What starts off as just another teenager-focused bully story quickly shows its teeth to reveal something decidedly darker. The fear and emotion felt by the main protagonist seem both plausible and real, and the dysfunctional home life that he is forced to live through is also crafted to feel quite genuine.
We learn early on in this dark urban fantasy novel that Davey was forced by his difficulties to mentally escape into worlds of movie characters that he looked up to. He imagined himself overcoming his difficulties in a similar way that heroes from his favorite movies had, and it made him feel good to think that he could live in someone else’s shoes.
It doesn’t take long for Davey to find the escape he was looking for. What he found was something he never would have thought possible.
The world that Davey finds seems perfect to him. He cannot see any of the violence, abuse, or bullying that tortured him up to the point of finding ‘Cardboard City’. What he does see is a tight-knit community of kids living free from adult oppression. They govern themselves and seem to have a good hold on how to get things done, their way. Davey quickly feels right at home with his new friends. Friends that he would change his life forever.
As time goes on, Davey and the other kids grow up, but they stay connected to one another in a variety of ways. The connections that show up throughout the story between characters, and how their individual stories interconnect is impressively crafted.
Lord has a talent for characterization and building believable interactions between characters like no other. The reader is taken for a ride through several lives as they search for a deeper meaning and it is a pleasure to follow them and experience what they do.
The writing is simple yet has plenty of the details necessary to set a scene and show the inner-workings of the characters. One can easily get a feel for where you are, who is involved with each scene, and what events are unfolding. The pace is steady, as well, making for a story that is difficult to put down.
Myrrendryl by Kirby Lord, is a first novel by the incredible author, but you would never know that. If you like dark fantasy stories that questions the fabric of our reality, Myrrendryl is a must read.
Pages: 400 | ASIN: B07MXZQ9QW
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The Red Grouse Tales by Leslie W. P. Garland is a book comprised of four short stories. Each story starts off with a quote followed by someone telling that particular tale. Each story revolves around the theme of religion. However, the theme is not heavy or overtaking the tale. Each short story starts off slow complete with building suspense and a twist ending. Each story has its own unique lesson one can learn and think about, making them slightly philosophical. While each telling is different, the main theme is good and evil, which gives the reader a lot to ponder.
I enjoyed this collection of stories and would recommend them. One of my favorite parts of these short stories were the fable-like feeling. They each told a story with a surprising lesson attached to each. I also greatly enjoyed the way the stories were written. Each had a way of telling a story through another person, which made the reading interesting and fun for me. I think it was a nice, added detail that gave it a more authentic feeling of sitting around and hearing a tale as well as making it seem more like a fable.
This book consists of four short stories. The Little Dog is the first one, which I felt, was a great story to start off with. It hooked me in the book itself to see what the rest of them have to offer. I think this short story in particular really set up the rest of the book as it was suspenseful and thought-provoking. It contained one of the more interesting ideas I have come across in a book: What is evil? According to this tale, evil does not have a conscious. I had to pause and think about this for a bit afterward because it was such an interesting concept to propose.
The second was The Crow, which I also greatly enjoyed. The contrast between the teenager and the older man in the story was stark, and I liked to see those differences between the two of them. I think this one was my favorite out of the four as it showed you how unique perspectives can be.
I also found The Golden Tup to be particularly interesting. I think it was my second favorite out of the collection. It was told in a suspenseful and fun way. The White Hart was not of any particular interest to me, personally, when compared to the others, but it fits in with the other tales and tied them together nicely.
All together, I found this collection to be immensely entertaining.
Pages: 347 | ASIN: B018VWOVIU
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Chasing the Red Queen opens with the recently turned 18-year-old Donja, a self-proclaimed goth who is uprooted from the normalcy of teenage life. Her mother remarries, giving Donja a new home, a new father and a new stepsister. What starts out as an angsty teens tribulations quickly shifts to darker elements as violent murders begin to hit close to home. New characters emerge, friendships are made, and lovers unite exposing a history of supernatural elements and family secrets Donja never expected.
Karen Glista offers an urban fantasy with a dash of crime, horror and steamy romance all set to the backdrop of vampire lore. A perfect weekend read for those favoring the genre. The author also provides new components to these otherwise over told stories with well researched historical content and fleshed out explanations for the mystical aspects. The mix of first nation cultural and detailed locational history give a fresh twist to this vampire romance which kept me intrigued to the very end.
I found Donja to be likable as the main character. Although the constant reminder of her gothic reputation is repeated one too many times, otherwise her emotional response and reactions are believable throughout the story. I adored the character development between Donja and her stepsister Makayla, from beginning to end they share a bond that unites them through a roller-coaster of emotional events.
Unlike Donja, where she shines in the first half of the book, her counterpart Torin unfolds as the main player towards the end of the book. Once Torin takes center stage I found myself more invested in his story and the account of his mysterious past as well as that of his kind.
I felt that the timeline was a little vague; how much time did everything take, was it days, hours, weeks? I also felt that their were quick leaps in character changes (ie. Frankie, I didn’t know what was happening to him until it was already over). These are the only minor things holding the book back.
However, the story surprised me with well thought out action scenes and gritty dialog. While some secondary characters faded into the background a few shown through and had my full attention. Chasing the Red Queen is a quick read with an equally fast-paced plot, yet will still give the reader enough time to establish a connection to the story, characters and paranormal features.
Pages: 277 | ASIN: B079KJFJW8
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The Tribulations of August Barton by Jennifer LeBlanc follows the somewhat unwilling adventures of a young man who feels as if the world is on his shoulders. August Barton is a nerdy college freshman with growing anxiety not helped by the declaration of his parent’s decision to divorce. Never mind first-year classes, his growing independence, or even girls, the struggles within his own family becomes almost too much for him to bear. At a time in his life when he should be stepping out into the world and spreading his wings, the worries of his life pull him back into the safe confines of his residence hall where he can be with his Star Wars collection in peace. However, his charismatic grandmother (a woman who really has lived life to the fullest) has other ideas for her grandson, which leads to a series of adventures where August can finally learn to live out his own epic saga and find his own happy endings outside of the ones he’s seen in the science-fiction stories he loves.
This story compares to the classic coming-of-age tale Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger in its overall themes like loss of innocence and personal growth of a young man. However, I will say that August Barton is a more likable protagonist than Holden Caulfield! August “Augie” Barton’s altruism for his loved ones and his quirky charm make him a lovable character to follow throughout the book. Other interesting characters in Augie’s life enhance the quality of this book, one in particular: his grandmother! Gertie is such a wild and fun lady. I wish I could know her in real life! I honestly would read a whole spin-off novel about her life because seeing the world through her eyes sounds like a treat. The overall humor and grace of this novel as Jennifer LeBlanc’s authentic characters deal with very real problems that we all can face in life. The Tribulations of August Barton just proves how there can be such wondrous beauty in the everyday and in the hardships we all face. No doubt, Jennifer LeBlanc earns a full five stars, and one new permanent fan of her works.
Pages: 176 | ASIN: B01M7TF1N1
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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.
Posted in book trailer
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In The Hay Patrollers, we see the results of characters who have lost themselves in a life of crime. What were some sources of inspiration for you while writing?
Having been in many gangs as a young person and spending over two years roughing it on the streets of London, I had never forgotten the past experiences I encountered and promised myself I will always help those in need, no matter of their age, gender or religion. I have since spent over 30 years in my spare time developed and implemented many youth crime prevention programmes in many of the countries, I have lived in. The Hay Patrollers was based on a successful programme is developed that not only gain media attention in Australia but also creating much-needed employment for young people, including those who may be on the other side of the law. You can see The Hay Patrollers by clicking the YouTube link: https://youtu.be/-UtENjE6j4w?t=11s
Were you able to put any of your personal life experiences in this book?
Despite both books: Degsy Hay, A Juvenile Redeemed/Book 2, Degsy Hay, The Hay Patrollers, were mostly fiction, I did manage to use a lot of my experience in both books. The street life, how I had to defend myself at such a young age was all true to life.
There are many characters in this book. Who was your favourite character to write for?
I think Degsy is my favourite character, but you see most of the characters were also from the first book. They all seem to blend in well and work well as a team.
Will you continue this story in a third book?
Yes, I have already the third book in the series in mind Degsy Hay, Unit 16 -21 a vision for the future. Not only as this been mentioned many times in both books 1 and two but Unit 16-21 can certainly become a real-life event. Just like the successful Hay Patrollers programme, Unit 16-21 is centred on Uniting and Empowering the young people to contribute to their own development.
The objective of the program is to create future employment and secure housing for young people while they are training. The project aims to provide housing support initiative, training and skills building in a self-sufficient youth estate. The estate allows young people to interact with his/her community and develop emotional stability and interpersonal skills throughout their training/apprenticeships.
For the first time in his life, Degsy Hay is settled. He doesn’t have to worry about which bin his next meal is coming from, which snowy bench he’s gonna sleep on, or who he’ll have to fight to stay alive. Things are going well. His dream of setting up the Hay Patrollers, offering a safe alternative to gang life, has become a reality, and his crew of young people are making the community a better place, patrolling shopping centres, cleaning up the neighbourhoods, helping the elderly and disabled. He’s living with his best friends – Winston, Sheila and Mya – getting to know the brother and sister he never knew he had and learning to live without looking over his shoulder. Life is good.
Then, one night, his house is torched with him and his friends inside. He barely makes it out of the deadly inferno in one piece, and Winston is even less fortunate. He is alive but left in a coma, and it doesn’t look good. Someone out there has a serious problem with Degsy’s vision for a safer, gang-free London, and they ain’t gonna stop setting fires till Degsy gets the message.
As the police search for the arsonist, Degsy and the others try to keep life – and the Hay Patrollers – rolling on as calmly as possible, but life is anything but calm for Degsy when fourteen-year-old Sudanese immigrant Slope rocks up in his life. Slope is violent, aggressive, lost and in need of support – everything Degsy was at that age – and Degsy is determined to help him … even if it takes him as far afield as Australia.
Meanwhile, the senior Hay Patrollers are giving talks in school and prisons, sharing their stories with young people, showing how one bad decision can lead to a lifetime of regret. For Sheila, the experience of sharing her story of abuse, teenage prostitution and the death of a friend is too much to bear, leading to tragic consequences. For Mya, reflecting on the drug-dealing murderer she once was, and how she has turned her life around, leads her to search for redemption and forgiveness.
With Winston showing no signs of waking up, everyone scared, and the police getting no closer to finding the arsonist, Degsy steps up, scours the streets and tracks down an adversary far more dangerous than he had imagined. The only way out will drag him back down into a gutter he has fought so hard to escape: to violence, deception and criminal activity. And when he is forced to ask himself just how far he will go to protect his friends, family and the Hay Patrollers, even he is surprised by the explosive answer.
Posted in Interviews
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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.
Gold Award Winners
Silver Award Winners
Posted in Literary Titan Book Award
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Sabrina London is now Queen of the Water Fairies. The problem is she doesn’t really want to be, and she is expected to marry Lord Raion of the Tainted. Sabrina and Dunyasha, the ancient vampire, devise a plan to solve Sabrina’s problems and free her from marrying Lord Raion. They recruit Amber, a Fire Fairy, to become Sabrina’s double. Through extensive surgeries and training Amber takes on the persona of Sabrina and is able to fool most people into believing she is in fact Sabrina London. Her mission is first to dispel of the people that could tell she was not in fact Sabrina, three tests to make sure she would be able to fool Lord Raion. Through these tests and missions, Amber and Dunyasha’s true motives come out. They are not looking out for Sabrina, they are not really on her side, what motivates these otherworldly beings? Who will survive in the end as each race clashes and fights for dominance over all the others?
Kevin Breaux returns to his world of fairies, vampires, and other creatures. We learn more about who Dunyasha is, what her past is, and how she became the cursed undead. Characters such as Jackson and Cade return, well-loved characters from past novels that played integral parts of Sabrina’s development. Three Burning Red Runaway Brides is a complex novel with so many different plot lines all intertwining that you almost need to keep notes at times to keep up with who is on who’s side, what plots are being planned, and is there even a good guy or bad guy anywhere? The deeper you go into the novel the more complex each character gets, and you find things you love and hate about each of them. Learning how the water elements all interact in the water kingdom and move about is fascinating. Learning more about the traditions the water fairies have in place adds to the complex character that is Sabrina as you figure out how she became the person she is now. Amber, also known as Skipper, starts out like a spoiled brat you just want to dislike. As we learn more about her though, we find out she is much more cunning and determined than what she appears on the surface. She has glimpses of good intentions, but most are self-serving in the end. Sabrina while she tries to grow into the role of queen, you see her reverting back to the way she was in the first novel, her growth is less developed, and even regressing in this novel. She reminds me of the teen rebelling more so than Amber as the book continues.
Without giving away key plot elements, I can say the story of Dunyasha is one of my favorites, how she ended up one of the cursed undead, how she created her family, her history and her plans for the future. I can see this plot line continuing into another book as her story continues to unfold and fate of the vampires and their awakening continues.
Kevin James Breaux has a great talent for drawing the reader in with his detailed story lines, descriptive writing and unique plot twists. Each novel builds on the last but stands alone to tell a story unlike the past without feeling like you are rereading the last novel.
Pages: 357 | ASIN: B07MC57D12
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