Danny Rorro, a charismatic kid from Queens poisoned by the past. A series of painful defeats have left him scarred and isolated from his neighborhood, his parents, and – most significantly – the benevolent ways of his childhood when he was known as “Domino.” With great insight, imagery and wit, Danny recalls his past in Queens and his coming-of-age at Hamden Academy. This fast paced and powerful story is rich with conflict, humor, tenderness and music—just like life, especially when coming of age.

The Domino Effect is available in paperback and eBook format from:

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Domino-Effect-Andrew-Cotto/dp/1684332990/ref=sr_1_2?qid=1563875722&refinements=p_27%3AAndrew+Cotto&s=books&sr=1-2&text=Andrew+Cotto

and Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-domino-effect-andrew-cotto/1104924348?ean=9781684332991