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Vandella by M. Ch. Landa is an interesting book about a girl facing certain death after a cancer diagnosis. When she’s presented with an opportunity to trade her cancer-ridden life for her grandmother’s soul, she embarks on a supernatural journey through the world of the undead. However, once she begins this new path, many obstacles lie ahead, and unexpected encounters with famous personalities and people from her life have passed onto the afterlife.

I enjoyed the worldbuilding and landscapes created by the author, which are expansive and innovative. While the concept of this tale is common, the author explores it with new twists and intriguing characters. While I found the theme a bit simplistic at times, it’s a refreshing, gentle read that explores human connection and the will to survive. When Maia discovers her cancer, previously in remission, returns, she must decide whether to face her illness or take another journey that will plunge her into a world of mystery and the unknown.

As the reader delves into this new world, Maia discovers there are many obstacles to explore, from a train that takes passengers into the sky to a vibrant ballroom and an abandoned, haunted country residence. It’s a tale that ignites a sense of survival and a quest for another chance. As Maia is faced with saving a close relative, only to risk her own life in the process.

The author creates great character development who must face difficult situations while questioning the value of their existence. For example, Maia must decide if Sidney is in love with her or whether there is hope for them. I enjoyed the overall story and Landa’s take on a unique romance story while tackling themes of uncertainties in life and mortality.

Vandella by M. Ch. Landa is a teen and young adult magical realism novel. There are themes of dark fantasy and some romance throughout the original writing style and enjoyable storyline.

Pages: 303 | ASIN: B09GK557PF

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Juliet was Wrong

Juliet was Wrong is a young adult coming-of-age novel written by Lindsey Carver. The story revolves around a high school graduate, Katie, who is searching to find herself before college. She’s been counting the days to leave for college since she was a child, but in the last summer before college, she meets Joshua Parker and instantly finds herself falling for him. The intended English major student who had her whole future planned and the path paved realizes how much she missed in her teenage years simply because she was stuck in her books. Josh unintentionally turns Katie’s entire life upside down as the girl starts to doubt her goals and ambitions after spending an incredibly adventurous summer with him. However, in an unexpected turn of events, she is faced with the question of whether her favorite poet Shakespeare was wrong in the play Romeo and Juliet about risking everything for love.

Lindsey Carver’s debut novel is a nostalgic and emotional one. Set in the town of New Jersey, the author has written a beautiful and dreamy story about young love. This book perfectly portrays the simplicity and intensity of first love. However, the story also contains an essential lesson: just because you fall in love at a young age doesn’t mean you can’t grow and find yourself alongside it.

Carver has created unforgettable characters, especially Katie, who is strong-headed, ambitious, and isn’t afraid to stand up for herself. The ending was heartbreaking and unpredictable, yet extremely realistic. The use of Shakespeare’s references throughout the book did justice to the title. Young readers will relate to this book as the question of the future rises in their minds. Carver has beautifully shown that growing up doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to achieve your dreams; it can also mean that you need to chase new ones.

The bittersweet mix of love, family, friendship, and self-awareness made it impossible to put this book down. Juliet was Wrong is a glorious and touching read and the kind of book that I can read over and over again.

Pages: 233 | ASIN : B097SR2PXG

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Voiceless: A Mermaid’s Tale

Like all merfolk, sixteen-year-old Moriah suffers the consequences of a curse bestowed by goddess Gaea. Living in a crumbling Zoara-Bela with little hope for the future, Moriah sprouts legs to observe the human realm. She encounters handsome, dark-eyed Michael Adams. Moriah feels connected to Michael and is happier than ever with him. However, when Michael intercedes in a domestic dispute, he is thrown into the ocean. Moriah dives after him and saves his life with a healing song. Yet, as she retreats into the ocean, there is a yearning in her heart. How can they possibly be together when their two worlds are so irrevocably different?

Voiceless by Anna Finch contains some imaginative scenes in this riveting fantasy novel. For example, I adored the scene in chapter five when Moriah explored the human world and asked people questions about everyday objects. Moriah’s excitement and charming naivete about everything is incredibly engaging and fun for the reader. However, this captivating exploration also helps to develop the distinction between humans and merfolk. I found this contrast incredibly important because it adds to Moriah’s sense of desperation as she tries to come to a solution.

This is a creative young adult fantasy novel, but I felt like much of the story is told to readers rather than shown. The prologue provides a lot of helpful information in this way. It provides the reader with basic information that’s necessary to understand the plot without descriptive and figurative language or dialogue.

The romance between Moriah and Michael is compelling and emotional. After Moriah returns to the sea, I was left wanting to see more of Michael as I thought his character was intriguing. As Moriah works with the sea witch, we move on from her romantic motivations and discover more depth to her character and the story that I think readers will find absorbing.

Voiceless: A Mermaid’s Tale is an enchanting coming-of-age young adult fantasy novel that has a sprightly protagonist and a fun storyline that fans of teen romance will find fresh and entertaining.

Pages: 326 | ASIN: B08HWZ4YJG

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The Great Storm

Anna J Walner Author Interview

Saltwater and Driftwood is a thrilling historical novel that recounts the day that mother nature brought an island to the floor of Gulf. What inspired you to write this story?

I’ve always had a deep fascination with The Great Storm, living in the Houston area, we are constantly experiencing mother nature in some form. But I always kept coming back to this storm, wondering what it must have been like, how they must have felt that day and the days afterward. How the storm itself reshaped an Island, restructured the financial landscape of a state, and brought about the most ambitious engineering marvel that still exists to this day: The Galveston Seawall.

Clara is an intriguing character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

I wanted to bring a sense of helplessness to her idyllic world, a kind of helplessness that anyone who has been through a hurricane, or a tornado, or flood has felt. That overwhelming fear of not knowing what might happen next, how bad things may become. I wanted to show her strength and her sensitivity, her bond with her sister, and her desire to marry for love instead of security. I think that her fire is what makes her who she is, and ultimately helps her to survive and thrive even after the worst natural disaster on US soil.

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

How, in the face of tragedy, people continue to band together, regardless of status, money, or power, to help each other in these times of need. We see it again and again in Texas, especially when storms collide with the coast. Other states come to help, ordinary people become heroes to others, bringing out boats and rescuing neighbors. No matter what we have faced in the past, what loss we endure, we overcome and rise up. We always will.

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

I am, in fact, taking a break. Working on a few things at the moment, but nothing steadfast. When I am, I will let you know!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

The tragic story of The Great Storm in Galveston, Texas in 1900 comes to life once more.

The year is 1900, Galveston flourishes in the Gilded Age. It hails as the pride of Texas exports.
On the morning of September 8th, 1900, the hopes and dreams of Galvestonians will come to a tragic halt. In a time before storms were named, The Great Storm of Galveston, Texas has all but become a legend.

Through the eyes of Clara and the Gladys family, the past comes alive with love and hope, sorrow and tragedy. A historical novel that encompasses the scope of the storm, and the people affected by it.

A chilling re-telling of the day when mother nature would bring an island to the floor of the Gulf waters. A triumph of human spirit, and a testament to the great people who rose up amidst tragedy to rebuild against all odds.

Saltwater and Driftwood

Saltwater and Driftwood by Anna Walner is an engrossing and unforgettable historical fiction novel. We follow a young girl named Andrea as she is cleaning out her grandmother Clara’s items and stumbles upon her journal she has written as a teen. As Andrea reads Clara’s journal, we learn of the tragedy she endured and surviving The Great Galveston Hurricane.

Author Anna Walner has written a powerful and gripping tale of the terrible event that happened to Clara and her family. The author expertly jumps from Andrea’s perspective and then to Clara’s perspective without confusing the reader. I enjoyed that the author built up Clara’s story allowing us to connect with her and to understand her life before the hurricane hit.

Once the reader is deeply invested in Clara’s character, tragedy strikes, making it hard to put the book down. I was taken on an emotional journey alongside Clara and the losses she faced due to this unforeseen natural disaster. The author does a great job of allowing the reader to feel what Clara is feeling. You feel hopeless because there is nothing Clara can do, and you also feel sympathy and heartache for her as she grieves over the loss of her town and people.

Walner paints a vivid picture of the scenes down to the smell of the saltwater and describes the emotions the townspeople felt in the aftermath of the hurricane, making this a terrifyingly real read. However, this story is not all melancholy, as there are joyful moments that Clara experiences when she falls in love.

Saltwater and Driftwood is a brilliantly written historical novel that will appeal to history buffs and those who enjoy romance and triumph over natural disasters. I highly recommend this book as you will not want to put it down until the end.

Pages: 236 | ISBN : 1088032591

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The Revelations of August Barton

The Revelations of August Barton by [Jennifer LeBlanc]

The Revelations of August Barton is a contemporary romance novel by Jennifer LeBlanc. A coming of age story which is a sequel to Tribulations of August Barton. This young adult book is a continuation of the life of August Barton and his love Rose. August is faced with many difficult challenges throughout the story that throw into question his and Rose’s ability to be together. This is a drama filled story with family secrets, confessions, drunken bachelorette parties and layers of family problems that all hit August Barton like a tornado. Will he be able to overcome them?

What I like most about The Revelations of August Barton is that it’s not a cliché teen love story, although it may seem like it at first. Jennifer LeBlanc is able to make the story relatable and believable and because of this I found the story to be immensely engaging. The Revelations of August Barton is full of weighty teenage agony that resonates with truth. In this story we get to see new sides of August Barton as he’s faced with new obstacles and I was amazed at how he continued to grow into a much more dynamic and layered character. This reminds me of a show that should be on The CW network, but maybe not as melodramatic as the shows on that television network.

I suppose I should give a spoiler alert, although it’s not much of a spoiler, August is able to solve his life’s problems and bring all the broken pieces together, but the way in which he does it was something I won’t ruin because I believe that is what this story is about. The journey of putting your life back together after it falls apart. This is one of the greatest milestones in this book. It shows readers just how strong one can be if they summon their strength and willpower into what they want. The main theme of the book is love and family and Jennifer is able to mingle these things into a rich heartfelt fictional story that left me a bit wistful. The life of Grandma Gertie, Rose, August, John and Diane is a perfect image of love and family. Although they are not perfect and they make mistakes, they do not give up on each other. They build each other up and most importantly, they forgive. Jennifer LeBlanc has done a fantastic job of using humor to bring levity to some weighty situations while also underlining some poignant themes. The book has strong language that might be a problem to some readers on the younger side, but otherwise I think it fits well in the college romance genre.

Pages: 155 | ASIN: B07F5JF3T5

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Forgotten by the Sun

Forgotten By the Sun

Amika is a senior in high school, looking forward to graduating and being done with high school. She is the run of the mill kid, not in with the cool kids, not the kid that gets picked on. Everything is status quo, till the Welkins family arrive. Soon Amika, and her friends Nikki and Andrew, become friends with Rhayne, Quade, Damien and Trinity, as well as their “aunt” Suzanne. But Amika finds out that the family is not as it seems, they’re actually vampires. Dating and falling in love with Rhayne introduces Amika to the fact there are multiple worlds that coexist on different planes. From these worlds different creatures like demons can enter the human world and cause trouble. How can Amika and Rhayne develop a relationship being so different? Can Amika understand the unique situation that Rhayne and his family are in?

When I started reading this novel, my first thought was oh, another vampire book. Oh, look this family shows up out of nowhere and they are amazingly attractive. However, after this introduction to the Wilkins family, the similarities to other teen romance vampire novels ends. I was pleasantly surprised to find unique character makeups, a completely different plot structure than I usually see with teen romance or vampire stories. Celeste Eismann has developed a world where vampires and other paranormal figures exists but the twists, she puts into it with Forgotten by the Sun makes her novel unique. This is also the first in a series, so I’m interested to see where the next book takes readers.

The is a relationship between Nikki, Andrew, and Amika is similar to what you would find in close knit friends. Nikki and Andrew are always at each other and Amika is the peacemaker. This sets up the story for how Amika ends up interacting with characters later in the novel. Amika wants to help, she wants to fix things. It is in her nature to go out and ignore her own well-being. Amika is a very complex character and the foreshadowing in the novel indicates she is going to do important things in later books.

Rhayne and his family are interesting, and we get some of their back stories of how they became vampires and where they’re from. They also have their own quarks, especially Quade. I suspect some of the internal conflicts that are eluded to will take center stage in later novels. Overall this novel felt like an introduction to a bigger series that is yet to come. You meet all the key players and get some background, but the novel ends just as the real excitement begins.

Pages: 1543955282 | ISBN: 1543955282

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Forgotten by the Sun – Trailer

Amika Fernandez’s life is nothing out of the ordinary…until she meets Rhayne Welkins. Soon captivated by his very presence, Amika finds herself wrapped up in this mysterious intruder into her world—and the secrets he’s brought with him.

In a world where nothing is as it seems, and stories once believed to be mere myth are anything but, an ordinary teenage girl must decide between the life she knows, and the life she might have—if she can handle the truth about the world in which she lives.

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