Friday, September 24, 2021

[203 - ENG] Review: Real Warriors - Maggie Blackbird ||+ Series Tour and Interview||

Series: When We Were Young
Volume: 4/4
Publisher: Extasy Books
Genre/s: New Adult, multicultural, contemporary, LGBT romance
Length: 77 760 words
Pages: 273 pages

Read in: English
Review copy format: epub

The courage of a warrior is a must on their new path, or they’ll never grasp their happily ever after.


Just when eighteen-year-old Billy Redsky believes he’s holding his happily ever after in the palm of his hand, he must practice what he’s learned in ceremony to face two more tests—share with the world his love for René, and let go of the past.

But that’s not so easy. René is terrified of exposing their secret to anyone but his family. As for Billy’s brother, he has no intention of changing his criminal ways.

Only a miracle can help Billy reach his final destination on the “red road” his Ojibway ancestors once walked. For his dream to come true, he must look deep inside himself and trust the creator he follows.

"Real Warriors" is the fourth volume in the "When We Were Young" series by Maggie Blackbird, one of YA's best and most ambitious series. The author once again showed us that she understands young people, their problems and is able to perfectly create young characters whose experiences, emotions and problems are a good reflection of what young people are struggling with in the real world. It should be mentioned that although Billy and René belong to the Ojibway tribe, many of their problems are very universal, which will allow each reader to see themselves in them. In this case, the "red road" Billy follows and the one chosen by René are also of great importance. After all, each of us has to decide sooner or later whether we want to follow the path of our ancestors, or whether we prefer to choose some other path. Some of these roads will be more demanding than others, more or less fair, open to people and their differences.

I think in this volume one of the really important and worth writing about topics is René's fear of revealing his feelings for Billy to people outside of his family. After all, when you overcome the first obstacle on the path to complete honesty with yourself and the world - that is, telling your family the truth about your feelings towards another person - it is time to come out of hiding and show your true self to others, to the world. And this is what can be the most stressful and difficult. After all, we can never be sure whether people will welcome us with open arms, and this is undoubtedly stressful. Especially when we can lose someone we care about or something we've worked hard for. Honesty with the world is like Russian roulette and not everyone wants to take part in it. However, René has no choice as he is put in a very difficult position, because his fear stands in the way of Billy's "red road". All those things make René's dilemmas really valuable for the readers, regardless of their age.

In "Real Warriors" the theme of Billy's family returns once again, which still constitutes a very important element of this novel and its value. Our hero has already broken out of the very difficult family situation he was in, and "came out of the closet" as a child from a pathological family. But now he has to come to terms with the past that he can't change, but which has changed him. If we analyze all the emotions we feel, we can easily come to the conclusion that the most vivid and difficult to forget are those with negative overtones, such as anger or even hatred, bitterness, a sense of betrayal. No wonder Billy finds it quite a challenge to come to terms with what has happened to him. Especially when the person guilty of his misfortune is not going to change. I think that today, when this world is so full of hate and lacks empathy, Billy's case will be even more important to the readers. After all, we can be hurt not only by the family, but also by friends from class, school or neighborhood, but this does not make it easier to forgive, forget, and live on.

To sum up, "Real Warriors" is another great, intelligent volume in this great series, which I really highly recommend to everyone, especially young adults. This novel is not only interesting to read, but it's also filled with important topics, substantial message and it's a signpost for those who will find a piece of themselves in the main characters of the series. In short, I highly recommend "Real Warriors" to you. You just have to read this story.


Here's some more about:

When We Were Young series by Maggie Blackbird

  I thought I saved you, but maybe you saved me too.

Series Blurb

 At their Ojibway community, Billy Redsky, a drug-dealing punk, and René Oshawee, the chief’s haughty son, must walk the “red road” to finally confront their biggest fears:  conquering the self-imposed obstacles in their path, if they are to have what they long for above anything else—to finally be together.

The stories need to be read in order.  None of the books are standalones.



Book Title: Real Warriors

Author: Maggie Blackbird

Publisher: Extasy Books

Length: 77 760 words/273 pages

Release Date:  August 13, 2021

Genres: New Adult, multicultural, contemporary, LGBT romance

Tropes: First Time, Embracing Your Culture,

Themes: Coming out, coming of age, forgiveness

Heat Rating: 3 flames


Read an excerpt from Real Warriors here

Buy Links  

Extasy Books 

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK  |   Amazon CA  |  Amazon AU

Kobo  |   Barnes and Noble  |  iBooks  |  Google Play


There's 40% off Maggie's Backlist right now,
including Two Princes, Toy Soldiers, and Knight Moves.


Book Title: Knight Moves

Publisher: Extasy Books

Length:  75,000 words/269 pages

Release Date: April 16, 2021

Genre/s: Young Adult, New Adult, multicultural, contemporary, LGBT romance

Trope/s: Break His Heart to Save Him; Long Distance Love’ Tortured Heroes; Family Disapproval; Friends to lovers

Themes: Coming out, coming of age, forgiveness

Heat Rating: 2 flames


Although they’re torn apart, they still hold a piece of each other’s heart.


After receiving his grade twelve diploma and marking his eighteenth birthday, René Oshawee cannot fight the temptation seventeen-year-old high school junior Billy Redsky blatantly offers now that what they share has become taboo.

When their secret romance is blown into the open, Billy’s foster parents send René to Toronto to complete the last of his schooling under the supervision of a family friend, leaving Billy behind at their Ojibway community.

Now Billy and René must make the biggest decision of their lives—fight for the true love they know they’ll never find with anyone else, or go their separate ways.

Buy Links

Extasy Books

Amazon US  |   Amazon CA  |   Amazon UK  |   Amazon AU

Kobo  |   Barnes and Noble  |   iBooks  |   Google Play 


Book Title: Toy Soldiers

Publisher: Extasy Books

Cover Artist: Martine Jardin

Length:  70,349 words/244 pages

Release Date:  October 2, 2020

Genres: Young Adult, multicultural, contemporary, LGBT romance

Tropes: Friends to Lovers; Forbidden Love; First Love; Betrayal

Themes: Coming of age, self-discovery

Heat Rating: 1 flame


Once a thief, always a thief, and if he can’t win the heart of the boy he loves, he’ll steal it.


Billy Redsky’s made one of his biggest dreams come true, but there’s a problem. Even though the boy he loves is mere footsteps across the hall from his bedroom, they might as well live a country apart because claiming René Oshawee’s heart is more difficult than Billy anticipates.

Much to Billy’s disgust, René can’t accept his true self, so he’s incapable of loving someone else. And all he cares about is living a life the chief and his wife foresee for their youngest son.

If Billy is to finally have what he truly desires, he must stop René from running away from who he really is and face the man in the mirror, or what they share will never blossom into true love.

Buy Links 

Extasy Books  

Amazon US |  Amazon CA |  Amazon UK | Amazon AU

Kobo  |  B&N |   iBooks  |  Google Play | Smashwords 


Book Title: Two Princes

Author:  Maggie Blackbird

Publisher:  Extasy Books

Cover Artist:  Martine Jardin

Length: 67 345  words/235 pages

Release Date:  Friday, June 12, 2020

Genres: Young Adult, multicultural, contemporary, LGBT romance

Tropes: Rich boy, poor boy; Popular boy, outcast; musician and artist

Heat Rating: 1 flame

Themes: Coming of age, self-discovery


To win over the chief’s haughty son, a drug-dealing punk from a dysfunctional family must risk the only two things he has: his reputation and freedom.


Billy Redsky, a rebellious punk who loves art and nature, is saddled with a welfare-leeching, alcoholic mother and criminal older brother who are the joke of their Ojibway community. Sick and tired of being perceived as a loser, Billy deals drugs for his older brother to earn quick money. He hopes if he buys a dirt bike, he’ll finally impress the chief’s popular and aloof son, René Oshawee.

When the two are forced to serve detention together, a friendship blooms, but much to Billy’s frustration, René keeps putting him on ice. To make his biggest dream come true if he finally wants to call René his own, Billy must make a huge decision that could cost him everything.

Buy Links

Extasy Books

Amazon US  |  Amazon CA  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon AU 

    Kobo  |  B&N  |  Apple |  Google Play |  BookStrand  

About the Author

An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes.  When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.

Author Links

 Web Site  |  Facebook Page  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads 

BookBub  |  Linked In |  Amazon Author Page 

eXtasy Books Author Page  |  Newsletter Sign-Up


When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer? 
Maggie:  There was no set time or day when I decided I wanted to write.  It’s simply something I always did to amuse myself.  Let’s put it this way.  I couldn’t keep playing with Barbie dolls into adulthood, so I started making up stories on pen and paper LOL.

How many books have you written? 
Maggie:  Do you mean published or simply written LOL?  Because if I go with unpublished—LOTS.  If I go with published, eight novels and six short stories, and in edits with another that is due out with eXtasy Books on October 29, 2021.

How long does it usually take you to write a book? 
Maggie:  Do you mean a full book, edits and all?  Or a fast draft?  For fast drafting, it depends on the word count, but if it’s around 50 to 70k, usually a month, and that’s no edits.  Just what I call “muck”—what I refer to as a finished product that now requires tons of TLC to become a novel worthy of publication.

How did you come up with the idea for your book? 
Maggie:  Y’know, I get inspiration from everywhere, I’m talking TV shows and songs to headlines or everyday news.

Who are your favorite authors? 
Maggie:  Richard Wagamese, Basil Johnston, Johanna Lindsey, and Rosanne Bittner.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 
Maggie:  Description has always been a toughie for me.  And action scenes with fights, etc.

Where is your favorite place to write? 
Maggie:  My desktop in my supposed home office or on the sofa with my laptop.

When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?
Maggie:  Seven times out of ten, I know who they are and just need a story for them.  If it’s the other way around where I have the idea and need characters, they develop and tell me who they are as I draft.  I find developing them as I go is tougher.

Do you aim for a set number of words/pages per day? 
Maggie:  I sure do.  When I’m in fast-draft mode, my goal is to get the “muck” written as fast as possible.

What is the hardest thing about writing? 
Maggie:  Edits.  The fast draft is done and now I must make that book into something my publisher will give a nod of approval to, and something readers will enjoy.

What is the easiest thing about writing? 
Maggie:  Honestly, if it’s not for the public eye, writing is easy haha.  As for the easy part, it’s fast drafting for me.  It’s easy to create muck.

Do you use images to develop your character’s looks?
Maggie:  No.  Nine times out of ten they live in my head, so I have to search for images that resemble who I have in mind.  Like the When We Were Young series, I had to find images for Billy and René. 

Are your characters based on people you know? 
Maggie:  No.  They are purely fiction.

Do you use your experiences in your books? 
Maggie:  Of course.  There are always hidden experiences in my books.

Do you ever get writer’s block? 
Maggie:  Not yet.  I’m pretty disciplined when it comes to sitting down at my computer and banging out my “muck” for the day.  Keep your fingers crossed for me that I don’t hit a wall!  LOL.

What do you think makes a good story? 
Maggie:  This is so subjective, but for me, it’s the characters.  If I don’t care for the characters, I won’t care for the story, no matter how well-written.

Does writing energize or exhaust you? 
Maggie:  Writing energizes me.  Writing-related work (marketing, promotion, etc.) is exhausting.

What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author? 
Maggie:  Having my father reading my books up until he passed away in July.  He never had the chance to read Real Warriors and see the When We Were Young series come to an end.

What do your friends and family think about you being a writer? 
Maggie:  They’re very supportive…once that cat got out of the bag!  Haha.  I use a penname for privacy purposes and to honour my grandmothers.  Then my mother and sister let others know who Maggie Blackbird is LOL.  But it’s all good.

What do you do when you’re not writing? 
Maggie:  Golf.  Watch golf.  Walk.  Exercise.  Bake.  Yard work.  Visit family.  See friends.

Do you like music or silence when your write? Do you outline or do you just write? 
Maggie:  It doesn’t matter.  I can write through a party.

Do you prefer pen and paper or computer? 
Maggie:  Computer.

Do you write as routine or do you write when you feel like it? 
Maggie:  Routine.  Word count is important to me and keeping a schedule.

What do you love best about your current book? 
Maggie:  That I can move on to the next series!  No, kidding LOL.  I don’t know how to answer this question other than I never had such pleasure in writing a series as I did with Billy and René.

What is your next project?
Maggie:  It’s a time travel historical romance called Born for This for my new Maizmerized series.  Born for This, book one, will drop on October 29, 2021.  There will be two more novels following.  I’m also in the middle of fast drafting a contemporary romance tentatively titled His Proposition.

Thank you.


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1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much for hosting me. And thank you very much for the kind review. I'm glad you enjoyed the final book and the whole series. :)