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Real Warriors by Maggie Blackbird & We Were Young series Tour : Guest Post : Review : Giveaway

Book Info

Author:
Series Type:
Interlinked
Number In Series:
4
Publisher:
Extasy Books
Published:
13 August 2021
Formats
Book Type
Words:
77,760
Pages:
273
Heat Level

Synopsis

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.

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Guest Post By Maggie Blackbird

Okay, Billy, tell the readers at MM Fiction Café what life is like at an Ojibway community aka Indian Reserve, something the average person might not know.

Billy:  I’ll do my best to limit my sarcasm.  Anyway, most might not know we are governed under the Indian Act the Canadian government dreamed up in the late 1800s.  We learned about this stuff in Ojibway culture that René’s uncle taught in elementary school.  The whole purpose of this supposed “act” passed by Parliament relates to “registered Indians,” the bands, and the Indian Reserves.

Most might not know what a registered Indian is.  The government (not us) defines who an Indian is under the Indian Act.  And if you’re not recognized, you don’t get one of those status cards proving your Indian status.  In other words, in the government’s eyes, you’re not an Indian.  Yeah, weird.  And don’t ask me to get into how an Indian is defined because that is a whole other ball game full of more craziness.

You’ll hear in the series “band” mentioned (don’t get confused when you hear us talk about René’s “band” because he drums in a rock group) or “band members.”  Anyway, this is a band of Indians the government has approved of.  This means I’m a band member who belongs to the band of Indians who reside at Thunder Mountain First Nation aka Thunder Mountain Indian Reserve.  By the way, in Canada, it is Indian Reserve, not Indian Reservation.  I’m using the word “Indian” even though it’s an outdated term in Canada.

As for reserves (what people in the here and now know as a First Nation), these are plots of land allotted by the Crown where the band of Indians get to live.  We don’t own the land.  Heck, we never believed in owning land in the first place.  But the government decided to generously (sarcasm used) dish out a place to stick us.

So yeah, that’s the rez.  We have the Indians (whoever the government recognizes as an Indian), a band (the groups of families who are recognized by the government as Indians), and the reserve (where the band of recognized Indians live).

Like I said, it can get very technical.  I know the author did her best to try explain this stuff without straying from the plots in the novels.  Being a registered Indian herself, and also being a part of a band, and living on the rez during the first twenty-five years of her life (and where the majority of her family still lives), this is easy for her to talk about, but the average reader doesn’t know the majority of this stuff.

You’ll hear me speak about Chief Oshawee.  This goes back to “band.”  Think about a city.  There is the mayor, council, and city administration centre.  It’s the same way on an Indian Reserve.  The government dreamed up our election act, instead of letting us use the one our ancestors had developed.  The chief gets elected for a certain length of time (what is known as a term) and so do band council.  They oversee the operation of the reserve just like the mayor and city council do.  As for the administration centre, we call it the “band office” and there is no CEO like a town/city has.  Instead, we call this person the Band Manager.

The band office is the hub of the reserve.  People like to chill there.  Go there if they require something like housing.  I won’t get into how housing operates because I’d need a whole guest post to talk about that, but let me tell you, it does not operate like it does when you’re buying a house off the reserve.  Not even close.  Nope.  Nadda.  And that’s why First Nations communities have major housing shortages.

The band office is staffed by people who are in charge of administration, economic development, social services, family services, education, operation & maintenance, housing, lands & resources, etc.  Kind of like your average town/city operates.

We have places to go like Vernon’s Videos (that you hear about in the books), the rec centre, the powwow grounds (where the drum group takes place), The Waffle Wigwam, and a bunch of other stuff to amuses ourselves.  The older folks like to go to the bingo hall and play bingo.  There’s a sports field where you can play baseball or soccer.

We have our own police who police the reserve.  There’s a shitload of what our law enforcement can and cannot do, which is why my brother Hoyt refers to them as the “toy cops” who are under the thumb of the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police).

But yeah, that’s the rez in a very basic nutshell.  If people have a question or questions, I’ll be here to answer them in the comments section.  Over and out.

Thanks, Billy.  I really appreciated you informing the readers of MM Fiction Café about the technical part of reserve life.

 

Review

Reviewed By: Josh Dale

5/5

Wow. This is book four in the We Were Young series, that follow Rene & Billy who are are part of the Ojibway First nation reserve at Thunder Bay. I won’t get technical and explain about First Nations and their reserves, Billy does it much better in the guest post lol.

Billy and Rene come from opposite sides of the Reserve; Rene is the son of the Chief of the reserve.  Whereas Billy is less fortunate and comes from a family of drunks and addicts.

The series has followed these two guys through hell and back. They have dealt with so many issues that young people must deal with.  Maggie really manages to capture the problems young people face either on the reserves but all so in the wider world.  She is a master of creating authentic emotions, actions, and reactions.  Billy and Rene deal with their issues very differently from each other.  Billy faces his problems head on and often a confrontational hot-headed attitude.  Whereas Rene is a thinker and takes his time to face his feelings.

Their attraction was pretty much instant, though Billy had to grind Rene down. And slowly pull Rene out of the closet.

They have dealt with Alcohol and drug abuse, Physical abuse, homophobia, and peer pressure. Rene has also had a tough time coming to terms with his sexuality and coming out. On top of that they have had to abide strict rules from Rene’s parents (and Billy’s foster parents) which included Rene moving away for a while to separate them until Billy comes of age.

In this book the boys are reunited as Rene moves home to finish his studies in the local collage.  And with Billy turning 18, they slowly start to build their relationship as a couple for real.

Rene accompanies Billy on the annual sun dance, believing he is supporting Billy through the ceremony and his believes.  But he also finds out a lot of things about himself and this helps him deal with coming out.

They both have goals they are aiming to achieve to help their reserve.  We see both guys mature in this book, Billy is learning to step back and think things through, and Rene is learning to open with his thoughts.

I really love these guys and this series, which must be my top young adult series. The guys are so authentic as are the situations they go through. This is lot all flowers and feathers romance, but a coming of age journey between two young men that are destined to be together.  Each bringing their unique personalities that blend to form a formidable force that together they can face anything that life throws at them.

I love learning their culture and beliefs and thank Maggie for sharing her culture with us through the books she writes.

I am so pleased that the guys are finally getting together and hope we get at least one more book to see them in action, helping their reserve through their chosen professions.

I really recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a journey of self-discovery, as you get to see both characters growth at every stage of their mid to late teens. And the strength and belief they have in each other is amazing.

Excerpt

Just as Billy lifted his head, Hoyt clocked René square in the jaw. René never flinched, even though what he’d tasted should’ve broken a bone because a crack had echoed through the air. They charged each other, both swinging.

Billy raced forward. Paul and Aaron seized each of his arms. He fought to wrench himself free, but they wrestled him to the ground.

Aaron sat on top of Billy. Billy’s chest heaved up and down. He attempted to buck his cousin off. Paul captured Billy’s ankles, which stopped him from kicking his way to freedom.

“Let me the fuck go,” Billy shouted.

The sounds of cursing and flesh connecting with flesh carried to where Billy lay pinned. No matter which way he twisted and turned, he couldn’t throw his cousins off. They were Redskys, too, and might not be the size of Hoyt, but they were as heavy and as tall as Billy.

Finally, he managed to squirm enough over to witness what was going down. To Billy’s astonishment, Hoyt was staggering backward after taking another punch from René. Blood covered his brother’s face. Half his jacket was off. When he received another solid hit to his face, his big body trembled. He dropped to his knees.

“Stay down.” René’s words carried a splatter of warning. “Stay the fuck down.” Blood leaked from his nose. A welt covered his right eye.

“Fuck you.” The words Hoyt let loose carried his bloody spit. He sprang forward and locked himself around René’s knees. “No faggot is taking me.” Heavy breaths filled his voice, as if he fought for air.

Having his knees gripped sent René tumbling to the ground. The two wrestled back and forth while Billy continued to try to wrench himself free.

“Even drunk you can bust him up good.” This came from Aaron, who also reeked of booze

“You can waste him, man. He’s nothing but a fag.” Paul kept a tight lock on Billy’s ankles.

The fists kept flying. Hoyt was on his back and struggling to get up.

From out of nowhere, a loud bang almost broke Billy’s eardrums.

“Holy motherfucker!”

Billy had no idea who’d cursed.

Hoyt shoved a slumped René off him. He bolted to his feet, yelling, “Let’s go. Let’s go. Now.” He half staggered and half ran for the truck.

Billy was freed from the death grip. His cousins chased after Hoyt. Without looking anywhere else, his heart standing still, Billy scrambled to where René lay curled on the ground. Blood stained the mess of snow and gravel beneath him.

“J-Jesus!” Teeth clacking, Billy leaned down. He rolled René over. A wail of disbelief screeched from his throat.

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We Were Young series by Maggie Blackbird

 

Book 1

Book Cover

Two Princes.

Blurb

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.


About the book  |  Our Review


Book 2

Book Cover

Toy Soldiers

Blurb

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.


About The Book | Our Review


Book 3

Book Cover

Knight Moves.

Blurb

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.


About The Book | Our Review


 

Giveaway

Enter the Giveaway for a chance to win

a $15.00 Gift Card from Extasy Books.

Maggie Blackbird

Biography

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.

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