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Fallen Snow

Athena Jackson has found herself in a predicament—she is twenty years old, pregnant, and stuck in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend, Silas. When Silas finds out about the pregnancy, he demands Athena end it and forces her to a woman’s clinic. Before the procedure can be completed, Athena reaches out to an old friend from high school, Lily Rhodes Marx. Lily comes to Athena’s rescue, spiriting her away from the abusive Silas. Lily and her husband Rowen graciously welcome Athena into their home, where she finds out that family isn’t always blood, and that faeries and magic are real.

Fallen Snow, by Abby Farnsworth, is the third book in the EverGreen series. Taking place after the events of Moonlit Skies, Fallen Snow picks up with Athena and her journey to accept her own pregnancy and save herself from Silas. With several twists and turns that will keep readers on edge, Fallen Snow explores relationships, how someone could continue to love their abuser, and how new love can bloom even without the help of faerie magic.

The author has a knack for developing interesting character personalities and giving them believable physical descriptions along with faerie powers. These traits allow each character to shine on their own. There are several twists and turns throughout this alluring young adult romance novel, making this an unpredictable but enjoyable read.

I always enjoy the quick pace of the EverGreen books. I think the story moves a lot quicker here because, this being the third book in the trilogy, the author doesn’t need to spend time developing the character’s background. The characters are already established and their relationships feel genuine and the reader can feel their love for one another. Farnsworth’s writing style has developed and grown just like her characters in the story.

Fallen Snow is a seductive paranormal romance story that fans of emotionally-resonant teen fiction will enjoy. I loved the way fantasy and reality are blended throughout this story and I think readers will too.

Pages: 170 | ISBN: 1956788468

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Innocence Derailed

Innocence Derailed, by Jane Catherine Rozek, is an inspirational book that turns the mundane events Kate experiences into a deep encounter each and every time. In today’s world, where everybody prefers the comfort and safety of one’s home, her story goes to show that there are people who opt to surround themselves with the outside world, specifically nature and all its beauty, and find out that there is a higher being within the smallest things one sees daily.

The author has written the book in a way that makes it feel personal even to its readers. The first pages makes the story seem like a romantic novel, but when the relationship ends, readers will see that there is more to this story than meets the eye. It motivates its audience to think about philosophical queries and reflect on their own answers. It also raises questions about rights, politics, and religion that are often silenced, not just during the 1970’s, but still today. Lastly and surprisingly, it also promotes the importance of taking breaks, may it be through the means of traveling, surrounding oneself with new people, or having a single day to yourself. You never know where your decisions will take you, and that is the fun of it all. In Kate’s case, her entire journey only brought her to a new one, only this time, she is now an enlightened woman; more prepared to take on what her next story holds.

Innocence Derailed is an emotionally-resonant coming of age novel that provides readers with a compelling exploration of a relatable and fascinating character. I would recommend this to young adults, because I personally share the struggle of not knowing where I am supposed to be in this age. The fact that the story is also based on true events will serve as a great inspiration for its readers, for it is a positive reminder that one’s path can progress with the will of God.

Pages: 315 | ASIN: B0B2D6KW88

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What Matters Most In Life Are Relationships

Donan Berg Author Interview

Lucia’s Fantasy World follows a young girl as she experiences coming-of-age moments and learns her full potential while trying to help a sick friend. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

In human life, struggle, anxiety, loneliness, and depression are too often inevitable, even more so for youth. This leads to and begs a question. What should be valued? Of the many moments in my life, a phrase and a first grade experience stand out.

The phrase comes from the Orient. It says: “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”

The first grade experience involved crayons. I’d spent six months with my mother and brother in Ireland visiting her relatives, well, mine, too. In doing so I’d missed kindergarten where each student received a new box of sixteen crayons to be used and carried into first grade. My first grade teacher removed a crayon discard box from a windowsill and gave it to me. Fellow students teased me for scribbling with broken and stubby crayons.

However, I was happy. My classmates had only one of each color. I had six reds, eight greens, etc. Lucia learns she has a special skill – drawing or sketching. I can’t draw or paint, but did win a national photography award. Upon learning of the honor, I had to give a speech. I used the Oriental quote above and the words of Mark Twain. To paraphrase, he was reported to have said, “When I was fourteen, I couldn’t stand to have the Old Man around. When I was eighteen, I was amazed at how much he had learned.”

As the question of “theme” appears below, I’ll skip a long answer to say that there’s a ripple throughout Lucia’s Fantasy World that what matters most in life are relationships, not material things, not a physical Christmas tree, but learning and living the spirit it embraces.

Lucia grows in this novel from a carefree child to one that realizes the world is bigger and has more challenges than she imagined. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I recall this quote from John Ciardi: “You don’t have to suffer to be a poet. Adolescence is enough suffering for anyone.”

Lucia, although her family is split, has basic needs fulfilled. There’s shelter, food, and clothing. Although she might not be a school “glamor” girl, she has fun snow sledding with Johnny. He shares his sled and doesn’t complain his leg is in a metal brace. Yet, in her own mind, Lucia longs for material things her Mother can’t afford, especially a Christmas tree. Friend Omar has access to multiple Christmas trees as a Boy Scout worker at a tree stand, yet, he can’t give a tree to Lucia.

Twelve novels ago in A Body To Bones, my first writing adventure, I coupled a whodunit mystery with the main character’s growth to be a person of strength after years of emotional suffering. Now after a debut fantasy, Find the Girl, A Fantasy Novel, that offered greater fantasy adventure than self-realization, I desired to explore an adolescent coming of age. This effort began a story, unrelated in style and concept, but nevertheless subconsciously tied in with my novel, Aria’s Bayou Child, where a mother is falsely imprisoned for killing her husband and desperately seeks to find her stolen child.

Although totally different in tone and circumstances, Lucia, like the adult Aria, learns determination, trust in her own ability, and the value of human relationships. Lucia doesn’t just feel good; she harnesses her ability to do better than good.

What were some themes that were important to explore in this book?

While I touched on theme in answer to the first question, I often take exception to the adage that a theme is so important to a novel that it can’t exist without one. All too often, theme is dumbed down to be “Love conquers all” or “Principle trumps greed.” Theme is thus treated as parallel to teaching a lesson. If the reader discovers it, the author receives an A.

The goal should be to create, and have empathy with, characters who make choices, take risks, and subject themselves to the consequences. My viewpoint strives to delve into virtue. It’s to understand morality or societal goodness and the individual’s journey of faith, hope, charity, justice, and, along the way, come to a realization of what’s important.

Did Lucia lack virtue because she yearned for a Christmas tree, a material object? No. Her obsession was natural in her teen world. Did it hinder her growth? No. But who’s to say it wasn’t required?

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Excuse me if I chuckle. Questions after book readings often include “How long did it take to write your first novel?” I answer: “thirty years.” When the puzzled expressions fade, I explain that as a journalism student it was taken as gospel that you would write the “Great American Novel.” I started, then everyday life intervened. Two children grew into adulthood before my wife died of cancer. I retrieved 54 typewritten pages from a file cabinet that represented my debut novel. I fully understood that putting onto paper the novel that had matured in my mind was a distraction to grief. When I finished, my publisher asked, “What’s your next book? We need an excerpt.”

Today, I ponder if I’m destined to write my 13th novel as a Halloween trip along Elm Street?

Absolutely not. Lucia’s Fantasy World offers an excerpt for a mystery/suspense, “Albert’s Deadly Fate.” It’s said to be available in 2024. The long lead time is because I’m working on a minor league hockey team romance, a third fantasy, another romantic mystery, and tinkering with expanding a short story highlighted by the Giant’s Causeway on Ireland’s Antrim Coast. Of course, completing a trip to the Scottish Highlands, delayed by COVID for two years, may upset all plans, although I’ve promised myself one story about Jamie and Clare and the Jacobin Rebellion is enough.

Thank you to Literary Titan and all my readers. It’s a joy to be able to express myself. How troubled we’d all be if one error caused us to begin again with a new rock.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Lucia McFate finds her life changed when sledding friend, Johnny, is stricken with a life-threatening infection. Discovering she has a rare, if dangerous gift, Lucia literally falls into a tunnel and her escape lands her in a far-off land many centuries in the past.Her challenges are many, but the most important is how to transport a spirited box found in the past to her real-world reality to save her friend.In superbly crafted writing that builds suspense, award-winning author Donan Berg gives us a most enduring fantasy fit for all ages.

Hidden Deep Within The Lines

Louis Orozco Lopez Author Interview

Finding The Oak Tree follows a young boy that has no memory of who he is or where he came from and embarks on a journey of self-discovery. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

As a young boy, I was adopted after losing my mother to suicide. When I look back now, I don’t remember anything other than her face and smile and having spent a large part of my life trying to fill the void she left behind; there was a lot inside that, at some point, needed to come out.

This story was not only a tribute to her but to my adopted mother, Joanne, who raised me. It was my way of saying thank you for both of their sacrifices, and somewhere along the way, whilst trying to pay homage to my parents, I have, without knowing it inspired my children. What more could a father or an author want.

Did you create an outline for Sol before you started writing or did the character’s personality grow organically as you were writing?

Sol grew as the story progressed, both physically and mentally, but when I think about the first scribbled lines in my old notebook, I think Sol became a living, breathing person in his own world, but he is now so much more than I dreamt.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Hidden deep within the lines of this book, readers may spot the subtle theme of Dissociative amnesia, which is not something that is spoken about often, so the more I wrote, the more important it was for me to emphasize.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m currently working on another coming of age novel based on the memory of my best friend, who sadly died a few years ago. The story will be a young adult fiction that mixes key topics such as loss, grief, and mental health whilst following the protagonist on an adventure, or should I say a misadventure.

Author Links: GoodReads |  Facebook | Website

Finding the Oak Tree is a beautiful coming of age story. Love, loss, and loneliness give birth to a legend. A young boy who cannot remember his name emerges from nowhere and embarks on a quest of self-discovery.

A must-read chronicle filled with life lessons and bound with pearls of wisdom. Enter a world where anything is possible and lose yourself in a time forgotten by humanity where magic, mystery, and mayhem reign.

Once opened, this powerful book will be hard to put down. A story that will remain with you long after the pages have stopped turning.

A Winter of Chains 

In A Winter of Chains, the third book in Jason R. Koivu’s Beyond Barlow series, Ford Barlow desires freedom and wishes to enact vengeance against a priest. Ford and his friends are unjustly imprisoned on a desolate island. After finally getting off the island, they find themselves in the heart of an underground slave city. Ford Barlow and his friends must first escape the city to gain freedom. Ford goes on many adventures throughout the book, and he must be one of the most unlucky humans in the book as, more often than not, he finds himself in another predicament.

The characters were all deserving of a role in this book. It reminded me of The Lord of The Rings, where there are probably hundreds of characters, and they all play a role regardless of how long their story arc may be. Even the side characters felt fully fleshed out. Ford is a character that you get attached to. From giants to wolves to being held captive, he is always escaping danger and putting readers on edge, wondering if this will be the one thing that finally does him in. Which only made me love his character even more. I was constantly rooting for him to have a turn of luck and keep his freedom. I also loved the relationship between Ford and Will and the development of their bond.

This suspenseful book is exciting, with plenty of twists and turns that keep readers engaged. The world-building was well done, and I could easily imagine the setting, which made the book more enjoyable. I appreciate that a map is included in the book to help readers follow the journey the characters embark on.

A Winter of Chains is a riveting fantasy novel. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a great coming of age and adventure story. The book is well-written, and the characters are well-developed. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

Pages: 484 | ASIN : B09VMWGF5X

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105 Steps

When Stephen Trigwell’s wife falls ill, the life his family has always known is forever changed. Their lives are consumed with doctor visits, hospital stays, medications, surgeries, and an overwhelming sense of fear. In March of 2021, Glen Trigwell was diagnosed with an aneurysm that required immediate surgery in order to set a stent in place. From that day forward, Stephen Trigwell made the decision to document the events that followed not only for his family but for his wife’s sake as the months that followed proved to be a time she may just lose. This memoir was written so she would know the love, care, and time that went into her experiences.

105 Steps is the true story and memoir of Glen Trigwell’s journey as documented by her husband, Stephen. Her shocking diagnosis in March of 2021 took their family down a frightening road. The aneurysm that changed their lives would pull them even closer together as they watched Glen fight to regain her life from this beast.

Stephen Trigwell’s writing is raw, open, and honest. He gives readers a deeply personal look into his family’s life as they cared for Glen from the beginning with her diagnosis through the moments from which they begin to believe she may never recover. Readers will feel each and every triumph and the devastating lows along with Stephen as he recounts each moment of her hospital stays and the harrowing days following her surgeries.

It’s difficult to say that I loved a story like this one because it’s true and painful, but I truly do. Trigwell has given readers an amazing gift with this account of his wife’s experience. I can see how his willingness to share his family’s pain and joy will help others living through the same type of challenges. His generosity is amazing and appreciated.

105 Steps, by Stephen Trigwell, is for anyone who wants to read a heartwarming and touching story about real unconditional love. The Trigwell family’s story is as inspiring as it is amazing and goes a long way to making so many feel less alone in such trying circumstances. I highly recommend Trigwell’s work to any reader looking for a beautifully-written true story of love, faith, and the determination to overcome the most incredible odds.

Pages: 222 | ASIN : B0B21XQFZ6

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My genealogy and fairytales, apparently!

Sophia Alexander Author Interview

Tapestry is a dramatic coming of age saga exploring the 1920’s women’s rights movement through the eyes of two young women and the romance of unrequited love. What were some sources that informed this novel’s development?

My genealogy and fairytales, apparently! Family mysteries inspired the entire trilogy, but after writing Tapestry’s rough draft, I was actually brainstorming what to name the book when I realized Gaynelle’s story mirrored Rapunzel’s in so many ways.

While the fairytale ‘Rapunzel’ may have subconsciously inspired some of my plotline, the bones of the story belong to my ancestors who go back for generations in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. I’ve had a passion for genealogy since age twelve, but progress on my granny’s side was stymied with rumors of adoption, which she denied.

I ran into this local fellow once who looked the spitting image of my uncle, except he had blue eyes like my granny. That man told me he’d been adopted, so I speculated he and my granny might be siblings. The fellow had met his (their?) father only after he was grown up—an old, dying man by the name of Salters, a name you’ll recognize from my story. The trilogy has a mix of real and made-up names, since the stories really are mostly fabrications. As I unearthed bits of information here and there, I tried to fathom scenarios that made sense of all the pieces. Sometimes I even discovered that my guesses had been correct, but I mostly used the facts for a framework, as my muse.

I’ve absorbed much about the time period through my research, listening to family stories and reading local histories, visiting regional museums, even digging into archives. I’ve always been interested in women’s rights, so as I reviewed the news stories of the era from several timeline books, I naturally zoned in on the ones that particularly mattered to women for inclusion in the novel.

I enjoyed watching your characters develop in this story. What were some obstacles you felt were important to defining their characters in the book?

Jessie is the obstacle of obstacles for both Gaynelle and Vivian.

Vivian has a dramatic break from her when she falls seriously ill. That episode—after already having learnt to snatch rare opportunities during brief respites—informs how she learns to live her life: seize the day while she has the chance!

Poor Gaynelle. Her choices are continually undermined. Her exit from the family home is far more reluctant and her life forever constrained by imposed limitations even after she’s away from Jessie. These limitations are a product of her age, gender, and means. Racial boundaries also bar certain friendships and undermine her happiness that way. She does try to make her own choices, but they are inevitably disregarded by those who believe they know better. Gaynelle learns to adapt and occasionally works around these restrictions, but her story depicts the reality of what so many girls and women face both now and then.

What about the 1920’s interests you and makes it ripe for you to write about?

My granny, the muse for a character who appears in Tapestry, was born in 1921. Honestly, that’s truly why I wrote of this era—the 1920s just so happen to be the decade when this portion of my family history falls, but it is a fascinating time period, with so much to draw on.

Such a revolutionary time for women—from their clothing and hair to voting to everything in between! The 1920s were also exactly a century ago, and given how the COVID-19 pandemic echoes the Spanish flu outbreaks, this is an especially interesting time to reflect on what was going on one hundred years ago, how things were changing, how they’ve shifted since then—and how they haven’t.

What can readers expect in book three in The Silk Trilogy?

Well, a love story, of course, this time for Ginny Bell and Jack Caddell. My novels always have love stories, I do believe! Vivian and Gaynelle continue to play significant roles, and there’s a new antagonist in the form of Zingle Caddell, a womanizing, careless alcoholic. He and Jessie Bell loathe one another, which creates a sort of sticky Romeo-and-Juliet situation for Ginny and Jack. There’s a showdown at the end—and deaths, definitely deaths.

Homespun, the last installment of the Silk Trilogy, is due to come out next St. Patty’s Day, March 17th, 2023.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

If your stepmother were a sociopath, how would you know? And who would you turn to? Life is not as ordinary as it seems for Gaynelle and Vivian, who only understand that the woman they now call ‘Mama’ is complicated and difficult to please. Is the romantic love that Gaynelle finds at a too-tender age going to last? And will Vivian uncover the truth about her parentage while recovering from a strange illness? Rural South Carolina meets the Roaring 20’s in this tale of two sisters who face separation and trauma with the resilience of the young and find their way, despite everything.

*Next Generation Indie Book Award 2022 finalist in the category of general fiction.
*Literary Titan Gold Book Award, June 2022.

Rasputin’s Scorn

Rasputin’s Scorn is the exciting new YA mystery novel by Courtnee Turner Hoyle. While the book’s exact setting is never really confirmed, it can be inferred from clues within the novel that the book is set in the modern-day or near future. This world is almost exactly like ours except for one big difference. A new street drug, Scorn, has appeared that grants people remarkable new abilities but comes at a significant cost. Users become increasingly bestial and suffer from terrible blood lust. Addicts are often thrown into camps by the government, never to be seen again.

Our protagonist, Rasputin, a straight-A student, is one such potential user. At 14 years old, Rasputin’s life is beginning to unravel. His loving mother is terminally ill, his mysterious father abandoned his family, and the girl he’s crushing on seems unobtainable. This leads Rasputin to go against his better judgment and steal a vial of Scorn from a local dealer. What follows is a roller-coaster ride as Rasputin is dragged into a centuries-old conspiracy where he must rely on his closest friends, Loila, Monique, and Aiden. But in this crazy new world, he’s discovered not everyone can be trusted.

Hoyle has worked as a teacher for many years, which shows in her writing. She really nails the young adolescent voice. Rasputin is immediately likable as the lead and easy to root for. Young readers will find many of Rasputin’s attributes relatable, making it easy to empathize with his struggle. This novel may be a mystery at the core, but Hoyle fills the book with many real-life problems. Rasputin has to deal with issues of bereavement and abandonment. At the same time, it is clear that someone close to him is a victim of domestic abuse while another has struggled with drug addiction. The reader follows Rasputin as he and his friends start to deal with their changing bodies and the genuine nightmares of middle school, making this a read that hits close to home. There’s a lot to unpack here, and there’s a lot to relate to.

Rasputin’s Scorn is a great young adult fantasy novel. It deals tactfully with issues many teens struggle with today. It’s also an excellent read for adults, and I look forward to reading the next book in the trilogy.

Pages: 197 | ASIN : B0B1Q3GXJJ

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