The Night and the Land is the kind of book you need to get when you come out of a massive reader’s block. The storyline is thrilling, the characters are impressive and Matt Spencer’s writing style is engaging. The author knows how to capture the reader’s interest through minute things like the description of events and details of locations. This is a story propelled forward by Sally and Rob’s characters. A unique development of characterization plays well within the confines of this gritty dark fantasy novel.
We follow the lives of Sally Wildfire and Bob among many other interesting characters. Sally’s family is not the best. They show inconsiderate at best and cruel at their worst. While running away from her family, Sally comes across a compelling young lad, Rob. Sally and Rob begin to develop a relationship that is gripping and provocative. I was fond of Rob but I liked Rob’s father even more. I was thrilled by the father’s surreptitious past and wished the author had written more about him. Reading about the characters’ families, their backgrounds and relations with each other was the most thrilling part for me in the book.
Character development is one of the best features in Mat Spencer’s writing. His style makes it easy for the reader to follow and enjoy the plot and activities the characters engage in. The supernatural elements and the horror incorporated among the themes in the book spiced up the sometimes horrific story. The transition from somewhat real life-like setting to events in dark fantasy is magical.
The Night and the Land is an enthralling dark fantasy novel, utilizing the best parts of the horror genre to explore the depths of some captivating characters.
Pages: 362 | ASIN: B07N7T224R
Nicole has found herself in quite the predicament. As an unwanted child left to abusive relatives herself, she doesn’t quite know what to do when she is presented with young Shelby. Shelby, missing since the night of her parents’ brutal murder, has stumbled upon Nicole. Their pairing is an odd one but at the same time destined to have occurred. Longing for her parents and her Uncle Tee, hurting, lost, and hungry, Shelby does the only thing she knows how–she eats. Her need to feed, however, is like nothing Nicole has ever experienced–Nicole herself is Shelby’s sustenance.
Crimson Moon is the third in a series by Georgiana Fields. The Dhampir are the focus of Fields’s work and provide readers with a whole new cast of characters who by far outweigh any vampire novel I have ever read. Their shapeshifting abilities and the way in which they can sense one another’s life forces makes for a truly engaging read. Shelby and her extended family are standout characters with a closeness most families would envy.
One of the most striking elements of Nicole’s character development is the way she regards Tristan’s behavior toward Shelby. Nicole is at a loss on how family could and should behave. She has never received love in any form or fashion. At the hands of what little family she has, Nicole has endured unimaginable abuse. Her attempts to start over have been thwarted, and she can’t possibly relate to the display of love she sees being shown to Shelby. After seeing her “family,” readers will deeply feel Nicole’s yearning for true affection when she observes Tristan and Shelby.
As with Fields’s first book in the series, Crimson Dreams, readers will find intense action sequences, bloodthirsty characters, and breathtaking moments. Right out of the gate, Fields grabs readers’ attention with a chaotic and heart-wrenching scene between Shelby and her parents. Readers will know what four-year-old Shelby can’t possibly understand as she makes her frantic, yet forced, escape on her own. Fields knows how to pull in readers and keep them invested from cover to cover.
Having devoured Crimson Dreams, I was eager to follow the saga and was not disappointed. Fields builds on the scene set in the first book and succeeds in keeping the momentum going. I highly recommend Fields’s books to those interested in branching out of the vampire genre. There is much to be gained by exploring the world of the Dhampir according to Georgiana Fields.
Pages: 318 | ASIN: B07KQFCX3J
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, Crimson Moon, dark fantasy, ebook, fantasy, fiction, Fly by Night: A Riveting Spy Thriller, Georgiana Fields, goodreads, horror, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, romance, story, supernatural, thriller, vampire, werewolf, writer, writing
Rise: A Blood Inheritance Novel by M. Ainihi is the first novel from the “Blood Inheritance” YA dark fantasy series. It follows the story of Amanda Garrett, a fifteen-year-old girl who lives in a small town with her father. The book starts off with a prologue set hundreds of years before the main story takes place, where we learn of the imprisonment of Erol, a jinn(genie), and the reason behind it. Hundreds of years later, while on a day trip in the woods with her dad, Amanda stumbles upon an ancient artifact she discovers contains a jinn(genie), which is Erol, that will change her life forever. Amanda’s life soon spirals out of control as she is sucked into a fantastical world where she’s orphaned, kidnapped, and forced to work for a powerful wizard who seeks a mythical talisman. All the while, Amanda harnesses dark powers unbeknownst to her. And as she sets off on her journey, Amanda learns about the creation of the universe, different mythical creatures, realms, and her own demonic ancestry. She has to deal with unwanted feelings and make decisions that will harm those she loves, some of which leave both her and the reader shocked.
Rise is an incredibly fast-paced novel, one-second you’re following the story of a joyful girl, completely unaware of the journey she’s about to begin, and the next you’re reading of genies, evil wizards, gods, and the creation of the universe. Although it is 160 pages it is extremely detailed and provides the reader with a good understanding of the characters and the realms they reside. As for the language used, it is fairly simple to understand, which makes it a suitable read for anyone. I did find a couple of spelling mistakes and redundancies but really nothing to fret over. The main character, Amanda, is very believable. She starts off as a naive young girl, happy to spend time with her father and worried over trivial matters. But as the story develops, so does she, as she becomes a troubled young woman trying her best to understand and control the dark powers and impulses within her.
Throughout the book, we get to see two sides of the same character and that makes it a lot more interesting. Other characters, such as Erol and Aden, also provide a refreshing break from what you might expect from a genie, for even though they want to do good with their powers, they also have secrets and desires that add complexity to what could otherwise be bland and predictable characters. M. Ainihi does a great job creating a beautiful setting, making you feel like you’re actually visiting the realms described. The theme is very fun and original. the author provides a different concept with the genies, as opposed to your typical vampires and werewolves. I very much enjoyed reading about these mythological creatures and all the lore behind them.
Pages: 162 | ASIN: B075PX97CK
Tags: adventure, author, book, book review, bookblogger, dark fantasy, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, M. Ainihi, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, Rise: A Blood Inheritance Novel, story, supernatural, suspense, teen, thriller, writer, writing, YA, young adult
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
A Little Bit Extraordinary by Esther Robinson
A Saint and a Sinner by Stephen H. Donnelly and Diane O’Bryan
Silver Award Winners
Mountain Heat by Natrelle Long
Pandora’s Gardener by David C Mason
Posted in Literary Titan Book Award
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Alathea: Goddess & Empress follows a young princess coming of age in a dangerous kingdom that shapes who she becomes. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
The first works in which Alathea appeared were the three books I had written prior, the Gift-Knight trilogy. Alathea is barely in the first book of that series but she’s the primary antagonist. She has goals and an interesting way of going about them, and quite the aesthetic as well. I once had a reviewer suggest that they were more interested in Alathea because Alathea is a “stronger character”, more effective at getting things done than her rival Chandra. While I believe this reviewer might not have been interested in ethics at all, I must thank them for reminding me that compelling antagonists are often the protagonists of their own story and there are always readers who love them. This novel is the story that I decided to give Alathea, where she certainly is the protagonist and has some sympathetic goals.
I appreciated the slow development and subtle evolution of Alathea’s character. What were some obstacles you felt were important to developing her character?
My values permeate my works, so representing them well can be a challenge. I wasn’t about to write a story where it turns out Alathea was secretly the one you should have cheered for in the Gift-Knight trilogy all along, so I needed the reader to become invested in her world, what happens to it, what happens to her, and what she does to it, without writing a lawful good character who would make more dedicated readers wonder what went wrong between this and the Gift-Knight trilogy. I felt that I needed to show the many complicated things that can go wrong with parenting, especially in the halls of brutally acquired imperial power, without making it look like pure ineptitude or lack of effort. I didn’t want to show many characters who are being evil for fun, but I didn’t want to rule out the existence of such. As a writer, finding and maintaining this balanced perspective was an obstacle. Another challenge was the passage of time and how I express it, because Alathea does plenty of growing up in this story, yet if she began the story too young then it might seem she’s growing up unrealistically fast. I needed to be careful about anything I said that marked the passage of time, such as rainy versus dry seasons. I needed to give Alathea noble goals, then show you how difficult it is for her to live up to them when the tools she’s given are brutal ones, and when she’s not aware of any precedent in her culture or her world for successfully accomplishing such goals.
The world you’ve created for this story is intricate and intriguing. What were some sources that informed the worlds development?
For naming conventions, clothing and aesthetics, I looked to Ancient Rome and Greece. All the large port settlements in my created world feature different peoples and cultures, and Port Selumer is no different; I show people with different backgrounds living side by side, because one thing empires do is expand to forcibly encompass many lands and cultures that used to be independently governing. For the clans north of the empire, I once again looked to Ancient Rome and their attitude toward people who lived north of them: the Gauls, the Celts, people living in a large swathe of land labelled “Germania” by Ancient Romans, also the Norse. I didn’t go into such depth with my depiction of Einar’s people, but I did highlight the tension between these peoples and the empire south of them, the deal-making, the imperial game of playing some clans against others. Also, the tiered design of Port Selumer is inspired by port settlements in the Mediterranean such as Santorini, and any place where the urban geography is a bit vertical and descending toward the water. This is also seen in famous fantasy capitals like Minas Tirith. The idea of class divisions based on topographic elevation is probably not new but I didn’t look at a specific example when I decided to do that.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My current project is getting through this pandemic with my parents in as safe a way as possible. I have stories that I can pursue, but I can’t yet predict which one I will choose. The safest guess is another story within the same world that contains Kensrik, Port Selumer, Derek, Chandra, and their respective family histories, because I would only have to do local world-building instead of arranging an entire continent. I have a couple of options if I go that route. I would love to write something that’s a complete departure from this, just to know that I could.
Nankin City is thrown into chaos when a magical cyborg attacks a country club. As the city’s forces attempt to nab the culprit, emissaries from Albac, a magical planet arrive to join the investigation. They believe the perpetrator comes from Albac and want to help Nankin City find him. To do this, they recruit a few of Nankin’s residents. Dark Sparrow, a bounty hunter finds herself among those selected to travel to planet Albac and help solve the mystery. But she also has a side job to investigate the case of several missing children. She juggles these two cases while struggling to quell the raging demons from her past. The attempts to unveil the cyborg’s identity reveals a deeper agenda that will change the lives of all the investigators forever. Who are those behind this troubling scheme and what do they want?
Andrew Casey’s Dark Sparrow is a delightful mashup of science fiction and fantasy. It has all the usual elements of these genres of fiction. Magic, a fascinating but bizarre planet (that’s not earth), superhuman abilities, fantastic beasts, cool weapons and all the works. Casey’s work is detailed, immersive and very stimulating.
Dark Sparrow is packed with man versus man and man versus alien fights that will give action lovers good value for their money. I particularly liked Dark Sparrow. Her skill, defiance and quirkiness showed her to be a kick-ass protagonist you don’t want to mess with. At times I felt there were too many characters in the story early on and it was hard to keep track of each one. Some of the characters took on separate identities on earth and on Albac which added to my confusion. I am able to overlook little snag with the characters and highly recommend this book.
The thrill of fiction lies in its ability to help readers to escape reality while still feeling its strong pull, Casey generously provides this benefit in his book. While giving my imagination something to lap up, he carves his story around many relevant social issues. From divorce to parenting, empathy, cyberbullying, love and LGBTQ themes, Casey touches them all. All this might sound overwhelming but Casey skillfully holds every bit together with engaging dialogues and a strong story line. What’s more, he delivers each theme with a fresh perspective that rings true.
Pages: 284 | ASIN: B089YBXX2Y
Tags: action, adventure, Andrew Casey, author, book, book review, bookblogger, dark fantasy, Dark Sparrow: The Mastermind, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, science fiction, scifi, space adventure, story, suspense, teen, thriller, writer, writing, young adult
Worldshaper follows Shawna as she discovers the ability to shape her world, but also discovers that their’s an evil entity threatening her world. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting story?
I’ve always thought it would be interesting if authors could live in the worlds they’ve created. The setup for the Worldshapers series makes that a reality. So that was one bit of inspiration.
The other was simply my desire to come up with a series idea that would allow me to write all sorts of stories. I like to compare it to Doctor Who, the greatest storytelling concept anyone has ever crafted. You can tell any story within Doctor Who because the Doctor has the ability to travel anywhere in time in space. So there have been stories set in Victorian London, in the far, far future, on strange planets…literally anything is possible. The Worldshapers series, where Shawna is tasked with travelling from world to world within a vast interdimensional Labyrinth of Shaped worlds, gathering the knowledge of their making to take to the mysterious Ygrair so she can save all of these worlds from the Adversary, likewise permits any kind of story I want to tell.
Shawna’s ability to shape worlds is intriguing and I loved exploring it in the book. What were some driving ideas behind this ability?
I think it goes back again to the power we have as writers to make changes within our stories. Most of us have had the experience of writing entire scenes or chapters that we changed our minds about and discarded. What would it be like if you were living in a world where an author did that? Something you experienced would simply never have happened…but the author would still remember it. That’s exactly what happens when Shawna shapes her world. She’s essentially a writer editing what she created on the fly. But just like changing scenes in a novel can have unexpected consequences later on, forcing the author to replot or perhaps even to change the ending from what he or she originally planned, so Shawna’s Shaping of her world keeps having unintended consequences that complicate her life.
Shawna visits many different worlds throughout the book. What were some scenes that were you favorite to write?
She only visits one world in the first book—her own—but she sees quite a lot of it. I think my favorite bits were the journey on the sailboat, the Amazon (named after a boat in a favorite series of mine as a kid, Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome) and then the adventures in the tunnels of the mysterious island at the end, which reminded me of playing Dungeons & Dragons. Oh, and the time in the mountains, especially the encounter with the bear…
This is book one in your Worldshapers series. What can readers expect in book two?
Book 2, Master of the World, just released in mass-market paperback (after coming out in trade paperback and ebook formats last fall), sees Shawna on her own, separated from her companion, Karl Yatsar, and having to make her own way across a world inspired by Jules Verne—so it’s full of strange flying machines and steampunk submarines and floating islands and weird weapons. I had a ton of fun with that one.
Book 3, The Moonlit World, will be out September 15, and the best way to sum it up is my unofficial working title, “Werewolves and Vampires and Peasants, Oh My!” It indeed takes place in a world Shaped by someone very fond of werewolves and vampires…as, of course, am I.
For Shawna Keys, the world is almost perfect. She’s just opened a pottery studio in a beautiful city. She’s in love with a wonderful man. She has good friends.
But one shattering moment of violence changes everything. Mysterious attackers kill her best friend. They’re about to kill Shawna. She can’t believe it’s happening–and just like that, it isn’t. It hasn’t. No one else remembers the attack, or her friend. To everyone else, Shawna’s friend never existed…
Everyone, that is, except the mysterious stranger who shows up in Shawna’s shop. He claims her world has been perfect because she Shaped it to be perfect; that it is only one of uncounted Shaped worlds in a great Labyrinth; and that all those worlds are under threat from the Adversary who has now invaded hers. She cannot save her world, he says, but she might be able to save others–if she will follow him from world to world, learning their secrets and carrying them to Ygrair, the mysterious Lady at the Labyrinth’s heart.
Frightened and hounded, Shawna sets off on a desperate journey, uncertain whom she can trust, how to use her newfound power, and what awaits her in the myriad worlds beyond her own.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: adventure, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, contemporary fantasy, dark fantasy, ebook, Edward Willett, epic fantasy, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, science fiction, scifi, story, supernatural, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Alathea: Goddess and Empress by Dylan Madeley is an adventure-filled fantasy novel that is sure to please fans of epic fantasy like the Game of Thrones. The name of Madeley’s novel intrigued me from the very beginning, and the novel kept me engaged through the closing pages with its fast-paced chapters and unexpected plot twists. Reading this in 2020 when many of us are stuck at home with few options for escape, it was certainly a treat for me to follow the adventures of the characters in Alathea: Goddess and Empress across the Coast Empire and through the streets of Port Selumer.
The novel centers on its namesake, Alathea, who is the young heir to the Coast throne. Alathea’s age is vague, she is not a girl although net yet a woman. Alathea is educated in the ways of the world by her sage tutor, Rheb, yet she has much to learn if she seeks to assume control of the throne. Alathea’s father, Emperor Maximian, is an abrasive character who frequently lets his rage get the better of him when dealing with both friend and foe. As the course of events unfolds, Alathea finds herself taking on the responsibilities of the throne and defending her kingdom from enemies at many angles who wish to usurp her power. With the support of Rheb and Einar, a young warrior from a northern clan, Alathea takes on new powers, both earthly and mythical.
With Alathea: Goddess and Empress, Madeley has created a novel that you can hardly put down due to the excitement and action contained within its 300-odd pages. I frequently found myself staying up past my bedtime to finish a chapter to see how Rheb and Alathea triumphed over their challenges, and Madeley does a good job of keeping the plot fresh and surprising. The novel struggled, though, with its main character: Alathea is not particularly likeable, and I frequently found myself feeling annoyed with her actions and her gratuitous self-indulgence. I struggled to relate to her emotions and felt she was a bit too unsympathetic of a character to be a protagonist for whom I would want to cheer. Thankfully, Alathea is surrounded with good people, and Rheb and Einar are strong supporting characters. Rheb was perhaps my favorite character, and I would love to read a novel by Madeley about his development and experiences. His vast knowledge and mysterious aura really appealed to me, and every chapter from his perspective was a delight. Madeley also excels in his descriptions of hand-to-hand combat – these scenes truly blew me away with their detail and expertise!
Alathea: Goddess and Empress is creative and engaging, with several very positive supporting characters. The world that Madeley has created in the Coast empire is one worth exploring and I hope for future installments in this literary world.
Pages: 288 | ASIN: B085LDXDZX