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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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Power and Control

Author Interview
Tom Wade Author Interview

Bully Boy follows a teen boy who has been bullied and abused for years, now he decideds to fight back and get retribution for those that caused harm directly or indirectly. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My idea for Bully Boy basically came from watching the constant real-life stories of physical and verbal abuse still plaguing our school systems. This abuse is being given the reason for a lot of kids acting out emotionally and sometimes tragically through shootings and suicides. And I’m asking myself why is this still happening in 2022? This was going on when we were kids and seems to continue from generation to generation without end, mostly because the adults of each generation can’t seem to control the problem, which is very controllable. It is a problem, admittedly a complex one, that can be resolved. What happens a lot is that the adults blame the kids and the kids blame the adults. Many schools today are doing a better job today addressing the problem, but others are not. So, thinking of all this, I decided to write a story about it.

Are there any emotions or memories from your own life that you put into your character’s life?

I took a look back at my own school years, ages ago, when bullying was part of growing up and only addressed if something very serious happened. I wasn’t a victim as much as Henry Wilton was, but I remembered being a little bullied as a kid and seeing it as well and teachers not doing that much to stop it. But I also remember doing a little bullying, too. I think that’s normal growing up–getting bullied, doing some bullying. We all can take a little bullying. But it’s the constant, consistent harassment and belittling of one person or a group of people, daily, weekly, that leads to the emotional damage. And I find it hard to believe teachers and administrators don’t see some of that. I believe that after researching the subject and writing it for a while, my own anger about this ongoing problem worked its way into the writing.

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

Several important themes easily relate to this story. Power and control is certainly one of them. Who has the power and who doesn’t and how those dynamics work themselves throughout the school. We all know how that works, don’t we, and we never forget it and take it into adulthood. The themes of injustice and feigned ignorance are important in this story, as Henry tries desperately to bring some order to his life against people trying to avoid the real problem. The theme of how anger and rage can tear a kid apart. The theme of life and death is played out in the book, about how tenuous and uncertain both can be in the teenage mind. But, most important, accountability and responsibility. Who’s responsible and accountable for the abuse problems in a school system? Not just in a school, but the workplace, the home, and anywhere else.

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

Right now I’m in the planning stages of a novel, so nothing will be available for a while.

Author Links: GoodReads

Fifteen-year-old Henry Wilton has come to the end of his line. After years of harassment and humiliation, he now must change his young life quickly. He devises a plan that forces him to confront his debilitating fear and anxiety in order to defeat his enemies in school-not just the kids, but the adults who knew what was happening and did nothing to stop it. And he must fight this war alone. A story of growing courage, bitter retribution and final redemption, Bully Boy exposes the raw nature of school abuse, and human behavior, like few novels have done before.

The First Buds of Spring 

High schooler Azalea Wood leads a double life. By day, she is a mean popular girl. By night, she morphs into a lonely artist. Ever since her family perished in a car accident, Azalea feels lost and can’t seem to fit in with her group of friends. So she forgoes her role as the “alpha” female when she meets Bruce Green, a mysterious transfer. Bound by their mutual love or creating art, they find themselves falling in love. But as their relationship blossoms, Bruce’s veiled past worries Azalea. Who is Bruce, and what is he hiding from her?

Author Hermione Lee’s The First Buds of Spring is a beautifully written story with likable characters. Lee has done an outstanding job using language and sentence structure to build suspense and tension. You can’t help but be intrigued by the plot and characters. Lee’s descriptions of Azalea’s phony friends added substantially to the plot development and helped showcase how Azalea doesn’t fit in with their crowd.

The lighthearted, effortless dialogue between Bruce and Azalea contributes to their budding relationship and allows readers to fall in love with their love. Azalea’s dual identity is perfectly written as we see her character’s internal struggles to mask her loneliness and her need for someone to like the real her. I enjoyed watching Azalea’s character change and develop for the better throughout the story. Her character embodies what many teens feel in high school and how we put on a façade to hide who we really are out of fear. Lee’s writing shines in her character development, making this a relatable read and book that is hard to put down.

Lee has constructed a wildly entertaining love story with plenty of unexpected twists and turns. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy a fantasy YA novel that will take them on a whimsical adventure.

Pages: 311 | ASIN : B0B4MX4J9L

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Sofia Gama and the Templar’s Prophecy

From the country of Portugal comes a fresh new take on the genre of middle-grade fantasy. In the days of the Templars, heroes bravely sacrifice everything to seal away a deadly threat. But the forces of evil are not so easily extinguished. The insidious force remains, seeking to one day overthrow all that is good in the world.

Sofia Gama, a Portuguese schoolgirl in the modern day, soon learns that she is a part of this mysterious world of magic and mystery and will have her own part to play in saving the world from utter annihilation. However, when the truth of her story comes forward too quickly, Sofia must harness the strength within her spirit to do what is right and protect those she loves.

Translated from its original Portuguese, Sofia’s story is a fantasy adventure that thinks outside the box. A tale is woven over a thousand years of world events, the interplay of the fantastic and historical meld together perfectly. The historical information was, in most respects, correct. However, as this book was originally in another language, there are a few interestingly translated words throughout. Additionally, I was nearly a quarter of the way through the book before Sofia’s part of the story truly began.

Once the book takes off, it is a nonstop rollercoaster of an adventure. Sofia and her best friends Eduardo, Joana, and Filipe face dangerous magic, evil henchmen, and despicable bullies. The descriptions of the Portuguese coast and school life, something an American audience seldom gets to see, were the best moments of this story. Add that to the unique perspective of a magical world where there is no separation between the sacred and the secular, and you get an incredible adventure that’s as out of the box as it gets. From hardcore single dad Miguel to the spunky Joana, the characters in this narrative are as vibrant and memorable as the colors of the rainbow.

A tale of faith, family, and friendship, Sofia Gama and the Templar’s Prophecy by Isabel Ricardo is a thrilling young adult fantasy novel. This in-depth book is perfect for avid readers who crave something new and great for ages 12 and up due to fantasy violence, fatalities, and mild language. An original take on an established genre, Sofia’s story is packed full of surprises and suspense in a truly unforgettable story.

Pages: 417 | ISBN : 1949868605

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Bully Boy

From the very first pages of this thought-provoking young-adult novel author Tom Wade paints a vivid picture of a teenage boy cowed and made miserable by groups of bullies who have victimized him for years. From the first day of the school year, 15-year-old Henry struggles against a system that is determined to keep him down. He gathers the courage to stand up to his oppressors and find retribution, but at a high price to himself. In the end he must make the pivotal decision about his own future — take the ultimate peace that his friends chose or continue to fight.

Henry might be terrorized by bullies, but he has had enough. He begins to stand up to the kids who are violent and abusive as well as to the apathetic adults who are shockingly willing to turn a blind eye. These scenes are heart wrenching but feel authentic. He is a smart kid, and he knows exactly how to push everyone’s buttons, and I enjoyed how sharp his character is. Gradually, readers see Henry change from one of the “meeks” to the biggest bully of them all. He provokes fights to prove his point and he browbeats his teachers into taking action. His character evolution is compelling and makes for an engaging read.

Throughout this enthralling coming of age tale is a simmering undercurrent of menace that will have readers on the edge of their seat. Has the system that failed him created a monster? And, if so, just how big a monster? On more than one occasion, Henry’s musings imply that he has been pushed too far and, just like his nervous teachers, readers wonder if he is going to produce the gun he knows is kept in his father’s desk. The dialogue is another real strength of this book and is used to great effect to both tell the story and build character.

Bully Boy by Tom Wade is an eye opening read that explores contemporary issues in schools with a captivating main character. If you enjoy gripping teen fiction novels that have something important to say, then this is a book you must pickup.

Pages: 294 | ASIN: B0B1NTV8Z3

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Knights of the Alliance

Knights of the Alliance, by Stefanie Chu, is the story of some of the finest warriors throughout the Empires of Althaea, Minetta, and Valenia. The Empires are divided, but unity and peace may be one step closer with this new alliance. The main female character is Mirari Zanette, and at the beginning of the novel, she is an unknown warrior in combat with the Valiant Tiger. The Valiant Tiger is also known as the Region Leader of Althaea Main, Gaven, who shares a past with Mirari.

Both warriors have been entranced, and after engaging in a duel, Gaven has no recollection of who Mirari is or what he has done. Mirari can’t remember her actions during the fight, but her past memories are intact. Both warriors are asked to be a part of the Knights of the Alliance. Which causes some conflict in the beginning. Gaven still does not know who Mirari really is, but he slowly starts to trust and admire her.

The writing style in this imaginative book is excellent throughout. As a reader, you feel fully immersed in the story. The author uses a slow burn style to introduce the plot and let readers get to know the characters, they are left wanting to read more. The relationships between the characters are intricate, as well as their backstories. The relationship between Mirari and Gaven is my favorite to read. I really connected with their characters, and I wanted to learn more about them. The action in the story is well written, allowing the reader to feel as though they are alongside the characters. There are a lot of questions left unanswered in this exciting novel, readers will be looking forward to the next book in this trilogy.

Knights of the Alliance is a riveting young adult novel that teens will enjoy reading. This epic fantasy novel will also appeal to anyone who enjoys adventure, fantasy, and magic.

Pages: 412 | ASIN : B09JMNR5F4

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Rising Together 

Rising Together, by K.M Sparks and Christopher Cole, is the complex story of two young teens who are going through hardship and rely on one another. The main character, Tim, struggles with his home life and his best friend, Haze, helps him navigate his troubles.  

Tim is a young boy living in an abusive situation. His father is an alcoholic who verbally and physically abuses his family. Tim’s mother tells him and his brother to keep their situation a secret so that they are not separated. Keeping his home life a secret causes Tim to act out at school and get into trouble. His best friend, Haze, has a supportive family and excels in school. When Tim’s life turns upside down, Haze stands by his side and supports him through his transition.

Authors Sparks and Cole have a writing style that any reader would enjoy. The characters show substantial development throughout the book. Readers will enjoy watching the relationship between Tim and Haze grow into something more than best friends. Their relationship is one that teenage readers will be able to relate to.

The language in this contemporary novel is mature for the main characters only being twelve, but given their situations, growing up fast will have that impact. Developing independence at an early age is needed for Tim to survive the life he was dealt.

Rising Together is a compelling coming of age novel, with drama that will appeal to fans of young adult novels. This heartwarming book is a blend of hardships, friendship, and growing into oneself. If you like reading about a budding romance, taking a chance, and a light story then this heartfelt book is for you.

Pages: 172 | ASIN : B09L57CBQ2

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