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The Cursed Girl

The cursed girl by [Vermisoglou, Maria]

Eva, a sixteen-year-old witch, lives with her mother and friend Ritta in 13th century Spain. Eva is a renowned healer who wishes to live a simple life among human peasants. One day she meets a boy named Johnathan who is more than he appears to be. Together with her friend Alec, and her faithful familiar Midnight, the trio travel across medieval Europe to help save the human world from war and the powers of darkness that threaten to engulf them all. Along the way Eva and her friends discover that friendship and love are a powerful type of magic that may help awaken the ultimate power lying dormant inside of Eva.

The Cursed Child by Maria Vermisoglou has everything a young adult fantasy reader could wish for. Supernatural creatures, handsome young men, and a feisty heroine who seems to always find herself in the middle of a major catastrophe – a catastrophe only she can solve. While all the ingredients are there for a delightful supernatural adventure, although sometimes predictable.

The story begins with our heroine, Eva, explaining to us that she is a witch and that witches live for hundreds of years and protect humanity from demons and other dark forces from taking over the earth. Eva has a best friend Ritta who is also a witch and lives with her and her mother in a humble house in the village. One day Eva runs into Johnathan, a handsome boy who asks her to attend the royal ball. Eva agrees begrudgingly and thus begins an adventure across 13th century Europe. Without giving away too much of the plot, Johnathan turns out to be the heir to the throne of Spain, but his ascension to the throne is far from guaranteed. Johnathan’s father and uncle have both been warped by their privilege (and in Johnathan’s father’s case – an actual demon) and end up turning on their own son/nephew to try and take the throne from him. Luckily, Johnathan and his best friend Alec, are interested in being better rulers than their relatives and accompany Eva as she magically wisks them around Europe trying to escape civil war and evil demons.

While Vermisoglou’s main trio, Eva, Alec and Johnathan, are a captivating and entertaining bunch, I wanted more unexpected twists to be thrown at the group to see them continue to develop and make them truly engrossing. Eva and Alec are best friends but nothing more. Eva continually berates Johnathan for being stupid but seems to very quickly and neatly change her opinion as things wrap up at the end of the novel. Perhaps one of the most enjoyable aspects of the book however is the great descriptive flair of the author. The fabulous ball gowns and wedding dresses are described in specific detail that leave enough room for the reader’s imagination to make them come alive.

All in all, The Cursed Child contains enough magic, political intrigue and heartwarming moments to keep its young adult audience enthralled until the last page.

Pages: 574 | ASIN: B07BV423FK

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Literary Titan Book Awards May 2018

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

Don't Call Me Chip by [O'Donnell, Neil]A Game of Life by [Musewald, Anna]Descendent Darkness: Book Three: Redemption by [Macready, A.J.]

Stillness of Time (Seeker of Time Book 2) by [Buckler, J.M.]Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries by [Anastasiou, Mel]My Name is Nelson: Pretty Much the Best Novel Ever by [Fairchild, Dylan]

Returning Souls by [Colombo, Ernestine B.]Traits and Emotions of a Salvageable Soul: A Conversation with a Touch of Class: Volume 1 by [Crawford, Keeshawn C.]The Ancient Sacred Tree: Birthing a Hero by [Brenner, Dawnette N.]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

Masks by [Restokian, Nataly]Beyond the Code by [Barthel, Kelsey Rae]

YEGman by [Lavery, Konn]The Ice Factory by [Phillips, Jason Roger]

In Darkness, There is Still Light (Wheeler Book 2) by [Zalesky, Sara Butler]Lessons from a Difficult Person: How to Deal with People Like Us by [Elliston M.A.T, Sarah H.]

Fire in the Heart by [Mooney, Lesley J]

The Ghetto Blues by [Brooks, Tammy Campbell ]Man with the Sand Dollar Face by [CassanoLochman, Sharon]

 

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

 

 

Seeker of Time Book Trailer

Elara Dunlin never imagined how much her life would change after moving across the country at the start of her senior year of high school. Who is the mysterious man with the deep blue eyes that follows her everywhere she goes? Strange events begin to unfold, causing Elara to question her own reality. The predictable and simple life she has always known dramatically changes on one cold, fateful night…the night when the elusive blue-eyed man finally approaches her directly and shares information that completely turns her world upside down. Eventually, Elara realizes that she has to tell her only friend, Cyrus, the truth about the mysterious visitor. Will he believe any of it? The elusive man continues to reveal dark secrets about her troubled past, adding a new dimension to their growing relationship. Is she willing to place all of her trust in this one person who pushes her physically and emotionally farther than she ever thought possible? He had warned Elara that her life would change forever, but does she have the courage to move forward?

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The Ancient Sacred Tree: Birthing a Hero

The Ancient Sacred Tree: Birthing a Hero by [Brenner, Dawnette N.]

The Ancient Sacred Tree: Birth of a Hero by author Dawnette N. Brenner is about a 12-year-old boy named Joshua who finds himself thrust into a magical land full of danger.

This book made me really emotional. Not only does the book cover a tough but important topic, how kids deal with divorce, but the quotes from anonymous children talking about divorce were heartbreaking. It really is important to remember that kids can be affected in different ways and often see more than people think, and like Joshua, often feel guilt. And on top of that, the book is also dealing with mental illness as Joshua is a pre-teen dealing with bipolar disorder. Having a book that deals with subjects like this is very important, and I feel that Brenner handled the subjects really well. This is the kind of book that readers can definitely connect to, both in how you deal with struggles and watching the struggles of others.

Brenner has done a fantastic job of entering into the mind of a child. The imaginative world that Joshua finds himself in is a great representation of the kind of imaginary places children make up to escape to. I loved how the land of Ice Plants and Norkels has not just a dreamlike quality but really captures how imaginary worlds are distorted versions of what we see and know. Things like Thragons that seem close to familiar but are a magic of their own. The imagery she uses really brings the fantastical world to life. The back and forth switch from the magical realm to the real world is disorienting, but it is clear that this was intentional as we watch Joshua dealing with the world around him.

Joshua is an incredible character who is dealing with a great deal both internally and externally. This book is a magical way of showing and handling tough subjects for your adult readers. I found this book to be enchanting to read, even when it made me want to cry, and I would highly recommend it. I would definitely give this book 5 stars for its unique creativity, and the extraordinary way it deals with its subject matter. I look forward to reading book two!

Pages: 186 | ASIN: B074PK4GHW

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A Game of Life

A Game of Life by [Musewald, Anna]

After a serious car crash, Stefan comes round from a coma with a case of amnesia. Eva, his younger sister, is the only one who can see that Stefan is not really Stefan at all…When a strange letter arrives, written in gothic handwriting and addressed to Stefan, saying there has been a terrible mistake and signed by a mysterious ‘Hyacinthe’, the puzzle starts to unravel. Along with Eva, Stefan’s friends, Kim, Thomas, Harry, and Andrew must try to solve the mystery but to do that they will have to take part in a dangerous race, called The Game of Life.

Anna Musewald’s A Game of Life is a YA fantasy and mystery novel which draws you in from the first page. The prose is so easy to read; it is witty and enchanting and feels perfect for a YA audience. In spite of the simplicity of the language, it doesn’t feel at all patronising or one-dimensional. The ‘game’ from the title is quite complex, with lots of imaginative systems and challenging tasks set for the players which really immerses the reader in the experience. I loved the inclusion of Greek myth, such as Apollo and the Sirens, woven through the narrative. The plot is in the vein of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire which could make it seem derivative, but with an original and inventive spin, it manages to feel fresh and exciting. Meaningful themes of friendship, loyalty and bravery flesh out the fun storyline.

The pacing is excellent; I was instantly engrossed by the opening chapter and the book never let me go! We are drawn in by the question of what has happened to Stefan and led through a number of rabbit holes and strange happenings. The revelation isn’t made until the end which kept me greedily turning the pages, and there are also plenty of action scenes to keep the reader hooked until the final page.

I had total belief in the characters, who all have distinctive personalities, and I loved the way that the friendships and rivalries are portrayed, showing the tangled and complex nature of relationships. The relationship between Stefan and Eva is particularly poignant and depicts the protective and intuitive nature of sibling relationships. The dialogue is funny and clever, and the conversation seems very authentic for a group of young people.

One of the aspects that I enjoyed the most was the setting of Parsi and the fully formed ‘underground’ city created by the author which is full of fantastical and magical detail. Musewald excels at writing surroundings and conjures up place in a beguiling and descriptive way so that the reader feels as though they are on the journey with the characters.

This is a great addition to the young fiction genre, full of twists and turns, mystery and suspense; I enjoyed the journey immensely. I gobbled it up in one go, and I can’t wait for another riveting story from Anna Musewald.

Pages: 202 | ASIN: B01M0ZBKXP

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Echoes in the Streets Book Trailer

For talented twenty-year-old Remi, home is an abandoned hotel in San Diego. A foster child with a tragic past, her family has become the two boys she looks after like a mother: six-year-old Benny, who’s diabetic and in a wheelchair, and young teen Owen, an emotionally scarred foster-home runaway. The only adult around is Brock, an Irish army vet with PTSD who lives in the hotel lobby and is their protector.

Remi works in a diner by day, but sings on street corners and attracts the attention of Jude, a young music producer with his own troubled past. Mesmerized by her voice, he offers her a contract. Remi seems close to achieving her dream of opening a music academy for youth and keeping her little family together. But in this seedy, dangerous world where gang members rule the streets, nothing can stay the same for long.

Jane C. Brady’s latest novel is a bittersweet tale of what it means to be young, powerless, and want more out of life.

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Cradle Gift

Cradle Gift (Faerie Legacy Series Book 2) by [Bossano, Patricia]

Cradle Gift is the second book in the Faery Legacy series written by author, Patricia Bossano. In this sequel to Faery Sight, young Maité begins to discover the origins of her gift of foresight and the true meanings behind her ability to willfully move in and out of the dreams of others. Maité finds herself an orphan at the age of sixteen, and she is uprooted when the grandfather she never knew existed calls for her to move to Spain and begin a new life with him. Further complicating matters for Maité, his grandfather’s girlfriend, Eva, is hellbent on acquiring the estate that is, by all rights, Maité’s birthright.

Having read Faery Sight, I was anxious to find out how Bossano carries on the legend of Celeste and Etienne. I was not disappointed. Bringing their lineage right into the 21st century, the author has crafted another beautiful fantasy story filled with images of faeries, the same stunning wooded area, and new characters equally as rich as those in the series’s first book. Maité and her friend Emily have a close friendship rivaling sisterhood and provide plenty of lighthearted moments as they deal with some very serious issues plaguing Maité’s looming adulthood.

Bossano has created a unique character in Plinio. The newness of her situation in Spain and the daunting appearance of the mansion in which she must now live makes for a skittish Maité. Plinio’s awkwardness, his demeanor, and his rather disturbing appearance stir fear in her heart. With the addition Plinio’s character, the author has added another layer of mystery to an already suspenseful tale.

I am one of those readers who tries far too hard in making predictions as I read and must admit I guessed everything but the correct answer regarding the mystifying whispers Maité hears as she makes her way to Spain and inhabits the home of her grandfather. Once the answer was revealed, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised and then saddened. I won’t give away too much; I will only say that the story behind the character responsible for the ominous communications is a tragic one. The fact that his feelings span centuries is heartbreaking. Bossano successfully weaves book one into this installment with the inclusion of this character.

I recommend Cradle Gift to any reader who enjoys the fantasy genre but requires a little romance woven into the plot. Both Book One and Book Two are exceptional choices for teen fans of the fantasy genre. It is worth noting that Cradle Gift feels more geared toward teen readers than Faery Sight and the two need to be read in order to fully understand and appreciate the connections between the two.

Bossano, again, keeps readers invested and draws them from one chapter quickly into the next with her rich characters, striking descriptions of the faery realm, and the conflicts between the human and faery elements. Maité and the new additions in Book Two are equally as memorable as those introduced in Bossano’s first book in the series.

Pages: 291 | ASIN: B0767K2JK2

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High School Life is a Tornado

S.L. Mauldin Author Interview

S.L. Mauldin Author Interview

Life Sliding follows Gavin, the popular kid in school, as he is sent to camp Lift Me Up to help special needs children. What served as your inspiration while you were writing this book?

Like myself, lots of teenagers experience alienation in their high school life, which is a challenging time of self discovery while navigating one’s way to adulthood. My inspiration is those in the trenches now and those who survived those years. Within the walls of education, there is so much more learning going on than just algebra. At times, high school life is a tornado. I believe most adults have forgotten what was at times, a nightmare. Trying to understand my experience as an outsider, I explored the story from the popular kid’s prospective, peeling back the layers to discover who he is underneath his vamped up exterior. Much later after my school years, I became friends with someone who was in the “in crowd” at my school. I discovered this person was not who I had imagined they were. As we find with Gavin, one never really knows what’s going on inside someone, the real person. How do people end up where they are positioned on the social ladder? Jacob expresses his thoughts on the matter to Gavin in a deep conversation at camp; Jacob understands.

What I found most interesting about Gavin was the slow emotional change he undergoes throughout the novel. What were some morals you wanted to capture while writing his character?

We live in a society that is highly judgmental and most are quick to come to a conclusion about someone without ever getting to know them. You can’t judge a book by its cover and you will certainly fall short trying to make a summation of someone by their looks, they way they dress or zip code they come from. If anything, we need more understanding.

Was there anything from your own life, in high school, that you put into this novel?

I was an outsider who experienced some of the issues mentioned in the story and simply observed others going through their own trials. Between algebra and biology, it’s all there – self-harm, bullying, relationships, sexuality, eating disorders, angst and so on, but mostly life happening.

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

My ya novel Always Here was just released in September 2017. I have an adult fiction novel tentatively titled Kudzu, which is in editing with no set release date and I am writing a New Adult novel titled Somebody Else.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebook | Website

Life Sliding by [Mauldin, S.L.]

As Gavin’s junior year comes to a close, he faces an inner conflict with his status as the most popular kid in high school. It’s not lost on his father, who sensed for some time that his overly indulged son needs redirection. Making matters worse for Gavin, his dad sends him away for the summer to assist at a camp for children with special needs.

Arriving at camp Life Me Up, Gavin is suddenly forced to dabble in a world less familiar. After his first uncomfortable encounter with a strange girl with multi-colored fingernails, who refuses to waiver his arrogant behavior, Gavin comes face to face with a person from the past, which leaves him uneasy.

Inevitably, three people clash and collide, but when tragedy strikes, they come to an understanding regarding their differences. Becoming a young adult, Gavin faces a summer of harsh lessons in reality. Once he crosses the bridge from a self-inflicted prison to the road to freedom, Gavin and his new friends implement a strategy to stir up the social order when they return to school in the fall.

Because of one jaded person jumping to conclusions, the plan backfires. Will they be able to survive the fallout of what they’ve put into motion?

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Faery Sight

Faery Sight (Faerie Legacy Series Book 1) by [Bossano, Patricia]

Faery Sight (Faery Legacy Book 1), by Patricia Bossano, chronicles the life of Celeste and the tragedy surrounding her birth. Celeste is a young woman raised among the faeries believing one story about her birth and life when another entirely different story exists as the truth. When Celeste’s mother, Paloma, becomes ill and dies in the faery realm, her eyes are opened for the first time to the possibility of a life away from her faery family. Celeste’s kinship with Nahia and her discovery of her love for Etienne, a human destined to marry another woman, permeate this story rich in details and laden with beauty.

Patricia Bossano has created a stunningly gorgeous fantasy in Faery Sight. From the language Bossano chooses to use to the exquisite descriptions she fashions, this book is pure joy for any lover of fantasy stories. The intermingling of the human and faery world is truly fascinating. Bossano takes readers on a magical journey like no other as she describes moon dancers, the solstice celebration, and the lighting of Moon Dancer Lake with twinkling and magical lights. It is easy to become quickly absorbed in the fascinating faery realm shaped by Bossano.

The most memorable aspect of Faery Sight is the relationship between Nahia and Celeste. Headstrong and stubborn, one faery and one human, the two behave as lifelong best friends and sisters. Between the two lie jealousies, joys, and jarring realities. From Nahia and Celeste’s first incident of misbehavior, readers become caught up in the girls’ adventures.

Etienne, an admirable character from his first appearance, is the perfect match for Celeste. Theirs is a love at first sight. Bossano does a wonderful job of describing Etienne’s shock and awe at his first encounter with the legendary faery realm. He, like the reader, believes himself to be dreaming. His immediate obsession with Celeste is loving and enviable.

Without giving any of the plot twist away, I will say this about Celeste’s mother, Paloma. The story of Celeste’s birth–the true story–is engrossing and, in many ways, bewitching. Paloma is one of those classic characters known for her sacrifice and her sweet and engaging nature. She is loved by all who know her, including the faeries. Though her passing is tragic, her spirit is apparent throughout the book and the events that ensue with Etienne’s upcoming nuptials.

Readers who seek action in their fantasies will not be disappointed. The closer the wedding of Etienne and Berezi draws, the more fervent the action in the Realm of the Faery. The plans to thwart the marriage of Etienne and Berezi, the woman he has no intentions of marrying, are elaborate and involve both the faeries and their human cohorts. As their plans become reality, the action reaches a peak at the wedding having far reaching consequences for all involved.

I didn’t expect to become immersed in Celeste’s life among the faeries, but I certainly did. Bossano’s writing is captivating and full of faery “glamour.”

Pages: 339 | ASIN: B0767F9NDZ

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Seeker of Time

Seeker of Time by [Buckler, J.M., Buckler, J.M.]

What begins as a typical young adult novel evolves into a fantastical adventure. Seeker of Time by J.M. Buckler presents us with a protagonist most young people can relate to: Elara feels isolated, like she doesn’t fit in. Not only with her high school classmates but also with her family. Never feeling like she truly fit in, she comes across another student, Cyrus, who has been nothing but kind to her. But there is more to their relationship than Elara and Cyrus are prepared to understand. They aren’t just classmates; they aren’t just your typical high school students. No, these two have an even greater destiny waiting for them than what an average person will experience.

Buckler does very well with her world building. At first, the book feels like a coming-of-age story where Elara will find a way to fit in with those around her. The prologue should have been a dead giveaway for this, but the chapters that follow don’t dive into the fantasy aspects of the tale until much farther into the book. Buckler takes her time developing her characters and building the world that the readers are going to get drawn deeper and deeper into.

The dynamic and difference between the two protagonists Elara and Cyrus is necessary not only for the current story line, but for any potential future books. They are similar and yet opposite enough that when Buckler goes on to explain the extraordinary circumstances to their existence, it makes sense. If they were too similar or too opposite it would have ruined the balance that is necessary for these characters further on in this world. This is not easy to do, and it is laudable that Buckler is able to accomplish this.

There are some formatting, spelling and punctuation issues that detract from the story at times. These can be solved by a good editor or by spending more time on the editing process. By no means do these errors detract from the story itself, but they are disruptive when they occur. Another downfall to this book is the pacing. If readers are looking for a strong fantasy element, you will not find it right away in this book. But if you have the patience to wait it out, you will be rewarded.

Seeker of Time by J.M. Buckler is a fantastic entry into a well-developed fantasy world. While the pacing can be a bit slow at times, the payoff is a well-constructed world with a rich history. Descriptions and characters make sense: the way protagonists Elara and Cyrus react to the truth about their lives is refreshing. The reality of the experience is sure to help readers identify with the characters on a personal and emotional level. Buckler sticks to parameters she has outlined for herself in how this book and this world is going to develop. The ending leaves just enough intrigue that a second installment, or more, in this series would be welcomed.

Pages: 330 | ASIN: B075MNZ7TB

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