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Listen for Water

Listen for Water begins by following a young teen named Dakota Starr who is having a strange dream about a fish and a drumbeat. She then returns to the real world, but the drumbeat follows her. What she managed to forget about for a second in her dream was her poor living conditions. Sharing a government-funded apartment with her deadbeat mother Ray, who she doesn’t even call mother. All her mother does is play video games and schlep around the house, leaving Dakota to fend for herself. All while trying to find enough money to buy food and attending improvisational dance lessons at her local Indigenous dance school. The story takes a drastic turn when Ray wanders into a moving truck. Dakota follows her inside, but they are closed in before she can convince Ray to come out. This begins an epic emotional journey that will change both of them, and their relationship, forever.

This is an impassioned coming-of-age story that explores addiction and family. What I really enjoyed about this poignant novel was the way in which it reversed the mother-daughter role while still showing the force of family and how it permeates our lives. But where other novels may make light of a child caring for a family this novel handles it in a substantive way. Dakota is forced to spend time with a mother that she hates, while her mother loves her like a daughter, even though Ray never provided for her like a mother would. They have an interesting dynamic and their relationship is the highlight of the novel, and one that readers will be thinking about long after they put the book down. Through the story, the two characters get to know each other for the first time, while also making new discoveries about one another and themselves. In a way I think this story is a character study; of two characters. And a dissection of a troubled relationship. I found it all immensely compelling.

This book will resonate with anyone facing similar issues as Dakota as the story is grounded and the emotions feel authentic. The author really plants the reader in Dakota’s head, not just through the first person perspective, but also by using words a girl Dakota’s age would use, even if they’re incorrect or made up. Novels often make their young characters seem older then they are. While Dakota needs to be older, given her situation, she still seems like the child she is supposed to be. This makes her character relatable and readers are able to empathize with her more. The characters and the writing alone make Listen for Water worth the read. I highly recommend it to any book club looking for an emotionally-resonant and evocative coming-of-age tale.

Pages: 341 | ASIN: B09XKP8HQ2

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Having To Contend With Her “Otherness”

Alyssa Charpentier Author Interview

The Myrk Maiden follows a young woman whose life is shattered when she’s thrust into the realm of a society of sorcerers who look to her as their salvation. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

This novel was conceived when I was a wee high school freshman being sped away from everything I knew. We were relocating from our lifelong roots in the Pacific Northwest to the East Coast in the middle of the school year, and as we crossed the state lines, I imagined a frustrated young girl who felt like a pariah having to contend with her “otherness” and an upended life. This concept was too simple, however. I wanted it to have a magical, fantastical flair – hence the evolution of that troubled young girl into a shapeshifting hybrid human. Fueled by my nascent knowledge of the “sorcerer” residents in the town I had just spent seven years growing up in, I decided to blend some facts among the fiction and create as authentic of a fantasy story as I could.

Twilight is an interesting and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

My protagonist is not easy to root for in this story. Infused with monstrous powers and a murderous nature, Twilight offers readers a raw, realistic glimpse into evil. Connecting with readers and exploring and empathizing with their inner darkness became a vital element of Twilight’s journey. I wanted anyone who immersed themselves in this twisted tale to understand that their evil inclinations are not the exception, but the rule, and that despite this troubling fact, hope never dies as long as we live… and it is light that devours darkness, not the other way around.

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

Identity, understanding one’s true nature, and the importance of wisely wielding gifts are some central themes in the first book. Twilight is blessed with tremendous potential, but potential does not always translate to beautiful “actual.” Those who struggle with the yoke of their own intensity are dangerous. They are capable of incredible, wondrous things… but these creators, if their hearts are darkened, can also become destroyers. People who have been chosen for extraordinary tasks must be mindful of how they handle them; will they use their gifts to restore or destroy? How many mistakes will they stumble over along the way, and is there a purpose for any of it? The Myrk Maiden Trilogy navigates these existential questions and many more.

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

My next release is approaching quickly! On December 10th, 2022, I am publishing Daughter Dusk, Book #2 in the Myrk Maiden Trilogy. Look for it on Amazon!

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

What if you were born to destroy the world…not save it?

15-year-old Twilight dreams of a better life away from her uncaring family, longing for purpose and adventure. When her humdrum existence is soon shattered forever, she is thrust into the wickedly enticing realm of the Shadows, a society of sorcerers who look to her as their living salvation from the light. As darkness seeps into Twilight’s soul, she comes to live by three words – “maim and kill.” In this brutal coming-of-age tale, young Twilight finds herself tangled in a twist of existential crises, divine dangers, and monstrous mishaps as she navigates the various bends and turns of her new life, always wondering whether she should obey her “true nature” and remain in the dark – or fight for a glimpse of light beyond the Shadows’ compound walls.

Book 1 in The Myrk Maiden Trilogy.

The Myrk Maiden: Daughter Darkness

Twilight is a 15yr old girl who doesn’t quite fit in with her family. She is mistreated by her parents and siblings and is forced to do chores all day. She doesn’t understand why she is treated different and why her mother despises her. She realizes that she looks different from her sibling, but she does look like her father. She learns that she is part of the Sharavaks, who are also known as the shadows. They want to exterminate normal people and establish their own civilization, but they need Twilight’s help since she is the most powerful. As her powers awaken she has an internal battle between good and evil. Will Twilight help the Sharavaks carry out their dark purpose?

The Myrk Maiden: Daughter Darkness by Alyssa Charpentier is a riveting coming-of-age fantasy novel that immerses readers in an alluring world of magic and the tense fight between a hope for good and an inherent evil.

Twilight’s character starts off innocent, and the reader wonders why she is hated by her family. As the story progresses she unravels the mystery of who she really is and her powers begin to grow and we get to see the dark side of her. I was enthralled with this meticulous development of her character and the intriguing realization of who she actually is. I was shocked when Twilight turns ferocious and savage. This is the moment readers get to see her internal struggle where she yearns to be good, but the darkness is always pushing itself on her.

Tension is high throughout the story, especially when Twilight is on the run. While I enjoyed the story I felt that it could have benefited by being shorted just a bit to make Twilight’s struggle feel more linear rather than recycled. Don’t let this deter you from reading this impressive gothic fantasy novel though as the author creatively incorporates magic into the story, like having Twilight’s mother visit her in visions or how the Sharavaks were able to infiltrate Twilight’s thoughts and shapeshift. All of this helps make this story an unpredictable adventure.

I recommend The Myrk Maiden: Daughter Darkness to readers who are looking for a dramatic and thoughtful fantasy adventure novel.

Pages: 466 | ASIN: B098MXQHTK

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The Only Guarantee Of A Legacy

Erik Daniel Shein Author Interview

Kona follows a teenage girl who dreams of working with sea life and, while working at an aquarium, discovers friendship, learns life lessons, and finds romance. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

In my life, I have known at least a handful of kids who have had childhood cancer. Their stories are often heartbreaking and stay with you forever. After all these years, the advancements in treatments for childhood cancers are still very limited, while more publicized cancers have received more funding and research. My goal was to write a story that would allow their voices to be heard, to bring the cause to the forefront while also combining with it our love for protecting animals too. Giving voices to those that often are unheard is important.

Melanie has had many challenges in her life so far, and is trying to figure out where life will take her. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

One of the driving ideals behind Melanie’s character was providing a window into the heart and mind of a teen dealing with childhood cancer. Kids with cancer are often fighters, with smiles larger than life, as they put on a brave face for the world. Inside they are dealing with so many things that never show on the surface. As I was fleshing out Melanie, I was speaking with a family that had dealt with childhood cancer to get the heart of my character. These kids are not only fighting for their lives, but they are also fighting for their families, too, to keep everyone together. Melanie often does this with her little sister. She is always there to reassure Kimmie and let her know everything is going to be all right, no matter what happens at the end of her story.

Another driving force for Melanie is her ability to relate to Kona. Like the wild dolphin, Melanie feels suffocated by her circumstances. Kona feels trapped by the four walls of the aquarium when she is used to having an entire ocean, and Melanie feels like her disease is a prison that keeps her from living her life to the fullest. While Melanie cannot change her own situation, she could fight for Kona’s future and the safety of the marine life for years to come. In a way, Kona is the only guarantee of a legacy for Melanie.

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

It was important to show the fighting spirit of these young heroes that often get swept under the rug. The tenacity and grit that children fighting cancer have been remarkable. Their motto to never give up, no matter the battle, is truly inspiring. It is heartbreaking that after all these years, the medical advancements for childhood cancers have not made as much progress as other cancers. I felt the need to put a face to the story and give it everything I had. Kona is an emotional rollercoaster ride from start to finish.  

I also wanted to write a clean teen romance because there is still innocence in the world, even though our literature, movies, and mainstream media show us children who have grown up well before they are ready. That first touch of the teen spirit crushing on their first love was a breath of fresh air amidst the turbulent sea of emotions inside Melanie, showing that cancer kids are just normal kids trying to live a normal life through insurmountable odds.

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

We are currently working on another heartfelt book called ‘Because of Lily,’ which is centered on a young girl in the heart of the Savannah in Africa. It is a young adult novel of self-discovery and a coming-of-age novel. We are hopeful that it will come out next Spring.

Author Links: Amazon | Website

As a childhood cancer survivor, Melanie has seen a few good years with no evidence of disease, but in the back of her mind, she is always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Being a normal teen is what she has always wanted, so when she’s offered a dream job at the Blue Haven Aquarium, she jumps at the chance.No one has told Melanie about Chase MaKenzie, the guy she is paired to be working with, nor the new best friend she’ll find in the watery depths. Melanie’s world is about to change forever.
Heart touching, witty, and at times heartbreaking, Kona explores the depths of friendship and love.

Jumping In And Out Of Reality

Tyler Beauchamp Author Interview

Freeze Frame follows a teen with PTSD who struggles to separate film and reality at times as he works through his trauma and makes new friends. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

“When quarantine started, I was living in a room with no windows. It definitely psyched me out at times, not knowing if it was light or dark, rainy or sunny. The mind can sort of wander in a place like that. I remember having these vivid daydreams after a while, and after one of them, it took me a minute or two to figure out if the daydream had actually happened. That’s when this image appeared of a boy who was constantly jumping in and out of reality. I had spent a lot of time working at a Free Mental Health Clinic in medical school, and that paired with my own mental health battles helped shape the boy’s story. Almost instantly, I knew I wanted to tell a story about a vulnerable boy overcoming trauma while highlighting key issues of youth mental illness today (social media, peer pressures, anxiety/depression).”

Will wants to be like the other teens at his high school but knows he is different and struggles to battle his mental illness while moving forward. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

“Certainly Will’s battle between passion and personal guilt drives the story and his development as a young man. When the thing that makes you happy is the same thing that’s tied to your worst memory…it can weigh heavily on your mind and how you move from the past. Ultimately, I chose to make the Coreless his saving grace because I believe it can take a village to help someone work on their own mental health. We may not be able to directly heal others who are struggling, but we can certainly offer support and love to help them get to where they wish to be. As a society, we’ve made incredible strides at de-stigmatizing mental illness, but we still have a ways to go. People often feel they must carry their burdens on their own, and my hope was through Will readers might feel more open to sharing their struggles and leaning on others for help.”

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

“In my opinion, children are the most vulnerable members of our society, a society by the way that runs at a sprint driven by social media. Children are surrounded by social pressures very few of us can even fathom. And I really don’t mean to say social media is bad. In fact, when used properly, I think it has the power to be our saving grace. But anything powerful can be destructive. I think sometimes we don’t think about just how much power a child with a phone wields, and neither do they. We don’t just need to teach children how to use these tools responsibly, but there needs to be better guidance behind the tools themselves to protect kids. Like I said, the tools aren’t bad inherently. A hammer isn’t bad. It can build a house. But it can also end a life. So that’s where the antagonist was born to combat these counterculture kids. I thought it would be really fascinating for a group of kids with today’s technology and interests to choose to make a movie in a more classic fashion. Setting their work as a competition against social media platformers just made the story more intriguing. It definitely gets meta at times, with a filmmaker losing his grip on reality and seeing films play out before his eyes. But writing the story from Will’s perspective in that way really allowed me to highlight how everyone lives out their own trauma in a unique way, and hopefully readers will see that.”

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

“I am currently working on a new children’s series that is sort of a “Magic Tree House” meets “Medicine.” More to come on this later, but each book will focus on a new bacteria or virus the way Magic Tree House focused on a new time period for each story. I’ve currently written a good portion of Book 1 with a few others outlined. It may take some time until it is available as I am finishing up medical school at the moment, but I hope for the first book to drop in the next year or two.”

Author Links: Instagram | GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

#1 Best-Seller in Coming of Age Fiction

A troubled boy. A mysterious past. An ever-changing reality.


Will Horner leaves his former high school behind for a fresh start. Soon, he will find the past repeats itself. Will begins his junior year at Pinehurst Academy, a neighboring Arts School. As an introverted, avid filmmaker, it seems like the perfect fit. However, Will hasn’t made any films since the incident. Instead, he’s been living them. His world is not always what others see. When his emotions take over, Will’s reality runs in danger of suddenly shifting. When he becomes too nervous, too excited, or too scared, the world before him transforms into a new reality, a real-life film. His father forced Will to stop making movies altogether, believing them to only bring on the episodes. When a new group of friends recruits Will for a major movie project for a grand prize, Will must decide if the film is worth the risk. With the help of his new friends, he will push the boundaries of his reality and try to move on from the horrors of his past. Can he escape his past before it’s too late?

Freeze Frame explores the mind of a troubled teen filmmaker who is plagued with the horrors of his tragic past. Jump into the mind of a shy Will Horner as he meets a new group of friends who bring him into the fold. Together, the group will butt heads against the Content Crew, a group of social influencers in the school led by the notorious Rodrigo Silva, creator of a widely popular YouTube channel. The two groups will battle to win Pinehurst’s Arts Night and the attention of creators nationally.
From the first page, let life become a movie and dive into Tyler Beauchamp’s debut novel, Freeze Frame!

Kona

Melanie Parker is a 16-year-old girl who has ambitious hopes and dreams of working with and rehabilitating sea creatures, yet is tied down by her experience battling childhood cancer. Still, her love of the ocean and sea animals lands her a job at the aquarium where her mom works. Here, she meets and makes lifelong friends, including Chase, the handsome boy she takes a liking to fairly quickly, and Kona, the sweet, isolated dolphin that she forms a bond with almost immediately.

Kona is a beautiful coming-of-age story written by Erik Daniel Shien and Melissa Davis that explores love, loss, and what it means to never give up no matter what life throws your way. Shien and Davis do a wonderful job of creating a story that is both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. It’s the type of story that readers of all ages can sit down and enjoy. It teaches about the importance of wildlife and shows what it means to be both selfless and someone who cares about the environment.

Between the stress and tension readers feel alongside Melanie due to the fear of her cancer potentially returning, and the beautiful prose, it’s a page turner that leaves readers hanging on every word. The relationships between Melanie and every character that readers encounter are beyond skin-deep and are a joy to follow; especially the bond that she’s formed with Kona. She finds herself connected to Kona through the overlapping struggles that they both face with their health situations and they become each other’s support.

Kona is an emotionally-resonant and uplifting story with the same emotional depth as John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, although not as tragic. Not only is it a sweet story that teaches important lessons, but the book also has a well-defined and inspiring narrative that makes this an enjoyable romance novel overall.

Pages: 294 | ASIN: B08DVG814X

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The Conjurer’s Curse 

Rowan has always been different. Since the day he was born, he has battled a curse that brings death to those around him, the morbid result of his mother’s actions long ago. After Rowan’s curse kills his fourth Guardian-Mother, he is banished from his island and forced to sail off in search of somewhere he can belong. After finding family in Shandria, Rowan thinks he has found a place to call home. But, the stakes grow as he tries to navigate love while learning who to trust in this world of cunning, monsters, and dangerous magic.

The Conjurer’s Curse is a coming-of-age fantasy story written by Stephanie Cotta. It follows seventeen-year-old Rowan as he searches for a place to be accepted and break the curse that has plagued him his entire life. Set first in the deep jungle, then in the vast land of Shandria, this story opens an impressive fantasy world where the magic takes its toll, and people fall prey to the conniving Conjurers who wield it. Full of dynamic characters and nail-biting conflict, this story is an exciting ride from start to finish.

The Conjurer’s Curse is never dull and transports the reader to Rowan’s world through vivid descriptions and emotional impact. One thing that really grabs the reader’s attention is the excellent use of dialogue. Accents and different dialects are a big part of it, and there are times when the characters come across as very clever. Cotta also proved to be skilled with pacing, based on the plot progression and romance timing.

The Conjurer’s Curse is complex and exciting and has beautiful descriptions and dialogue. This would be an excellent read for middle schoolers and above or anyone who wants to experience the adventure in this young adult epic fantasy novel.

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The Silence in the Sound

The Silence in the Sound pulls readers into Martha’s Vineyard’s cozy, isolated land, where Georgette wrestles with childhood trauma and works to find her place in the world. Growing up, she had a complicated relationship with her alcoholic father, who she could never fully trust. George moves to the lovely Martha’s Vineyard as a young adult, beginning her nursing career, and becomes the primary caretaker for an elderly celebrity author, with whom she develops a feisty yet endearing friendship. Her strength and independence shine at work, but her tough exterior is challenged when she meets the attractive and mysterious Dock. George must decide if love is strong enough to overcome her profoundly ingrained trust issues.

Dianne C. Braley’s novel tells a painful story in a charming way, so that the reader can’t help but root for Georgette. The writing style is conversational and pragmatic, so it feels as if a close friend is relating stories directly from her life to you. At first, I found the writing to be a bit cumbersome, but I got more accustomed to it as I continued reading. There were moments throughout the story where I felt frustrated by Georgette because she seemed to be letting life happen to her rather than taking action and making changes herself. However, I think that attribute resulted from her troubled past, so it ultimately added realism to the character.

The foreshadowing at the beginning, where Georgette returns to the island “to say goodbye,” added a mysterious and dark undertone to the story. At times, the plot seemed to drag a bit, but the latter half of the book increased in drama and intensity. The characters and the subject matter were well described, but the telling of the story could have been more compelling.

The Silence in the Sound is a heartfelt coming of age novel that explores how growing up with addition and abuse in ones life impacts choices that are made later in life. It is an emotional read that will leave the reader remembering of Georgette after they have finished the book.

Pages: 389 | ASIN : B0B7BGMRFZ

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