Mistletoe & Magic: A YA Books Central Holiday Anthology
Includes “Hearts & Homes,” a short story by Beth Rodgers
Anthology genres include contemporary romance, urban fantasy, science fiction, fairytale retelling, magical realism, and horror.
About “Hearts & Homes”
After a difficult break-up, Cassie Shearer travels to sunny Florida for the Hearts and Homes volunteer house-building program. But the getaway doesn’t turn out quite the way she hoped, as she finds herself partnered with the flirtatious, yet aggravating Cole Samuels.
Join Cassie as she learns that home is where the heart is through experiences with holiday fun, new friends, and rewarding work. The best part, however, might just be the blossoming of an exciting, yet uncertain start to a relationship.
Released 10/28/2014, 246 pages
Navigating the halls of Kipperton High should be easy for someone like Margot Maples. She’s smart, sweet, and ready to start fresh. But with her best friend moved away, she’s stuck wondering just how to fit in. Making her transition more difficult is Max, who always knows how to push her buttons, Walter, her geeky suitor, Cassie, the girl who seemingly has it all, and Peter, her first true crush. So, life doesn’t go just the way she hopes. Join Margot on a journey through the beginning of ninth grade – a time when your reputation is determined by the most trivial of matters, including where you eat, how many friends you have, and – most notably – who you kiss.
KINDLE EDITION (also on Kindle Unlimited):
5/5 Stars. Reviewed by Gretchen Jawurek for Readers’ Favorite:
Do you remember when you were fourteen, trying to find your own style and your own way of doing things? Do you remember what it was like to be fourteen, trying to find new friends and keep old friends, and parents who just don’t get it? Margot takes us with her as she traverses the hallways of Kipperton High, handling bullies, cute boys and honor classes as a freshman. Her best friend Ashley has moved away so now Margot must either go it alone or try to make new friends. What will she do?
I loved Freshman Fourteen by Beth Rodgers! The plot was well thought out and the characters are delightful. If you have ever had someone in your life that made your life a misery or had someone in your life that made it worth fighting for, or if you have been fourteen and struggled to make friends, keep the friends you have, or both, you will love this book.
Margot and her friends, new and old, are funny and smart. Anyone reading this book will instantly recognize someone from their own life that they have met or is friends with now. You will love how Margot and her circle of friends solve their problems and in the process discover their own style of doing things; how there is more than one way to get the job done and that having your own style is a good thing. Margot and her friends realize the truth about cliques, that different cliques can get along together (sort of), but being your own person is the best thing.
Excerpt from a Review by Michelle Lynn, Staff Reviewer for YA Books Central:
Ahhhh … the teenage years. High school is not an easy time for anyone. Margot is your average freshman girl except that she has spent years being tormented for no reason.
In quick fashion, Margot goes from the dateless, mostly friendless freshman, to the desired girl who also happens to land a spot in the school play. There is nothing bullies like less than for the kids they try to keep down to bounce back; to become popular. That’s what I liked so much about this story. It is about beating the bullies without actually confronting them. Margot wins because she rises up, not because she pushes someone else down.
Ms. Rodgers perfectly captures her main character. I could feel the insecurities and that feeling in high school that everything is the end of the world. Add in a set of nosy, sometimes pushy parents, and a host of embarrassing events and you’ve got a very life like story.
Overall, this is a cute story with deeper underlying themes that have a relevance in today’s world. Young teens can get a lot out of this book and will easily see themselves in a story that parallels the types of issues they face on a daily basis.
Released 12/7/2016, 216 pages
Sophomore year starts off on a positive note, with Margot Maples enjoying a circle of new friends, an influx of confidence, and the attention of the oh-so-cute new basketball player, Kirk. But she quickly finds herself stuck in a rut, battling mean girls, and getting caught up in Kirk’s past. Margot’s friendships, heartaches, and presidential campaign lead her on a path to self-discovery, making sophomore year one to remember.
Come along on Margot’s journey in this sequel to Freshman Fourteen that has new faces, backroom politics, and a few twists and turns along the way.
With each purchase of Sweet Fifteen, details about how to get a free mp3 copy of character Kirk Carson’s song ‘Poster Girl’ (in Chapter Fourteen) can be found in the back of the novel.
KINDLE EDITION (also on Kindle Unlimited):
5/5 Stars. Reviewed by Lisa McCombs for Readers’ Favorite:
As Margot begins her sophomore year at Kipperton High School, she is optimistic that it will be a vast improvement upon her freshman experience. With friends Ashley, Cassie, and Walter by her side, Margot is pumped to begin a new chapter in her life; preferably with no unwanted surprises. Of course, the best laid plans are always ripe for challenge. A proven fact with the first day’s announcements as well as the handsome newcomer who appears to be instantly smitten with Margot. The sophomore class is need of a new president. Margot’s friends assure her that she is a shoo-in, especially if she and her friend Peter campaign as a package deal: Co-presidents. New student, Kirk Carson, enthusiastically volunteers his assistance both in political support and of the heart-pounding variety. A first-time boyfriend, a major school election, and the rivalry of election adversary Carolyn Dippet. Is it all too much for Margot to endure?
Author Beth Rodgers executes the perfect young adult story for readers in search of a clean, positive message. The language is realistic and flows nicely. Sweet Fifteen is a sequel to Freshman Fourteen, which is a very smart move in Rodgers’ YA novel writing plan. Teens are desperate for acceptance and reassurance; two needs met in this highly relatable story line of contemporary young adult fiction. While flirting with more serious coming of age issues, Beth Rodgers touches upon themes that can be further examined, depending upon the reader’s experience and perspective. I plan to recommend this author to all of my YA readers.