Boone and Jacque are back again in Boone and Jacque: Cytrus Moonlight! It has been 15 years, and they are living their best lives. Boone got married to Shammy, and they have two amazing children together. Boone and Shammy just want to live a life of peace and quiet. Jacque, on the other hand has become a detective and loves his job and his woman named Xantia, who happens to be a detective as well. Boone and Jacque still have a very strong friendship, but their lives turn upside down when a new mysterious murder happens. This throws Jacque and Boone into a new quest that they never wanted. They just want to live their simple lives.
The new book in the Boone and Jacque series is stupendous! Readers that have enjoyed prior books in this series will be blown away by the new characters and adventures. AG Flitcher takes readers on a magical and fantastical adventure that surpasses prior novels, going in a completely different direction and showcasing the growth of Boone and Jacque. In addition, this an inclusive novel. Jacque, Xantia, and Coralie are all part of the LGBTQI+ community.
Jacque and Xantia are a wonderful couple. Xantia was a great addition to the group and is a strong woman. Her character is well developed and fits perfectly into the story. Coralie is new as well, and I learned a bit about her, but I do hope to learn more about her in the next book. Reading about Boone and Shammy’s children is delightful; they add a new demension to the storyline. Boone’s character is still growing and figuring himself out, but I can say he is a loving father. It made me happy to see his character get some happiness after the childhood readers learned about in past books. Having Shammy to share his life with gives his story the joyful component he had been missing.
I still have some questions, but I imagine the next book will answer them. AG Flitcher seems to be very good at wrapping up loose ends. The story overall was well written. While I have my questions about Dr. Button and Jacque’s aunt and uncle, I am sure I will get my answers over time.
I give Boone and Jacque: Cytrus Moonlight 5 out of 5 stars. This novel felt very different from the others, but I can tell it is leading up to similar adventures with an extra twist. I look forward to the next book in this amazing series!
Pages: 350 | ASIN : B0B5SBNQ27
Tags: action, adventure, AG Flitcher, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Boone and Jacque: Cytrus Moonlight, childrens, childrens fiction, ebook, epic fantasy, fantasy, fantasy adventure, fiction, goodreads, kids, kindle, kobo, literature, middle school, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, sci-fi, science fiction, space opera, story, suspense, teen fiction, teenagers, teens, thriller novel, writer, writing, YA Fiction, young adult fiction
The Youngling gang of supernaturals is back in the second installment of Helena M. Craggs’ series. This time Quinn and his friends are more experienced, more determined, and have even more troubled spirits to clean up after. A wannabe vampire on the loose, stalkerish witches and the pressure cooker of first years of college mean that their break from the supernatural realm has well and truly come to an end.
The Younglings: Fire & Magic picks up from where it left off, continuing the journey of first loves, sexuality, friendship, loyalty and familial unity. The ongoing guidance of demon nanny Mrs. D was the feel-good stability and wisdom that can often lack in the young adult genre.
Narrated predominantly from Quinn’s perspective Helena M. Craggs has done well to maintain his humorous and charismatic character. The addition of storytelling from multiple perspectives created the perfect amount of angst to keep the reader feverishly turning pages and builds upon the logic and reason of characters the reader has already had the opportunity to understand.
The natural progression of the original characters truly shines through in this second installment. Eve and Quinn have matured immensely; tougher and more direct, they set the tone of the novel to be logical and infallible, genuinely growing into the ruling roles so heavily focused on in book one. An outstanding friendship dynamic with purposeful powers and personalities, Craggs has taken her time to evolve relationships through real-life themes young adults face. The romantic subplot solidified this novels place in the workings of a brilliant young adult read.
The Younglings: Fire & Magic is a lighthearted paranormal fantasy that takes young adult readers on an action-filled adventure. The supernatural characters are engaging and will have readers hooked from the start.
Pages: 340 | ASIN : B09YHMTV4Z
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, contemporary, contemporary fantasy, ebook, epic fantasy, fantasy, goodreads, Helena M Craggs, Helena M. Craggs, horror, kindle, kobo, literature, magic, Middle Grades, mystery, nook, novel, occult, Occult fiction, Occult Horror, paranormal, read, reader, reading, story, suspense, teens, The Younglings, The Younglings: Fire & Magic, thriller, urban fantasy, writer, writing, ya books, young adult, young adult novel
The inspiring story of Bruce Sheridan is one of hope, optimism, having a bright future, and learning from one’s mistakes. After reading A Well Launched Life: How Young People Can Live an Intentional Fulfilling Life, you will have much to reflect on from your own life. Bruce Sheridan shows compassion and discretion in addressing some of the more sensitive issues. Bruce’s advice is the kind you want when your life turns upside down.
When reading A Well Launched Life, readers see that opening up about life, including mistakes, is not easy. However, the author is an open book. He admits his failures and highlights his successes. Bruce teaches readers to be loving, intentional and dedicated to whatever they do. I like the author’s approach in the book while talking about disappointments. He uses examples from his life to show the life lessons he learned.
Some of the important topics that Bruce Sheridan discusses revolve around addiction, discipline, hard work, choosing a partner, finances, and friendships. The chapters that I related to the most were about taking control of one’s finances and getting started. From this chapter, I learned that there is time for everything and that if you believe in God, things fall into place eventually.
The chapter on getting started was also interesting. Bruce Sheridan drew a table that illustrates the different stages of his life, his traits, and the percentage of life he has lived. I applaud him for coming up with this table as it gives the reader a clear view of the different stages of life. This table alone was enough to get me into strategizing some things in life.
Bruce Sheridan’s narrating style is conversational and straightforward, with some humor mixed to bring home his points. As a result, readers will feel motivated and get the strength to keep pushing through hard times to reach their goals. You do not need to get to your prime years to be the best version of yourself.
A Well Launched Life: How Young People Can Live an Intentional Fulfilling Life is a self-help book for teens and young adults with information on spirituality, career, fighting personal battles, being financially conscious, and knowing God.
Pages: 194 | ASIN : B09SN2TBBN
Tags: A Well-Launched Life: How Young People Can Live an Intentional, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Bruce Sheridan, christian, ebook, Fulfilling Life, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, motivational, nonfiction, nook, personal development, read, reader, reading, religion, self help, success, teens, writer, writing, young adult
A Calf Named Brian Higgins, written by Kristen Ball, is a child-friendly story that addresses serious and interesting topics, including poverty, different cultures, friendship, mourning death, and personal development. The story follows Hannah Higgins, a typical grumpy teenager from suburban New York who is dragged to the plains of rural Kenya to visit her Uncle, Brian Higgins, while he is there doing charity work. Leaving behind her comfortable American lifestyle for one that is drastically less comfortable poses many challenges that Hannah needs to overcome, such as limited access to fresh water. By spending time with the local people and being immersed in the culture, she slowly understands why her Uncle loves Sauri so much.
This story answers a couple of important questions. How would a typical white teenager react to going into rural Africa? And what does it take for that teenager to change their perspective on their life? Ball tackles both of these questions in a way that is simple enough for children to understand but sophisticated enough for all ages to appreciate. This is a story of personal growth. Hannah goes from a naive and unworldly teenager to an individual who begins to value her life, others around her, and opportunities wholeheartedly.
Ball’s debut novel was written based on her experiences of being the first westerner to live in Sauri, the Kenyan village where her story is set. Therefore the book touches on many of her first-hand experiences, enabling her to paint a far more vivid and authentic landscape of an environment many Westerners (especially children) are likely not to be familiar with. Ball’s spin on the story’s events helps to give the story a more genuine and sincere feel. The reader is not being presented with a shallow story from someone with limited knowledge of these complex topics. Still, they’re experiencing the insight of someone who lived under these circumstances.
A Calf Named Brian Higgins is a fantastic novel to introduce children to heavy and challenging topics, such as poverty or entitlement, in a simple and engaging way. It’s essential for children to be exposed to several cultures and walks of life, and reading this novel with them and discussing it would be a great starting point.
Pages: 272 | ASIN : B07DNKC7G4
Tags: A Calf Named Brian Higgins, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, childrens, childrens African fiction, childrens books, childrens fiction, childrens homelessness, childrens poverty, childrens travel, ebook, goodreads, kindle, kobo, Kristen Ball, literature, Middle Grades, new experiences, nook, personal growth, read, reader, reading, story, teens, writer, writing
Posted by Literary_Titan
Duskborn Radiance: A Mother’s Question follows three young people that develop magical powers that their people thought were long gone. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
To answer your question, I have to start by asking one of my own. From where does inspiration come?
Here’s the thing. Duskborn Radiance is not the product of conscious choices. The story simply came to me. Better yet, the story simply came through me. More often than not, the book wrote itself. There were long stretches when my mind was quiet while my fingers hammered away of their own accord. I felt as if I was the co-pilot in my own body. In those moments, my intuition told me that I was in the grip of something far greater than myself, and my only thoughts were visual ones: scenes of what I was writing, while I was writing it, all coming through the characters’ eyes. The physical sensations were new to me, and they were profound; there was lightning in my blood, my third eye was wide open, I felt at one and at peace with the entire Universe, and the spiritual love that the ancient Greeks called agape coursed through every fiber of my being. On some level, I was aware of what was happening to me, yet the awareness was something apart from myself, like the waking version of a lucid dream. At times, it was . . . maybe not scary, but definitely unsettling. I wish that I could describe it better, but the truth is that these experiences defy language and the rational mind, as they live in and come from the heart, not the brain. The entire ordeal was both incredibly humbling and absolutely divine.
I understand that, to some, all this sounds pompous or self-important, and to others, it sounds delusional. I’ve shared these experiences with people who are close to me, and I’ve heard all the doubt and disbelief that there is to hear. I’m not trying to convince anyone, nor do I feel the need to defend myself against skepticism. When you’ve been through something like that, your priorities and your perspective change on a fundamental level, to the point that trying to convince the skeptics feels not only unimportant but also counter-productive, like you’re cheapening or betraying the experiences by defending them. I simply speak my truth, and people can take it however they want to take it.
Now, having said all that, I can still offer a more direct answer to your question. Duskborn Radiance purports to be a fantasy series, yet underneath the story’s surface, it’s all about us and our world. Some truths are best shared through fiction. Human beings are capable of real, awesome magic, and we have the ability to thwart evil. Over the past two centuries, we’ve drifted away from our inner power, yet it’s still there, and it’s impossible to destroy. Indeed, if you turn off the news, filter out all the noise on social media, and look past partisan politics, you can see that humanity is in the midst of a great reawakening. It’s messy and uncomfortable, and we’re still in the earliest stages, but it’s happening nonetheless, and it’s inevitable. Not even World War III can stop it.
So Dominic, Caterina, and Amadeus coming into their magic—their people’s first sorcerers in centuries—is emblematic of the human reawakening that’s happening here and now. It also symbolizes the simple fact that there is no hero coming to save us. We have to save ourselves, to be our own heroes, and the way to do so is by reconnecting with our inner power. But again, I didn’t choose to write any of this. I simply sat down and wrote, with the plot, characters, symbols, and themes coming of their own volition. Only after the fact, when the book was finished, did I interpret and understand it all.
Dominic, Caterina, and Amadeus start off as simple farmers and realize they have a higher purpose in life. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
Well, I disagree with the choice of the word “higher.” Say rather that they have a different purpose and leave it at that. One theme in the book is that, in the end, the simple pleasures are the most rewarding ones, and the simple life serves great purpose. Indeed, to answer your question, this very theme is one of the ideals behind the characters’ development. As Dominic, Caterina, and Amadeus are thrust further and further into the overarching conflict, we see that their humble beginnings and the lessons learned during their formative years are so often what give them the strength, courage, and perspective to overcome the many challenges that await them.
Beyond that, I hesitate to say more. Duskborn Radiance is character-driven, so saying too much about character development risks spoiling the series, at least in part.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
So we’ve already discussed some, but there are more. One fundamental theme is about the nature of good and evil, and the related yet distinct concept of light and dark. Though this is a common theme in literature, I think that Duskborn Radiance offers a lot of new insight. In particular, these books expose the moral relativism of today for what it is: pseudo-intellectual nonsense. Today’s pop-culture moral relativism is a knee-jerk reaction to religion by contemporary atheists and agnostics. Of course there is an objective basis for distinguishing good and evil. Furthermore, the root of evil is not at all difficult to understand. Evil comes from the biological, psychological, and spiritual shortcomings that we call sociopathy and psychopathy.
Sociopaths and psychopaths rule the world. Why? Because they’re equipped for domination. Their hallmark lack of empathy, coupled with their invariably oversized egos, enables them to do things that good men and women cannot even conceive of doing. This, in turn, enables the sociopaths and psychopaths to hide in plain sight; when people can’t conceive of doing something, they have a hard time believing that anyone would do it. Over time, as these evil-doers continue to shape societies in their own image, our systems and our cultures reward sociopathy and psychopathy more and more. In other words, there is a cumulative effect, especially in law and politics.
Note too that these people don’t consider themselves to be evil. Every single villain is the hero of his or her own story—every single villain thinks that he or she is good—yet this doesn’t mean that they’re objectively good.
Thank you for allowing me that rant. There are other themes that Duskborn Radiance explores, though I prefer not to divulge too much more here, lest your readers tire of me, or I inadvertently spoil something. Instead, here’s a short list of my favorite themes in the books: synchronicity and divine orchestration, which is synchronicity writ large; universal oneness, or the energetic interconnectedness of all things; fundamental, immutable truth and the ways in which it manifests; divinity’s alchemical transmutation into physical energy through human power, wisdom, and love; and the role of consciousness in our Universe.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I appreciate this question. For a while, I wasn’t certain whether I would ever finish the Duskborn Radiance series. I love it in every way, and the characters are as real to me as my flesh-and-blood friends and family are. I’m grateful beyond words for the opportunity to be the story’s vessel. All the same, writing it takes a huge emotional toll, and it’s a major time commitment too. Worse, like every other author, I had periods of doubt.
Now, I feel like I have no choice but to finish the series. The response to A Mother’s Question has been so amazing—from the reviewers, yes, but first and foremost from the readers. The way I see it, if people are kind and good enough to read your work, then you owe them an ending. Furthermore, I owe the characters an ending too, and I owe it to myself to see this journey through to the finale. So next up is Volume II, Rising from Ashes. I hope to publish it in 2023, though I may need longer, as I prefer to let my writing flow organically.
Posted in Interviews
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Destined to be Keepers – the Protector of innocents in the mortal realm, Quinn and his team of supernatural friends must safeguard their town of Portaville from all the mystical energies that come their way. When a teacher’s heart is torn out of their chest and students start to go missing, the friends combine forces to reinstate the safety of those closest to them. With their freshly discovered powers, the teens can sense something isn’t all that it’s made out to be. All it takes is Mrs. D – Quin’s demon nanny – to confirm their suspicions and their plan to stop the murderer begins. All while Quinn is coming to terms with the fact that he is the demon king’s son!
Author Helena Craggs expertly crafts a brilliant young adult novel and navigates the reader through first loves, sexuality, friendship, and familial unity. Readers will find the characters in the story to be entertaining, full of personality, typical teenage moods, and dedication to their cause. In addition, the author injects humor in the story which lightens the mood of some of the darker drama that they face, and the twists and turns of the storyline as they discover more information about the town, paranormal activities, and themselves, making this an unpredictable urban fantasy novel.
Craggs has done well to create realistic characters and an easy-to-follow storyline with enough action to keep readers engaged. There is a character for everyone to relate to with demons, angels, ghosts, witches, magic, and teenagers. I enjoyed reading about Quin’s character especially as we followed him on his emotional journey of discovering his own powers and learning the truth about his family.
The Younglings: Shadows & Magic is a fast-paced, jam-packed paranormal fantasy novel that is perfect for younger readers looking to be taken on a fantastical journey that is filled with supernatural beings and teen angst.
Pages: 401 | AISN : B09C6JLDQW
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, contemporary, contemporary fantasy, ebook, epic fantasy, fantasy, goodreads, Helena M Craggs, horror, kindle, kobo, literature, magic, Middle Grades, mystery, nook, novel, occult, Occult fiction, Occult Horror, paranormal, read, reader, reading, story, suspense, teens, The Younglings, thriller, urban fantasy, writer, writing, ya books, young adult, young adult novel
In The Last Alignment: Cry of the Scorpions, we follow along with five teens as they all come together with their families. Awbrey, Hudson, Androse, Zander, and Natalye discover their family secrets and learn about how their families are connected. The teens not only have to grapple with the new responsibilities placed upon them, but they also must navigate their teen hormones. Learning to work together is challenging as it is, but adding in teen hormones adds a whole new level. Can they learn to work together and get along before their lives are changed completely?
The author, Nathaniel Stewart, did a fantastic job in this first book. It is a quick read but perfectly sets up the story for the second book. The story starts out very strong and makes you want to keep reading. Readers discover that each chapter is from a different character’s point of view. This makes it easy to see how each one feels and reacts to the new situations they are placed in. There was enough information to envision the teens, their families, and their surroundings.
The personalities of the teens are diverse. This will allow readers to find one they can connect with and start building an attachment. Stewart’s writing style is unique as he slightly alters his style for each character, so their individual personalities come out. Being a teenager is hard enough without finding out your family has been keeping secrets from you your whole life and discovering they have magical abilities on top of all that. The author does a great job making them relatable to readers.
The Last Alignment: Cry of the Scorpions is a riveting coming-of-age novel for young adults, those looking for a new fantasy and magic series, and those looking for some action and adventure. This first novel in the series sets readers up for future installments that are sure to be exciting.
Pages: 130 | ASIN : B0092C6XD0
Tags: action, adventure, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, coming of age, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, high school, kindle, kobo, literature, magic, Nathaniel Stewart, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, teenagers, teens, The Last Alignment, writer, writing, ya books, young adult
Posted by Literary_Titan
Boone and Jacque: The Brothers’ Odyssey follows three teenage friends as they try to find their way back home; along the way, they must search for and find their lost companion while facing unknown dangers. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I do a month or two of reading, ground work and research for every book I write. For this installment of the series, I researched autism because I wanted to make sure the character, Flint, wasn’t Hollywoodized in terms of the symptoms of Autism. I watched VR simulations of what it’s like to have autism. Mini documentaries and TED talks showing the continuing and evolving study of this neurological disorder. They say there is no definitive answer to where the disorder came from. And no cure. But there is Applied Behavior Analysis. Which is exemplified in extensive research, therapy and even television. I also watched the show Atypical. A Netflix series focusing on a teen character named Sam who has autism. Throughout the series, his symptoms become more focused in terms of where he is on the spectrum.
Outside of research, I incorporated memories from family vacations. These are quite rich in detail, so if anyone would like to hear about them, I am working on a Youtube series called Stories with AG Flitcher. Where I tell stories about my life that inspired scenes and elements of relationships in this ever evolving series. Nevertheless, I will share two things. The different types of environment came from my experiences being at the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea and the miles and miles of desert in between Cairo (the capital) and whichever destination my family and I arrived at.
One story that I didn’t film that inspired a long walk in the Dolov desert, was the time my family and I were stuck in the middle of a desert for 9 hours. The car had a flat tire and finding a tire repair shop was hard to find. It was 45 degrees Celsius, no shade, dry and the backseats had no seat belts.
Lastly, the characters being casted away from the town, is a mirror symbolic moment of me leaving my comfort zone to find my truth as a writer and human being. Leaving the comfort of routine, familiarity, safety nets and doubt was necessary because it meant I had to find what scares me and face it head on.
What character did you enjoy writing for? Was there one that was more challenging to write for?
I would say I enjoyed writing for Flint the most because I’ve worked with people who have autism, heard stories from friends who work primarily with children with autism, and interviewed parents with children who have autism. Hearing and seeing the community of autism helped me to see what it was like to be wired differently than the neurotypical person.
However, the most challenging character to write for was Boone. Because Jacque is far more wise, and therefore his journey is different in terms of growth. Shammy is Boone’s guiding light to growing up. I didn’t want Boone to be exactly like me or grow up like me. My readers, who know me personally, say he is similar to me. So in book 3 and 4, I have him grow to be someone far more courageous yet lost than I am. In addition, he doesn’t develop the same personality as me when he becomes my age.
When you first sat down to write this story, did you know where you were going, or did the twists come as you were writing?
I’m unconventional when it comes to developing plot points. I come up with a rough storyline and then start writing. In fact, for book 4, I stopped writing a rough storyline because I didn’t know whether or not there was going to be a book 5. Which there will be.
For this book though, book 2, I did structure it a little more but not the plot twist. These books take me typically 6 to 8 months to write while I work a full time day job as a maintenance worker at a zoo. So while I’m working, I daydream about plot twists. Therefore giving me the same surprise as the reader. When I revise I’ll add details and tweak plot twists to my liking, but not knowing what they are ahead of time keeps it fresh.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m working on book 4 of the series, Cytrus Moonlight. It will be out late 2022. I also wrote what I call “writing doodles” on the keynotes app on my phone for book 5. In which it will take place on a fantasy island that has creatures and trees representing the main characters regrets and fears. The only way they can escape is if they confront them and see fear as an important emotion that helps us do better in life. The tentative title for book 5 is Grotto Island.
Posted in Interviews
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