Blog Archives

The Gift of the Seer

The Gift of the Seer by [Laugheed, K.B.]When you tire of the overload of digital and technology tools within our 2019 era, K.B. Laugheed’s The Gift of the Seer will expedite time travel back with you, and this author will have you writing with a feathered quill by the end of this literary journey! Put on your cultural anthropologist boots and allow this novel to cleverly weave historical yet fantastical plot elements, interestingly complex characters, and a rugged setting that will definitely transport and immerse readers. You will face cultural nuances, norms, spiritual beliefs, worldviews, philosophies, goals, life lessons, conflicts, natural connections, romances, and myriads of adventures via an Indian perspective. Our protagonist, Katie, provides uncensored reflections and stories spanning from the years 1748-1778. Yet Katie, the book’s protagonist, is not the docile, silent, subjugated, stereotypical, domesticated wife and mother that many heroines from her time era typically portray. Instead, she is a literary and cultural badass-think Katniss from The Hunger Games -but Katie encompasses more maturity, carnal pleasures, and complexities as a woman struggling to survive among different cultures, determined to sustain her love for her husband against all odds, and abandoning the feelings of guilt and condemnation based on her feeling that she’s living a big lie!

In short, adventures, dangers, thrills, and chills will bombard you on every page. Yet instead of feeling defeated and exhausted, you will experience the triumphs and evolution, right alongside Katie, as if you were a passenger in her canoe! The book is brilliant in terms of its vivid, sensory details that paint a no-nonsense picture of life during this era. The characters also conjure feelings of fables and folk tales via the author’s unique, authentic style. At times, I noticed hints of magical realism, which further add pizazz to this riveting book. While there are so many positive qualities about this book, especially the way in which the author develops her vast array of characters and executes her dramatic dialogue, all with cultural relevance and sensitivity, I was a bit overwhelmed with the plethora of social, historical, political, cultural, marital problems and themes that she tries to address all at once. At times it was slightly too ambitious for me to keep track of all the family members, neighbors, friends, and foes. Although they are important, especially to comprehend the larger scope of the historical fiction milieu, some of the symbols were slightly perplexing and some plot events were mentioned but not fully explained.

All in all, because readers can sense the imminent danger on every page, as evident from the great use of foreshadowing and cautionary notes to build suspense throughout the text, as in “til the ocean wave of Colonists comes crashing down upon us—then we will see which of us is right,” We not only learn cultural and historical information through characters with real vulnerability and authenticity, but we also find solace in our own journeys about how to fit into this world and all its challenges! We obtain a true sense of empowerment within this challenging piece of art. Try this time travelling and cultural anthropological plight by K.B. Laugheed in The Gift of the Seer!

Pages: 308 | ASIN: B07L7FHTFC

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Reactive: A Young Adult Dystopian Romance

Reactive: A Young Adult Dystopian Romance (The Elite Trials Book 1) by [Moynihan, Becky]

Reactive is a dystopian novel written by author Becky Moynihan. It is the first book in the Elite Trials trilogy. Set in Tatum city, Lune is the adopted daughter of the Supreme Elite – Renold Tatum. She longs to escape the city and regain her freedom – however the only way to do that is to win the Elite trials. She is focused and well prepared for her one chance at freedom. That is, until Brendon, a boy from her past re-enters her life – jeopardizing her only chance at freedom.

I was immediately drawn into the story by Moynihan’s description of Freedom (Cleopatra) Tatum’s charger. She realistically described the powerful physical traits of the animal and her more subtle personality traits. The relationship between the charger and Tatum was also convincingly described, it was as if I was reading about a genuine relationship between a rider and horse. The description of Tatum riding her charger was realistic, and made me feel as if I were experiencing the same sense of freedom.

The main character – Lune Tatum is described as a strong, determined young woman. Until Bren appears in her life, we see her actions as just that. She is focused and determined to win the Elite trials. Her strength is shown through the descriptions of her training regime, and the way in which she endures the cruel punishment of her father without allowing it to break her spirit. We see she is extremely careful with whom she forms relationships with, allowing herself to have only one true friend – Asher. Lune’s world changes when Bren – a boy she encountered long ago re-appears in her life. Against her better judgement she begins to develop feelings for him. She cares about his well being and worries about him. Lune begins to lose some focus in her training, and is often ‘saved’ from situations – for example when being assaulted by fellow trainees. I felt there were too many times that Lune was ‘saved’ by Bren. If Lune was determined and skilled and had a legitimate chance at winning the trials would she have needed saving so often by Bren? Sadly, the story changed from having a strong female protagonist, to almost becoming a story of a young women being saved by a handsome man.

The motto of the trials – Strength, Speed, and Precision could be woven more into the beginning of the story. This motto underpins the Elite Trials, it would reinforce this by having it appear at the start of the book, and reappearing throughout.

Overall, this is a highly addictive book with interesting characters. It is impossible to put down!

Pages: 397 | ASIN: B07GTVYDBC

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Brownout – 666

Brownout - 666: OR THE REAL MEANING OF THE SWASTIKA by [Spencer, Mr John Richard]

Rick Daly is in the midst of multiple battles–the least of which is the struggle to finally find a way to be happy, settled, and live a normal life. Working and trying to establish a business of his own in the Philippines, Rick Daly meets and unwittingly falls head over heels in love with the young woman he hires to be his secretary and sidekick. When he realizes he loves Marilyn and wants to change his wild ways, he finds that his past is looming closely and threatens his relationship as it tests his loyalty to Marilyn and their, now uncertain, future.

John Spencer, author of Brownout, is clearly a fan of world history. His novel featuring Rick Daly is woven intricately in and out of historical truths. In addition, Spencer even tackles the controversial issue of the Holocaust and the doubt surrounding its existence. Spencer covers a broad range of events and drops his characters and their various subplots strategically into these events from the book’s beginning to its surprising finale.

Brownout incorporates numerous storylines which are, at times, difficult to follow. The bulk of the novel is based on Rick Daly’s life in the Philippines and his relationship with Marilyn, a woman who strives to remain true to herself and her beliefs but sends Rick many a mixed message during the course of their relationship. Spencer’s writing relies heavily on the reader’s penchant for sexual situations as these scenes are prevalent throughout the book, giving the overall book as much the feel of a romance novel as a work of historical fiction.

I feel it’s worth mentioning that the intimate aspect of the relationship portrayed between Rick and Marilyn is complicated at best. As much as Marilyn maintains that she will remain a virgin until she is married, she feels torn between keeping her word and satisfying Rick. I was quite taken aback at Rick taking advantage of Marilyn and violating her trust.

The parallel storyline involving Chris, Rick’s uncle, and his children is a tragic one and is more engaging and engrossing than Rick’s plot. I found that my attention was held much more readily while reading of Chris’s heart-wrenching loss and the immense struggle he faces with each of his children. As I read, I continued to anticipate that Chris would be a more prominent part of the book’s overarching plot and was disappointed that his family’s drama was not more fully explored.

While Brownout is exceptionally well-written, I felt that the subplots were somewhat disjointed. Each of Rick’s subsequent and fleeting relationships added depth to the story but simultaneously added an air of confusion. While all of Spencer’s characters are rich and well-developed, the connections between them seem lacking. The historical accuracies are spot-on and related via Spencer’s characters in a way that makes them conversational and engaging. Readers who appreciate historical fiction and seek an element of romance will find Brownout to their liking.

Pages: 503 | ASIN: B07GGYBJY1

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Deception: The Ultimate Betrayal

Deception: The Ultimate Betrayal by [White, Jackie]

Jackie White’s Deception is built around Asia McKay, a beautiful, high flying career woman who is thrown into a whirlwind of hurt, betrayal, infidelity, confusion and depression. Her marriage comes to an abrupt end when she discovers that her husband, David, has been having an affair with her friend, Gina, an affair that leads to pregnancy producing twins- Reign and Raven in the long run. Asia and David have to go their separate ways. Moving on with her life, Asia meets a good-looking, randy medical doctor, Zaire, who follows her to Aruba and sneaks into her hotel room, subjecting her to sexual assault that results in pregnancy. On discovering that she is pregnant from Zaire, she becomes downcast and comes up with the idea of falsifying a DNA test in favor of David in order to keep Zaire far away from her and her child.

Deception is a compelling novel full of intrigue, irony and suspense that depicts the grim realities of life. The book is not larger than life, I found most of the characters believable to a heart breaking extent. The book’s laudable strength consists in its ability to hold its readers sway from start to finish, paying critical attention to details when describing events, places and people with felicitous phrasing. The omnipresent narrator has a sharp eye for details.

While I found the book to be highly entertaining and thrilling there was humor injected at just the right moments to bring a bit of levity to an otherwise suspenseful novel; a moment to relax your shoulders before the next twist. The novel employs the intense use of soliloquies with some characters like Asia, Gina and Zarie thinking aloud in their respective distressing and lonely moments. Conversations leading to overwhelming emotional outbursts are recurrent in the novel. As stated earlier, the author’s literary mastery shines through, describing turns of intricate events with sheer creativity, maturity and ingenuity.

The novel explores so many provocative themes in a way that is engaging yet understandable. Themes like betrayal, deception, infidelity, lust and love can be found in any one of our lives, but how Asia deals with these emotional obstacles is what kept me turning pages.

Pages: 280 | ASIN: B0792LCPRZ

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Intrigue and Chaos

Juliann Troi Author Interview

Juliann Troi Author Interview

The Dragon of Hidden Treasures follows Kathryn and Ty through the perils of 1900’s China as they seek their dream. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?

I’ve been a student of Chinese history for more than thirty years, though my interest was mainly ancient China. One night in 1996 I had a fantastic dream about a foreign woman captured by a warlord. It was just a thread and probably inspired by something I’d read in passing, but it stuck. I wasn’t really a writer then and certainly not interested in Republican Era China (1911-1949) but I just couldn’t forget the dream. I started focusing my studies on the period and got totally sucked in. There was so much intrigue and chaos during that time, I had no trouble taking that thread of a dream and turning it into a thrilling series full of twists and turns, some based on actual historical events.

Kathryn is a unique character that I enjoyed watching develop through the story. What were some ideas you wanted to capture in her character?

There wasn’t just upheaval in China during the 1920’s. The whole world was changing. In Kathryn, I saw a chance to show the evolution of women: from having no rights, no voice or even choices, to challenging the established system on every level with the hope of changing things for the better. There were women like Kathryn then, courageous pioneers who dared to dream big and rise above their lot in life. They laid the foundation for the rights and freedom today’s women enjoy.

I felt like this was a story about empowerment and pursuing your dreams. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this book?

I had two main themes in mind for this story: put aside prejudice and dare to strive for your dreams. Dreams are important. They give us hope, and without hope, we will literally shrivel up and die. For a variety of reasons, we can put ourselves in a box and be held prisoner by ‘can’t’ or ‘impossible’. It’s difficult and often painful, but I believe if you’re willing to work hard and make the necessary sacrifices, you can break out of the box and achieve your dreams.

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

I’m currently working on Sunrise In Kweilin, Book 2 of the ‘Hidden Treasures’ saga. It’s set to be released in February 2019.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook

The Dragon of Hidden Treasures: Book 1 by [Troi, Juliann]

China, 1923: In an ancient land battling for its very existence, violence and chaos reign supreme. Amidst the devastating aftermath of a revolution that toppled the divine Imperial system and left the once glorious Empire torn and bleeding, ruthless warlords have claimed dominion. Political intrigue and betrayal are the only rulers now.

In the wrong place at the wrong time, Kathryn Kidwell is captured during an invasion of Canton by the warlord, Cheng Jiong. Recognizing the folly of allowing the only daughter of a powerful American trade lord to be cold-bloodedly murdered, Ty Wang must make an impossible choice: to save Kathryn will cost him his life, but to let her die could mean the death of his beloved homeland.

The Dragon of Hidden Treasures, Book 1 is the first chapter in the electrifying saga of Ty and Kathryn’s desperate struggle to stay alive and stop a war that would blow China to pieces. Bound together by a love as strong as it is forbidden, their efforts could ultimately change the fate of a nation…and destroy them both.

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Literary Titan Book Awards January 2019

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.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

The Watchers: The Blood Dagger Series by [Hayes, Misty]Soul Born by [Breaux, Kevin]Five Fathoms Beneath by [Alcyone, J.R.]

Paper Heart by [LeBlanc, Jennifer]The Dragon of Hidden Treasures: Book 1 by [Troi, Juliann]<

Comrade Netai and the Chronology of His UG Days : An Inside Story of Naxalite Movement from Nineties by [Sanjay Lahiri]

Stockboy by [Duffy, Thomas]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

The Dragon Shifters at Southgate: Book Two of the Seers Series by [Leclerc, Sherry]Revelations (The Infinity Series Book 1) by [Westbay, Bellamy]The Emerald Cave (Ramsey Series Book 3) by [McPike, James]

Rathen: Into Bramblewood Forest (The Rathen Series Book 2) by [Smith, Grant Elliot, Stohler, Steven H.]Shipwreck Island by [McPike, James B.]

Degsy Hay - A Juvenile Redeemed: Everbody Deserves a Second Chance by [Montgomery, Brian S]

18 Cranes: Kaifeng Chronicles, Book One by [Campbell, Robert]Tilly and Torg - New Kids At School by [Crawley, Connie Goyette]

 

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

 

Working in Times Square

Thomas Duffy Author Interview

Thomas Duffy Author Interview

Stockboy follows Phillip as he struggles to achieve things beyond his mundane life. What were some driving ideals behind this story and how did it change while writing?

The book was essentially written based on my professional and personal experiences. I originally wanted it to be an honest autobiography but I couldn’t resist some key changes in the plot about a quarter through and made it a work of fiction instead. I wanted the story to show some key components of the problematic quest to achieve the American Dream. If you’ve ever seen the 1999 Albert Brooks comedy movie, The Muse, I took a lot of inspiration from that film in finding the comedy in the disappointment found in everyday life.

You’re able to capture the emotions of life as an average person and have them resonate with readers. What is your writing process like?

My writing process consists of starting off with something real and taking it and spinning it in a fictional direction. I’ll start writing about a real life experience and transform it after a few sentences into something fictional. This was originally a serious book but I took my cue from Albert Brooks’ film that people like to laugh too, and mixed some comedy in for good measure. I think there are some great moments of original humor in Stockboy. I like all the film and literary references I put in the book.

This story is ‘for anyone who has ever worked retail’. I feel that working retail gives one a general sense of people and society (good and bad). Have you worked in retail before?

Yes. For many years I worked in retail. Only these past few years have I been out of the industry. Working in the industry with people from all walks of life is a great experience but it comes with its fair share of drawbacks. People don’t want to see you succeed, sometimes, for whatever reason. Especially when you start at the bottom. When I was working in Times Square in retail, there was a supervisor who just wouldn’t let me advance, again for whatever reason. I had the credentials I needed to move up. Again, I don’t like to be negative but in certain jobs, people only like to see others get but so far. I think this book is positive though, overall, and a fun and serious read at the same time. What do I know about everyone else’s experiences in retail? Not much. This story is just drawn from my own personal experiences.

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

It’s something completely different! A “truly moving book” but like some famous writers and directors, I like to keep the plot top secret until it’s released or about to be released. It will be out early next year at this point. I want to enjoy the holiday season.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Stockboy by [Duffy, Thomas]Stockboy features the story of Phillip, a single 30-something retail employee, who is trying to rise above the job for which he was hired in a large Times Square theme store. While waiting for a big break, he works hard and, in the interim, falls in love with a woman who comes to believe he actually works as a teacher. While confronting different elements in his job and personal life, he finds himself struggling to stay afloat in his effort to find romance and financial success. This is a story for anyone who has ever worked in retail and yearned to rise up in order to achieve happiness.

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The Watchers: The Blood Dagger: Volume 2

The Watchers: The Blood Dagger Series by [Hayes, Misty]

Corinth is not the man he used to be, and Larna is certainly not the woman she once was. Together, the two lifelong friends make a pair of opposites like no other. When Corinth finds himself with the dagger that inexplicably seems to grant him Sight, Larna begins to notice changes in Corinth that she isn’t sure she understands or likes. Larna, a newly-turned vampire and her best friend, Corinth, a Watcher, both feel an overwhelming sense of foreboding that has nothing to do with their mission to find and destroy Gabriel, the most vile of vampires. As they make their way through one life-threatening situation after another, Corinth and Larna tiptoe around more than one unspoken question in their relationship.

There are plenty of readers who will pick up The Watchers: The Blood Dagger #2 by Misty Hayes and proclaim it, at first glance, to be nothing more than a take on the story told in the Twilight series. Do NOT be fooled. Misty Hayes has taken the age-old vampire tale to a whole new level! She goes far beyond the Twilight-type plot and leaves it in the dust helplessly spinning its wheels. Once upon a time, I thought that entire series was the be-all end-all of vampire tales, but Misty Hayes’s Blood Dagger series is quickly bumping it from the coveted spot.

I had the pleasure of reading The Outcasts: The Blood Dagger #1 and was enamored from the get-go. Hayes is a master at character development, and nowhere is that more apparent than in her descriptions of Corinth and Larna and their self-talk. The second guessing and self-examination the two do throughout the text allow readers a firsthand look at their fears and their apprehension as well as their own amazement at their growing powers. Reading The Outcasts prior to reading The Watchers is not a must, but it is most certainly a plus when examining the growth the two main characters exhibit. Hayes does a phenomenal job of making this a stand-alone novel that serves to fire up readers’ desire to hear the full backstory of Corinth, Larna, and the feared Gabriel.

Hayes’s books are filled with humor. For as breathtakingly full of action as they are, they are equally as humorous. Hayes peppers her work with quips and one-liners, giving a fantastic depth to each of her characters. Readers will fall in love with Corinth and Larna if for nothing else than their ability to find humor in the most dire of circumstances.

Not to be overshadowed by the light hearted and whimsical, the dark and brooding element is definitely present in Hayes’s characters. In The Watchers, Corinth undergoes quite the transformation and is in the midst of examining his lineage, both of which are giving him pause. As Larna struggles to understand her friend’s trials, she cannot fully delve into his issues due to her own intense physical training and the division she feels between her love interest, Alastair, and Corinth himself.

Hayes writes romantic scenarios in the most tasteful and thoughtful ways. The Watchers: The Blood Dagger #2, though billed more as young adult fiction, appeals to fans of vampire tales as well as fantasies. Hayes’s work fits neatly into a variety of age ranges and genres beginning, but certainly not limited to, young adult.

Hayes’s work is, hands down, some of the most striking to hit shelves in the last decade. There are no characters out there like Corinth and Larna, and Hayes’s style of writing in alternating perspectives helps give rise to the inevitable success of The Blood Dagger series. I’m waiting with bated breath for book 3!

Pages: 515 | ASIN: B07KRHLT26

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Revelations (The Infinity Series Book 1)

Revelations (The Infinity Series Book 1) by [Westbay, Bellamy]

Gwen is a pretty typical, early twenties college student. Her daily life consists of classes, girls’ nights out, and the occasional boy problem. Alex is an angel who can no longer call heaven home and is older than the Earth by thousands of years. He’s settled in the same beach town as Gwen with his family of hybrids, and is working toward keeping others like himself safe. When the two of them meet, both their lives become more complicated than they could have imagined as all their other relationships are impacted, and they realize that their fates are intricately intertwined.

In Revelations by Bellamy Westbay, the action and mystery start early as we get to know Gwen, Ky, Beverly, Hannah, Alex, Eli, Zane, and a slew of supporting characters. Told from alternating viewpoints between Gwen and Alex, the story flows extremely well. The two characters complement each other’s narratives, providing insight into their lives and motivations, plus the pacing is perfect. The use of two main voices works as an excellent tool, helping to increase character depth and revealing important plot points while still maintaining the overall sense of intrigue. It can sometimes be difficult to write a supernatural story without being hokey or goofy, but that angle is also well done, enhancing the book’s plot without straying outside the initial rules established by the author. While nearly all of Gwen’s schoolmates and casual acquaintances are somewhat two dimensional or stereotypical, such as the fact that pretty much everyone she knows is insanely attractive, it’s not a problem that distracts from the narrative. Somehow, that aspect actually helps.

All in all, this is a fun and compelling action/ mystery the really revs up when Gwen realizes she no longer knows who she can trust on a day to day basis. All of her friends are suddenly behaving differently, and even her parents begin to act strange, giving her even more cause for concern. As more and more twists and turns occur, the reader has the pleasure of trying to decide who everyone might be fighting for, but quickly realizes that whoever is behind everything is staying one step ahead.

Revelations is subtitled “The Infinity Series, Vol. 1” and because it’s part of a series, it ends on a huge cliffhanger. Throughout the book very few questions receive a definitive answer, but the ending does seems to interrupt the action in an appropriate place. I look forward to the next installment!

Pages: 331 | ASIN: B078T6CSNT

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All Your Fears – Trailer

Kim Robins lives a contented life in a peaceful market town. One evening, she encounters a maniac driver who narrowly misses running her over. History teacher Jay Yeldon drives by moments later, takes her home and examines her sprained ankle. A romantic relationship soon develops, but as the weeks progress Kim is plagued by disturbing, bizarre incidents and mounting fear. Trusting nobody, she seeks spiritual help, only to be cruelly deceived. Fearful that Kim will come to harm, Jay turns detective and discovers the shattering truth about the woman who loves him. Someone is out to destroy her and will stop at nothing. Jay faces a moral dilemma and becomes isolated. Undeterred, he conceives a daring plan to expose her enemy, but nothing prepares him for the unexpected, horrifying climax that changes his outlook on life forever.

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