Author Archives: Literary Titan

Strange Bedfellows: Fun with Etymology

Strange Bedfellows: Fun with Etymology by [Anil]

Books open up the world to us–this is something we have all known since we were children in a kindergarten classroom. That’s the place where words began to show us their power–and their many, many meanings. Some of us have gone on to love words and the beauty of multiple meanings. Anil has handed us all the most wonderful gift a lover of words could ever want — Strange Bedfellows: Fun with Etymology. Between its pages, this fun little read brings the smiles and laughter we could all use during these stressful times.

What reads like a most prolific assortment of random thoughts turns into quite a stunning opportunity for readers to visualize amazing literary images. I think I most appreciate the lack of organization to the text and the freedom to pass from one odd thought to another. Anil’s work is a superb thrill ride encapsulated in just under seventy pages.

I am giving Strange Bedfellows: Fun with Etymology, by Anil and illustrated by Kalpart, 5 out of 5 stars. Readers looking to relax and thoroughly enjoy etymology for its own sake will appreciate every rambling thought so eloquently sketched by this author/illustrator pairing. I highly recommend Anil’s delightful book to anyone who appreciates humor on a higher plane and truly “gets the joke.”

Pages: 72 | ASIN: B085LFBGMS

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Blooming in the Dark (Poetry Collections Book 2)

Blooming in the Dark (Poetry Collections Book 2) by [Jennifer LeBlanc, Kirsten McNeill]

Blooming in the Dark is a beautiful poetry book by Jennifer LeBlanc and Kristen McNeill. The poems contained within it are relatable and tug at the heartstrings. At their core, they are representations of different aspects of the human condition. They address issues such as love, friendship, identity, and healing.

They particularly delve into the intricacies of love – the intensity of it, the toxicity that can be created when this emotion is manipulated and the damage it can do when provoked. It tells of the depression of those left by loved ones, the loss of identity by those that were manipulated by lovers, and the healing required to reach a semblance of peace.

Interestingly, this book also thoroughly explores the love between friends and how a toxic friendship can leave someone withered and low. However, not everything is sad and depressing in this book. Some poems talk about overcoming imposter syndrome and the need to be perfect.

They talk of embracing the present and moving into new chapters of our lives without regret or remorse, of fighting our demons and winning, and of forgiving and letting go. In many ways, this book celebrates healing and the realization of the authentic self. It makes you remember your pain, your joy, and how they interweave – it feels like a love letter to your soul. It makes you feel seen, all of you – the intense and the laid back. Clearly, the authors poured their heart and soul into this project, ensuring that it was an accurate description of what it means to be alive.

They do a good job of weaving emotion into the poems without making the language feel heavy – it almost feels like you are reading the words of someone who has lived what you have lived. It also helps that while the authors do some symbolism, it is clear what they are talking about. They manage to create a beautiful balance between veiling and message execution, making this book easy to read, even for poetry beginners.

Once you start reading it you can barely put it down – it could take just a couple of hours to finish. As long as you like deep emotional poetry, Blooming in the Dark will be a breathtaking read for you.

Pages: 181 | ASIN: B08W4P1Q2C

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The Significant

The Significant by [Kyra Anderson]

The Significant is a dystopian tale of a society in which the few have it all but there are a large number of poor without nationality. Kailynn is born into this society and vehemently detests the rich and controlling Syndicate. However, in order to save her brother, she takes on a job as a Significant who interacts with Elites for a price. Her whole world changes when she is assigned to the mysterious Golden Elite and suddenly things become more complicated, but there is hope for a brighter future. If Kailynn survives. The story is fast-paced and will keep readers hooked from the first page as the characters are plunged into different twists and turns.

Author Kyra Anderson’s novel has an original plot and world-building despite taking on a lot of familiar themes such as dystopia ruled by the rich or increasing automation. Unlike most dystopian stories, The Significant does not have a near-apocalyptic theme and creates a more original universe than what many dystopian novels offer. Similarly, the idea that a controlling society is bad for everyone is explored in this book which makes it easy to empathize with many characters and get new perspectives.

The Significant has a unique take on a dysfunctional society in that it reflects a lot of modern immigration issues and sympathizes with displaced peoples. That issue features prominently in the book and makes connections to modern day issues. Similarly, in connection to the modern day, the book features many lead LGBTQIA+ relationships which are normalized in the novel. It is extraordinarily refreshing to read a book in which a lesbian couple features prominently and is not merely used for entertainment or to appeal to a male audience.

The plot and story itself is highly enjoyable. It provides a lot of detail and background that gives a clear idea as to how Tiao works and why their society is locked in the situation the book is set in. The characters are well-done and distinct, each having their own voice and personality that comes off the page, especially Kailynn and Isa although the reader does have to take some time to get to know Isa, just as Kailynn does. The action is vivid and heart-pounding and the quieter, more intimate moments will still have the reader hooked and enraptured by the tension. Fans of science-fiction must read The Significant!

Pages: 599 | ASIN: B01HSMVA1A

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Creating a Trilogy of Trilogies

A. Keith Carreiro
A. Keith Carreiro Author Interview

The Penitent – Part 1 begins an epic fantasy series spanning three novels. Did you know how deep the story would go when you first started?

I wanted to write a series like this one for a long time now. When I first started planning The Immortality Wars I knew it would be at least one trilogy. It very quickly morphed into the idea of creating a trilogy of trilogies. I wanted to create a series of realities, in part, that the characters in the story would experience. So the tale is built around a thought experiment that is configured like a Russian doll. I later learned that a work containing nine related books is called an ennealogy. I felt I needed such an expansive framework to house the full length of this saga on a comfortable basis.

I enjoyed the relationship between Pall and John. What were some sources that informed the development of their relationship?

One of the sources informing the development of their relationship with one another is the story of Robin Hood and Little John. However, I wanted to develop their relationship in a different way than it is cast with Robin and Little John, especially in their being more independent of one another. Each has a unique set of skills, background, and way of life. Yet, they are fierce warriors in their own right. When I originally introduced them in the story, one was going to kill the other. Curiously, they both immediately rebelled at this thought.

Was there anything personal, or taken from your own life, and placed in the story?

There is a sense of loss and of tragedy that imbues the story, as well as a love of nature and a deep sense of love of family that are all taken from my own life. Equally so, is my experience of and commitment to God that permeates Pall’s story. For example, there is a miraculous healing of Captain Joseph Martains. It is taken from a real-life experience I had in 1973. A professor was brought back to life as a result of a terrible fall he had from a roughly made staging placed against his house. He fell headfirst onto his cement driveway. No one expected him to live. However, God had other plans than death for the professor at that point in his life.

What has been the most surprising feedback you’ve received from readers about your series?

I am surprised at the reaction some readers have experienced from the intensity of the story, particularly the paranormal and combat scenes. These points in the story are not meant to be moments of gratuitous violence or unspeakable horror alone. They are set within the plot for a variety of reasons some of which would become spoilers if I explained why they are occurring there. Hopefully, I’ve written a tale that makes readers intrigued, on edge, and looking forward to what happens on every page that they read.

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A baby is born and placed in his dead mother’s arms. When the funeral shroud is cast over her, his father decides to name his son Pall. It will soon become a name that strikes a shiver into the hearts of those who hear it in combat.A lone survivor on a battlefield many years later, Pall dazedly recovers from the wounds of war. Despite the dead cast about him, everything he looks upon is unfamiliar to him. Wandering away from this scene of carnage, he encounters John Savage, a giant of a man who puts Pall within the sight of Savage’s seven-foot, nocked longbow.What ensues from this deadly encounter is an elusive journey for truth. Yet, it is haunted not just by a ravening demon that is out to destroy Pall and John, but by the vision of a startling beautiful young woman protecting Pall from afar.

Out Of Time

Out of Time: Predicting the Science of Future Centuries and Millenia educates readers on the universe and how it is infinite and eternal, but scientifically created. It is written by Australian author Rodney Bartlett, who describes himself as a ‘citizen scientist’. It is clear that the author is very passionate and knowledgeable about this subject.

Out of Time has a simple to follow structure; it is structured into chapters, sections and subsections. These are all detailed in the Table of Contents at the beginning of the text, enabling the reader to select specific chapters or subsections to read.  Some of the chapters are long, whilst others are quite short, dependent on the subject. Overall the text is well structured, and tighter editing of the sentences would enhance its readability.

In this illuminating book the author switches from using scientific and mathematical phrases and jargon to more conversational language, which keeps things moving but consistently informative. The choice of more informal language allows the book to be more accessible to a wider audience.

I appreciated the numerous references provided throughout the book, which indicates that the authors has researched this topic thoroughly, and it allowed me to follow the subject in other text which greatly expanded my understanding of the ideas discussed. I think that consistent formatting in the reference lists would allow readers to find the article or book easier if they want to do further research.

There are multiple references to well-known scientists throughout the book such as; Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Galileo, and Kepler. This is helpful in linking older scientific research with newer scientific theories and theories and I liked how this placed the work in historical context and gave the impression that this idea transcends time.

Out of Time: Predicting the Science of Future Centuries and Millenia is a well-researched and highly enlightening book. The author makes a very complex subject accessible to everyday readers. It is always a pleasure to read a book written by such a passionate author.

Pages: 132 | ISBN: 6203573957

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Heavenly

Heavenly is a fascinating and stirring contemporary fiction novel that explores the themes of second chances, priorities, love and hope. It follows the remarkable journey of John, a man who is suddenly killed and, instead of being admitted to heaven he is given a second chance at life by returning to earth as another man, Peter.

Duffy gives a very detailed description of John’s physical appearance, and later, Peter’s physical appearance. The effect of this is twofold. Firstly, the reader gets a feeling for the characters and the characters begin to come alive. Secondly, the reader begins to see how much value John, and later Peter, place on physical appearance – both themselves, but also in those that they attempt to form relationships with. Set in the present day in various cities in the U.S., the setting is described, but not in great detail. It does seem authentic but doesn’t give the reader the feeling of being immersed in the setting.

Although the story opens with John, there are really two main characters in this contemplative story, Peter and Tara. Both of these characters are fairly well developed. Peter, a middle-aged man appears to be overly interested in how women look and is constantly concerned about money. Although he has been given a second chance at life, he doesn’t know this. Tara is on a very different journey, although her life also focuses on money. Both characters yearn for love, this is evident in their dialogue with other characters, with each other, and their inner dialogues. Both characters also switch between having hope and feeling hopeless. There are also a number of smaller, but equally intriguing characters, whom often offer sage advice to the main characters.

Heavenly is a well-structured literary fiction novel that I found to be easy to follow. Although John and Peter are similar, it is clear from the structure which character is speaking. The structure follows Peter’s life as he ages, and the reader continually asks themselves – is he going to use his second chance wisely?

Heavenly is an intelligent and poignant novel exploring themes of hope, love and second chances in refreshing and satisfying ways.

Pages: 234 | ASIN: B08Z2ZG5SR

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Fun and Terrifying to Imagine

C.C. Berke
C.C. Berke Author Interview

Man, Kind follows two women on a headlong and perilous journey that may decide the fate of humanity. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve always been fascinated with post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction. It’s both fun and terrifying to imagine a demolished world where there are little resources left and even fewer people to share them with. However, the genre as a whole was beginning to feel a little stale for me. The question always is, “How do I get rid of most of the people on Earth?” and the answer has almost always been nuclear war, global pandemics, or zombie outbreaks. But why not the real, much more imminent threat of climate change? And why must a mysterious, indestructible male savior always lead the way in these tales? I knew there had to be a more interesting, compelling, and grounded way to approach the apocalypse, and that’s what I set out to do when writing “Man, Kind”.

Juno was an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Juno, the thirteen year old protagonist of “Man, Kind”, was meant to experience the post-climate-changed world alongside the reader. From the very first pages you discover that Juno had just been abandoned by her mother and now has to navigate this new, frightening, and violent world on her own. You both have questions, and you both want answers, and you get to embark on her epic journey together.

One of my favorite traits of Juno’s is that she’s also relentlessly curious. Whether she’s exploring an abandoned building, interacting with dubious characters, or simply taking a break to write down her own thoughts in a journal, you’re always right there with her; feeling what she’s feeling, wondering what she’s wondering, and smiling when she’s smiling.

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

Climate change is the primary one. Mainly, how does humanity live on after mother nature has exacted her revenge? It’s true that human pollution not only affects the weather, but also our own bodies at the cellular level. Plastics, fossil fuels, greed, they all play a part in our current world as well as “Man, Kind’s” future one. So how do we cope with such truths? And what can we do about it now?

The other themes I wanted to cover were grief and kindness; the “kind” of “Man, Kind”. Many, if not all, of the characters in this story are grey characters. They’ve all suffered losses, they all have their own motives, and not one of them fully trusts the other. I really wanted to drive home the question, “Will kindness still play a role in the wasteland?”

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

I am currently on the home stretch of an illustrated short story compilation called “Destination Earth”. Each story deals with existential questions we must ask ourselves throughout our lives, but told through weird, dark, and often humorous points of view. Available fall of this year.

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The climate has changed. Pollution has sterilized the human race. Few stragglers remain.

From the top of the tallest skyscraper in Denver, Colorado, a lonely girl named Juno watches the sun and sand torment the Rocky Mountains day in and day out. She wonders why she was abandoned so suddenly, wonders if she will ever see her mother again, and wonders why, on her thirteenth birthday, a mysteriously scarred woman has just shown up to kidnap her.

But there’s no time to explain.

Instead the woman makes three things painfully clear: Juno is being hunted, their only hope at safety is on the opposite side of the Rockies, and that this journey will be the hardest thing either of them has ever done.

As the resentful duo races across an unpredictable environment, Juno will also have to grapple with unpredictable changes of her own. She’ll stumble upon what mankind left behind, and learn why things ended up the way they are. Then, once Juno discovers how important she truly is, she’ll be forced to decide just who she can trust, and who she’ll have to leave behind…

Mad Max meets The Road and An Inconvenient Truth in this epic climate fiction adventure!

Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Island Idol

Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Island Idol (Skylar Robbins mysteries Book 5) by [Carrie Cross]

Skylar Robbins has been preparing for this for months. Daniel made a promise to be her partner in the next ACE adventure, and she believes he meant what he said. As part of the elite group of students who take part in the Accelerated Courses and Experiments program, Skylar and Daniel are no strangers to adventure and mystery. The only mystery right now, however, is how Hannah Hilton made it into the program and why Daniel seems to have forgotten that Skylar exists. What promised to be a fantastic summer is now looking like a huge disappointment. Will the trip to Koma Island turn things around for Skylar or will it be more than they all bargained for?

Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Island Idol, by Carrie Cross, is centered around young Skylar Robbins–gifted and talented and a member of ACE. With all the angst and stresses of late middle and early high school years, she is the perfect protagonist for today’s young readers. It is refreshing to still see writers placing an intelligent and forward-thinking female lead in their stories, and Skylar rivals and surpasses the budding detectives many of us are used to–Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. Kudos to Cross for putting motivated and capable young women at the forefront of her series. Our middle school readers need to see this more regularly.

Mysteries need to pop. They need to move quickly and hold the reader’s interest, especially when younger readers are the group toward which a series is aimed. Cross is a master at this. Skylar thinks quickly on her feet, and her friendship with Alexa provides a nice sounding board for her ideas. There lies within Cross’s work an amazing little cast of characters that provides readers with plenty of opportunities to visualize a vast array of personality types. It’s nice to see such a well-drawn cast of characters–all having wonderful quirks and offering their own contributions to Skylar’s role in the story.

Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Island Idol, by Carrie Cross is a rip-roaring young adult adventure/romance story that will keep readers on their toes. Centered around current technology and full of references younger readers will appreciate, this book has everything needed to engage readers and keep them coming back for more from Skylar and her gifted cohort.

Pages: 237 | ASIN: B08P5VXBQ5

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