Son of the Serpent by Vashti Quiroz-Vega is a fantasy novel of vengeance and revenge told from the dual perspective of Dracul, the Son of the serpent, and Lillith, his mother.
Dracul arises in a cave and discovers that he’s encased in a demonic body. He’s filled with agony and confusion as he pieces together his memories to determine how he arrived there. In a painful and shocking epiphany, he realizes that he is the son of Lilith, and that Lilith had tried to kill him. He vows to find out what happened and avenge himself. On this bloodthirsty journey, he faces death, destruction, and betrayal. People, encounters, and events further cement his determination for revenge. The author breathes new life into a host of fantastical characters, often from Biblical settings. Their lives and stories are familiar, yet enshrouded in darkness.
What I found most striking about the book was the depth of its darkness and morbidity. Vivid, gory scenes of slaughter left me uncomfortable, but totally engrossed. Lilith’s sections were almost unbearable. Scenes of Lilith’s cruelty towards others was always accompanied by a fascinating glimpse into her psyche. There’s a lot going on in her and just a surface glimpse was enough to leave me mesmerized. It’s been a while since I encountered such a well-portrayed and dislikable antagonist.
Dracul was just as well-written. His struggle to be good in the face of his own destiny was oddly inspiring. To fight where he came from, to whom he belongs, and the core of his being- his pain and loneliness were palpable. The ending was unexpected, but upon consideration, entirely perfect. Maybe it’s not inherent to him, but it’s clear that Dracul is a good creature.
The Biblical settings and references provided a whole new perspective on the worn-out stories. From angels to Cain and Abel, the otherworldly features heavily in this book- and not always in a favorable light. The Biblical events portrayed from a first-person and real-time perspective were super imaginative. I think it would be difficult to assign a genre to this book. Although it is set primarily in a fantasy world, the dashes of horror, romance, and the occult would make it an interesting read for nearly anyone. The world created by Vashti Quiroz-Vega is totally immersive. I was glad for the escape from reality and I would definitely visit again.
Pages: 303 | ASIN: B07HS4C3B7
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The world is under siege after a thousand-year-old evil awakens threatening the modern-day world. Creatures of old and heroes alike resurface to fight this evil and reclaim the peace that is slowly slipping away. The story follows several unique characters as their lives, both past and present unfold and intertwine, slowly revealing their roles in the grand scheme of good versus evil.
Vincent Bobbe has a writing style perfectly fit for the grimdark fantasy genre. The battle scenes are gritty and realistic. The scenes illustrating magical feats flow perfectly within the context of the story. I thought the use of language and violence was acceptable and never crossed the border of unnecessary. However, at times the character descriptions seemed forced and unnatural, but the author made up for this with rich personality and believable characteristics. I did wonder why this book is lacking in female characters. Of course, there were female characters, but they were only there to serve the men of the story. There is so much rich world building packed into this novel, it is a shame there were no quality female characters to populate it.
Immortals’ Requiem is an epic adventure that would rightfully need the page count it comes with. I expected a slow burn but the first hundred pages are a bitter pill to swallow – time shifts drastically and the point of view switches often. I am a fan of a perspective change among the variety of main characters and Immortals’ Requiem lends itself well to this narration style. It keeps the plot moving and allows the various character plot points to develop simultaneously. But in the end, I felt that the the perspectives change so rapidly that it was difficult to follow along and establish a focal point for each character. I can tell that the author put a lot of thought into every aspect of the individuals, it would have been nice to get more time reading about each character before moving on to another. The quality of the writing is easy to read and there were no major mistakes. And while I appreciated the scenic details, some of the chapters were drawn out with too many specifics clashing together.
Overall the Vincent Bobbe does a fantastic job of blending the modern feel of Manchester to the old-world magic he so eloquently writes about. The two characters Cam and Grimnir personify this juxtaposition perfectly and quickly become my two favorites among the cast. The characters truly drive the plot and develop the story as you learn more about their history and evolving personalities. If you are a fan of urban or dark fantasy I would recommend you give this book a go.
Pages: 554 | ASIN: B07DDDVDR5
“I am Theodore Callington. I have a family. And a home. I belong somewhere.” These longing words are spoken by Teddy, who has lived a tortured life. An orphan taken in by a murderous uncle, regularly beaten to a pulp. An escaped cowboy, loved by an adopted family but trampled in the rodeo. And an unwilling vampire, slowly feeling his way to redemption. What will happen when Teddy attempts to reclaim his humanity from the devilish vampire who made him what he is? Follow Teddy’s twisted and terrifying journey in L. Nightingale’s A Bite of the Past: Undying Love.
A Bite of the Past is an exploration of what it means to be human, and conversely, sub-human. It is a heartbreaking story of cruelty, rejection, and longing for the love and stability of a family. Teddy’s journey is also one of hopefulness, reconnection, and the ascendancy of good over evil.
As our devastatingly handsome and sometimes repugnant main character, Teddy is truly a tortured soul—one dealing with the excruciating pain of his past but also searching for the truth and love that lies between the horror. Through sheer will-power, Teddy salvages the memories that have been suppressed by his malevolent teacher—the ruthless László. Under his tutelage, Teddy is truly a gruesome creature who carries out deeds that are sometimes hard to read.
Nightingale’s prose can be disorderly at times—perhaps intentionally so, as a reflection of the muddled psyche of her main character. He is confused much of the time, piecing together fragments of memories while simultaneously trying to quell his inner demon. This confusion spills over to the reader who, at times, feels lost as the narrative doubles back.
The twists, turns, and major surprises of the book do keep the reader engaged through the final cliffhanging scene. Gruesome descriptions of fights and killings will appeal to fans of macabre action. The throwback scenes to the wild west are charming, and Teddy’s vernacular peppers the book with memorable sayings, such as “the temperature would drop like a naked gunslinger beefed on a Dodge Street.” Overall, the yearning for love will resound with all.
A tale of a wayward cowboy looking for redemption that will strike a chord with its readers.
Pages: 343 | ASIN: B07SGWRTCN
The war the world feared finally came except this was a different kind of war. One fought between the living and the dead. The living lost.
Liam, a former soldier in the war against the dead, had done everything he could to hold back the enemy but in the end he joined the other survivors in the only safe place left— underground.
Now Liam helps keep the last of the living safe in the subway tunnels, scavenging food by day, hiding by night, all the while haunted about how they lost the world above them. He always believed the dead had help but he could never prove it.
He would soon learn he was right all along and that there is no safe place to hide from extinction—underground just might turn out to be everyones tomb after all.
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King Gravynmere of Vanosia has sent some of his best soldiers to investigate strange stories in the nearby border town of Faxon. The men will soon learn there is more truth than fancy to these stories, for something walks in the fields, something with cloven hooves and fire dripping from its hands.
The king rallies his son, Prince Quinn, his entire army and all of the Kingdom of Vanosia to confront the very forces of darkness in an epic tale of adventure, magic and mystery as the veil between their world and Perdition grows thin.
Join the Prince as he battles for his land, his people and his beloved on a mission that will take him to ends of the world and back, through pain and sacrifice, war and horror as what is below claws its way to above.
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
It’s OK to be Different by Sharon Purtill
Silver Award Winners
The White Hand is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a macabre thriller and romance as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
The cross-genre aspect of The White Hand was always been known from the beginning of the project. Since the novel is part of the Rutherford Manor universe, there were some things that I could not change. The White Hand was the first time I have adopted pre-existing characters and a pre-existing world. Thankfully, I was also giving a lot of freedom to develop a unique plot and create characters that would best fit within the world and complement the existing elements.
Rutherford Manor has always crossed between historical, horror, and thriller. The romance side of the novel was not known initially. The protagonist, Spalding, is a character with a lot of complications. He means well, but also has a darker side to him. This makes him human. During the early phases of defining the premise and chapter outlines, I wanted to give him an internal struggle. He needed to develop throughout the story and be relatable. This is why Irene was created. She basically is the one person he is unable to get out of his head.
The emotions that Spalding feels for Irene creates a interesting dynamic for the novel because she is the daughter of the boss of The White Hand. Not often do I write romance sub plots in my work. It was a lot of fun to explore these emotions. As with the majority of people, we all experience love in our lives. This was one of the few times I have been able to tap into the intense feelings that people go through. It was a long of fun and added to the uniqueness of this storyline in my writing career.
How did you create Alastor and Spalding’s characters in a way that contrasted yet still supported the characters development?
Alastor and Spalding were pre-existing characters in the Rutherford Manor universe. There was some back story already developed for both of them. Alastor had less to work with and Spalding, which gave me an open canvas to decide what strong and weak character traits he would have. Naturally I turned to his two sons, Walter and Nox for inspiration. Alastor also had to provide a interesting wokring dynamic for Spalding.
Spalding is a complicated character. He is well defined within the Rutherford Manor universe and gets himself into a lot of trouble. The challenge with him was to do him justice in the written word when he’s had so much developed already. His internal monologue was a lot of fun to dive into because of his complex desires.
What was your inspiration for the setup of the story and how did that help you create the ending?
The premise for the story was open-ended when I was first thing contact with the Rutherford Manor creator, Preston Ewasiuk, and his wife Karla. Unlike previous novels that I’ve worked on, this was not just my own story to tell, but the story for everyone involved within Rutherford Manor.
I approach this novel as I would with graphic design projects. I found the creative process when designing logos, or other branding material, is incredibly transferable. Basically you start with high-level concepts and then work your way inward to the finer details. In regards to telling a story, this meant coming up with a couple of premise ideas, refining one, then forming the story outline and tweak, then chapter outlines, and finally the first draft and tweak.
There was preexisting canon in the Rutherford Manor universe. Knowing about what was core to the world made defining a story that would fit within the timelines a real challenge and glad I was able to participate in such a project.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
Currently I am working on wrapping up my dark fantasy series, Mental Damnation. It is long overdue. I also have an untitled slasher novel currently in the beta reader phase. There is also discussion about a sequel to The White Hand. So, there’s lots in the works with no definitive release dates as of yet. Readers can find out more on my website http://www.konnlavery.com or on social media where I post regular updates on what is going on with my writing progress.
Based on the award-winning Haunted House and forthcoming television series, The White Hand brings you into a historical thriller combining mobsters, forbidden love, old souls, murder, and betrayal.Rutherford Manor – a safe haven for some. For others, a home that holds many sinister secrets. Run by the Fleshers and the Savidges, these two families have survived for generations leading up to the present day of 1890. Headmaster Alastor Flesher and his business partner, Spalding Savidge, find themselves in desperate times to provide for their families.Their needs wrap them into a deal with the Irish mob – The White Hand. The two men willingly work with the gang as resurrectionists, obtaining bodies for anatomists. Alastor and Spalding develop a unique process, gaining access to the most well-preserved bodies. Their product becomes desirable throughout the black market in Illinois.Despite the handsome pay, Spalding is left in disarray. Alastor’s desperation for income runs deeper than he ever knew. His moral compass is shattered due to their snatching methods. Spalding plays with fire, developing something known as love for Irene, the daughter of The White Hand’s boss. With a dash of foul play and new allies, Spalding becomes the glue that holds Rutherford Manor together, and he is coming unbound.Join the Fleshers and the Savidges as they plummet into an era-altering series of events that will change Rutherford Manor forever.
The Astral Surge follows two siblings as they are exposed to two different forces of nature. What was the inspiration for the idea behind this novel?
The inspiration comes from a deep reflection on life in general. Consequences and repercussions, both positive and negative, happen for all of our actions in life, maybe not as cinematically as how they unfold in the novel. But, I feel that’s one of the most exciting components of story-telling. As long as we keep our characters as real and as human as possible, we can confidently throttle up their life situations to even some surrealistic levels. Readers would still connect to the bizarre events because they’re already ‘connected’ to the characters at a subliminal psychological realm that mirrors their own.
Catherine and Ron are intriguing and well-developed characters. What were some themes you wanted to explore with their characters?
The driving factor was the adage ‘You’re free to make your choices. But, you aren’t free from the consequences of your choices.’ Choices could be positive or negative. So, the logical drop-down to this main thought is one of the siblings – Catherine – making all positive life-choices and the other – Ron – choosing to go with the wrong decisions. The intricately weaved after-effects of their respective choices add flesh and blood to the entire story.
In this book, you explore how positive and dark energy can affect someone’s life. What were some ideas that were important for you to focus on in this book?
The idea springs from the premise that all of us are infinitesimal extensions of the Cosmic Energy… just like how every life-organism of the Earth is. But, by virtue of being endowed with the sixth sense, we humans can consciously connect to this Energy and, in turn, let it intervene and make corrections where required. It is this premise that opened the door for a ‘paranormal fiction’. Logically tying the life events of Ron Osborne, Catherine Osborne, and Peter Fox, the story culminates in Andrea Osborne (Catherine’s and Ron’s mom) becoming active after her death to stop Ron on his diabolic mission and facilitate the needed catharsis.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am yet to start working on the next story but yes… the plot that’s hovering over my mind seems quite a potential that could constructively engage my readers. I’m waiting to be led. Thank you.
Two siblings, Catherine Osborne and Ron Osborne, are actively exposed to nature. One to its positive energy and the other to its dark side. Both of them are rewarded for their dispositions in an ethereally terrifying sequence of events that culminates into an astral intervention and ultimate catharsis.
MJC Heathcote delivers a story that combines mystery and family history in a chilling way that has you wondering about the dark forces embedded within a seemingly average object. Although Doves and Crows starts slowly, it quickly ramps up and once it captured my attention it rarely let it go. Heathcote does a fantastic job at slowly building up the mystery and drama, drawing you in and making the resolution all the more satisfying. There are moments when the story slows, but the unique writing style and the clear storytelling keeps this book engaging throughout.
Doves and Crows is an intriguing supernatural horror story that reads more like a crime thriller when people start to meet their untimely death, and more like Paranormal Activity when strange things start happening. The the mystery surrounding the necklace, although intriguing, left me wanting more details. Richard is an easy character to follow and is easy to empathize with, but I would have liked more background on his character.
With any mystery novel that relies on subtlety it’s easy to be too subtle and lose the reader along the way, but Heathcote’s writing is exceptionally fluid and effortlessly delivers some odd twists and dramatic scenes in dark an eerie settings. What I really liked about this book was how it combines many different genres to create a thought provoking story about paranormal forces wreaking havoc on one boys life and his ultimate struggle to rid himself of the dark forces his grandparents unknowingly brought into his life.
Pages: 434 | ASIN: B07L5RS1SD
Reinhold Commons Webster likes being in church. His family hopes he will follow the priesthood path, and his only desire is to be an altar boy. However, he is thrust into an abyss of sadistic abuse. He watched his friend penetrated with impunity until he could no longer hold on to life. The same end awaited him. Therefore Reinhold makes a deal that provides him with a little reprieve. With no one else willing to help him or the others, this deal is his only hope. The deal does nothing to erase what has already happened but what comes next will have to be enough.
This story, albeit short, is aggressively evocative. Written in such detail, the candor of it is well justified by the desire to shine a light on this abomination. The author also puts a spotlight on the role of parents and other authority figures in all of this. Their adverse reactions to the damaging situations the victims are plunged into. Figures who choose to ridicule these children rather than save them from their plight.
This is a very purposeful book. It might seem a bit crass, but the painful detail in this story is very necessary and intentional. It works to ingrain an image that would potentially start a movement for the rescue of actual victims. The end is quite alarming and should serve as a warning to perpetrators.
The confessional is a place where people go to seek solace and relief from the burden of sin. However, in this instance the title serves as a reminder that these places represent personal hells for some people. As a reader, one cannot help but weep for the poor boys. One cannot help but advocate for the punishment of the perpetrator. This is the extent of the writer’s to appeal to the reader’s soul by use of words and language.
This story should be used as a rallying call against child abuse everywhere and especially of the sexual sort. It should stand as a war cry for abused children everywhere to appeal to their parents for help. It is evocative and stern in no uncertain terms. The author’s passion for this cause is obvious and this story is engaging and thought provoking.
Pages: 49 | ASIN: B07PGTS8LC
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