Phase Rider

Phase Rider: A LightLit® Book by [Levin, David]

Phase Rider, by David Levin, is a science-fiction novel intended for a young adult/teen audience, published by LightLit. That said, the skill of the writer makes it easy for just about anyone to appreciate the story that unfolds.

There are a lot of things to like about David Levin’s Phase Rider. As a science-fiction story, the futuristic technology that is integral to the story is so well developed that one might wonder how much of it was actually based in reality. Levin creates a world in which specialized space craft can travel many times the speed of light and cross vast distances of our universe in no time at all. Of course, capabilities like those open doors for numerous engaging story elements that were a lot of fun to read.

The plot is another positive point for Phase Rider. There are certainly no shortage of sci-fi books out there that deal with the possibility of total destruction of the human race but Levin manages to approach the topic from a unique angle that many will enjoy. Phase Rider is a well-crafted story that is able to easily develop an engaging plot line.

There are a few direct messages and moral life lessons that I always enjoy having embedded in a story; however, there are times where the message seems more important than the continuity of the story line, which creates a disconnect from the story in certain areas. It would have been better to hide the messages a bit more, as doing so would allow readers to ‘discover’ these elements on their own.

Phase Rider is a well-written book that possess its own unique qualities in a fairly saturated genre. The author finds ways to bring life and intrigue into otherwise dry topics. The well crafted characters in this story possess a sense of humanity I rarely see in other novels. Minor quibbles aside I was invested in this story until the very end because of the interesting characters and captivating plot. Levin has certainly created a book that will be enjoyed by many.

Pages: 176 | ASIN: B07TX2T9MS

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Something To Be Discovered

L.A. MacFadden Author Interview

L.A. MacFadden Author Interview

Myth Agent is a compelling time travel story that relates the experiences of two people experiencing time travel from both sides. What was your inspiration for the setup to this novel?

I approached this from the unusual experiences of two people from fairly ordinary walks of life—a professor of paleontology and an antiques shop owner. In Myth Agent, time travel is not technical and futuristic, needing advancement. Instead, it is an ever-present universal element, not something to be invented, but rather something to be discovered, such as a long-lost prehistoric secret, reflective of the professor’s calling.

I was inspired decades ago by the book Time and Again, by Jack Finney, in which ordinary people time travel by means of a kind of self-hypnosis. In Myth Agent, the reader doesn’t see a person make a conscious choice to time travel as in Finney’s book, but in both, the time travel is organic or biologic in nature.

Time travel comes with its own set of paradoxes. How did you decide to deal with these in your story?

While there are a number of theoretical aspects to time travel and the paradoxes time travelers might undergo, the full mechanics are not explained in Myth Agent. For instance, there is no time when characters coexist with themselves in the space-timeline. However, a character does travel back in time thirty-five years (from age forty to age five—within the number of years she has lived) and in that scene she and a person she knows from thirty-five years hence see each other. It is later given to speculation as to whether this very brief meeting had a future impact on several characters’ lives.

I enjoyed the unique and slow development of both Rutt and Odessa’s characters. What were some ideas that guided you while creating them?

I wanted the reader to know something of the characters’ lives from childhood to adulthood, and as I built their lives, I came to wonder how a man—a science professor—in the early 1900’s would interact with a five-year-old girl from the 1940’s. Would their fundamental differences be too problematic, or would some universal connection, no matter where and from what time period they came, allow a meaningful connection? It was exciting to imagine where such a connection could lead!

What is the next story that you are working on?

I’ve decided Myth Agent needs to be continued—that’s what’s keeping me at the keyboard!

Author Links: GoodreadsTwitter

Myth Agent by [MacFadden, L.A.]

It’s 1945, soon after VJ Day. Odessa Shatto, an antiques dealer, is pierced in the side by a prehistoric bone. The next morning she awakens, horrified to see a hideous green slime creeping over her, hardening into a cocoon that quickly entombs her in darkness and leaves her fearing for her life. Each time it happens, she remembers feeling a sense of being thrown hard, as though from the hand of a giant. And the last time, she remembers her trajectory crossing with that of her fiancé, a soldier who has been injured in the Pacific in World War Two. They may think of their paths crossing as a gift, but in reality it will produce agonizing results.

Ruttledge Rosenbaugh, a professor of science devoted to his students at Hensley University, has spent years learning from his mentor, whose mantra was that time travelers are constantly around and unnoticed. But nothing Ruttledge has ever heard or read on time travel prepares him for what he witnesses in his secret laboratory in 1910. After recuperating from the ordeal, he spends years trying to prove the existence of time travel, while a jealous rogue from his past lies in wait, hoping to debunk any time travel theory the professor develops–no matter the cost.

Myth Agent is a time travel tale, woven of the fantastic, and interspersed with traces of historical fiction.

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More Than a Love Story

Crystal Jackson Author Interview

Crystal Jackson Author Interview

Left On Main is an emotional romance novel following Libby and Seth as they grapple with their love and their past. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?

As a person who has experienced divorce myself, I wanted to tell a story that shows how the experience can become a turning point and an opportunity for change. The challenges that happen in our lives can make us reassess ourselves and our lives— but only if we choose to learn from it. But I wanted to tell more than a love story between two people. Left on Main– and the Heart of Madison series- is equally the story of a town and the people drawn together inside of it.

Libby is an interesting and well developed character. What were some themes you wanted to capture in her character?

Libby came into my head fully-formed. As positive as she often seems, she’s equally careful and guarded. I wanted to take the readers through her heartache and through her falling in love to show that trusting others and moving on isn’t as simple as it sometimes seems. Her choices throughout the story are reflective of her complexity.

I enjoyed the relationship between Libby and Seth. What were some ideas you wanted to explore with their relationship?

Libby and Seth are like any of us in that their past relationships have shaped how they relate to others in the present. As a former therapist, I know well that many of our coping skills are drawn from our experiences, and how we react to the present is often as much- if not more so- predicated on the past as on what’s actually happening in the moment. Still, how we love and exist within relationships comes down to our choices. Seth and Libby are faced with very relatable choices about life and love.

This is the first book in the Heart of Madison Series. Where will the next book pick up and when will it be available?

The next book drops right into the story of Seth’s sister Lindy and will be out in the Spring of 2020. Expect a faster paced story with plenty of twists ahead, and you’ll also get a chance to follow up with Seth and Libby and the rest of the cast of characters in Madison.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Libby Reynolds is having to reboot her entire life after a sudden divorce and relocation. Seth Carver has let work become his whole life, becoming himself the kind of anachronism he surrounds himself with in the antique store he owns. They’ll fall together, but can their love withstand a visit from the past she’s left behind? Left on Main is the first in the Map of Madison series.

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Wreaking All Sorts of Havoc

Lane Baker Author Interview

Lane Baker Author Interview

Twisted Pines follows Abe as he takes a job at a summer camp where children are going missing under mysterious circumstances. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?

Having worked at a camp during my summers in college, I understand the pressure that comes with looking after children. Parents entrust you to ensure their children’s safety; and so the thought of having a child completely vanish is a nightmarish one to say the least. Although I never personally had a camper go missing, I hoped to tap into this anxiety to give the story a pervasive sense of tension.

I felt that the story did a great job of keeping things consistently ominous and otherworldly. What themes did you want to capture while writing this book?

I’m drawn to the theme of an unknown force that lurks out of sight, and yet pulls very tangible strings – wreaking all sorts of havoc. I also like the theme of helplessness, of paralysis in particular – the vulnerability that comes with being a guinea pig, subjected to the whims of others.

Abe is an interesting and well developed character. What were some ideas that you pursued during his character development?

In my life I’ve known many camp counselors, as well as many film students. And although Abe’s character is not based on any one person, I’ve pulled traits from real-life characters that I’ve come to know over the years. I’ve also been acquainted with people whose parents have had run-ins with the law, and had a chance to see how the delinquent actions of one’s parents can affect the attitudes and behaviors of their children. On a personal level, I can related to Abe’s desire to tell an engrossing story.

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

My next book also falls within the realm of sci-fi. I’m a fan of genre mash-ups, and so my follow-up will be a contemporary sci-fi thriller. No idea just yet as to when that one will be come available. So I better get back to typing…

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Twisted Pines by [Baker, Lane]

Where have all the children gone? At rustic summer camp Mendocino Pastures, that’s the question on everyone’s mind. First one, then two, then three campers vanish – only to reappear a short while later with no recollection of the missing time. The disappearances raise questions about the children’s safety, not to mention the camp’s time-honored reputation.

When Abe, a freshman camp counselor from UCLA film school, stumbles upon a ghoulish-looking humanoid roaming the coast, he suspects this creature may play a role in the children’s unsettling disappearances. Armed with camera, journal, and a thirst for the truth, Abe sets out to pry the lid off the uncanny mystery shrouded among the camp’s TWISTED PINES.

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Embrace Compassion

Jayajit Dash Author Interview

Jayajit Dash Author Interview

The Conflict of Desires follows an executive trying to convince aboriginals to give up their land for his companies interests. What was the inspiration for the setup to this story?

In my years as a business journalist, I have stumbled upon many cases where big corporations with key interests in mining face resistance from the native residents. All those episodes of tussle and murky face-offs between a company and the original tribes form the bulwark of inspiration for my story. When companies foist their agendas on unsuspecting people and trample on their resources and brazenly try to usurp their livelihoods, the backlash is inevitable. My story should serve as a humble call to those transnational corporations to abjure coercion and embrace compassion for the people at whose expense they are expanding their frontiers of growth. Having said that mine is a work of fiction and any resonance with the ‘real’ should be treated as happenstance.

Ramesh is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his development?

As a character, Ramesh arouses intrigue and empathy in equal measure. He’s no different from legions of his real life counterparts who are lumbered with tasks not so pleasant and choices tempting yet fraught with risks. So often it happens that characters in the mould of Ramesh run into a knotty life matrix- they have to solve the Rubik’s cube. For me, fleshing out Ramesh as the lead character who carries the plot narrative draws from people who are perturbed by upsetting dilemmas. Most do cave in to the pressures of the job and dictates of the boss, playing it safe. That’s where Ramesh soars above the clutter- he wins with his conscience.

What is the next story that you are writing and when will it be available?

My next work on fiction dissects the woes of workplace. I believe it will be an enjoyable read. Hoping to release it next calendar.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

The Conflict of Desires: A New Rhythm in the Tangle by [DASH, JAYAJIT]

An executive of a top notch company sets foot in a remote hinterland in a poor, eastern state of Odisha in India. Ramesh Sahay, the protagonist of the story is tasked with a mission- to woo the aboriginal tribals for pushing his employer’s interests. But the natives who have guarded the wealth of their hills for over a millennium are no pushovers. And, Ramesh is pitted against forces antagonistic to his mission. Ramesh realises the odds stacked against him. Nonetheless, his visceral urges and the mandate of a big corporation in which he has invested over a decade of his prime impels him to an unequal confrontation. How does he go on to win this tussle? Or a change of emotions tugs at his heartstrings? The story dissects the dilemma of his choices and the conflicts that shroud him. Read on to relate and connect.

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Cycles of Norse Mythology

Cycles of Norse Mythology by [Searfoss, Glenn]

There are many stories about the Norse realm. Only a few are common and easily accessible. Glenn Searfoss gives readers access to more than just the common ones. The reader gets more dimensions with regards to the characters in the fictional universe. This book is a rewrite of the stories on Norse mythology with a fresh voice and packed with exciting tid bits. The book offers a revamped look at all the suffering, victories and battles of the characters in Norse mythology accompanied by a glossary for a better reading experience.

This may be a rewritten version but it sure does not feel like one. The author has such a talent with words and phrases. The stories read like a symphony. With a captivating melody that makes the reader inch closer with every sentence they consume. It leaves the reader feeling like they are floating through a universe with endless possibilities with all their favorite heroes and characters. The author packs all the action and adventure possible into this book with ease.

One thing that the reader will note from the very beginning is the depth of research that has gone into this book. It is uncanny how one person can have such a mastery of the Norse universe, characters and everything in between. It is a sign of obvious passion and curiosity about the subject matter. The author’s understanding is the basis for their unique and original voice. This is actually quite infectious. For a person who is not a fan of mythologies, these stories will sure make them into definite enthusiasts.

If you have encountered characters like Thor and Odin, this book will make you fall even deeper in love with these characters and many more just like them. The author has carefully sculpted each character to have a unique element while also maintaining their original and beloved qualities. To take characters that have already been established and to give them a fresh coat of personality but still managing to keep their usual façade takes pure brilliance.

The voice of the author that comes through their retelling is provocative and fulfilling. The stories themselves are evocative and exciting. The imagery is borne of sheer talent and brave application of language. Any lover of mythology, regardless of age, and related fictional works will surely enjoy Cycles of Norse Mythology.

Pages: 838 | ASIN: B07QKL9CRK

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Lasting Photographs

Lasting Photographs by [Barbano, Luigi]

John Ragnar has found himself on the cusp of a discovery that will lead him in a direction he never anticipated. When he comes across a box of photographs, he sets out to identify not only the owner of the photographs, but he wants to put names with the faces in them. One woman in particular catches his eye, and he makes it his mission to identify her as he embarks upon a journey which takes him across the globe in search of someone who might be able to tell him more about this woman who otherwise remains an enigma.

Lasting Photographs, by Luigi Barbano, details the adventure upon which one man sets in order to find the owners of photographs he discovers in a box on the beach. His mission takes him to Italy, and by his side is the woman he has only known for two days and met by pure chance but with whom he has instantly fallen in love.

For as engaging as the plot of Barbano’s story is, the text seems to lack something in the way of relationships. I feel there is a good bit of narrative for a story that could easily have been rich with dialogue between the two main characters, John and Katia. As a reader, I enjoy immersing myself in the conversations of the characters and count on dialogue to contribute to the rising action. Barbano’s descriptions of John’s plight and the lengths to which he goes to retrieve information about the woman pictured in the mysterious photographs are more than adequate for developing the plot. However, I can’t quite get past the fact that more dialogue could have enhanced the entire story line.

In addition to the lack of dialogue, Barbano’s work feels a bit cut and dry for its genre. This blend of realistic and historical fiction consists of, in many cases, brief and straightforward paragraphs. Readers will not find the flowery language they might expect to find describing the scenes in Italy. Readers more interested in mysteries will appreciate the point-blank way in which Barbano addresses the dilemmas at hand and jumps right into the pursuit of the photographs’ origins.

Barbano goes to great lengths to include technical aspects in his writing. As a photographer himself, he does a phenomenal job of incorporating the most finite details of photography into his story. The author is also adept at weaving the complicated language of the mechanics of flight into his plot. Readers who appreciate text more focused on technical language will find this book a delight.

While I enjoyed the overall story line in which John and Katia make it their sole mission to recover the meaning behind the lost photos, it is my preference to read fiction in which characters’ interactions take precedence over narrative. Lasting Photographs is a short read and one where readers with an avid interest in photography will find to be a worthwhile pick.

Pages: 200 | ASIN: B07VLW1CYS

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Shirley F’N Lyle

Shirley F'N Lyle: VIVA the REVOLUTION by [Lindemuth, Clayton]

Shirley F’N Lyle: Viva the Revolution (Book One in Chick Grit Lit Series) by Clayton Lindemuth is a fiction story about a hooker named Shirley Lyle who is tired of being treated like she doesn’t matter, and she’s not going to take it anymore. She wants to be someone different, someone better. Viva the Revolution. She and her friend Ulyana, a stripper, have decided to make men pay for their actions. But things don’t go as planned, and the two women find themselves running from a drug dealer after they killed his son. The drug dealer isn’t the only person they have to worry about, however. When Ulyana disappears–possibly murdered–will Shirley be next?

There was a lot of action in this book, plus the mystery of Ulyana’s disappearance, which held my interest in the story. The story line was dark, but there was enough humor in the book to lighten it. I liked Dr. Kristanna Rong’s character and the encouragement she gave Shirley to make a change in her life. I was hoping for her to be a larger part of the story, but she only appeared in the beginning. I also liked that there was a slight romantic element with Donal O’Laughlin wanting to date Shirley rather than paying for her services.

I enjoyed reading the back and forth between Shirley and the “voices”  in her head as she argued with herself. Old Shirley versus Viva Shirley. Shirley’s imagination was very amusing, including her superwoman day dreams about making the men who had done her wrong pay for their treatment of her and other women.

But I felt like Shirley walked into a few situations that would have gotten her killed in real life, when her spunky attitude alone wouldn’t have saved her. Some of the descriptions of violence and injuries were a bit graphic and gory. Conversely, there were only minimal descriptions of the setting. I prefer books with vividly described settings that add depth to a story, which I felt it was lacking in this book. The beginning of this book was a bit confusing, switching between various points of view made it hard to figure out how everything was connected.

But overall Shirley F’N Lyle is a fantastically entertaining novel that puts interesting characters in interesting situations. The drama that ensues is enthralling and ultimately uplifting.

Pages: 302 | ASIN: B07SMN6H3V

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Sleep State Interrupt

Sleep State Interrupt by [Weber, T.C.]

If most contemporary sci-fi is headed in the direction that Sleep State Interrupt is taking, I will be more than pleased. And a lot more concerned for humanity. Sleep State Interrupt tells the tale of protagonist Waylee who wrestles Big Media’s omnipresent influence. In this dystopian world, the government and people are heavily influenced and practically controlled by the media that surrounds them. Waylee and a couple of her technologically proficient friends plan a simple but brilliant plan to end this problem. They decide to capture and bring to light some incriminating dialogue that will shed light on how truly awful the situation has turned. However, she faces hefty roadblocks along the way, that occupy both her inner and outer world.

The premise of this story is like Mission Impossible meets the Avengers, but smarter in its portrayal of a dystopian world. There’s no question about the role media plays these days. Targeted advertising, subliminal influencing, endless privacy violations- all this is already unsettling. Weber takes this concept and pushes it to a terrifyingly believable level. The story is heavy on politics without naming names, I feel like I could probably point out some similarities in their evil politicians and our own.

One of the more interesting aspects of the book was that it forced me to take a stance on some issues that I would generally avoid thinking about it. There are a lot of moral and philosophical questions that are subtly posed throughout- and it’s a refreshing take for a cyber sci-fi novel.

Weber has clearly put in a lot of effort to nonchalantly feature a diverse set of characters. While all of them were interesting and unique, sometimes the characteristics felt a bit forced. Waylee’s character on the other hand was a masterpiece. From the realistic perspective offered on her disease to her upbringing and environment, her protagonism was undeniable. I could tell where all her actions and motivations were coming from.

I have always enjoyed politically-charged thrillers because it brings to light the fact that humanity is capable of creating its own nightmarish vision. Sleep State Interrupt portrays this with clarity and believability, without compromising all the fun that a government takedown story offers.

Pages: 331 | ASIN: B01KKMA1D8

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Do I Have A Choice

Lynn McCain Author Interview

Lynn McCain Author Interview

Neither Light Nor Dark follows Lily who has to reunite the suffering lands of Arcadia and abolish the rule of Reficul. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting story?

I honestly had a dream that I could not escape from. I sat down one night and poured it out into my laptop. Over time I got inspiration from everywhere- other books, movies, music.

Lily is an interesting and well developed character. What were some obstacles in the story that you felt were important to her character development?

I think finding out all of the lies about her former life and learning how to deal with her new future definitely helped make her into the girl that she becomes. This is more obvious in book two, The Darker Light.

I loved the fairytale-esque lore embedded in this world. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating your world?

I love fairytales! C.S. Lewis’ The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe was the first book that I remember falling in love with. His world definitely inspired me to go in that direction. The whole idea of us having a predetermined destiny was a big part of the story. I wanted the reader to ponder, “Do I have a choice?”

This is book one in the Beyond the Gates series. What can readers expect in book two of the series, The Darker Light?

Book two is full of surprises. So many things about the characters are revealed that you will find yourself wondering who to trust. Lily is taken back into Arcadia where she is faced with a past that she never knew existed. The journey is harsh but new friends are made and old ones are reunited. Book two is my favorite. I feel like lily really grows up in this one.

Author Links: Website | GoodReads | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Neither Light Nor Dark: Destiny Awaits: Destiny Awaits (Beyond the Gates-Book #1) by [McCain, Lynn]YA Fantasy fiction full of surprises. This is a story about a girl, the man she loves, the boy who stole her heart, and Reficul, the evil ruler that stands to ruin it all. Lily Channon gets caught up in a war only she has the power to stop. The only problem is she doesn’t know why or even how. Her quest for answers leads her on a journey through love, crazy, hard to swallow, painful betrayal, and has deadly consequences. Will she find her place? Will she be willing to give what is required of her? Does love really exist, or is EVERYONE a liar? Find out what happens in this exciting book.

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