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One Queen of an Ending is book three in Zachary Ryan’s The High School Queens Trilogy. The Johnson Prep friends and enemies are back for one last volume. Instead of enjoying easy, carefree days, these teens are at each other’s throats, at times almost literally. The book is full of high school drama that is reminiscent of the movie Heathers and Mean Girls with a bit of a Carrie-like twist.
If you think you have problems, this book will make you thankful for your likely mundane life in comparison. The characters have to deal with and/or create family drama, daddy issues, sex tapes, prostitution, tons of accusations, funerals, blackmail, and maybe even more murder. Parents even pit their kids against each other. I felt like absolutely no one felt trustworthy and no moment was peaceful in this fast-paced whirlwind of a read.
If a reader blushes easily or shies away from profanity and/or sexual situations, this book is probably not the best choice for them. But if vulgar words and sexual innuendo don’t bother you then you will find plenty of scandalous moments that will keep your interest piqued. The book also deals with LGBT issues along with other problems that young adults face through high school and into adult hood. One Queen of an Ending is a provocative conclusion to a trilogy, with its sexual and curse-peppered language, even though it has that classic high school feel; I think it’s safe to say that this novel is edgy at best and risque at worst; a step away from the CW channel and a step toward HBO.
The constant vulgarity and profanity was a bit of a turn off for me. I don’t usually mind it, but it seemed like it was every other word in some parts. Even though I understood its use for setting the tone and character, I think a little bit of restraint could have gone a long way with some of it.
One Queen of an Ending has good ideas and deep discourse on social issues facing young adults. I enjoyed the changes in narratives of the different characters because I was able to see the story from their perspective. Many twists in the story and interlacing of characters, punctuated by ‘oh-my-god’ moments makes this book an emotional roller coaster of an ending that is a must read for fans of the series and Zachary Ryan.
Pages: 226 | ASIN: B07WRF47PJ
In Crocotta’s Hackles we follow Lluava’s mission to uncover the truth about the Incarn and how that affects her future. What were some ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from the first two books?
Crocotta’s Hackles differs from the first two books in a number of ways. For example, both Issaura’s Claws and Ullr’s Fangs deal predominately with the Kingdom of Elysia’s human-oriented society who comprise the ruling class. The native Theriomorphs, a shapeshifting race, have been forced to assimilate into the human culture. Most Theriomorphs have altered their clothing, switched their religion, tweaked their names, and lost touch with the customs, social institutions, achievements, and arts of their own culture. In Crocotta’s Hackles, both readers as well as the main character, Lluava, discover what Theriomorph society was like before being conquered by humans. In a sense, I wanted to express the tragedy and loss of forcing a people to assimilate into another culture and lose their own in the process.
I also wanted to showcase women-in-power in a world that is primarily patriarchal. By the third book, readers are already familiar with Lluava’s warrior-type personality. In Crocotta’s Hackles, I introduce other strong women whose strengths might not be physical, but their gifts and talents are no less impressive. Other aspects that I wanted to flesh out were the interrelated concepts of the Incarn, prophecy, fate versus free will, and the ever-present questions of whether Theriomorph gods exist, and if so, do they care about their people? Lastly, I wanted to make it very clear that no race is entirely good or evil. There will always be individuals and subgroups that defy stereotypes.
I liked how you handled the point of view in Lluava’s dual form. How did you plan this part of the novel?
As a Theriomorph, Lluava Kargen’s point-of-view is intrinsically different from a human’s simply because of her birthright. All Theriomorphs are born with the ability to transform into an animal form, their dual form as they call it. They not only think and act like humans but also have innate abilities including hyperactive senses and instincts that is indicative of their animal nature.
Lluava’s dual form is a white tigress. Unlike humans, she has keener night vision, better hearing and sense of smell, and a sixth sense for oncoming danger. In this book, she struggles with a darker side of herself, and it appears to be a losing battle. When this aspect of her personality is triggered, she experiences a telltale alteration of vision, and the world appears in tints of blue and green—the colors that felines can see. If she succumbs to that darker side, she risks blacking out. When she loses control, the white tigress takes over, leaving bloodshed and carnage in its wake. Her fear of losing herself creates a dichotomy within her, and she does not know if she can ever trust herself in her animal form.
Fear of the “Beast”, as well as the “monster within”, has existed for centuries. From werewolves and vampires to the terror of Jaws and serial killers, the phobia of bloodthirsty beasts and losing oneself to a darkness persists in many forms. I wanted to fuse these fears with Lluava’s more-than-human viewpoint previously established in the earlier books. This was an entertaining and unnerving concept to play with and explore.
There is an exceptional cast of characters in this book. Who did you enjoy writing the most?
Although I always enjoy writing Lluava, in this book, my favorite character to write was High Priestess Yena. She is very complex. Driven to do right by her people and the gods in which she believes, Yena is fierce, regal, mysterious and a dark beauty. She is a powerhouse; beware any human or Theriomorph who stands in her way. Her seeming ability to know what is to come gives her an exceptional advantage and her unshakable faith kindles her inner fire. I can still hear her sharp keel of laughter even though I have moved onto other projects. Yena will always be by my side for better or worse.
What can readers expect in book four, Giahem’s Talons?
The final book, Giahem’s Talons, chronicles the last stand for the Elysians as they struggle to fend off those that wish to destroy their kingdom. Readers will learn more about the mysterious Obsidian Guard, experience some of the power of the Incarn, discover the Raiders’ true leader, and mourn the loss of those that fall in the midst of battle. War is dark and dismal for all sides, and this book does not shy away from that hard truth.
“According to legend, when the world was young, Crocotta, Queen of the Gods, discovered her mate’s faithlessness. She vowed to prevent future threats to all matrimonial pacts henceforward, but for her it was too late. The child born from the illicit coupling was a warrior goddess—one whom Crocotta would seek to destroy throughout eternity. Now that the Raiders’ elite army is threatening the kingdom of Elysia’s northern borders, seventeen-year-old Lluava must leave the familiarity and safety of her native land to venture into the wilderness. Her mission is to discover others like her who will come to Elysia’s aid; her hope is to unravel the secrets behind what it means to be Incarn. But what she finds could destroy everything.”
An award-winning unput-downable tale of two children building a boat from a log they find buried in the sand and sailing off to far-off fantastic lands in a stormy sea-driven adventure with their faithful – but accident-prone – dog Holly. There they learn much wisdom from a king who, like God, has many names’. After an incredible sacrifice of his dearest dream by the boy (now growing up) they return – another dream – to a family tea with their loved ones. The tale is a prequel and companion to Ruth Finnegan’s award-winning epic romance ‘Black inked pearl’, here adapted for preteens but characterised by (in a simpler form) the same unique dream-like and enchanted style as in the original novel.
Remember, No Matter What; Chin UP, Tits Out by Miranda Oh centers around an 18 year-old girl named Hadley Hope McLeary. The story begins with Hadley working at a fair in Winnipeg, Canada. She meets a handsome boy named Riaan who is from Africa. They fall in love but when the fair comes to an end, he has to continue traveling to other fairs until going back to his country. Devastated from being apart, they do their best to have a long distance relationship. They plan to find Riaan a working visa to enter Canada again, but it is a long and difficult task. They do everything they can to be together, but will they manage to get the visa? Can their love withstand the long months apart?
The authors uniquely positive attitude towards life shines through in the tone and style of this fun romance novel. The writing style is absorbing and easy flowing, which for me, is starkly different from many romance novels in the genre. Miranda Oh uses colloquial vocabulary, not the typical punctuated dialogue, that adds depth to both the characters and the story. I felt like this would be a fabulous Rom-Com movie; a feel good roller-coaster of emotion.
The plot is positively campy and the emotion is genuine and deep, but I felt that the the pace was a little fast. Many events happen quickly without giving me a moment to contemplate what just happened or guess what might happen next; but this is a personal preference.
Hadley and Riaan are exceptional and well developed characters, but I felt that I knew a lot about Hadley and not so much about Riaan. Their families come up every now and again but I would have liked more background on their families; mostly because I wanted to see how Miranda Oh’s amusing perspective would have portrayed them.
All in all, this is a very enjoyable romance novel that was difficult to put down. This is a perfect read for the weekend. I look forward to reading the second book in this series. I highly recommend reading this beautiful romance story.
Pages: 77 | ASIN: B01BQ8RJ9Y
‘Darrienia: A Fantasy Adventure (Forgotten Legacies Book 1)’ is a perfect novel for readers who love fantasy and young adult fiction. The mild action in the book, great characterization, and swift development of the plot are some of the features that made the reading experience worthwhile. The reader is taken on an expansive adventure where only Elly knows the destination.
K.J. Simmill’s style of describing events paints vivid pictures for the reader to visualize the story. I love how bravery emerged from some unexpected characters. We’re introduced to Elly at the start of the book. She has lived many lives and has been through numerous experiences in her life. One of the most memorable things she had accomplished was to assist Marise, the aggressive assassin she had trained. I liked Elly because she seemed sharp and smarter than most.
I like how diverse K.J. Simmill’s characters are. They gradually, and unexpectedly, gain layers to their personality as their rousing journey continues and their backstories unfold. Acha, Daniel, and Eiji are extraordinary and play unique roles in the group. Elly and Zo stood out to me because, although they seemed similar in many ways, their interactions were consistently engaging and was something I always looked forward to. The mystery behind Zo’s secret was compelling. How can one not know that they have a dark secret?
‘Darrienia: A Fantasy Adventure (Forgotten Legacies Book 1)’ is an engrossing story with a remarkable cast of characters that inhabit an intriguing world. Love and friendship motivate the characters, but the mystery inherent in the story line is what kept me frantically flipping pages.
Pages: 744 | ASIN: B013ETP0RG
The world was chaos. War has torn apart the country, politics and families. With the Dominion taking over, 15-year old Willow and her family flee to safety in the west.
She has been raised as a member of the Crows, rebels who fought against the Dominion, a group now scattered across the country, to heal, plan and regroup.
Willow, along with her brother Brice, are continuing their training as warriors in their remote mountain hideout. As time passes, Willow’s strengths and talents promise to launch her quickly into leadership of the rebel faction. But will the jealousy of others threaten the very life she’s been groomed to live?
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A Players Path follows a young athlete as he struggles to live up to his fathers dream after he passes away. What were some of your driving motivations while writing this book?
Well, I was asked by my publisher to write a sports-themed YA novel. And I was already planning on writing a story that involves kidney donation. I myself am a living kidney donor so this topic means a lot to me.
Andy is an interesting and well developed character. What were some ideas that drove his character development throughout the novel?
I basically tried to remember myself as a teen and how I may have talked or reacted to certain situations and I let the character develop himself during the writing.
This book dealt with issues like grief and loss. What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Like I mentioned before, I’m a living donor, I donated my kidney back in 2012, so organ donation and awareness is big to me. I wanted to bring that awareness while hopefully bringing an entertaining story to the reader.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m working on a bunch of projects but one of them is a time-traveling story that involves a historical event. I’m pretty excited about this story and as of now, there is no release date.
Fourteen-year-old football phenom Andy McDonald was supposed to dominate high school football. Yet, just before the school year started, Andy’s family suffered a tragedy. His father, Jerry McDonald, was involved in a car crash on his way home from work… He did not make it.
The doctor in charge of organ transplants, Doctor Yang, wanted to transplant Jerry’s kidneys into two people who needed a kidney. Since Jerry registered himself as an organ donor, this was possible. Before taking Jerry’s kidneys, Doctor Yang wanted to get approval from the family. Andy’s mother wanted her son to make the final decision. Now facing a decision that would confirm the loss of his father (in his mind), Andy would soon find out this decision would not be the biggest of his life…