The Importance of Literacy by K.N. Smith

The Importance of Literacy by K.N. Smith

26850355Reading is very critical in a child’s life. And eventually, that child becomes an adult who will need to read all sorts of things during their entire lifetime. Setting the foundation early is crucial. What’s also important is to make reading fun for children, who will then seek leisure and pleasure reading throughout their lives. Being made to read can be unpleasant, but if it’s a family affair it seems to be more accepted and natural. We also have access to wonderful community resources including libraries and other children’s reading events to get kids interested, as well as their parents.

Studies show that a large number of children have below average reading skills by the time they’re in 3rd grade, and this presents a national education problem. Schools everywhere are grappling with this trend, which is really a shared responsibility of the parents and the school. Being hands-on and involved with children is important to their success. Parents can learn to find fun ways to read to their children, daily if possible. We all need to remember, these are our future professionals in the greater society, so each of us should try to contribute even in small ways.

Regarding adults and lifelong learning, reading and writing go hand-in-hand. Just picking up the daily paper or reading online can boost one’s ability to become a strong writer. You’ll see all kinds of words and phrases that you may not have seen before, and it’s interesting and exciting to discover new things. Reading gives writers ideas, and they can take those ideas and turn them into something special amongst the pages. Who knows? That little child in the library listening to story time may just be a great novelist waiting to happen!

The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses is an action-adventure story about five teen boys who are mysteriously exposed to a foreign energy source that gives them extremely heightened senses. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell become hypersensitive gifts that forever change the world!

The story chronicles their effortless interrelations and later exposes the testing of their deep bonds, and introduces the reader to an array of supporting characters who alter the boys’ lives forever. The Urban Boys offers young and mature readers central themes of loyalty, responsibility, honesty, fear, and triumph, which become artfully integrated with cinematic-level action and high drama.

We wonder, will they pass the test of fate, and will each of us pass the test of our very own lives? Intriguing, intelligent, and full of action, The Urban Boys offers a memorable, emotion-packed, thrilling ride for traditional and digital readers of all ages! (first in a series)

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Praise for The Urban Boys:

“An energetic YA adventure debut with stellar action sequences. Smith’s writing is intelligent and often lyrical. Her exuberant prose never fails to dazzle.”- Kirkus Media

“Author K.N. Smith uses her mastery of the written word to weave an entrancing, yet powerful tale of adventure that keeps you turning pages in an unquenchable desire to find out what happens next. The author’s matchless prose details cinematic fight sequences and fully developed characterizations especially in a final, stupendous scene that will take your breath away and leave you limp with spent emotions. Five stars for this imaginative and inspiring story, sure to be as appealing to general audiences as it will be to the YA crowd!” 5-stars – Publishers Daily Reviews

“I LOVE to read, but live a hugely busy life. It gets more complicated upon that rare occasion when a book is so captivating, so enthralling, that it is impossible to walk away. With only definitive hours in a day, something has to give. For me, that was sleep! And it was worth every sacrificed minute. “The Urban Boys” was the grand slam home run and exceeded my wildest expectations and I would bet, maybe yours, as well. Totally new concepts and a rich crew of characters – good, bad and ugly… and suspenseful twists that keep you guessing, and such beautiful, strong writing! A must read for fans of YA action/adventure/fantasy!!” 5-stars – Indie Book Reviewers

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Author’s Bio:

K.N. SmithK.N. Smith is an American author and passionate advocate of childhood and family literacy programs throughout the world. She continues to inspire students of all ages to reach their highest potential in their literary and educational pursuits. Her creative, lyrical flair sweeps across pages that twist, turn, and grind through elements of paranormal and action-adventure in diverse, exciting, edge-of-your-seat narratives. She lives with her family in California.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook

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The Urban Boys

26850355Danville Heights is your idealistic small American town. There is no crime, no traffic and everyone loves the local high school football team, The Chargers. One day five kids from Danville Heights: Jordan, Rhee, Kinsu, Chase and Alex are exposed to a mysterious energy in an open field and are left with extremely heightened senses. Life changes for the boys and they decide to use their new senses to fight evil in the neighboring town and mirror opposite of Danville Heights called Sandry Lake.

The Urban Boys by K.N. Smith is a YA paranormal action adventure novel about a group of kids whose lives start to change and they are left with a series of choices. I loved how Danville Heights seem to represent all that was good and Sandry Lake was the opposite. When the kids figure out their powers they have to go to Sandry Lake to prove themselves. You could say that this is a coming of age novel with an exciting story.

This book was a mixed bag for me, I enjoyed the story and how everything in their world is described but the characters didn’t feel real to me. All of the characters including the bad ones seemed way to nice, from the way they spoke to the way they thought. As I read I thought to myself that I don’t think kids act that way and the town of Danville Heights seems to perfect.

That being said this book is still a good read, the way it’s written is impressive. Reading  K.N. Smith’s description of the world her characters live in is like an artist painting a classical masterpiece. I’ve never read a book quite like this one where every situation is seen in vivid detail. This book comes across as a long piece of poetry with a good message about the importance of loyalty, friendship and responsibility.

The Urban Boys is a book that young audiences will love. Its different then a lot of the YA novels that I read because this book reads like a painting. Also while reading this I thought this was a good book for young writers to read because it’s a great example of how to write beautiful prose. The concept behind this book is a fabulous one and it looks like there will be a sequel in the future. I’ll be happy to see what K.N. Smith comes up with in her next book.

K.N. Smith K.N. Smith is an American author and passionate advocate of childhood and family literacy programs throughout the world. She continues to inspire students of all ages to reach their highest potential in their literary and educational pursuits. Her creative, lyrical flair sweeps across pages that twist, turn, and grind through elements of paranormal and action-adventure in diverse, exciting, edge-of-your-seat narratives. She lives with her family in California.

Connect with the author: Website      Twitter        Facebook

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David’s Haunted Library: Two From Sumiko Saulson

60-black-women-in-horrorIn honor of Black History month I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about two books by Sumiko Saulson. The first one is 60 Black Women in Horror Fiction. This book is a compilation of interviews, essays and biographies of Black Women horror writers. Some of the writers featured in this book include Octavia Butler, L.A. Banks, Tananarive Due and many more.

I feel this is an important book because it gives writers exposure. Writers have to work hard at their craft and its hard for them to get the attention they deserve. There are more writers out there than readers and it’s too easy for a good writer to go unnoticed. 60 Black Women in Horror Fiction  shows that there are some great Black women horror writers out there. I only knew a handful of the writers in this book and after the in-depth interviews and…

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Jubilee Year: A Novel (Erelong Book 1)

26894846Storm was 18 years old and not clear on what he wanted to do with his life . When they were kids Storm and his younger sister Summer were adopted by Pete and Stella. Sadly they fell on hard times and the family broke apart. Now Storm is thinking of joining the armed forces which the family isn’t happy about including his girlfriend Penny.

Storm’s problems get thrown on the back burner though as Pete and Penny’s astronomer father discover that a Star is entering Earth’s solar system which will wipe out 70% of all life on Earth.  To make matters worse, there is a secret organization within the government that wants to make sure that there will be as few survivors as possible. Storm and his family will have to escape assassination squads and find shelter if they are going to survive the biggest disaster of all time.

Jubilee Year by Gerard O’Neill sucks you in by letting you get to know an average normal family and once you like them you get to see how this family survives the apocalypse. What really makes this story interesting is how it’s told. There are a lot of apocalypse books out there that are full of action but this one takes a different approach by introducing likable characters and then getting into a conspiracy theory followed by a catastrophe. The story starts simple but gets more complex as it goes along.

When I first got this book I was apprehensive because I read reviews saying that nothing interesting happens in the first half of the story. As you are reading though you realize that the author knew what he was doing by not having a lot of action early on. Gerald O’Neill makes you care about Storm’s family because you can relate to the problems that they have. Such as Pete being an alcoholic, Storm not knowing what to do with himself as he moves into adulthood and Penny’s father finding out that something horrible is about to happen but thinking no one will believe him.

I was invested right there and would have liked just a story about these characters but then we get into what is going on with the government cover-up. The book introduces a shadowy organization that controls the government and media and keeps our attention off of what is really going on. I loved the concept of the media keeping the attention off of the changes in the atmosphere since I’ve read theories online before about are planet changing and the media covering it up. I also loved how the science of what is happening is explained. With a lot of Science Fiction books, the scientific explanations go over my head but in this book I had no problem understanding and believing in what is happening.

I loved that this story was a slow build and then you are left to wonder who Storm can and can’t trust. My favorite part of this book was the idea that even with civilization as we know it coming to an end, you still have a group of people trying to control the masses. I like this because I think if something like this was really going to happen there would still be people who wanted to have power over others.  Jubilee Year is the first in a three book series and definitely worth your time.


Linda Addison On Winning A Bram Stoker Award

Linda D. Addison is the award-winning author of four collections including How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend. She is the first African-American recipient of the HWA Bram Stoker Award® and has published over 300 poems, stories and articles. Linda is part of 7 Magpies, a film project involving 7 black female horror authors & filmmakers based on the old nursery rhyme. Catch her latest work in the upcoming anthology Scary Out There (Simon Schuster). Linda was kind enough recently to answer a few questions about winning the Stoker and her work in general:

How did it feel being the first Black Bram Stoker award winner?

2002 NYC Linda Mom First Stoker color2LA: It was mind-blowing experience (to quote a cliche). I literally was so excited to be on the final ballot with people who were my heroes that it didn’t occur to me that I would actually win. The awards were in…

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Onyx Webb: Book Two

28780117I’m not even sure where to begin when talking about Onyx Webb:Book Two by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz. This book isn’t like other books, it’s a paranormal soap opera that includes three stories in different time periods which are all connected. The word Webb in the title is quite fitting because this series is a little like a spider’s web of different stories and genres including: Romance, horror, mystery and drama. There is a lot going on and it’s fun figuring out how it’s all woven together.

The main story here is about Onyx Webb, in this book its the 1930’s and she is moving all over the country with her husband Ulrich. Onyx doesn’t know it but Ulrich has a secret and Onyx is in danger. We also have story going on at the Open Arms Orphanage where Declan Mulvaney and best friend Tommy Bilazzo have to put up with nuns and a priest who are making life hard for them. The third story takes place in 2010 and follows Koda Mulvaney as he tries to find out who the ghost girl he keeps seeing in the mirror is.

I think this is a hard book to talk about because if I talk to much about the story it will spoil it. There is no beginning, middle or end, its part of a series and it just keeps going. What I think makes this book good is the characters, who are all fascinating. Even the characters who are considered bad have their good points and come across as realistic. For instance Onyx’s husband Ulrich is a snake in the grass and is doing things behind Onyx’s back but at times we see him show compassion towards Onyx at times and he comes across as sympathetic. Make no mistake Ulrich is not a good person and one of my favorite parts was in Onyx’s journal when she admits she made a mistake in marrying Ulrich but she felt she had to because she was afraid of being alone.

I really enjoy how the story of Onyx is being told, we see her as a child, then as a married woman but we also hear her thoughts thanks to her journal which was written by her as a ghost. So we are left to wonder how did Onyx die and how is she writing in a diary when she is dead? Also in this book I liked the story of Declan and Tommy in the orphanage and what happens to them after the orphanage. There is a scene in a theater with the two boys that was really hard to read.

Another thing I liked in this book was the introduction of two paranormal investigators with a TV series and that part of the story takes place in Lily Dale which is a real place where several spiritual mediums live. I liked how the authors used certain locations to tell the story such as an old amusement park in Chicago and a theater in the 1930’s. This is an interesting book to say the least and if you read and liked the first book you will like this one too as it gets deeper into the characters. Andrea Waltz and Richard Fenton have written a series that is complex, easy to read and a lot of fun. I would love to know what their writing process is like on this series.


Hoplite (Olympian Book 1)

27392317Alexander The Great is a name in history that everyone knows but most people don’t know all the details of his life. Hoplite by Lee Ness  looks at Alexander’s early years. This book starts off with Alexander trying to see his father before he goes off to war. An accident happens and he ends up on a ship headed off to the battlefield.

Alexander ends up being put to work as a servant to the Athenian army who is on their way to take over the benign state of Samos. The army finds this task harder to complete then they thought, tragedy strikes and Alexander is forced to become a soldier. Life changes quickly for Alexander as he learns the politics of war and how not everyone in his army is an ally.

Hoplite is a coming of age story. In the beginning Alexander is a normal kid that dreams of being an Olympian. You could say he is less than normal because he and his mother are outcasts in Athens with only his father being Athenian. Alexander wasn’t thinking of being a soldier but due to circumstances he has to become a warrior. It seems the world is against him but he proves his intelligence and adapts to the changing world around him.

This was a fascinating read not only is it suspenseful but it is also educational. I loved the scenes where Alexander learns what it takes to be a warrior and how to deal with other soldiers. Alexander’s teacher and my favorite character in this book is Theokritus. Theokritus is given the task of teaching Alexander how to be an athlete and a warrior. Alexander doesn’t think highly of him, his perception is that he doesn’t look very athletic and he is old, but he quickly learns that Theokritus is the most respected man in the army. At this point in the book it becomes like an instruction manual on how to live as a Hoplite and it comes from a man who doesn’t look like a hero. I loved that this guy who looked like he didn’t fit in was so important and that Alexander had to learn from him.

The descriptions of battle scenes were excellent from the armor they wear to the tactics used in battle. One great scene had A group of archers firing on the Athenians and the Athenians getting into a formation with their shields that would help them survive with the least amount of casualties. I can only imagine the amount of research that must have went into learning what Ancient Greek soldiers were like and how they lived their lives. Lee Ness really brought the Greek world to life.

This is an excellent work of historical fiction. Not only can you learn about history here but you could also learn about how to be a solider and a politician. Lee Ness is a teacher and you can tell that while reading this book. The book is entertaining as well with some  great scenes like when Alexander has to race a much bigger man from Samos. Alexander doesn’t have much of a chance but if he looses two people from his army will die. In another scene he is given the task of negotiating with the enemy so his army can collect dead bodies from a battlefield. Hoplite is a great book that works on several levels as it brings history to life.