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Song of the Sea

Song of the Sea by Meredith Leigh Burton is a charming and engaging story about mermaid princess Aria and her sister Octavia, who live in their beloved ocean home. As daughters of the Sea King, they are responsible for protecting the sea, helping the spirits of the departed, and discussing their potential fiancés, all of which are part of their everyday routine. However, their lives are upended when a mysterious storm threatens the life of human prince Reginald, and Aria risks everything to save him.

Burton’s tale of tolerance and understanding draws inspiration from classic fairy tales, particularly The Little Mermaid, as Aria embarks on a dangerous adventure to uncover the truth and save two kingdoms from destruction. Aria and Reginald’s friendship and alliance are at the heart of this story, and Burton’s use of musical terminology adds depth and richness to the narrative. This novel has many twists and turns, keeping readers hooked as they watch the thrilling plot unfold. Burton manages to keep readers guessing, waiting to discover the fate of the two kingdoms.

Song of the Sea is a compelling and thought-provoking story with a plot that closely follows the storyline of The Little Mermaid. Aside from that similarity, this novel has a new villain and a fresh take on well-known characters, making this story stands out as a unique work. In addition, their book has some mature content, making it better suited for older teens and young adult audiences.

Song of the Sea is a captivating and enjoyable read with an important message of love, harmony, and cultural understanding. It is perfect for readers who enjoy a fresh retelling of classic tales, and its story of diplomacy and friendship offers a new perspective on a familiar theme.

Pages: 132 | ASIN : B0BMM6PY7K

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The Possibility of Everywhere 

Beth Harkins’s, The Possibility of Everywhere, is a must-read for every traveler or for anyone who one-day dreams of traveling. If you’re a seasoned traveler, you’ll find that this book will evoke memories and rekindle a sense of wanderlust. For those who dream of adventurous travel, this book will carry them on their journey to the places of their imagination and destinations they wish to visit.

Cindy Hollingsworth, the protagonist, brings readers on her travel chronicle across various countries, continents, and landscapes, documenting the stories of women along the way. The book is captivating, not just because of its vivid descriptions but the insightful characters within her journey. One of the key themes of this book is the protagonist’s journey to self-discovery and finding acceptance.

Cindy transforms from a self-doubting person who relies on others to build confidence to an empowered woman who embraces her feminine power. This transformation is a remarkable portrayal of personal growth and self-awareness as she gets in touch with the possibilities and capabilities within. The author wrote this book carefully, with each page marking a new chapter or adventure in Cindy’s life.

The Possibility of Everywhere: Casablanca to Oklahoma City, Kathmandu to Timbuktu represents a desire for new experiences and a search for one’s purpose. This book is a statement, or metaphor, for Cindy’s journey, as she experiences a range of emotions from bliss to loss and thrill to uncertainty. It’s an excellent book about those who seek the courage to find themselves and their purpose in life.

ASIN 1639887024 | Pages 318

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Morgan wanted out. After spending her childhood with her abusive mother, alcoholic father, and successful sister, she wanted nothing more than to carve her own path in life as a film director. Likewise, Alayna wished to have a picture-perfect family, even if it meant putting her dreams of singing behind her. Separated by the trauma of their past and brought back together by the death of their mother, these two sisters want nothing more than to move on with their lives. But that’s easier said than done, especially when home means old ghosts are lurking around every corner.

Inspired by the music of Lana Del Rey, author Zachary Ryan tells the compelling story of two sisters trapped by circumstance and family ties as they try to right the wrongs of the past in his newest novel, Ride. The story itself is a beautifully written tale of trauma and healing. As the chapters flip between Alayna’s and Morgan’s perspectives, the reader is welcomed to the full scope of the story and both sides of the sister’s harsh upbringing. In this gripping book, Ryan doesn’t stray away from difficult topics such as suicide and drug abuse but accepts them as a brutal part of life. His willingness to discuss both the good and the bad brings the story to life.

Zachary Ryan tells a narrative that makes it hard not to feel genuine sympathy as you watch the sisters work their way through old ghosts and drudge up long-buried trauma. He writes the story in a way that allows you to bury yourself under the words. With the exception of a few jarring jumps between past and present, this book was a captivating and smooth read, and I found it hard not to put it down.

Ride is a compelling women’s fiction novel about the strained relationship between sisters and the struggle to work through past trauma. Readers will be taken on a journey of self-discovery and reflection as the sisters heal from their upbringing and find a way to move forward in life.

Pages: 341 | ASIN: B0BKYHV2PT

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Just City

This gripping story follows Nathan, a hard-working young man in San Francisco with a dream to become an entrepreneur. He and his friends need $10,000 to enter a competition in order to win a startup opportunity. Nathan’s grandmother, a neuroscientist, presents the young entrepreneurs with the chance to fund their goal by participating in a VR simulation called Just City. This experience snowballs into self-discovery and reflection – contemplating earned success, privilege, and values. Nathen looks for identity reflected through various relationships. Ultimately, he arrives at a place of contentment, knowing that he is being true to himself through love and reason.

Olga Tymofiyeva creates a compelling narrative in Just City, where the main character must walk between two worlds. The ideas explored are complex and meaningful to the character’s growth. The concept of privilege and empathy are timely to society without being devoid of hope.

Nathan begins with a view that lacks humanity but ends with a balanced position capturing the inherent worth of those around him. Nathan’s grandmother acts as a loving sounding board during his paradigm shift, honestly guiding him while respecting his personal exploration. A relatable aspect of this book is the evolution that Nathan’s relationships undergo as he searches to define his worldview.

The narrative feels blocky at first glance but feels more appropriate as you get to know Nathan and his internal dialogue. Nathan approaches everything analytically, and it is reflected in how his thoughts are organized. Nathan is self-centered at first, which might feel slightly off-putting. However, his growth journey is relatable to many who have encountered challenging information. Especially if the world’s cruelty has quieted the child-like compassion in all of us.

Just City is a compelling coming-of-age young adult novel about self-discovery. The journey the protagonist embarks on is relatable to teens, and virtual reality makes the message more relevant in this age of technology. This thought-provoking novel is perfect for young adults and teenagers who may question how the world is changing and what they can do to improve things.

Pages: 147 | ASIN : B0BLJ3X1QZ

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Pink Clouds

Pink Clouds reads like a train of thoughts, jumping between memories in the author’s life. It is secretive and intriguing, forcing readers to think for themselves and fill in the gaps. The author, Janis Kingsley, describes Pink Clouds as unique, memorable moments. She fondly recalls her time in Barcelona and her love for rock music concerts. Then there is the ‘sour lemonade’ when you doubt you’ll ever see the pink clouds again. Janis emotionally depicts struggling with her weight, supporting her son with an addiction, and maintaining a relationship with her father. Some chapters are stories, and others are filled with thoughts about life.

Pink Clouds is emotionally raw and honest and leaves the reader in a reflective state, wondering what could have happened between the lines and beyond the cliffhangers. Janis Kingsley has a great style of writing. She writes in a way that is not flashy or trying to impress, almost as if she is writing for herself rather than the reader. This makes her reflections seem even more authentic as if the reader is delving into her inner thoughts.

Admittedly, I did not understand every chapter and was left with so many unanswered questions, but this made the book all the more interesting. Janis Kingsley writes directly about issues like self-hatred, guilt, and insecurities. I’m sure that every reader can resonate with some part of her experiences or thoughts. She begins by talking about how we never see the dark sides of each other, only the happy exterior, and then proceeds to explore some of her darkest memories. This is the first of many extraordinary contrasts within the book.

I highly recommend Pink Clouds to anyone who enjoys short stories and food for thought. The book will leave you reflecting on life and the mental battles that we all face, whether you’re a teenager recovering from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic or a wife trapped in a dead-end marriage. Pink Clouds is a book that everyone can take something away from. Not only can we learn from sharing our experiences, but it is also highly comforting to know that we are not alone. This is a book that will stick in your mind long after finishing the book, if not luring you back in to reread and rethink. I will certainly be looking for more of Janis Kingsley’s writing.

Pages: 16 | ASIN : B0BG3HYC6H

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Pythia in the Basement

Maybe you’ve thought that existence is a weird thing. The fact that you’re born, you grow, and you observe until one day, time runs out – and if you enjoy contemplating the meaning of life but want to bypass the delicateness of offending the layman, then this thought-provoking book is for you.

One of the chapters in this book summarizes Marron’s work perfectly: peculiar. A refreshing piece that will smack you in the face and make you laugh, Marron has embodied the absurdist fiction genre perfectly as we follow the experiences of character leads, Colin and Roger.

The author has created authentic characters that were enjoyable to follow while avoiding the sugar-coated hero cliche. Colin is abrasive. His flaws were openly stated and visually displayed throughout the book; through workplace affairs or openly stating that he possesses hedonistic tendencies, yet his character supports BLM and hates being late. The confluence of these ideas made his character very intriguing. I really enjoyed how this character comes together. Roger on the other hand is a polymath dubbed both a bullshit artist and poet. I loved the passion embedded into him and felt he was the perfect storm of knowledge, chaos and questioning the system. Together the two juxtaposed conspiracy theories of all sorts.

A special commendation must be made to the short chapters, its hook was executed brilliantly. The writing style was punchy, shocking and prevented the reader from being able to form an opinion about the characters too quickly. It enhanced the matter-of-fact tone that intelligently explores philosophical themes in a no-nonsense fashion, all whilst set in a world with little care about the purpose of existence. Each chapter was loaded with dialogue and insights into topics like Sharia law, drugs and human sacrifice. While providing plenty of entertaining and food for thought the story ends just as quickly as it takes off.

Pythia in the Basement is a fascinating story with compelling characters and sharp satire that explores some provocative and intriguing ideas.

Pages: 237 | ASIN : B0BKDF7B4S

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Author Andrew Toth’s Inbred! is a meandering tale about a salesman who is trying to figure out his path. While the locals make only a few brief appearances in the novel, most of the story explores Tom Paxton’s dive into Buddhism and his general unhappiness with his life.

As a failed farmer and husband, Tom wanders through the local “inbred” town of Woolen, getting into drunken bar fights. Finally, he leaves that life to become a traveling salesman, who’s apparently good at his job while exhibiting few redeeming qualities. Unhappy, he turns to Buddhism and joins a temple on the outskirts of the same “inbred” town from his farming days. Tension builds as he trains himself for the inevitable confrontation between the monks and the locals.

Toth has a smooth and easy-to-read style. Most of the story takes place from the point of view of Tom. Depending on the circumstances, the main character’s tone shifts from worldly to over-confident to self-loathing. Side characters earn his respect or contempt depending upon their mood. We see him struggle. We see him succeed. We also see him as a mentor in sales and a student of Buddhism. The problem is that Tom isn’t very likable. He doesn’t even seem to like himself through much of the story.

Inbred!, at times, is reminiscent of action movies of the 80s and 90s. The action scenes harken back to old country fighting movies like Road House or Walking Tall. The story maintains orbit around a sales competition and the events at the temple. Where Toth shines is in his attention to detail. His narrative picks up on the smallest details, so readers have a strong visual of the situation in front of them. His ability to bring dialog to life in a manner that is realistic and believable.

INBRED!: Welcome to Woolen. Population 2500 inbreds is a story about a man trying to find his way in life, working with a mediocre hand that fate has dealt him, and the author makes readers want to hear this profound story. Readers will find the unexpected in this suspenseful character-driven novel.

Pages: 205 | ASIN : B0089ME214

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Fits Her to a T

Maher has always known something was different about his mind and his body. Living what amounts to a lie, Maher begins to understand what it is his mind is trying to tell him, and he seeks help to sort out his life. Making the necessary changes to live a happy life won’t be the difficult part. The truly hard part will be telling his family, friends, and coworkers. Maher, wanting very much to move forward and leave the trauma of his past behind, becomes Zoë and a new life begins.

Fits Her to a T, by Alice Xavanéro, chronicles the life of Zoë van Vixenhoven, a transgender woman in the process of leaving behind the life she has always known as a son and brother. The feelings she has battled since early in her life have haunted her and made for a troubled existence. Once she decides to pursue transitioning, there is no turning back even though the obstacles in her way feel almost insurmountable.

Xavanéro has chosen to tell Zoë’s story primarily through diary entries. The diary entries are thorough and read much less like a journal and more like a first-person narrative. I especially enjoyed the author’s choice of writing style. The reading flows smoothly and creates a connection between readers and characters. Readers are taken on a journey through Zoë’s experiences leading up to her decision to seek counseling in preparation to make this life-altering change. The author’s ability to draw readers in via Zoë’s journal is unique and, honestly, an incredibly effective technique I appreciated immensely.

The author’s knowledge of medical terminology, processes, and counseling procedures and advice are all especially thorough. She leaves no stone unturned and allows readers to see the entire experience of transitioning from informing family members and making the necessary changes in the work environment to hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery. It is clear that Xavanéro wants her readers to understand the struggle from making the decision to dealing with consequences along the way. She does not shy away from difficult topics like hate crimes and estrangement of family, friends, and coworkers. This is just one aspect of Xavanéro’s writing that I truly appreciated. The author’s willingness to be frank and open with Zoë’s entire experience is impactful on many levels.

I am giving Fits Her to a T, by Alice Xavanéro, 5 out of 5 stars. Xavanéro’s story is an important one and in no way tries to make light of the decision-making process transgender women must face as they choose to be themselves. Though very different from most books I usually choose, I found Xavanéro’s work to be one well-worth reading. Zoë’s story is captivating, and I found myself completely wrapped up in her experiences. I recommend this book to anyone who finds themselves questioning the experiences of loved ones who may be transgender. The author, as she reveals in the book’s afterword, knows whereof she speaks–her novel reveals a truth most of us will only come to understand if we take the time to listen to those who are living it.

Pages: 434 | ISBN : 9798402791947

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