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Rethinking Sex Ed: The Wisdom of Religion….. Without the Crazy

Rethinking Sex Ed: The Wisdom of Religion..... Without the Crazy by [Hammack, Doug]

Sex and sexuality have changed quite a bit in the last decade. It is therefore only natural that the approach to sex education be changed to fit with the times.

Dr Doug Hammack’s book, Rethinking Sex Ed, is a guide to help parents bridge the generational gap that tends to stand in the way of effective sex education. He suggests that a symbiosis between religious and societal teachings on sexuality would be most beneficial. The book details the progression of sex education and shows the reader how and when teachings ceased to be effective.

The book is well written and delivered in an even tone that seeks to inspire the reader to change their stance on their own sex education approach. The book is diplomatic, not fully supporting one approach to the detriment of another. The author acknowledges the importance of all approaches. This book only advocates for amendment of sex education to make it more palatable to the current generation. The author has a very good grasp of the material and is well versed in this subject and speaks from a point of expertise. It would therefore be safe to say that this is a reliable guide book for anyone willing to keep their mind open.

This book is very short which is wonderful, because this could be heavy material with an important message. Dr. Hammack has the ability to keep the reader well engaged and on track with the message. It takes special skills to write a book about sexuality that does not pin point and focus on a particular orientation. The basis of all love and sexuality is the same. We are all inherently the same. In that sense, this book is suitable for anyone regardless of their sexual orientation. It is not even specific to parents either.

Rethinking Sex Ed is an important book that I think is especially important in this time of so much sexual confusion. Children are growing up lacking the appropriate sexual curriculum and therefore never really attain that maturity. This is a recommended read for educators, young adults, and parents.

Pages: 186 | ASIN:  B07JK5H6B5

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Dvorah: Prophetess, Judge, Warrior

Dvorah: Prophetess, Judge, Warrior: The Simple Girl Who Grew Up to Lead Israel (Fierce Bible Women Book 1) by [Lalli, M.J.]

Dvorah is the only child of Eleazar and Ajalon, and as such she is trained in many different skills to help her parents. Her childhood in Israel is simple, but happy, surrounded by family and friends. One day, late in her teens, her entire life changes when she receives a message from God telling her to sit in judgement of the disagreements between others. She does this to great acclaim for three years before being given an even bigger task- to lead an army of thousands in war, alongside her cousin, Barak. The battle will change their lives and shape their future together.

In Dvorah: Prophetess, Judge, Warrior, M.J. Lalli tells of Dvorah’s life and lessons on her way to becoming the jewel of Israel. The book begins slowly, detailing Dvorah’s daily life with her playmates, time in training inside the wool tent, and time spent learning to make perfect bricks. Through it all, Dvorah’s persistence, precision, and level headedness are consistently referenced as some of her most remarkable traits. In the meantime, Lalli paints a vivid picture of Biblical-era Israel and infuses the text with many stories from the Bible, but never seems overtly religious. Many of the stories are told in the context of Dvorah’s challenges and belief. Other characters don’t feature very prominently, with many of them coming in and out of the narrative just a time or two, and some others appearing only once. Dvorah and her horse Zenja are the most constant players in the tale.

Faith, and remaining true to how you have been taught, stand as the primary themes of the book. Throughout the course of the novel, Dvorah never strays from the faith and religion she was raised on, and in due course is rewarded for her diligence. As a contrast, her childhood friend Simona is used to illustrate the dangers of straying from the path of their religion, suffering all manner of tragedies along with her sins.

Dvorah herself is a well written and well-rounded character that succeeds at her tasks, but never in a way that feels convenient or out of place within the narrative. She works hard for what she achieves. The book is also well written in that it has a religious foundation but doesn’t once feel preachy in the way it’s presented. However, the slow start makes it difficult to get into the story, and the parables, while relevant, are often long winded. The second half of the book does pick up the pace dramatically as Dvorah fulfills the second of her heavenly callings. Dvorah: Prophetess, Judge, Warrior is a thought provoking novel that many will enjoy reading.

Pages: 246 | ASIN: B07VG5J8H7

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Literary Titan Book Awards December 2019

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

Better Off Bald: A Life in 147 Days by [Wilson Woods, Andrea ]RUNAWAY by [Simonson, C.A.]Tellus (The Thanatos Trilogy Book 2) by [Hackett, Tyffany]

Mango Rash: Coming of Age in the Land of Frangipani and Fanta by [Pokerwinski, Nan Sanders]

Amulet's Rapture (Curse of Clansmen and Kings Book 3) by [Tanner, Linnea]Spectre: A Kirk Ingram action thriller by [Misquita, Douglas]Harvest by [Werby, Olga]

His Name Was Ezra by [Moody, Craig]The '49 Indian by [Moody, Craig]The Stars of Locust Ridge by [Moody, Craig]

The Fate of Wolves (Legends of the Pale Book 2) by [Smith, Tarrant]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

XHOSETI: FIRST CONTACT by [STEPHENS, ROBERT J]JUMP!: An epic travel and soul adventure by [Louw, Lenerd]

Talon, Come Fly with Me by [Sedlmayer, Gigi]Beloved Mother by [Hunter, Laura]Heart Land: A Novel by [Stuart, Kimberly]

The Progeny: A Novel (Descendants of the House of Bathory Book 1) by [Lee, Tosca]The Mars One Incident by [Curtis, Kelly]

PALE FACE & THE RAVEN by [Dighton, Stacey]

Journey to Children of Bwola Dances by [Amaya]

 

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

Murder On Spirit Island

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Murder on Spirit Island by Jim Riley is a thrilling murder mystery novel set in Louisiana, following Niki Dupre as she attempts to solve the disappearance of a wealthy businessman, Henry Welker. Gunmen, alligators, and a bigger conspiracy is afoot, Niki uses every bit of her impressive skill and experience to get to the bottom of the situation, all without ending up at the bottom of the Mississippi River. With all of the danger surrounding her, she still makes time for John, a high school flame from many years ago, who gives her the Welker case to start her perilous journey.

Murder on Spirit Island is a very well constructed story, as it kept me guessing at every turn. The chapters are short, and many of them enticed me to keep going. The characters were colorful and easily recognizable, although there was a bit of confusion when initially learning of the group of men that often met on Spirit Island. Other than that, each one has their own personality and style, and each one could be the murderer on the loose.

Niki’s character is one that the reader will want to succeed. She is trying to prove herself in an industry where men typically rule the roost, but she doesn’t let it get in her way. The reader will move through the story with baited breath to see the decisions she makes and how she might manage to escape the next source of danger, no matter who it is. She’ll even flirt with a police officer, if she has to.

The story even has some good comedic aspects. Mr. Riley is certainly a quick-witted individual, and he does well to bring in some lighter points. An early example involves some yoga stretches and an unexpected guest entering Niki’s apartment to an… interesting view.

With these fun moments mixed in, this is a mystery adventure that manages to be entertaining in every aspect. With twists and mis-directions sprinkled throughout, the reader will be itching to learn the truth behind each murder.

Pages: 371

720 Heartbeats

720 Heartbeats by [Tomc, Jaka]

Rok was living a great life. He was a detective, something he’d aspired to be since childhood. Even better, he was working each day with one of his oldest friends. His girlfriend was more perfect for him than Rok could have ever imagined. Things were good. Until his stolen laptop is returned in the mail, containing a diary entry dated the following day. Each day brings a new update, eerily predicting events in the next 24 hours. As Rok tries to understand the why, how, and who of the situation, everything in his previously idyllic life is upended and he realizes he no longer knows anything.

720 Heartbeats, by Jaka Tomc is an intriguing mix of noir style detective drama, traditional love story, and mind bending science fiction, in a story that comes full circle before its end. What begins with Rok and his best friend Boris on an assignment soon turns into an unwanted and improbable adventure. When Rok’s laptop mysteriously reappears at home, he finds the journal entry but doesn’t give it too much thought. It isn’t until a couple of days have passed that he realizes it gives an accurate, albeit vague, glimpse into the future and by then, Rok is plagued with questions about how it can happen, and who is writing the diary. Things only get weirder when he decides that the only explanation is that it’s a future version of him, which spurns many discussions with Sara about alternate dimensions, the non-linear nature of time, and whether the decisions of present day Rok can change the outcomes of events for future Rok. To complicate matters further, his professional life becomes muddled when he learns some hard truths about people he thought he could trust. Within a week, and with the return of his laptop,  Rok’s entire life changes.

Tomc does a wonderful job with his character’s development and dialogue, namely between Rok and Sara. Their conversations feel sincere, and cover the necessary points of the story without feeling forced. The other characters, while very much important to the plot, nonetheless remain very much in the background. Their interactions are still good, but slightly more flat. The story itself is frequently interrupted by Rok’s inner monologue about the randomness of life, the beauty of love, and various other philosophical musings. Although thought provoking the first few times, these tangents quickly become repetitive and, with a few exceptions, add little to the story. Despite that, the book is truly captivating and unique in the way it weaves genres together. 

720 Heartbeats isn’t lengthy, but manages to contain plenty of action and mystery, and I had a hard time putting it down. The subtle implications presented at the end truly screws with your head as you wonder… what just happened?

Pages: 145 | ASIN:  B07DS81NZR

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The Progeny

The Progeny: A Novel (Descendants of the House of Bathory Book 1) by [Lee, Tosca]

Are we defined by the ones who were before us, or do our actions define us? Do the actions of one individual condemn their future descendants to a dire future?

The Progeny is a thrilling adventure story, echoing the suspense of Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series. The beginning of the story is a little slow but the story picks up and is quickly entertaining. Things keep on rolling as our lead character, Audra and her small group of people find themselves in situations that quickly turn sour. Despite the frailty shown, the characters rise up to the challenges that face them, which made me emotionally invested in the well drawn characters. I frowned when I read about the zealots who were hunting descendants of the most infamous female serial killer in history. Why? They are not the killers. Why harm them? But then people do tend to carry grouses for years, maybe some are crazy to carry ones that pass on from generation to generation. These thought provoking themes kept me hooked. I especially loved Luka character, who loves Audra without any motives or benefits. The author describes the revelation in layers which is all the more warming to my heart.

There are many more layers to the story than initially appears. It shows the depth with which Tosca Lee has crafted her narrative. Overall the story is well written and continues at a good pace.  We get a glimpse into the past of the characters, but thankfully the story does not dedicate too much time on it. The one thing that I did find odd was the persuasion power that every descendant of Elizabeth Bathory (mainly females) seems to have. Why it appears, or what is the reason for it is not explained. Even more curious is that it goes away after a certain age. Why? I need to know! Needless to say, I am invested in this enthralling and thoroughly entertaining novel.

Pages: 337 | ASIN: B010MH9YUW

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Donal Grant – Trailer

The twelve novels MacDonald set in his homeland make frequent use of Scots dialogue, which has posed a problem for many would-be readers. This new edition of DONAL GRANT, the sequel to SIR GIBBIE, and book four in the translation series, provides the complete original text, but places English side-by-side with the Scots. Also featured is an introduction by renowned MacDonald authority and best-selling author Michael Phillips, along with more of the distinguished artwork of SIR GIBBIE’s illustrator Carrie Stout.

In his preface, translator David Jack praises DONAL GRANT as “a story-sermon par excellence” in which MacDonald blends his powerful mythmaking with his no less powerful preaching: the result being “a kind of fairy-tale for grown-ups.” Donal himself he compares to the author, claiming that both bring us (as Donal brings the proud but unhappy heiress Lady Arctura) “news from a far country, for the lack of which she had been slowly perishing.”

Unique features of this edition of Donal Grant:
***English translations of all Scots dialogue side-by-side with the original text
***Ten original illustrations by artist Carrie Stout
***Introduction by best-selling author Michael Phillips

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His Name Was Ezra

His Name Was Ezra by [Moody, Craig]

His Name was Ezra is an amazing story of love and tragedy. Taking place in Mississippi during the racially-charged 1950’s and 60’s. Jim Crow laws and inherent bias steer much of the plot of the story. Ezra, a young black man, and Judy, a freckle-faced white woman, have the cards stacked against them as their longtime friendship slowly begins to develop into something more.

Craig Moody writes beautifully. He has a poetry to his words as they describe his characters and their setting. I live in the south so I know that Moody sets the scene impeccably, speaking of dry words falling to the ground like acorns and the swatting of hungry mosquitoes. He also throws in some local color with the dialogue between the characters. Every “you” is replaced by “ya.” Brother becomes “brotha.” Sister becomes “sista.”

His Name was Ezra is set in another time, but the story is still relevant today. Race relations are still imperfect. We have come a long way as a nation, but we have so much further to go. This book can aid in bridging the divide. It’s an important tool to pull back the curtain, so to speak, on those who continue to judge people based on the color of their skin rather than the content of their character as Dr. King would have us do.

Moody also pulls back the curtain on domestic abuse. Judy suffers the brunt of Billy’s aggression. He describes how Billy only hits her in areas that will be covered by clothing in public or around others. Judy takes it because she feels she has no other choice. She sacrifices her happiness, her health, everything, to try to ensure the safety of her brother and then her son. She becomes a shell of herself. Self-preservation is not on her to-do list ever.

Readers will identify with Moody’s well-developed characters. Judy loves Ezra and her family, forgiving her brother and sister over and over. Luke tries to help Judy while furthering his career, and gets a few priorities mixed up in the process. Chances are, readers will also recognize the more menacing characters that stomp through the chapters. Billy is the picture of perfection in the community. Good family. Good looks. Wife and child. However, Billy is a heavily flawed and dangerous monster. We all know someone who has turned out to be someone different than who we thought they were.

I’m giving His Name was Ezra by Craig Moody five out of five stars. I would give him ten if I could. He has a beautiful way of describing even the most ugly parts of humanity. The story was cohesive. The plot flowed well. There was never a dull moment as suspense ebbed and flowed throughout the story. This was a real page-turner for me, and I cannot wait to read more of Moody’s work.

Pages: 232 | ASIN: B079NP9JJ5

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PALE FACE & THE RAVEN

PALE FACE & THE RAVEN by [Dighton, Stacey]

Pale Face and the Raven by Stacey Dighton is a terrifying murder mystery meets a horror story. It starts with a string of rape cases and murders taking place in the town of Westhampton. Luke Raven, a detective inspector and long-time alcoholic is assigned to the case. Unable to cope with his alcoholism and an inability to form long-lasting connections with other people, he is dragged down by the weight of his own past and present. On the other hand, there is a struggling author, Tony Richards. His life isn’t turning out as he had planned, and his flailing desperation leads him down a dark path. His own sordid past and tattered familial relationships are slowly unraveled throughout the story. It is a race against time and personal struggles as these men and the people in their lives are dragged into the horrific events taking place.

Throughout the novel, I was surprised to find myself sympathetic to the murderer’s motives. Not supportive of them, of course, but Stacey Dighton managed to build his character in a manner such that his motives and actions were entirely believable.

It would seem that the alcoholic detective and struggling author are overdone cliches. But that did not make the story any less compelling. They were well-fleshed out and so human that they managed to escape the common murder mystery tropes. Similarly, all of the other characters were plagued with their own flaws. Addiction, cowardice, dependency, all these traits were laid out realistically.

The interlinking of all the characters added depth and complexity to the narrative, but was myopic at times. It was as if the five to six main characters were the only people who lived in
Westhampton and the other people clearly lacked dimension. Although this aspect did intensify the plot, it turned it into a bit of a guessing game. Sort of like Big Little Lies. However, it was without a doubt a thrilling read, kind of like a Jack Reacher novel but with more interesting characters. Perfect reading for a long weekend.

Pages: 373 | ASIN:  B07ZBPFBWK

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The ’49 Indian

The '49 Indian by [Moody, Craig]

Back in the 1980’s when the LGBTQ community was severely marginalized. Back when AIDS was called GRID (Gay Related Immune Deficiency). Dustin Thomas struggled with his identity. Unbeknownst to him the place his parents likened with Sodom would be the beginning of his journey to understand his true self. At the age of 20, he gained the courage to walk through those doors. This would lay the foundation for the relationship he would later have with Gauge Paulson. How will they survive with only their restored 1949 Indian Motorcycle and hope? How will they navigate the complexity of their relationship? Will their Fort Lauderdale past follow them down the California Coast?

This book tells a very important story in the history of the LGBTQ community. There is a lot that people do not know about the struggle before members of the community could openly fight for their liberation. If for nothing else, read this book to truly understand the struggle. It provides an accurate albeit bleak picture of what life was like for the LGBTQ community in the 1980’s as well as the lengths they had to go to simply exist in the society.

This is a well written book and a moving tale. The style of writing is fitting for a story of this intensity and magnitude. It is emotive and gut wrenching. You find yourself rooting for young Dustin to overcome all the hurdles on his path.

The grammar is spotless with a flair that is just right, never feeling inappropriate for the tragic undertone of the story. The author has an uncanny ability to create a full dimensional mental picture with both his creative use of language and unique tone, giving an artistic feel to his writing.

This is a very informative book. There is a story to enjoy sure, but at the core of it is a lesson for human kind. At the end of it all you wonder why human beings cannot coexist in peace without judgement and creation of restrictive societal codes. What would really happen if everyone was accepted just as they were? This book is thought provoking in this way. You will also learn that love truly is powerful; against ignorance and debilitating superiority complexes.

Craig Moody has broken into the genre with a powerfully poignant book. This book tells a story that many need to hear.

Pages: 252 | ASIN: B06XD51X19

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