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A little bit EXTRAORDINARY

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A little bit Extraordinary is a children’s picture book that follows a cute young girl named Juliette who has Down’s syndrome. Throughout the book readers learn what Down’s syndrome is and helps readers learn that we’re all different, which is what makes us special. This is a beautiful story told in rhyme that promotes acceptance and celebrates diversity.

I loved this charming book. This book explains the physical differences in someone with Down’s syndrome as well as the science behind the differences. It does so easily so that anyone can understand it. Even as an adult I found this book educational as I wasn’t fully aware of what causes the syndrome and the effects it has on people. I was so wrapped up in the story and learning about Juliette that I didn’t realize the story is told in rhyme because it flowed so easily. The story discusses topics such as bullying, recognizing and celebrating differences, and showing kindness. The illustrations are exceptional, with bright colorful images on each page that provide context to the words.

I recommend this book to parents, teachers, and even adults, like me, who don’t know much about Down’s syndrome. There are more than a dozen talking points provided at the end of the book. This really highlights the major benefit this book has; it begins a discussion. Whether you know someone with Down’s syndrome or not I highly recommend reading this with your child so that you are both knowledgeable and ready to accept anyone for who they are.

 

Honeycake: Counting All My Blessings – Trailer

In the fifth installment of the delightful Honeycake book series, Nala’s mama and papa are celebrating the birth of their newborn son. But, when baby Luka receives so many presents and all the attention, Nala becomes angry and green with envy. This book teaches children the importance of gratitude and how to focus on what matters most in life. Showing gratitude is a great way to find balance in the materialistic culture we live in today. With the help of her grandfather, Nala learns the importance of gratitude and how being thankful for all the wonderful things she has in her life equips her with a powerful tool to make those icky feelings of jealousy from the “Green-Eyed Monster” disappear. Count all your Blessings, and be grateful for all the wonderful things in your life. 🙏🏻💖

 

honeycakebooks.com

 

Alathea: Goddess & Empress

Alathea: Goddess and Empress by Dylan Madeley is an adventure-filled fantasy novel that is sure to please fans of  epic fantasy like the Game of Thrones. The name of Madeley’s novel intrigued me from the very beginning, and the novel kept me engaged through the closing pages with its fast-paced chapters and unexpected plot twists. Reading this in 2020 when many of us are stuck at home with few options for escape, it was certainly a treat for me to follow the adventures of the characters in Alathea: Goddess and Empress across the Coast Empire and through the streets of Port Selumer.

The novel centers on its namesake, Alathea, who is the young heir to the Coast throne. Alathea’s age is vague, she is not a girl although net yet a woman. Alathea is educated in the ways of the world by her sage tutor, Rheb, yet she has much to learn if she seeks to assume control of the throne. Alathea’s father, Emperor Maximian, is an abrasive character who frequently lets his rage get the better of him when dealing with both friend and foe. As the course of events unfolds, Alathea finds herself taking on the responsibilities of the throne and defending her kingdom from enemies at many angles who wish to usurp her power. With the support of Rheb and Einar, a young warrior from a northern clan, Alathea takes on new powers, both earthly and mythical.

With Alathea: Goddess and Empress, Madeley has created a novel that you can hardly put down due to the excitement and action contained within its 300-odd pages. I frequently found myself staying up past my bedtime to finish a chapter to see how Rheb and Alathea triumphed over their challenges, and Madeley does a good job of keeping the plot fresh and surprising. The novel struggled, though, with its main character: Alathea is not particularly likeable, and I frequently found myself feeling annoyed with her actions and her gratuitous self-indulgence. I struggled to relate to her emotions and felt she was a bit too unsympathetic of a character to be a protagonist for whom I would want to cheer. Thankfully, Alathea is surrounded with good people, and Rheb and Einar are strong supporting characters. Rheb was perhaps my favorite character, and I would love to read a novel by Madeley about his development and experiences. His vast knowledge and mysterious aura really appealed to me, and every chapter from his perspective was a delight. Madeley also excels in his descriptions of hand-to-hand combat – these scenes truly blew me away with their detail and expertise!

Alathea: Goddess and Empress is creative and engaging, with several very positive supporting characters. The world that Madeley has created in the Coast empire is one worth exploring and I hope for future installments in this literary world.

Pages: 288 | ASIN: B085LDXDZX

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Literary Titan Book Awards August 2020

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

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

Those Who Watch From Afar by Zack Hacker
The Art of Losing by Nooshin Mohajerin

 

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

 

Qubit’s Incubator

Qubit's Incubator by [Charley Brindley]

A young and bright girl named Catalina Saylor is put to the test in a company called Qubit’s Incubator, in which she’ll have to prove that her idea is a viable solution to problems and can be patented, all within 30 days. She’ll have to navigate the coldness of corporate culture and brutal competition that comes from her new coworkers, the constant gaze of her boss, and the ticking time that seems to consume itself quicker every time she glances at the clock. Qubit’s Incubator tells the tale of a young coder that has been wronged by a loved one and now seeks funding for her new project.

Qubit’s Incubator is a thrilling story, with a quick pace that keeps things moving along even when reading about the technical coding aspects of the story. Charley Brindley uses dialogue and characters to drive the story, with Catalina being a strong protagonist that gets by on her intelligence. Which is a welcome change of pace for strong female protagonists, to show that women can be strong in so many different ways. The coding felt realistic, but not overbearing, and served to give the book a technical flavoring rather than to make you feel out of place. Catalina is a very well-constructed character, with quirks that make the reader feel more connected with her, for example, the fact that she is always carrying her “lucky” charm resonated with me. The incubator was well designed and I enjoyed the eccentric names for the different ranks that existed within the company.

The other characters, or drones as the author calls them, gives a cold corporate feel which was fantastic in its ability to capture that feeling so completely, but it is a feeling you love to hate while reading. While this is how our main character feels at the start of the book, she’ll see that not all of them are like that, she’ll encounter people willing to help her instead of tear her down, and even the ones that seemed rude at the beginning aren’t that bad either. This slow evolution of characters is something I really enjoyed.

There was only one thing that I found odd; at the end of every chapter there is a picture of the character that was just described. The author is good at describing characters and this removes the opportunity for my imagination to fill in the gaps.

Qubit’s Incubator is a thrilling young adult science fiction novel that kept me interested in the protagonist and intrigued by the incubator.

Pages: 124 | ASIN: B088CP4XRV

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Betrayal In Black

Betrayal in Black (A Zachary Blake Legal Thriller Book 4) by [Mark M. Bello]

In a fictional city, a black couple is coming back from a fair when they are mistakenly stopped by a police officer, unfortunately, it ends with a murder. What follows is the complex dichotomy inside the police department, the obstacles that a mother and recent widow has to endure for justice, and the length to which the parties that seek to benefit from this tragedy will go.

A Betrayal in Black by Mark M. Bello is a story that doesn’t shy away from the harsh reality that black people in America face and how they have to adapt in order to survive.

A Betrayal in Black opens up in a lighthearted way and then transitions to a much darker and cruder story. Throughout the story I felt that the author had a clear understanding of law and police affairs.

When it comes to the technical parts of the story, Bello does a great job of immersing the reader into the world of law and order, with details that show the deep knowledge he has over legal prosecutions and police internal affairs. However, while this is immersing, it sometimes gets tedious and almost didactic, for example, when describing what a grand jury is, it almost feels like you are reading a law school book. But this is a minor flaw in an otherwise engaging story. The dialogue was interesting, and could even be funny at times.

A remarkable thing about this book is how it details every single aspect that goes into a case, from the murder itself to the conviction, all throughout detailing the victims grieving and the lawyers seeking justice. A particularly moving chapter is when the wife of the victim is speaking with their mother and they are retelling a story of how racism has evolved in this country, and, as angry as she may be, she can’t show it, because she is a woman of color.

This book was written in 2019, but the murder it describes is all too recent. The different ways black people have to think to present themselves to white people in order to be considered “equals” and not be dismissed as rude, is all too familiar. The themes in this book come at a crucial time, where stories like these are needed to paint a more vivid picture of the struggles minorities face in America. A Betrayal in Black is a must read.

Pages: 272 | ASIN: B0827D7LGX

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Beneath The Surface

Beneath the Surface: Book 1 in the Surface Series by [Alainna MacPherson]

In a world where humans beings are no longer the dominant race and serve the alien M’Nai, one girl begins to notice what others don’t and dares to do what no one has rarely ever tried. She stands up to the race that has enslaved humans and finds that doing the right thing isn’t always the easiest, and change doesn’t always come easily. When you start the book, you are transported into a world that has been overcome with an advanced race of beings that swore to protect humans only to force them to work in mines and live in tents. Though they claim to be protecting humans, our main character Annabeth begins questioning her whole life when she falls for a M’Nai named Kane.

Beneath the Surface is a quick and gripping read that I found to be consistently entertaining. If instant love (or at least immediate feelings) is not something you enjoy reading, this may not be up your alley. If you do enjoy having two characters fall heavily for each other, you will enjoy reading about Kane and Annabeth and their electrifying journey. The story adds a unique twist to the love story and showed real problems that people face when two people (or in Kane’s case, beings) from different backgrounds come together. Not everyone is accepts what happens when two loves decide to pursue their passion. As such, the book will resonate with those who have felt that pain, and it will let others open their eyes to issues they may not have thought about before.

While this steamy dystopian romance felt rushed at times, I did find myself thoroughly engaged with the characters and was surprised at how deeply relationships and characters are explored. The plot, while predictable at times, was enough to keep me engaged throughout, wondering out wild possibilities the way L. Ron Hubbard does in his sci-fi novels. However, Annabeth’s character was my favorite throughout. I enjoyed that she had moments of sass and real courage, which is something I think should be more present in novels today. I was also able to enjoy that Kane genuinely cared for Annabeth and was willing to fight for love, which will resonate with the audience and help them enjoy this enthralling story.

Pages: 279 | ASIN: B087BBR2DQ

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When the Big Bad Comes

T.L. Bailey Author Interview

Eve of Destruction finds Eve transported back to Virginia and must stop Nyx by seeking a weapon that will help in the battle. What were some sources that shaped this novels development?

In Eve of the Hunters book two we find Eve turning her back on her duties and running away. Eve of Destruction she finds herself and the others transported back to Virginia by an unknown force. One of the factors about the book is that evil wins when good people do nothing. She is being forced to confront her fears and her duties. Innocent people are dying and the seals of hell are being opened because she refuses to step up and face Nyx. Another source is a new character that is being introduced in this book. The development of this character shaped the way I was allowed to write the scenes in this book. In fact, the monsters and the way people reacted to them and my characters shaped the novel.

What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer with this book?

One of the challenges was to stay true to the characters at all times and to see from their POV how they would each react in a scene. People react differently so I had to make sure that I made Black act a certain way than Rowan would if they saw a zombie. No two people are going to react to situations the same way so that was the challenge. The monsters were a challenge in making sure they were there for a reason, not just popping them up. They had to be created for a reason. Cause and effect. Even though it is a fantasy novel it still needs to be believable and make sense to the reader. Another challenge was to make sure people believed this was happening in the 1700s. To create scenes when I can’t “see” these places myself is a challenge unto itself. I needed to paint a picture and hope the reader could see the places I created.

What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?

That it doesn’t matter what color we are, what station we are born into, how much money we have… in the end when the big bad comes he won’t care what color we are just that we are to be eradicated. The whole human race.

That you don’t have to be “born” into a family to have people love you and be willing to die for you. That people from diverse backgrounds can come together and forget their differences and end up respecting and caring for one another.

Courage, friendship, love, trust, hope is all the morals in all my characters. This book is about the dark side of humans, but it also about humans at their best and how we can fight back the hordes of hell to save our planet.

Can you tell us more about what’s in store for Eve and the direction of the next book?

Eve of the Battle is the last book of the series and it takes Eve on a journey of self discovery and healing emotionally from what Randall Cambridge did to her. She learns how to be a leader and what it takes to really be a Santorian female. She has a lot still to endure and battles that will be fought with loss and consequences to every decision she makes. The last book is about losing her fear and becoming what she was meant to be… a hero.

Author Links: Facebook | GoodReads | Website

The DEAD are walking…
After being transported back to Virginia by an unseen force, Eve learns that Nyx has opened another seal, and released the Ancient Enemy on mankind. To stop Nyx, they must find the one weapon that will help them in the battle, the Amulet of Kvasir or let humanity face the horrors of the walking dead. But a terrible new enemy has risen to threaten Eve and her friends…an enemy so relentless, so COLD that it will take all their efforts to evade it…or be consumed by its rage.
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