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Missed Calls

In Missed Calls by author Zachary Ryan, Cheyenne and Vanessa have been friends for nearly their entire lives. Although life’s circumstances have taken them in different directions, their friendship remains. While both friends appear to have it perfect on the outside, Cheyenne and Vanessa envy what the other has. Cheyenne longs for a family and stability, while Vanessa feels as if she had settled when she gave up her dreams of becoming a dancer. Full of emotion and heartache, Vanessa and Cheyenne have to learn that everybody comes with their own baggage, and sometimes the person who seems to have it all just needs a friend to lean on.

Author Zachary Ryan has done an excellent job of expressing the emotions of his characters. As a reader, I could empathize with Cheyenne and what he was going through in life, feeling as if he’s never been enough in his relationships. He really did keep getting one raw deal after another, although he did bring some of it on himself. Still, although he was full of drama, he was very likable.

Cheyenne and Vanessa’s relationship was one that I feel many people can relate to. They’ve been friends since childhood, high school, and adulthood. So, the ups and downs they face are realistic, as is the lingering question of whether they are still really that close or holding on to the nostalgia they once shared. 

I had mixed feelings about Skylar’s character. At first glance, she appears to be a villain and is rather dislikable. However, upon further inspection, I can sympathize with her in a way. How many of us can honestly say that we’ve never acted irrationally out of fear of losing somebody important to us? Skylar was just reacting the best way she knew how, even if it came off in a negative light.

One aspect that I enjoyed was the flashbacks that Vanessa and Cheyenne had. It shed light on each of their backstories and why they are the way they are. Both had suffered their own traumas along the way but felt they were alone in dealing with them. Part of their problems stemmed from just not being completely honest about their past. Readers will enjoy seeing the characters grow and learn along the way.

Missed Calls is a heartwarming family life fiction novel that focuses on friendship and the struggles that can build over time. This is the kind of lighthearted story you want to take with you on vacation and just relax as you follow the characters through their own self-discovery.

Pages: 268 | ASIN : B09SM2Y6TJ

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My COVID Story

Zachary Ryan
Zachary Ryan Author Interview

Camp Afterlife follows a teen who overdoses and ends up at a camp that gives him one last opportunity to find peace before moving on. How did you come up with the idea for the camp in this story?

Honestly, it was my Covid story. I had been hospitalized with Covid right when the pandemic happened. Everyone said I should write a Covid novel, but I didn’t want to. I liked the idea of when you die that you go to camp. It made me happy to believe that is what could happen. It gave me some comfort with the afterlife.

What were some emotional obstacles you felt were important for Gus to face in this story?

I think the biggest issue was that everyone isn’t out to get him. I felt like he felt so alone in the world and no one cared for him. I wanted Gus to figure out that he had people in his life that truly loved and cared for him.

What is a common misconception you feel people have about loss and grief?

I think that it goes away with time. I lost my brother twelve years ago to suicide, and those emotions never really go away. You just learn to deal with it. That was why I loved the dynamic of the brothers.

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

My next novel is called Missed Calls. It will be out in February. It’s about the rise and fall of a friendship over the years and how politics can ruin friendships sometimes.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

Camp After life is a place for the lost, broken souls to find peace with their damaged lives before they walked through the door to Heaven. Gus dealing with the death of his brother and his relationship crumbling, came to this camp with way too many scars on his heart.

Meeting kindred souls like himself, Gus began to heal at Camp Afterlife. All thanks to his friends and blossoming relationship with Luis. This makes him pause, were Gus’s best days actually the ones after he took his final breath? Or will the guilt of his mistakes during his life going to cause him to self-destruct once more?

Camp Afterlife

Camp Afterlife by [Zachary Ryan]

Camp Afterlife by Zachary Ryan offers a new twist on an age-old question! Gus’s teenage years haven’t been easy; the loss of his brother and the demise of his relationship leaves him in a downward spiral. The spiral comes to a sudden halt when Gus wakes up near a summer camp, where he learns he has passed away from a drug overdose. Camp Afterlife is where troubled souls like his go-to reconcile and come to terms with their life and passing. Will Gus be able to let go and have peace?

If I could use one word to describe Camp Afterlife by Zachary Ryan, it would be innovative. Let me delve deeper into why that is. For starters, I appreciated the stylistic touch of using song titles as chapter titles. It helps immerse the reader between the author’s fictional world and our own. If you have the time, I highly recommend listening to the songs as you read along. It adds Ryan’s personal touch to your overall reading experience. Bonus, the songs are actually good. The author has incredible taste in music. Secondly, I enjoy the beautiful but simplistic writing style. I feel that Ryan truly captured the essence of his teenage characters and had a firm understanding of how they talk and interact. It was refreshing. Oftentimes, when adult authors write younger characters, it is evident that they are far removed from the generation. But Ryan was flawless in his approach. The story was also super easy to follow. Despite the beautiful writing style, Ryan did not fill up sentences with fluffy poetical adjectives. It made the story easy to follow without skipping over any crucial details. I never had to reread a sentence to grasp what it was saying. And last but not least, the story was fast-paced and never dull. I read the book in a little less than three days. Although the subject matter could be heavy at times, I still had a relaxing reading experience. It was a much-needed break from this very busy season.

If you are looking for a relaxing but thought-provoking read all-in-one, you need to check out Camp Afterlife by Zachary Ryan. I do not have a single complaint about this book and give it a glowing five out of five stars. Now go and add Camp Afterlife by Zachary Ryan to your bookish wish list!

Pages: 235 | ASIN: B09JGVQDQ3

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I Really Love Tragic Stories

Zachary Ryan Author Interview
Zachary Ryan Author Interview

Playlist follows two people with a tragic past that help each other heal and find a way forward. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Romeo and Juliet were the biggest inspiration for this novel. I really love tragic stories, and I wanted there to be some beauty in it. I wanted this novel to matter.

Your characters are wonderfully emotive and relatable. Were you able to use anything from your own life to inform their character development?

I always will add an Easter egg or two of my own life into a novel. But honestly, I create this characters from so where in my brain, and I follow them around. I find out things they do as the reader does too.

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

Love, lost, self-worth, and how to work on overcoming tragedy. I think we all can easily get consumed into the darkness. I wanted to make sure people could
Come out of it.

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

I have a book coming out called Camp Afterlife. It’s another coming of age LGBT novel. It will be out October.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

Music had always gotten Sarabeth through the struggles of her life. When she sat behind a piano, it was her at her purest form. Too many tragedies caused the once overused piano keys to collect dust. She was no longer the singing canary that her father always called her.Sarabeth didn’t know if she would ever be able to use her voice again, but then came Logan, who sat next to her in their English seminar; the cocky guy with his own fair share of tragedies that he was trying to run away from. Can these two help each other break free of the scars that imprisoned them, or would they end up like Romeo and Juliet?

Playlist

Playlist by [Zachary Ryan]

Zachary Ryan’s book, Playlist, is both heartwarming and sad. It follows the life of Sarabeth Bryant as she navigates college after the death of her father. Apart from her grief, Sarahbeth struggles with nightmares about an assault she is not sure happened. Yet amid all this chaos, she nurtures supportive friendships and even manages to meet someone she thinks could be the one.

Like all protagonists, Sarabeth endures great adversity, and at some point, we even think she won’t make it. But somehow, though scarred, she pulls through, even in the face of shocking plot twists. To call her story tragic is an understatement – it is truly gut-wrenching.

And since it is told from her perspective, it is hard not to get entangled in all the emotions of the book. In this regard, the author does a good job of making it personal and relatable, even if the dialogue sometimes isn’t. Some of the characters exude a coherence and clarity that you don’t expect from someone who has just experienced major trauma.

This is a potent and emotional contemporary coming of age romance novel with an ending that is not at all predictable. The author goes to great lengths to develop and deliver poignant and stirring themes. He particularly puts a lot of emphasis on grief, identity, self-worth, and healing. As such, the characters in this book are fully fleshed out individuals who battle with their demons and try their best to choose themselves.

This is quite refreshing considering that most authors usually follow a unidimensional approach to their character development, refusing to acknowledge that both light and darkness can exist in the same person. Using this multidimensional approach allows the author to create real, complex characters that anyone can relate to. It also makes the story more beautiful and validating. Interestingly, the author pairs this depth with a light writing style that makes the story easy to read. A lot happens in just 200 pages yet you don’t feel overloaded with information. Playlist is a passionate ballad of the heartache we all feel.

Pages: 207 | ASIN: B093YGMH97

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Everyone Had Tragedy

Zachary Ryan Author Interview
Zachary Ryan Author Interview

Cutthroat Cheerleader follows a bully who dies and is given the chance to look back at how her life affected the people around her. How long did you have the idea for this novel and what made you decide to start writing?

I had the idea kind of come forward while I was writing High School Queens. I have really loved this campy caddy novels, but I really wanted to add murder to it. With covid happening, I’ve had a bunch of time to write. I just really didn’t want to write a depressing novel while our world is a huge dumpster fire right now.

What were some ideas that informed Madison’s revelations throughout the story?

I think her seeing everyone’s life behind closed doors. What I always add to my novels is the theme, don’t judge a book by its cover. I feel like we all have our own struggles, and we don’t really know what someone’s going through unless we look behind all the closed doors. She realized everyone had tragedy, and I hurt a lot of people along the way. She made Mark be two different guys, and she made Chad be the stereotypical jock. These two were unhappy because they were playing the same game book as Madison to survive high school.

What scene from the book was the most challenging for you to write?

I think for me it was the plot twist when you realized one of the characters wasn’t crazy, and it had to be when the murderer was revealed. I think both I wanted to live up to the hype that I created in the novel.

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

I’m working on a book called Playlist. I have wanted to write this novel for honestly over ten years. It’s a love story between two characters and my love for my music. It should be out in the summer. I’m just having too much fun with Cutthroat that I’m not ready to publish just yet another novel.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

In the sleepy town of Townsend, Washington, there was an act so gruesome that no one would ever be the same. What heinous crime do I speak of? Skylar Torres thinking she could pull off a crop top with that pudgy body of hers. Oh, did you think I was going to say my murder. Well, I thought it was more sensational than anything else, but the real scandal was who killed me and why.

You should already know my name since it was on everyone’s lips once they found me with my throat ripped out. People thought they should have only feared me, but the Liberty Lion’s cheer squad knew one thing, hunt or be hunted.

No one’s hands were truly clean from all the dirt and blood on them. Be safe, watch your back and always remember, Happy Hunting.

Love
Madison Taylor

Cutthroat Cheerleader

Cutthroat Cheerleader by [Zachary Ryan]

Madison paid the ultimate price for her attitude, her controlling behavior, and her desire to rule the school. As a cheerleader and bully extraordinaire, she has taken her last breath–but only one person in her life knows the truth. And it isn’t Madison. Watching over everyone she has left behind, Madison faces some hard facts about the life she led, the friends she let down, and the persona she regrets having carried all these years. Things are not what they seem in her high school and, whether she is ready for it or not, it just might be Madison’s responsibility to put a stop to the killings that only she can see coming.

Cutthroat Cheerleader, by Zachary Ryan, is a young adult thriller featuring Madison Taylor as the victim of murder and the narrator of her own story. Ryan has created a unique take on the omniscient point-of-view and given his main character free reign to come and go in the lives of those she left behind. Serving as a modern-day Ebenezer Scrooge-type character, Madison quickly learns exactly what she meant to the people she believed were her friends and sees, in no uncertain terms, exactly how much pain she created as she ruled the school with an iron fist.

One of the most unique aspects of Madison’s story is the process whereby she learns as much about herself as she does those she watches from afar. Her spirit, though still rough and tumble, is broken at the thought of leaving her family and friends hurting and in need. Hers is a long road of discovering everything she left unsaid prior to her death.

Ryan includes some truly breathtaking lines at the close of almost every chapter. He seriously knows how to deliver a punch that incenses readers and keeps them coming back for more. Leaving readers with that “just one more chapter” feeling time and time again, Ryan has created a book most readers will find easy to read cover-to-cover.

While I enjoyed this book, Ryan’s work is filled with vulgarity. It’s not for the faint of heart and may offend some readers who prefer much less explicit language especially when it comes to the interactions of young adults.

Cutthroat Cheerleader has a unique storyline and point-of-view that makes this one of the more captivating books I have read this year.

Pages: 352 | ASIN: B08LR1TQ3P

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To Move Past All The Hurt

Zachary Ryan Author Interview
Zachary Ryan Author Interview

Silent Screams follows four friends in the aftermath of a school shooting that unravels secrets and relationships. What was the inspiration for the idea behind this compelling story?

It came from a song called Prom Queen by Katie Turner. She has a line about a audience that was never meant for me. It was where the idea for Zachary came to be. It was also my 50th novel that I wrote. I wanted to add elements from each of the first 49 in there.

We really get to dive deep into each unique character in the story. Who was your favorite character to write for?

Honestly, it was Cass. I just had such love for her. I wanted so much for her to be strong and be able to move past all the hurt she had to deal with. I just honestly don’t know how she handled that situation. You find out your boyfriend is cheating on you, and you can’t hate her because she lost her life from one of your best friend’s actions. Then on top of that Jarele was a good guy. He helped Cass through so much. It was hard for Cass to hate Jarele. I just was impressed by her strength and where she ended up.

In this story we get to explore how families and relationships are all different and complex. What were some themes you wanted to capture within them?

Honestly, that everyone goes through some hardships in their life. I also wanted to go through this idea that no one is a full villain or victim. With Gabe each person viewed Gabe in such a different way, and I really wanted to portray that. My theme for all my novels is make sure to not judge someone because you don’t know what’s behind someone’s closed doors.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available
I’m working on a campy book. It’s a lot like my High Schools Queen trilogy. It’s called Cutthroat Cheerleader. It’s sassy, campy, and a murder mystery too. It will be out actually in October.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

For a group of friends, one mistake changed the course of their lives forever.
In the aftermath of a tragic school shooting, the group must find their own form of justice and a way to begin healing from a wound that just won’t stop hurting.
For them, the lines were drawn.
Right and wrong became blurred.
Friends became enemies.
Told from the perspective of four friends, we learn how one student’s revenge reigned terror over a school and a community– causing secrets to unfold and relationships to be tested.
A compelling and powerful story about a school shooting. A must read.
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