Chasing the Red Queen opens with the recently turned 18-year-old Donja, a self-proclaimed goth who is uprooted from the normalcy of teenage life. Her mother remarries, giving Donja a new home, a new father and a new stepsister. What starts out as an angsty teens tribulations quickly shifts to darker elements as violent murders begin to hit close to home. New characters emerge, friendships are made, and lovers unite exposing a history of supernatural elements and family secrets Donja never expected.
Karen Glista offers an urban fantasy with a dash of crime, horror and steamy romance all set to the backdrop of vampire lore. A perfect weekend read for those favoring the genre. The author also provides new components to these otherwise over told stories with well researched historical content and fleshed out explanations for the mystical aspects. The mix of first nation cultural and detailed locational history give a fresh twist to this vampire romance which kept me intrigued to the very end.
I found Donja to be likable as the main character. Although the constant reminder of her gothic reputation is repeated one too many times, otherwise her emotional response and reactions are believable throughout the story. I adored the character development between Donja and her stepsister Makayla, from beginning to end they share a bond that unites them through a roller-coaster of emotional events.
Unlike Donja, where she shines in the first half of the book, her counterpart Torin unfolds as the main player towards the end of the book. Once Torin takes center stage I found myself more invested in his story and the account of his mysterious past as well as that of his kind.
I felt that the timeline was a little vague; how much time did everything take, was it days, hours, weeks? I also felt that their were quick leaps in character changes (ie. Frankie, I didn’t know what was happening to him until it was already over). These are the only minor things holding the book back.
However, the story surprised me with well thought out action scenes and gritty dialog. While some secondary characters faded into the background a few shown through and had my full attention. Chasing the Red Queen is a quick read with an equally fast-paced plot, yet will still give the reader enough time to establish a connection to the story, characters and paranormal features.
Pages: 277 | ASIN: B079KJFJW8
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Dom is a computer engineering genius in her own right. Rose’s instincts when it comes to human behavior are fine-tuned. Layla has the gift of an incredible memory. All three women are true forces with which to be reckoned and phenomenally good at their jobs. When Dom, a virtual recluse, is approached for help in solving a violent death, the lives of the three women quickly become entangled. Dom, Rose, and Layla reiterate that we are all one quick internet search away from an interaction we may or may not want.
B.J. Cyprian, author of Shadow Resistance, has created a world effortlessly blends fantasy and realistic fiction. With the elements of advanced artificial intelligence looming large in Dom’s storyline, readers are treated to science fiction laced with humor and heavily layered with relevant current events. While I’m not a fan of most historical fiction novels, I more than appreciate the references Cyprian includes in her characters’ story lines. Especially effective is the way in which the author works in the black and white doll experiment into Rose’s subplot. Cyprian knows how to hit readers where it matters. This is just one of the aspects of her writing that helps make her book so worthy of praise.
The entire scenario involving SARA is quite amazing. I don’t want to call SARA a character as it were, but I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention how incredibly fascinating her contribution to the book actually is. At times, Dom almost plays second string to the artificial intelligence she herself created. The back-and-forth between the two is entertaining to say the least and simultaneously frightening. To think that SARA is Dom’s only connection with the outside world is, in many ways, sad. In introducing Dom as somewhat of a hermit, Cyprian has given a certain richness to Dom’s story line and made her views of injustice all the more fiery.
Cyprian does a beautiful job of weaving history into every aspect of her plot. Page after page, she seamlessly meshes mentions of countless historical figures into the dialogue between characters. From impromptu history lessons given by Rose to the background revealed by Rose and Robert’s visit to Larry’s apartment, the book feels less like a lesson in history than a conversation on the front stoop of an elderly neighbor.
This unique work of fiction is a must read for anyone seeking technologically-based crime dramas. In addition, Cyprian’s work holds a special appeal for those who appreciate historical accuracies and current events woven throughout their fiction. The more I read, the more I found Shadow Resistance qualifies as a mystery. It’s impossible to fit Cyprian’s work into one slot–and I’m not sure I want to. It deserves a category of its own. Kudos to Cyprian on an outstanding first novel.
PagesL 648 | ASIN: B07NQKYGVP
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When Mike Hegan’s last case ends tragically, the detective hopes to put everything behind him. His girlfriend instead brings him along on a hopeful job opportunity to a small town in north California and little does he realize the web forming there to ensnare them both. Hegan finds himself thrust into the middle of a kidnapping and double homicide. When a link that is too close to home provides a lead, Hegan decides that he must dive deeper if he is going to get to the truth. Antiques, forged art, and foreign drug dealers all come together to make an on-your-toes mystery.
Hegan is your typical somewhat damaged detective from the noir tradition. He is a well-rounded character and is interesting to follow as he attempts to piece together these varied elements into a conclusive solve. The emotional depth that Panettiere can bring out, because of how personal this mystery becomes is impactful. The reader can feel a certain amount of distress from Hegan as he continues to struggle to figure it all out. Hegan made this story such a joy to read and it is my hope that these books become more serialized as they go along. It would be interesting to see how he develops over time.
Panettiere’s mystery is an expansive novel that straddles the fence between a mystery and thriller. The length of this novel works against the suspense, since some of the more filler passages work against the tension built in the story. But this is made up by his poetic prose, beautiful descriptions and clever dialogue. But at times I felt the pace of the story slowed because of this, this may be the only mark against him, since all the other elements of Hegan’s arc coinciding with the plot arc was brought together quite well by the end.
Recommended for readers of thriller mysteries. Based on some of the more aesthetic qualities to this story, such as the forged art and antiques, those who enjoy such stories would not be disappointed either. This novel establishes Panettiere as a solid new writer in the mystery genre and I look forward to more of his work.
Pages: 310 | ASIN: B07JP69TH3
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Raven and the Code Book follows Raven as she must secure a code book containing a world changing secret. What was the direction that you wanted to take this book that was different from the first two books in the Raven series?
I mixed in two characters and a special flying machine from the John Vacara series to add a different flare to the story line. I wanted the reader to experience Raven Anderson as they have come to know her, but I wanted the story line mixed up to keep it interesting.
Raven Anderson is a femme fatale secret agent who uses her skills, intelligence and sex appeal to get the job done. What were some new areas of her personality that you wanted to explore in this book?
I wanted Raven Anderson character more defined in this book. I think the reader now has a better perception of her personality, her dreams and why she shunned Naci from her life for over a year. She has learned that she may need to change her life direction as she gets older. I haven’t decided what she will evolve into five or six volumes from now, but rest assured, it will be interesting.
If Hollywood came knocking who would you cast as the lead characters in your book?
Raven – Gal Gadot. Naci – Matt Damon.
What are you currently writing and when will it be available?
A book magnet designed to intertwine both Raven Anderson and John Vacara series. It will explain the background and lay out the future for both series. This will be available late spring 2019 and will be available in electronic version only. It will be free. The next Raven Anderson book is Raven and the Psychiatrist, a story in the world of human trafficking. The next John Vacara series is Nadia’s Return. A very personal look at perhaps the world’s most sought after agent with a slight twist of scifi. these should be out late fall 2019.
Raven teams up with world renown assassin Morgan to seek revenge on her former employer, The Foundation, for not letting her bring closure to her beloved Uncles death. The Foundation put Raven in their sights because she went rouge, a policy that her lover, Naci, tried to change. Morgan and Raven organize an auction that bring together world leaders and a rouge scientist, Falcon-X, who will sell to the highest bidder, an advanced breakthrough in travel. Things don’t go as planned at the auction, Raven must protect Falcon-X and hide him. During their travels to Raven’s bunker, Falcon-X reminds her of something very important. Raven’s uncle Bill, although passed, sent her a signal in old film clip that saves her life. She must protect herself and all those around her, after the devastation Morgan creates in her life. Raven must find out the reason for her uncle’s death and who’s really on her side. She, along with her deceased uncle, put an end to, Raven Gone Rouge.
Posted in Interviews
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The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.
Gold Award Winners
Silver Award Winners
Posted in Literary Titan Book Award
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The Cabin: A Murder Mystery is a twisting murder mystery that follows a homicide detective trying to solve a case in his hometown. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?
Buck Woods was a character I originally created as a back woods trapper when I attempted to write a story when I was 14 years old. I liked the name so I made Buck an NYPD Homicide Detective. Since I’m a fan of James Patterson and Stuart Woods, I decided to attempt a murder/mystery novel as my first book. I choose Orono, Maine for Buck’s home town just from looking at a map of the United States.
Before publishing the book, my wife and I took a trip to Orono to check out the location. By personally checking out the setting it helped me get the facts straight, and make the story more authentic.
Buck is an interesting character that I thought was well developed. What were some driving ideals behind his character?
I tried to develop Buck into a strong caring character that people can identify with. However, I gave him obstacles he had to deal with on a daily basis. PTSD from his Gulf War days, self-blame and feelings of guilt from the death of his teenage girlfriend, Doreen Warren and the murder of his NYPD partner, Cheryl Jenkins were a few of the challenges Buck had to work through.
I enjoyed the mystery that unfolded. Was this planned or did it develop organically while writing?
The Cabin: A Murder Mystery started as a rough idea. Once I determined what the story would be about, I sat down at my computer and began to write the first chapter. I walk every day for almost two hours.
This gives me time to think and plot my story and develop characters. I find this is the best way for me to write. I don’t sit down and plot every scene on paper like other writers do.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next novel is now completed and will be edited this April. The book is called New York City Murders. Homicide Detective Buck Woods returns to New York City and teams up with a new partner, a beautiful woman named Kristie Karlsson. The novel is a stand-alone sequel to The Cabin: A Murder Mystery.
Buck Woods, a stressed-out NYPD homicide detective and former Marine Scout sniper on sabbatical, returns home to Orono, Maine.
Upon arriving back in town, Buck meets up with his old high school friend, Detective Jim Barkowsky of the Orono PD. Jim invites Buck to stay with him, his wife, and their two children.
The next morning Buck and Jim go to check out Buck’s new home, an old run-down log cabin he inherited from his grandfather on two acres of land on Punshaw Lake. Upon entering the cabin, they discover the decomposing body of an unidentified man. The victim died from a single gunshot wound. It is obvious that he was murdered.
Buck and Jim set out to solve the murder by putting together the pieces of the puzzle. Unexpected twists, turns, and obstacles abound, leading to a climax that puts Buck’s life on the line.
Posted in Interviews
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The Money Trail is another excellent edition to and Sean Kruger series. Once again we meet Sean Kruger and his band of intriguing friends. It’s obvious that Fields cares about his characters as the development of core characters that have been present throughout the series is extremely well done. There’s just enough action to get your heart pumping and just enough drama to have you on the edge of your seat.
It takes skill to keep readers coming back again and again to read about the same characters in slightly similar situations. It can get redundant and boring when executed poorly. That is not what readers will find in this book. Lovers of the Sean Kruger Series will only find more of what they’ve come to love and expect out of Fields. His characters are well developed, the action and drama are paced well and the twists and turns will have readers guessing with just the right amount of bait. It’s hard to put down a book in the Kruger series once you’ve picked it up and The Money Trail is no exception.
Fields has been writing these books for nearly five years. That’s a long time to keep characters straight and ensure that you don’t have them acting out of turn. Clearly Fields has a method to his madness as every book further develops the characters personalities and honors their growth from installment to installment. His books have won awards and are sure to influence a generation of readers. High praise for someone who began as an Indie writer making a break on their own.
Reading an installment of the Sean Kruger Series can be bitter-sweet. There is the thrill of the read: finding out what Kruger is up to now, where he will go and who he will bring with him. But there is also the disappointment when it ends because you simply want more. The Money Trail by J.C. Fields brings out that feeling effortlessly. It’s such an engaging read that is engrossing and fun. This book is an excellent installment in the series and I can’t wait for the next thrilling drama he gets caught up in.
Pages: 349 | ASIN: B07MTMCCDQ
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In The Hay Patrollers, we see the results of characters who have lost themselves in a life of crime. What were some sources of inspiration for you while writing?
Having been in many gangs as a young person and spending over two years roughing it on the streets of London, I had never forgotten the past experiences I encountered and promised myself I will always help those in need, no matter of their age, gender or religion. I have since spent over 30 years in my spare time developed and implemented many youth crime prevention programmes in many of the countries, I have lived in. The Hay Patrollers was based on a successful programme is developed that not only gain media attention in Australia but also creating much-needed employment for young people, including those who may be on the other side of the law. You can see The Hay Patrollers by clicking the YouTube link: https://youtu.be/-UtENjE6j4w?t=11s
Were you able to put any of your personal life experiences in this book?
Despite both books: Degsy Hay, A Juvenile Redeemed/Book 2, Degsy Hay, The Hay Patrollers, were mostly fiction, I did manage to use a lot of my experience in both books. The street life, how I had to defend myself at such a young age was all true to life.
There are many characters in this book. Who was your favourite character to write for?
I think Degsy is my favourite character, but you see most of the characters were also from the first book. They all seem to blend in well and work well as a team.
Will you continue this story in a third book?
Yes, I have already the third book in the series in mind Degsy Hay, Unit 16 -21 a vision for the future. Not only as this been mentioned many times in both books 1 and two but Unit 16-21 can certainly become a real-life event. Just like the successful Hay Patrollers programme, Unit 16-21 is centred on Uniting and Empowering the young people to contribute to their own development.
The objective of the program is to create future employment and secure housing for young people while they are training. The project aims to provide housing support initiative, training and skills building in a self-sufficient youth estate. The estate allows young people to interact with his/her community and develop emotional stability and interpersonal skills throughout their training/apprenticeships.
For the first time in his life, Degsy Hay is settled. He doesn’t have to worry about which bin his next meal is coming from, which snowy bench he’s gonna sleep on, or who he’ll have to fight to stay alive. Things are going well. His dream of setting up the Hay Patrollers, offering a safe alternative to gang life, has become a reality, and his crew of young people are making the community a better place, patrolling shopping centres, cleaning up the neighbourhoods, helping the elderly and disabled. He’s living with his best friends – Winston, Sheila and Mya – getting to know the brother and sister he never knew he had and learning to live without looking over his shoulder. Life is good.
Then, one night, his house is torched with him and his friends inside. He barely makes it out of the deadly inferno in one piece, and Winston is even less fortunate. He is alive but left in a coma, and it doesn’t look good. Someone out there has a serious problem with Degsy’s vision for a safer, gang-free London, and they ain’t gonna stop setting fires till Degsy gets the message.
As the police search for the arsonist, Degsy and the others try to keep life – and the Hay Patrollers – rolling on as calmly as possible, but life is anything but calm for Degsy when fourteen-year-old Sudanese immigrant Slope rocks up in his life. Slope is violent, aggressive, lost and in need of support – everything Degsy was at that age – and Degsy is determined to help him … even if it takes him as far afield as Australia.
Meanwhile, the senior Hay Patrollers are giving talks in school and prisons, sharing their stories with young people, showing how one bad decision can lead to a lifetime of regret. For Sheila, the experience of sharing her story of abuse, teenage prostitution and the death of a friend is too much to bear, leading to tragic consequences. For Mya, reflecting on the drug-dealing murderer she once was, and how she has turned her life around, leads her to search for redemption and forgiveness.
With Winston showing no signs of waking up, everyone scared, and the police getting no closer to finding the arsonist, Degsy steps up, scours the streets and tracks down an adversary far more dangerous than he had imagined. The only way out will drag him back down into a gutter he has fought so hard to escape: to violence, deception and criminal activity. And when he is forced to ask himself just how far he will go to protect his friends, family and the Hay Patrollers, even he is surprised by the explosive answer.
Posted in Interviews
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The Cabin: A Murder Mystery by W.D. Frolick is the story of a burned-out detective who can’t escape a murder investigation even during his vacation. Buckley Woods is a homicide detective in New York City, until his partner, Cheryl Jenkins, a married mother of two, is shot and killed when she and Buck are trying to apprehend a murder suspect two weeks before Christmas. Unable to start working with another partner, Buck takes a sabbatical and returns to his hometown in Maine to face the demons from his past. He blames himself for his high school girlfriend, Doreen’s death. Back in Orono again, Buck plans to fix up the log cabin on Pushaw Lake that he inherited from his grandfather. But when he arrives at the cabin, he discovers a dead body with a single gunshot wound to the forehead. Will Buck be able to avoid being drawn into the murder investigation? And will he find proof that Doreen’s death wasn’t just a tragic accident?
The book begins with Buck and his partner chasing after a murder suspect, which pulled me into the story right away. I enjoyed the author’s writing style, and I liked that there were several female characters in senior positions within the New York police department. Most other authors that I’ve read seem to have a primarily male cast in law enforcement in crime fiction/mystery.
The author seemed to be dropping some very broad hints in the first few chapters, and I suspected who the murderer was pretty early in the book, even before Buck and Jim discovered the body (although the motive was unclear until much later on in the story). But then, other clues and suspects were introduced, providing a number of false leads, which had me second-guessing myself. I really enjoyed that the story kept me guessing about the identity of the murderer until the very end of the book. And the truth about what happened to Doreen came as a complete surprise to me.
Although I enjoyed the book, I felt that there were too many mundane details, such as what Buck cooked for dinner, and that there were too many unnecessary details about secondary characters that did not relate directly to Buck or the mystery. This slowed the pace of an otherwise entertaining story.
Other than these minor quibbles I think this book is a solid crime novel that uses mystery and intrigue in interesting ways. Bucks character is well developed and the story keeps you guessing until the end.
Pages: 212 | ASIN: B01MR0BGG5
Posted in Book Reviews
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Raven Anderson is a bad ass femme fatale secret agent detective killer who uses her skills, intelligence and sex appeal to get answers. This woman is not to be messed with or it may be the last thing you do. Raven was born into the life of a trained killer and secret spy working for an agency known as The Foundation. This is the third book in the Raven Anderson series and she is back to kick ass and take names. If you haven’t read the other two books, you will be fine with the brief synopsis at the beginning of this book. Soon you will get to know Raven very well!
Together with her friend Naci, she is given the mission to protect Professor Raymond Steele until he can reveal his groundbreaking solution to the world’s biggest issues, a solution, apparently, that has the big powers of the world scrambling to shut it down for fear of threats to power. Raven takes on the challenge with determination and killer instinct. It doesn’t take long for this mission to become intense. The Professor is in danger before Raven can get to him and his wife has been taken as a way to get the code book. From here, this book is a non-stop thrill ride punctuated by violence and sexiness, but also some light-hearted humor and interesting relationships. Its great fun as the author takes the reader all over the world, almost like getting to be a Go-Pro attached to an international spy! She goes up against some pretty rough characters, like the thuggish Boris Alexi, who is desperately seeking the code book. This story has a great arch with an exciting ending.
I quite liked the Naci Vacara character and thought that she balanced Raven’s character. Raven is a character that is intriguing because she is so well developed, nuanced, and dynamic. This is a labor of love and a truly enjoyable read that is both quick and fun. This is perfect if you are looking for something a little edgy but easy to digest.
Pages: 328 | ISBN: 1730750575
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