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All Roads Home

All Roads Home: A Collection of Short Stories by [Diaz Meyer, Lisa]

All Roads Home by Lisa Diaz Meyer is a fictional short story collection. Covering several genres, the book is divided into six parts titled The Outposts, The Enduring, The Oddities, The Particulars, The Fragments and The Play Versions. With each section and story being utterly unique, this book really is a mixed bag of offerings. Nowhere is this more obvious than, besides the four sections of short stories all varying greatly in their genre, the collection also consists of a part of poetry and The Play Versions which really are that: five of the stories in the collection written in play format!

The first section of the collection deals with a world that is hard hitting. In the story titled The Safe Room, this links back to the previous short story in its representation of women, cancer, and childbearing. With such stark descriptive passages of the cloning and curing process detailed, this section hits upon the more awkward of subjects that aren’t always spoke about comfortably.

Dealing with religion verse science, this section may be quite an eye-opener, considering its placing at the very start of the collection, but its subject matter does indeed turn the tables making you question just who, if anybody, has such a right at this stage.

The Enduring section starts off with a story which is most certainly that – enduring for its characters. What begins as a heartfelt story of a mother’s struggles quickly turns itself on its head when the story ends. However, nothing physical has changed, her situation remains dire, but she has found peace in her heart and mind and can now approach her situation from a more positive perspective. This story emphasizes Lisa’s ability to change tact and emotion in just a few short pages and sums up the book in its entirety.

All of Lisa’s characters, though only with the reader briefly, are very easy at catching our attention and therefore it’s easy to recognize their plight and see the story from their point of view. That Lisa can create such emotions in her readers through characters that appear fleetingly is a wonderful achievement.

For me, The Enduring was a favorite section. Packed full of emotions, there is one story where the action begins, plays out and ends in a matter of just two short pages! If you’re not too sure whether this selection of stories is for you, I urge you to read The Christmas Break first. Immediately this highlights Lisa’s fluidity in prose as well as her ability to create a fascinating collection of characters, and all within a few short sentences.

With superb powers of observation, a beautiful and haunting writing style on many of the pages, alongside an ability to push topic boundaries (Hitler and Jesus at a dinner party, need I say more!) this is truly a collection you must read for yourself.

If Lisa is this good at creating such an enthralling collection of short stories, I can only imagine what she would be like with a full-length fictional novel!

Pages: 280 | ASIN: B00WVWFL86

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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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Literary Titan Book Awards April 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

Faery Sight (Faerie Legacy Series Book 1) by [Bossano, Patricia]Cradle Gift (Faerie Legacy Series Book 2) by [Bossano, Patricia]

Nahia (Faerie Legacy Series Book 3) by [Bossano, Patricia]Sam's Theory by [Mendivel, Sarah]

Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions by [Graffius, Scott M.]How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure by [Newton, Kaye]

Dare to Be the Change by [Metoyer, Annella]The BreakAway Girl: Secrets of a Tantric Yogi by [Bodeman, Paulette ]

Did I Say Never?: A Stepparent’s Emotional Journey with her Special Needs Son by [Nugent, Kim]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

The Three Lives of One by [Mooney, Lesley]Beyond Sun and Shadows by [Mooney, Lesley J]

Nights Arose by [Roche, Andrea]The Congress of Rough Writers: Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1 (Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology) by [Mills, Charli, Amore, Anthony, Bell, Georgia, Black, Sacha, Colvin, Norah, Fanning, Pete, Ferry, C. Jai, Glaessner, Rebecca, Goodwin, Anne]

Finding Balance and Forgiveness through Chakras and Art by [McCallum, Teresa]

Alterni (The Alt-World Chronicles Book 1) by [Somerville, Sunshine]How We End Up by [Wells, Douglas]

 

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

 

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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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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The Outcasts Book Trailer

Mystical relics.

Powerful vampires.

Strange allies.

It’s hell being a teenager.

Larna Collins has never understood why her dad skipped out on her and her mother when she was twelve years old. Until then, he was a devoted and loving father.

But six years later, during a renovation of her childhood home, she unearths her father’s journal from under a dusty floorboard. According to his final entry before he left, he had recently visited a small parish in England.

The entries draw her to this seemingly quaint village, which Larna discovers isn’t as charming as its blood-craving inhabitants want her to believe, and she learns that she isn’t the only one trying to track her father down.

Could this explain her father’s disappearance? Or was placing her in the center of danger her dad’s master plan all along?

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