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High Clowder Cats

Life as a feral cat is not easy. When you are alone without a colony, surviving is even harder. Bushytail is determined to have a territory and family of his own. So he sets off to find a territory away from humans where he can meet other tom cats. He finds a home with a group of toms, and they have great adventures together. That is until one of the tom cats, Watcher, Bushytail’s friend, meets a tragic end. Bushytail is shocked and sad that his friend has died. He decides to set off for another territory, hoping to start over. On his way, he is joined by Bristle, a wise, secretive, and strong tom cat. This chance meeting is the beginning of a story of hope, love, sacrifice, and adventure.

Ruby Knight has written an incredible fantasy story for teens and young adult readers that will also entertain and captivate adult readers. The protagonist Bushytail is resilient, sweet, and has hidden leadership qualities that are revealed as the story unfolds. He does, however, have some fascinating weaknesses that provide additional depth to his character. Bristle, Bushytail’s mentor, is a medicine cat; he is mysterious and reveals his knowledge and teachings to Bushytail whether he wants these lessons or not. The other characters in the story are detailed and add an additional layer to the overall story as you get to know them. Readers will find themselves cheering for them and frantically turning the pages, wondering what they’ll get up to next.

The pace of the story never lets up; readers are kept on edge, waiting to see what happens next to this band of cats. The drama in the novel is well done and commendable; readers can easily visualize the dynamics between the characters. The story’s setting is well written and makes for a pleasant reading experience as the reader can visualize the environment and feel like they are there with this colony of cats. The world-building is expertly woven with extra attention paid to the small details making for a memorable and immersive experience.

High Clowder Cats by Ruby Knight is a captivating young adult fantasy novel. The storyline is original, interesting, and easy to get lost in. This is a fantastic start to this new series about a group of feral cats and the struggles they face in order to survive.

Pages: 235 | ASIN : B0B62NSBFB

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FastFlight 540

FastFlight 540, is an adventure-filled young adult fantasy novel by M. M. Mesldorf. Right from the get-go, readers are plunged into action as the protagonist, Anslie, makes quick work of stealing her friend’s identity to escape the seemingly horrible orphanage where she lives. While she thinks she has gotten away from the oppressive walls of Whippoorwill Children’s Home, she has instead traded one prison for another with Nocturnan Home. Soon, a being will come bursting into Anslie’s life. And that being is none other than Xander Benjamin Bump.

The chapters are written in a straightforward manner, and they flow smoothly together. When Anslie dreams, readers read the chapters from her perspective thoroughly, while the rest of the book is generally told in the third person. The shifts between are seamless, making it easy to follow along. There isn’t a break in the action in this novel; there is always something happening, someone coming, someone going, and adventure at every turn. It makes for a bit of a dizzying ride. Anslie carries on with the false identity she stole from the real Tucker Sullivan, and we watch her meager beginnings grow and blossom into something more.

In the beginning, Anslie is alone. She has nothing and is nothing. We see this in her solitude in the attic, her pitiful friendship with her own shadow, and her brief but lonely interactions with Mrs. Simpler. However, what begins as a painful existence begins to shift and reshape as her interactions with others accelerate. First Xander, then Hobbs, and soon all manner of companion joins Anslie on her quest to play the Garden Game against the Nighthawks. Throughout the book, I wasn’t sure if these other children were real: I was confident they were manifestations of her extreme loneliness and solitude.

If you are looking for a fun book that is difficult to put down, you must pick up a copy of FastFlight 540 by M. M. Mesldorf. It’s a whirlwind in all the right ways as it takes you for a ride through Anslie’s youth with Xander to the happily ever after. But is it truly the end? The final words of the last chapter leave room for a potential sequel, but we’ll have to wait like patient children to see what comes next.

Pages: 284 | ASIN : B0B7LLG2GP

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Light and Dark, Good and Bad

Sonja F. Blanco Author Interview

Witch of Ware Woods, follows an 18-year-old girl whose magical powers can no longer be hidden, seeking refuge in magical woods she must learn to control her powers. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Witch of Ware Woods is strongly inspired by the forest behind my grandparent’s house in Massachusetts. As a child, I spent a lot of time in that forest and found it to be magical.

Another big inspiration for this series is my ancestor, Mary, who was hung as a witch in 1720 at the young age of seventeen. I felt compelled to help her – to somehow change her outcome. I wondered if instead of being persecuted she had found refuge in the forest. Witch of Ware Woods is how I envisioned a better life for her.

Sarah is used to being alone but wants desperately to belong and have a sense of family. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I think Sara’s struggles are very relatable in that we all battle self-doubt while striving for acceptance and love. And to achieve this, we must first accept and love ourselves, faults and all, which is no easy task. While Sara faces many external tests and challenges, it is her inner development that is most important.

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

One of my favorite themes is the play between light and dark, good and bad, and all the glorious shades of grey that drive characters. I think this tension lives in all of us to a certain degree and books that explore this are a way for readers to experience the triumphs and failures of certain decisions—to go on an adventure with the characters—from the comfortable distance of a cozy couch. This multifaceted theme plays heavily in Witch of Ware Woods.

Supporting themes include the power of choice and believing in yourself; the importance of family and friends; the wonder of magic and nature and the striking connection between the two.

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

Death and Dragons is the next book in the Witch of Ware Woods series and will be available in February 2023. I’m very excited to share this next installment where Sara has a crash course in how to be a High Witch and is tested by new allies and enemies alike.

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Dark secrets. Dangerous power. And a fate bound to a forest entwined with magic.
Eighteen-year-old Sara is not normal, and she’s losing her grip on hiding her inexplicable power. Hunted by a dark witch and facing devastating losses, Sara finds refuge in Ware Woods—a spellbinding forest protected by witches, shapeshifters . . . and thorny secrets. Here she discovers true magic and an electric connection with Thomas, a wickedly charming and equally headstrong witch from a dangerous family.
But Sara is an outsider who has brought darkness and a fatal prophecy to the forest. To prove she belongs in Ware Woods, Sara is tested and pushed to master new magics, all while concealing the monstrous force that makes her undeniably different.
As the dark witch closes in on her and an insidious blight threatens Ware Woods, Sara must release her full power—and either save the forest and everyone she loves or destroy everything.
Witch of Ware Woods is a contemporary fantasy escape filled with fast-paced wonder, fierce characters, deadly magic, forbidden romance, and a world so fresh you can smell the pine trees.

Witch of Ware Woods

Sara, an eighteen-year-old girl, tried to keep her everyday life safe as best as she could despite her unexplainable powers. With the help of her parents, she has long isolated herself from others, opting for homeschooling over attending the local high school and favoring a dog’s company over any other person’s. However, when Sara’s abilities can no longer be hidden, her parents decide to take a trip, which comes with a tragic and shocking end. Sara must learn to build new relationships, accept her losses, and harness her powers to either save or doom her and the people she has recently met but immediately become something she has been missing —family.

Witch of Ware Woods, by Sonja F. Blanco, is a well-crafted fantasy story about family. This novel was a great surprise due to its inclusion of close-knit families who built a community within themselves. Unfortunately, when it comes to teenagers and magic, characters are often neglected and detached from their biological families, left to fend for themselves and discover their potential on their own. This is not the case with Witch of Ware Woods, where the characters supported one another and made sure to address their issues collectively.

Blanco’s world-building is phenomenal; there is a lot to take in initially as you get a feel for the magical woods. The author dedicates a reasonable amount of time to describing Ware Woods. Detail is paid to every nook and cranny, the homey feel of the families’ culture, providing readers with excellent visualization of what living there is supposed to be like, with or without the magic.

The characters’ dialogue is also note-worthy because they contribute to the important events in the story, no matter how easily a line can be overlooked. Getting Sara’s point of view during the process is also a great help for its readers because she was confused in the beginning and must receive the fast-paced information from everyone with comprehension.

This captivating fantasy novel is an excellent starting point for a new magical world, and I believe its readers will only crave more. Everything that has happened in Sara’s life was not a walk in the park, but to see her slowly begin to adapt to her surroundings and eventually love where she ends up, is an inspiration that goes beyond the pages. I recommend this to anyone who would like to detach themselves from reality but stay somehow grounded in humanity, for the book maintains a healthy middle ground between both.

Pages: 421 | ASIN : B09F5SDZ9L

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Silent Screams

Silent Screams by [Zachary Ryan]

Silent Screams by Zachary Ryan follows the lives of four high school friends forced to grow up due to a school shooting. Lane struggles with whether or not to come out to his friends while mourning the loss of his lover. Cass struggles to find someone to save her from her home life. Zachary deals with losing what she thinks makes her special. Ben finds his life of luxury torn away and struggles to figure out who he is without it. Being friends with the shooter, these four students battle with their own demons while attempting to cope with the guilt and responsibility they feel for their friend’s actions.

The raw emotion and authenticity of the characters is something that is outstanding in this book. I applaud Zachary Ryan for creating such imperfect characters that are so relatable. Each character deals with something different and grieves in a unique way. Each character, even background ones, go through so much character development and really grow up and learn how to trust and depend on each other. We get to see through each character’s eyes through point of view changes that happen each chapter. It’s refreshing in a way because you get to see into the heart of each of the four main characters and see their innermost secrets and insecurities. Silent Screams is a story about friendship, love, insecurities, trust, and the dangers of keeping secrets in for too long.

I enjoyed this book, but there were some times I had to reread a line because of a typo. There was also one background character who’s name was inconsistent, being Violet in some places and Valerie in others. However, this book is still thoroughly enjoyable.

Silent Screams was a roller-coaster of emotions from beginning to end. I am not ashamed to admit I cried a couple of times. This is the sort of book you pick up and can’t set down until you finished it. I’m not sure that I would class this as a feel good story but it ultimately leaves you feeling satisfied and rejuvenated.

Pages: 254 | ASIN: B08BK4DPN5

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A Sinister Combination of Joy and Pain

Alex C. Vick Author Interview

Alex C. Vick Author Interview

Breaking Magic takes place in a world where people are genetically engineered for jobs and no one is able to question their function in society. What was your goal when you started and how did it change as you were writing?

This question is interesting, because I’m not really a plotter. The details of each story tend to evolve as I’m writing, and in the case of Breaking Magic, things changed a lot. What the villain did to recreate the world of Imbera according to his own evil design was more complicated than I originally expected. It allowed me to be quite creative in terms of my protagonist’s journey. My goal was to show that everyone has unlimited potential – no matter what society tells them, or the obstacles they face. That did not change, but the story behind it certainly did!

The story follows Callax, one of the workers, as he struggles to overcome his predetermined life and learns more about the world. What was your inspiration for his character?

Callax is the storyteller, and he shares what he learns and the emotions he is feeling without much of a filter! He gets scared sometimes and he says the wrong thing as often as he says the right thing, but he’s brave and determined too. I wanted Cal to be someone the reader could relate to and care about.

In Breaking Magic the Opta are the ruling class and the Exta are the workers. What themes did you use to develop these two contrasting groups?

The overriding theme is the importance of hope, even in the face of the impossible odds that the Exta are facing. The Opta needed to appear invincible, so their leader, the Breaker, is an intelligent antagonist. The Exta are not allowed to grow up, they are engineered to be only fragments of their potential selves, and his magic uses a sinister combination of joy and pain to disorient them. Yet they never quite stop hoping, and this gives them the strength to fight.

How does this book fit into your Legacy of Androva series and what is next for Callax?

Breaking Magic was a great opportunity for me to take a minor character and bring him into the limelight in a standalone book. I expect that Cal will turn up again at some point, but for the sixth book I am writing Galen’s story. Galen is a seventeen-year-old Androvan magician from Seeking Magic, the third book in the series, who abandoned his world two thousand years ago for love of a Terran girl. I plan to return to the core series in the seventh book!

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Breaking Magic (The Legacy of Androva #5)

Callax is fifteen, and he already knows he won’t ever grow old. Twelve years after leaving the childstation he will be summoned to the Gathering, where life essences are taken by a deadly, irresistible spell. On his world, this is one of the many ways in which the Exta serve the Opta. His best hope is to avoid an early binding by staying out of trouble.

But in protecting his younger brother Benedar, he was noticed by the Breaker, the evil magician in charge of the Gathering. The closer Callax gets to the ruling house and the girl who lives there, the more he learns, and the greater the danger. A danger he might not understand until it is too late. Callax thinks the Breaker’s defeat will save him, but he is wrong.

Additional information: Although Breaking Magic is part of the Legacy of Androva series, it can also be read independently. If you have read Controlling Magic and want to know more about Imbera, Breaking Magic is Cal’s story. The book retells part of Controlling Magic from Cal’s point of view. Recommended for lower young adult.

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Breaking Magic

Breaking Magic (The Legacy of Androva #5)

Breaking Magic is the fifth book in the Legacy of Androva series. This emotional story takes place in the world of Imbera. The inhabitants are on an island and divided into two classes, the Opta and the Exta. The Opta are the ruling class, old, never aging, living a life of luxury. The Exta are the workers, made to work, sorted into units and worked to the bone until the age of eighteen when they are gathered by the Opta for nefarious purposes. For two thousand years, this has gone on. It is only when Cal starts remembering things that the world takes a dangerous turn.

In Breaking Magic, the story focuses on Callex who is a worker, in the lowest of the units, repairing roads and buildings, cleaning, and other hard labor. He cannot read or write, but he is physically strong. All the Exta’s are paired with an older child. Things start going astray in Imbera when Cal picks up his new little brother and discovers Benedar is a thinker, not a worker like him.

With the help of his friends Cal soon learns that everyone is genetically engineered to contain certain traits to make society function. When otherworlders appear in Imbera they learn of magic and spells and start to uncover their own pasts and hidden locked away parts of themselves. But with this new revelation comes a price and they must discover how to save their world.

Alex Vick creates a dramatic novel by expanding on Cal’s story in the Legacy of Androva series. Cal’s character slowly develops through the story, each new layer being pulled back as the story progresses, leaving you with a fascinating character in the end. The bond that is formed within the circle of friends brings the reader in and makes them a part of the group. You are on the edge of your seat waiting for the next clue so you can help Cal and his friends uncover the next missing piece of their world. Like the Exta’s, the reader learns more with each passing event. It’s all brought together with a compelling narrative that makes it difficult to put the book down. Breaking Magic is an entertaining and drawing novel for both young adult and adult readers, it will captivate you and give you hope for society. It shows that just because things are one way, doesn’t mean things can’t change, and just because your told your one thing, doesn’t mean you’re sentenced to always be that thing. Breaking Magic is a novel of hope and overcoming inner struggles and is a fantastic read.

Pages: 330 | ASIN: B071H5ZWDQ

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