Progenie is an interesting book that is slow to start but definitely captures the readers attention as the story progresses into one of the most fascinating plots I’ve read this year. The story is a whirlwind of emotions written that takes place in the past and present. The writing style is uniqeue and the descriptions are vivid and provide details for all of your senses.
The story takes place in both the present day and the ancient past. Each place seemed exotic and realistic as the world building in this story was superb. It seemed as if I was transported to this other world where all these events and story lines were taking place. One of my favorite things is how the story starts off in the present, then goes back in history to clarify certain details.
I wasn’t too crazy about the beginning of the book, mostly because it was slow to build, and compared to the rest of this exciting novel, this felt flat. Once you get past the beginning, the story picks up and things start to fall into place. If you’re confused when reading this book, don’t worry, the author does an excellent job of clearing up the confusion in later parts of the story. And the revelations are satisfying.
There’s very few things I dislike about this book. Even the cover art grabs your attention. I call attention to the title of the book. It’s very clever and unusual. Yet, you can’t help but remember it. Several parts of the book make you feel as if you’re watching a movie rather than reading because the detail and world building are meticulous.
I love Zenobia Grant’s character. I always enjoy a strong female lead in sci-fi stories. Her journey is one of self discovery and that is masterfully shown through the slow development of her character throughout this surreal story. This is a book like no other that I’ve read. Filled with different creatures, in different times, and in different dimensions. This is a surreal adventure that you won’t soon forget.
Pages: 450 | ISBN: 1941637566
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The Final War Begins is a dystopian sci-fi novel of a fractured society and the people trying to bring peace to the colonies. The story starts as Lieutenant General Bastien is running from the law. He’s wanted for murder and is running to avoid execution. Bastien is an easy character to root for and he had me empathizing with him right from the beginning. He’s a soldier, but one with good and careful judgement.
Queen Marie Dubois was a character I did not like as much but still loved how fierce and determined she was. Marie’s voracious nature had her kill her father so she could assume the throne. She then turns to Bastien to get rid of her sister Belle. With an exciting plot twits, Belle tries to do the same thing her sister had in mind and turn Bastien against Marie. This turn of events makes the book thrilling to say the least and shows how unpredictable this novel is, which keeps you on the edge of your seat.
There is a strong theme of technology throughout the book that is used deftly and subtly so that you always know this is the future and you can’t wait to see what things S.A. Asthana has dreamed up. Cube the robot is tasked with hunting down Bastien. Cube has a few human features and qualities, like familiarizing himself with emotion through music, which made him endearing. Every character we’re introduced to is developed thoroughly, leaving you with complex and intriguing characters. Marie had extraordinary physical abilities, General Crone is as firm as his job required, and Belle brought balance to the story when other characters appear mean. The main character, Bastien, was everything I would want to see in a protagonist in a fantasy novel.
If you enjoy thrilling fantasy novels, then you will love this book. The author has given the characters contrasting roles that make the plot unfold easily and builds tension organically. Every chapter focuses on a single character; which helped me follow the plot. The adventure, shock, politics, murders, tension among characters and the suspense after every chapter will give you an adrenaline rush. The Final War Begins is a top notch dystopian science fiction novel.
Pages: 287 | ASIN: B07LD73841
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Voice of a Crimson Angel Part III brings an end to the expansion and Chancellor Venloran has won. What were some stories that were important for you to wrap up in this book?
Most important was the story of the Marconi women and Valerie Iglesias. I wanted readers to see the horrifying reality and choices Julissa and Zaneta dealt with, and I’m hoping there’s a diverse reaction to the end result. Will readers see Julissa a s a hero, a radical, a terrorist, or just a lost soul? As for Valerie, I just wanted to expand on her background. I wanted readers to feel the tragedy behind her character: a simple bookworm who wanted to have a family someday, and yet she was turned into a monster for Venloran’s own ends. These women are products of the society they live in, and I hope that was communicated through their stories.
In this book, did Julissa’s character mostly writer itself, because she’s already well defined, or did you want to take her to new places?
A little bit of both oddly. By the third part of the arc, her character is well-established, very true. Still, I wanted her to have one last adventure, or more specifically one last chance. There are many themes in the book, but one of the central points is Julissa’s final few choices. She is faced with the ultimatum many times in VOCA Part III: escalate the violence of the war or take a step back. That’s why I added several scenes with her and David Armano. Julissa’s anger and pride are both weapons against herself and her enemies. One of my favorite scenes in the book will forever be the horse-riding scene between the Marconi mother and daughter. Though this may be their end, I believe readers will appreciate the journey Marconi experiences.
I found this book to be thrilling and savage. Was this a fun book for you to write?
The VOCA trilogy was fun as all hell to write. Writing books is fun for me in general, but some are more stressful than others to write. EOK Part III: Ballad of Demise was one of the most difficult to write, namely because the enormous changes to the story I added in after the outline phase. VOCA Part III: Remembrance was fun because the vision pretty much stayed true to my original outline. Not only that, but I finally got to explore some of the more obscure moments in the history of the UNR. Basically, fleshing out the lore beyond references and actually showing it. Reverence and EOK had battles within forests and buildings, and now in the VOCA trilogy whole cities are now theaters of combat. This was the vision I had for the book, at times claustrophobic, and other times epic.
What are you currently writing and when will it be available?
I try to stay busy, and I’d like to think I’ve outdone myself. Not to brag, because it took many sleepless nights, pots of coffee, and early morning runs to get it all done. Well, close to being done, because I’m still not quite there yet. First things first, on May 31st Avenge the Silenced will be released. It is currently in the editing phase and will be available for a preorder by April 1st. Beyond that, the next chapter in the saga is being written, codename Scourge of Men. It will explore many new characters while also expanding on many formally obscure characters. Perhaps most important of all, Scourge of Men will explore Secretary General Vanzetti and his own empire, the Allied European Federation.
The Expansion is over. Chancellor Venloran has won. Julissa Marconi, however, is not done fighting just yet. If she cannot claim victory, then she and the Crimson Angels will claim revenge. With Mexico lost, the resistance decides to strike at the homeland itself. Unable to turn back, Julissa and her fellow soldiers are now in for the fight of their life. In the final weeks of 2051, a new war will be fought that will test the limits of both sides. There will be no justice or mercy. This decisive battle will be decided by whoever gives into their full, unrestrained, savagery.
Prepare to read the heart-stopping final entry in the Voice of a Crimson Angel trilogy. Complete the tale that expands on the Reverence saga.
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Voice of the Crimson Angel is the final installment of the prequel series to the ongoing Reverence saga. Joshua Landeros returns with all the sound and fury of his sci-fi military thrillers, but we find our heroine, Julissa Marconi, on the defense having lost to Chancellor Venloran previously. The resistance is going to have to dig deep as they find themselves cornered, unable to retreat and unwilling to give in. It will be up to either side or who is willing to sacrifice their humanity in order to win.
Landeros has continued to thrill and amaze with this prequel series, especially with the expansion of his near-future world. His characters are desperate and heroic, even if they give into their more violent natures. The action is brutal and quick, the pacing crisp and fast. At times, I was thrilled I’d read more than I had originally aimed, because I didn’t even realize how quickly pages were flipped.
Julissa is a fun character and one that I am sorry to leave behind as this series comes to a close. Landeros does a good job of making everything balance on a knife’s edge with tension and also does not shy away from wrapping everything up so as to naturally lead into his Reverence series proper. The brutal efficiency of our cyborg soldiers alongside their quiet humanity is a fun dichotomy and one of the reasons why this series remains so fun to come back to.
The only things I won’t miss from this, is the telling of a story that is already somewhat understated in the previous books. And I won’t miss Chancellor Venloran as an antagonist. Landeros has the skill to do more and expand even further into his world, so we should be able to leave this prequel series behind and forge ever on into the future.
Fans of Landeros will not be disappointed and readers who enjoy military science fiction or even political thrillers should be able to feel right at home here. Buckle your seat belts for a thrilling last ride with Julissa Marconi.
Pages: 248 | ASIN: B07F5LPD1S
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The story of Pierre Morena, a 17-year-old in the year 2328, when England is ruled by something called the Audric who rule society through neural stimulation, either serotonin releases to reward compliance or shocks to punish anti-social behavior, guided by a manifesto called The Financially Prudent World by the Audric prophet, Genesis Smith.
Pierre is the first person in this Brave New World to make it as far as 17 without ever once receiving a shock, earning him the nickname Pure Pierre. And then, after a strange and mysterious incident on the 13th floor of the Library in the Shopping (called the Athenaeum here), Pierre begins to wonder if he’s really as pure as he’s come to think. And he’s not the only one. Pierre is in for the challenge of his life. He’s always thought of himself as virtuous; but what is virtue, he begins to wonder, if it’s never been tested?
He runs into a group called the Gamblers who dress like bikers and quote Nietzsche but worship Grease-era John Travolta. They reject and resist the Audric principles and have their own currency. They want Pure Pierre to endorse their hair product, but he’s not so sure. A Gambler accidentally blows his arm off firing an unauthorized gun when Pierre stops for a Macchiato in a Gambler cafe.
We don’t learn too much about the world, though it seems to resemble a 1970’s version of the future, like you’d see in Logan’s Run or Buck Rodgers or Jack Kirby comics. But the world we are presented with is immensely interesting and beautifully drawn. People take pictures on their phones and ride in solar pods, but they still read print newspapers and play water polo. The water polo match at the beginning, in fact, is a thing of beauty, and it makes you wonder why there aren’t more books about water polo players. The Big Three manufacturers are Little Amore, Generation Gold and Walden Now, and they take at least some of their ideas from the Entrepreneurial Etiquette class where Pierre had been a star pupil, inventing a solar radio inspired by a 20th Century Orangina bottle. This combination makes a unique world that serves as an interesting backdrop to a compelling story.
Patrick Barnes engages and entertains in this novel and leaves you questioning whether we want to truly be happy or to just be comfortable. He drags Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, Kierkegaard, even Einstein, into it. It’s like an episode of the TV show The Good Place only with fewer jokes and more suspense. The Audric Experiment is a fun, action-packed read that’s overflowing with great ideas and moral questions.
Pages: 300 | ASIN: B01N313ZXL
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Apex Five is a thrilling science fiction story following several races as they try to restore the balance of power to the Plane. What was the inspiration for the setup to this novel?
Thank you kindly! The inspiration for this clash of civilizations largely stemmed from real-world conflict, such as ongoing political strife in the Middle East and the colonization of the Americas and Australia.
We’re introduced to many different and distinct races throughout this book. What were some themes you wanted to capture in each race?
With the dominant nation of Tabira, I seek to capture an adamant emphasis on technology as the primary means of progress. With the Lir and Garo, I aim to capture two nations at war, though each representing a side two the occupier-freedom fighter coin. Each sees the other as the perpetrator of oppression and violence. Finally, the Ayam symbolize the nation least impacted by technology and industrialization.
I really enjoyed the character progression in this story and the ease with which you introduced each. Who was your favorite character to write for?
My favorite character has to be Rohem. Writing for a person who doesn’t even know where they come from is always interesting, as it allows for relatively free reign as far as their life decisions. That said, Oria is a close second, as her proximity to super-human individuals despite not being one herself provides the opportunity for much self-improvement and exploration as she learns how best to help protect her nation.
This is book one in The Plane series. Where will book two pick up and when will it be available?
Book Two will pick up quite literally from the scene where Book One left off. This sequel, Eon One, should be available by late 2019.
For millennia, the people of the Plane have worshipped five megaliths as relics of the mysterious Zaam. In recent years, the nation of Tabira has employed remarkably advanced technology to subjugate the entire Plane and eradicate all belief in the Zaam.
Now, the three remaining nations must uncover the secret behind Tabira’s sudden forward leap in civilization. At the forefront, a doctor, three intelligence officers and a freedom fighter embark on their respective journeys to restore a balance of power to the Plane.
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Future World Rolls follows two FBI agents with psychic abilities as they start recruiting for a mission that will change human history. What was the inspiration behind the setup to this fascinating story?
Research into the 19-year-long career of one individual, a remote seer for the US government. He reported on the existence of ‘buck naked’ green men on the moon and its irregular placement as a protective screen against the solar flares of the sun. By whom? One may well ask.
As always, your characters are unique and fun to read. What is your process like to create such lively characters?
I always loosely base them on real, memorable people like Stan Laurel and the Big Bopper. Disparate? Maybe.
You masterfully imbue your work with music throughout the story. What were some key themes in your choice of music for this book?
Pure relevance to the storyline, plus hefty research into the ways in which these series of songs originated. I used this method to carry on the themes they might have used if they’d stayed on course, like Buddy Holly staying with The Crickets. In some instances, I began writing original tunes as imaginary offshoots. A classic example is the 2190 Overture, which could be sung by the likes of Queen in the same vein as Bohemian Rhapsody.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am well into the first few chapters of book 3 of the Carousels of Life, Simply Spiffin’, Future Criminologist. It is all in my mind, to keep on track.
It starts in the mid-20th century with two talented FBI Special Agents being tasked with recruiting people to undertake a really unusual mission. In the process, they are themselves abducted to take a leading role in that mission, which is intended to save the human race from alien conquest.
It involves time travel into the future, as they lead their hostile hunters on a merry chase across the centuries. They have the full support of other sympathetic races in their imaginative survival techniques, allowing them to go on the offensive.
The characters within embark on a series of adventures that are truly moving in their significance. Based initially on our own Planet Earth, the story employs reported alien sightings and events.
Future World ROLLS to its very core!
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Lifeliners follows Nash as he navigates a tumultuous future with the next evolution of human’s, lifeliners. What was the inspiration behind lifeliners and how did that develop as you were writing?
Lifeliners began as an idea for a short story on a long flight from Europe to Melbourne, Australia, my home. I always have my notebook handy, never knowing when inspiration would strike. Tired of browsing through inflight entertainment, I began jotting down notes to flesh out a story about an emerging new human able to draw energy from someone by touching them. From previous reading and watching documentaries, I knew that birthrates in Western countries have been falling for a while, accompanied by growing sterility. Could this be a product of our high-pressure technological lifestyle and high density urban living? I decided to develop this theme into a story. Nature decided that lifeliners were the answer to who would over time replace normal human beings. Of course, people would not be prepared to simply let lifeliners take over, but that only added to the story’s depth.
Well, I wrote the short story, posted it on my website, and I thought I was done with it. Time to finish what was then my latest book project Legitimate Power. Once I had it published, I began reviewing ideas for a new book – and kept coming back to lifeliners. It was one thing to write a short story, but fleshing it out into a full-length novel was not something I had in mind, wanting to write another contemporary political drama/thriller. But the bug had bitten me and the characters clamored to have their say. Lifeliners began to haunt my days. The only way I would have peace was to write the damned book, and I was glad that I did.
I really enjoyed Nash’s character and the relationship he has with Cariana. What were some important themes for you when creating these characters and their relationship?
Nash was a lifeliner in a social environment that is growing increasingly hostile, fanned by propaganda by governments the world over – it was easy to blame lifeliners for the problems people had. His natural instinct was to survive, and if possible, secure his future, provided no one found out he was a lifeliner. Having someone to love, raise a family, was an obvious and normal goal, but one he was not sure he could achieve. Would it not be better to wall himself in from social contact and ride out whatever troubles might lay ahead? That is how he lived for a few years, especially after thugs murdered his first love, Sally. Meeting Cariana, not a lifeliner, generated normal human feelings, and he ignored his inner warnings and allowed himself to become ensnared by her, which regrettably led to all the subsequent unpleasantness. Having found out that remaining walled in did not work, he needed to change things, not only for himself, but other lifeliners as well. This led to a gradual transformation of his world view and as a person.
Falling in love with Cariana, cool, beautiful and accomplished, was easy. Her work as a geneticist alarmed Nash, knowing that she could expose him, and if the relationship was to mature, he would have to reveal himself to her anyway and face possible rejection. For Cariana, starting to fall for Nash, she faced a psychological burden having her brother killed by a drunken lifeliner. It embittered her against all lifeliners. She recognized the sick nature of her attitude, but she could not help herself. When she learned that Nash was a lifeliner, the image of him as a dashing prince was shattered, and she hated him, yet she could not extinguish her love for him. I believe the interplay of emotions and feelings the two had for each other, and the emotional baggage both carried, hopefully made them more real, something readers would expect in any couple.
I enjoyed the realistic portrayal of science in this story. Did you conduct any research for this book, or were these things you were thinking about?
Although the idea of drawing bioelectromagnetic energy from another person is a fictional foray, I spent a lot of time researching material for Lifeliners, which reinforced the information I already had about the complexity of human biochemistry. The loss of our ability to synthesize pyruvate into leucine and valine is a fact, as are their functions. However, I have taken some liberty when I suggested that lifeliners can also synthesize vitamin C. But who knows what nature may have in store for us in the future. Although Lifeliners is a work of fiction, I always thoroughly research every one of my contemporary novels to ensure the validity of my facts and that I do not stray too far from what is scientifically possible with my science fiction.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Having just completed Lifeliners, and busy marketing it, I need to take a break and recharge my creative battery. It usually takes me a couple of months before I start nurturing ideas, seeing which of them can be turned into a novel. However, this does not mean that I have stopped writing. As a matter of fact, I just added a new short story to my collection, Doorways of the Mind, and I have another that I will write within the next few days. Until the urge overcomes me to tackle a new novel, I will be spending some of my time doing book reviews and editing for other authors.
When everybody is against them, it is tough being a lifeliner, as Nash Bannon found out. Lifeliners are ordinary people…almost. They can draw energy from another person; they live longer and are smarter. Scientists claim that Western high-pressure living and growing sterility in developed countries has triggered the rise of lifeliners, and homo sapiens will replaced by homo renata within ten generations. So, what’s not to like about lifeliners? Protest marches by extremist groups, riots, attacks against lifeliners, repressive laws enacted by governments everywhere, were portents of a dark future. Young, successful, Nash Bannon did not like what was going on, but he thought he had the world at his feet and life in Australia was good, provided no one found out he was a lifeliner. A chance encounter with Cariana during a lunchbreak develops into something he considered important. The Australian government calls a snap election, and Nash stands as a Senate candidate on the Lifeliner Party ticket. Unless lifeliners rise up and fight for their rights, they can expect sterilization, incarceration, and possible extermination as democracies everywhere turn into autocracies. To survive, the Lifeliner Party must employ the same dirty tricks the government used against them, but they were not prepared for what awaited them.
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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
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The main character, Nash Bannon, is hopelessly interesting and charming from the very first chapter. We learn so much about his past, his family life, siblings, and upbringing that by chapter two you are utterly fascinated and rooting for him no matter what. His love interest, Cariana Foster, is equally enchanting and the dialogue between these characters is so raw that you can’t help but fall in love with them. There is a huge elephant in the room regarding their relationship, but I don’t want to give away any big spoilers so let’s just say that it keeps you on the edge of your seat.
The idea of the Lifeliners; human beings that have evolved into some other state of existence not yet fully understood, is absolutely engaging. The way the author writes about the political atmosphere of the world surrounding these super-humans is realistic and you can feel the pain of their humanity (or non-humanity?) and the fear elicited from them by the rest of society.
The politics in this book is one of my favorite aspects. Because of how realistically the author conveys these ideas you feel like you’ve been transported into Nash’s world. Even though the idea of co-existing with humans who have super-natural abilities is un-realistic and physically unrelatable, the dialogue and world view portrayed in the book is so natural and believable that you feel like you are really dealing with the emotions of the characters on every page. The relationship between Nash and the homeless child Aleya (a lifeliner) is touching and tragic at the same time. To think of a world that can cast aside children like garbage just because they have different abilities is really upsetting to think about.
I also enjoyed the scientific aspects of the story. Literally no detail is left out when it comes to the genetic anomalies of the Lifeliners and Cariana’s work as a geneticist is fascinating. While liberties were obviously taken (as this is a fictional story), this aspect of the book is also frighteningly realistic. I felt as if this evolution within the human species could actually happen and that these types of moral dilemmas might really someday face the human race.
Overall, I would recommend this book, it was a page turner from start to finish. There aren’t many books that I can see myself reading multiple times, but Lifeliners is definitely one of them.
Pages: 431 | ASIN: B07GN8QV83
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