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Lexa Tantaros sure can stir things up. To some, she is a thief. To herself and possibly Agent Max Finley, she is a woman on a worthy cause. A cause to let the world see the treasures contained within. The story follows the wanted archaeologist as she searches for the treasure of El Dorado. It will take blood, sweat and tears to get there and gather all the necessary clues. Governments are after her, but she’s not fazed. Will she be successful in her mission? Can El Dorado be found or is it merely fable?

James McPike has created an action thriller that takes off quickly and does not slow down. He takes the reader on a journey across Peru, keeping you on the edge of your seat. One minute you think they’ll definitely be smoked out. The next minute has them hurtling down an abyss. The story has so much character, and the plot is encased in excellent prose, with just the right amount of drama.

The character development is ingenious. Lexa is a woman who can charm anyone. She’s not fazed by much even when bullets are flying. She only seems to be a little frazzled in the last moments before she is placed on the ledge where she is to plunge to her death. I always enjoy a strong female protagonist that emotionally develops throughout the story. Max is torn between his service to country and his instinct about Lexa. I enjoyed watching these characters interact.

While the history between Max and Lexa is obviously of consequence, it seems like Max gives in to Lexa too easily. It feels like there should be some sort of struggle before he trusts her so blindly. With Max being a self-proclaimed best, right? He leaves her unattended on the very first night he finds her. This is quickly forgotten though as the reader is taken on the adventure through Peru. Also it seems like the end may justify those initial actions.

This is a short but engaging read. You can feel the palpable chemistry between the characters. There is a sort of James Bond-ish ending which is absolutely delightful.

Pages: 173

jamesmcpike.webs.com

 

Shadow Resistance

Shadow Resistance by [Cyprian, B.J.]

Dom is a computer engineering genius in her own right. Rose’s instincts when it comes to human behavior are fine-tuned. Layla has the gift of an incredible memory. All three women are true forces with which to be reckoned and phenomenally good at their jobs. When Dom, a virtual recluse, is approached for help in solving a violent death, the lives of the three women quickly become entangled. Dom, Rose, and Layla reiterate that we are all one quick internet search away from an interaction we may or may not want.

B.J. Cyprian, author of Shadow Resistance, has created a world effortlessly blends fantasy and realistic fiction. With the elements of advanced artificial intelligence looming large in Dom’s storyline, readers are treated to science fiction laced with humor and heavily layered with relevant current events. While I’m not a fan of most historical fiction novels, I more than appreciate the references Cyprian includes in her characters’ story lines. Especially effective is the way in which the author works in the black and white doll experiment into Rose’s subplot. Cyprian knows how to hit readers where it matters. This is just one of the aspects of her writing that helps make her book so worthy of praise.

The entire scenario involving SARA is quite amazing. I don’t want to call SARA a character as it were, but I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention how incredibly fascinating her contribution to the book actually is. At times, Dom almost plays second string to the artificial intelligence she herself created. The back-and-forth between the two is entertaining to say the least and simultaneously frightening. To think that SARA is Dom’s only connection with the outside world is, in many ways, sad. In introducing Dom as somewhat of a hermit, Cyprian has given a certain richness to Dom’s story line and made her views of injustice all the more fiery.

Cyprian does a beautiful job of weaving history into every aspect of her plot. Page after page, she seamlessly meshes mentions of countless historical figures into the dialogue between characters. From impromptu history lessons given by Rose to the background revealed by Rose and Robert’s visit to Larry’s apartment, the book feels less like a lesson in history than a conversation on the front stoop of an elderly neighbor.

This unique work of fiction is a must read for anyone seeking technologically-based crime dramas. In addition, Cyprian’s work holds a special appeal for those who appreciate historical accuracies and current events woven throughout their fiction. The more I read, the more I found Shadow Resistance qualifies as a mystery. It’s impossible to fit Cyprian’s work into one slot–and I’m not sure I want to. It deserves a category of its own. Kudos to Cyprian on an outstanding first novel.

PagesL 648 | ASIN: B07NQKYGVP

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Soul Dark: Chosen

Lukas is unlike any other boy. Not a boy but not yet a man, Lukas has been hit with more loss, more trauma, and more inexplicable realizations than most adults experience in their lifetimes. When his grandmother takes him under her wing and begins to train him, Lukas is inundated by her pleas to not forsake the Goddess. Lukas, overcome with the pain of the loss of his parents, the tragic eradication of almost everyone else he loves, and left alone in the world with a new acquaintance, turns his head again and again from his Goddess, defying his grandmother’s wishes and, possibly, putting much more than his own life at risk.

E.L. Reedy and A.M. Wade present a most unique set of characters in  their young adult fantasy, Soul Dark: Chosen. Lukas, the book’s protagonist, is almost overshadowed by the authors’ vivid descriptions and fantastic choice of dialect and idiosyncrasies given the secondary characters. Jacob is a standout in my book. For as meek and mild as the authors initially portray him, he shines like a light from the pages, and he easily steals each scene from the other characters.

As a reader, I more than appreciate a story with numerous twists. Though not a huge nor especially unforeseen twist, I was glad to see the integration of the “knowing” character with introduction of Matthew. Those types of hidden gems in a story make all the difference; Reedy and Wade have this technique down to an art in this book.

One of the more gripping scenes in the book is the moment Lukas meets the old man, Theo Deville. The authors paint a stunning scene when the two lock eyes. Their dynamic is imperative to the success of the overall story line, and it is within this moment in the book that the authors set that tone. I found myself rereading that section more than once.

I found the breaks away from Lukas’s own dramatic situations between the chapters to be quite effective. By taking readers, if momentarily, to another realm, Reedy and Wade are able to keep the momentum of the plot and continue to build interest as the story plays out. These brief interludes serve as important reminders to readers that Lukas is not yet out of the woods, and his true test is always just around the next corner.

I don’t doubt that someone else will make this comparison, but I feel Soul Dark: Chosen can be likened to a modern-day The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The underlying theme of faithfulness, loyalty, and good versus evil are apparent from beginning to end. A strong cast of characters who all rely on one another and are driven closer and closer together through shared traumas is not a new concept, but it is one that Reedy and Wade seem to have given new life.

Not many authors can successfully combine modern day settings with those of ancient times to bring to life a book filled with both action and humor. Reedy and Wade have more than accomplished that task.  I highly recommend Soul Dark: Chosen to any reader interested in young adult fantasy and looking for a book with a well-placed and strong  theme of faith.

Pages: 246 | ASIN: B07P2L6655

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The Scopas Factor

The Scopas Factor by [Panettiere, Vincent]

When Mike Hegan’s last case ends tragically, the detective hopes to put everything behind him. His girlfriend instead brings him along on a hopeful job opportunity to a small town in north California and little does he realize the web forming there to ensnare them both. Hegan finds himself thrust into the middle of a kidnapping and double homicide. When a link that is too close to home provides a lead, Hegan decides that he must dive deeper if he is going to get to the truth. Antiques, forged art, and foreign drug dealers all come together to make an on-your-toes mystery.

Hegan is your typical somewhat damaged detective from the noir tradition. He is a well-rounded character and is interesting to follow as he attempts to piece together these varied elements into a conclusive solve. The emotional depth that Panettiere can bring out, because of how personal this mystery becomes is impactful. The reader can feel a certain amount of distress from Hegan as he continues to struggle to figure it all out. Hegan made this story such a joy to read and it is my hope that these books become more serialized as they go along. It would be interesting to see how he develops over time.

Panettiere’s mystery is an expansive novel that straddles the fence between a mystery and thriller. The length of this novel works against the suspense, since some of the more filler passages work against the tension built in the story. But this is made up by his poetic prose, beautiful descriptions and clever dialogue. But at times I felt the pace of the story slowed because of this, this may be the only mark against him, since all the other elements of Hegan’s arc coinciding with the plot arc was brought together quite well by the end.

Recommended for readers of thriller mysteries. Based on some of the more aesthetic qualities to this story, such as the forged art and antiques, those who enjoy such stories would not be disappointed either. This novel establishes Panettiere as a solid new writer in the mystery genre and I look forward to more of his work.

Pages: 310 | ASIN: B07JP69TH3

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Rest Assured, It Will Be Interesting

John Fennell Author Interview

John Fennell Author Interview

Raven and the Code Book follows Raven as she must secure a code book containing a world changing secret. What was the direction that you wanted to take this book that was different from the first two books in the Raven series?

I mixed in two characters and a special flying machine from the John Vacara series to add a different flare to the story line. I wanted the reader to experience Raven Anderson as they have come to know her, but I wanted the story line mixed up to keep it interesting.

Raven Anderson is a femme fatale secret agent who uses her skills, intelligence and sex appeal to get the job done. What were some new areas of her personality that you wanted to explore in this book?

I wanted Raven Anderson character more defined in this book. I think the reader now has a better perception of her personality, her dreams and why she shunned Naci from her life for over a year. She has learned that she may need to change her life direction as she gets older. I haven’t decided what she will evolve into five or six volumes from now, but rest assured, it will be interesting.

If Hollywood came knocking who would you cast as the lead characters in your book?

Raven – Gal Gadot. Naci – Matt Damon.

What are you currently writing and when will it be available?

A book magnet designed to intertwine both Raven Anderson and John Vacara series. It will explain the background and lay out the future for both series. This will be available late spring 2019 and will be available in electronic version only. It will be free. The next Raven Anderson book is Raven and the Psychiatrist, a story in the world of human trafficking. The next John Vacara series is Nadia’s Return. A very personal look at perhaps the world’s most sought after agent with a slight twist of scifi. these should be out late fall 2019.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Raven teams up with world renown assassin Morgan to seek revenge on her former employer, The Foundation, for not letting her bring closure to her beloved Uncles death. The Foundation put Raven in their sights because she went rouge, a policy that her lover, Naci, tried to change. Morgan and Raven organize an auction that bring together world leaders and a rouge scientist, Falcon-X, who will sell to the highest bidder, an advanced breakthrough in travel. Things don’t go as planned at the auction, Raven must protect Falcon-X and hide him. During their travels to Raven’s bunker, Falcon-X reminds her of something very important. Raven’s uncle Bill, although passed, sent her a signal in old film clip that saves her life. She must protect herself and all those around her, after the devastation Morgan creates in her life. Raven must find out the reason for her uncle’s death and who’s really on her side. She, along with her deceased uncle, put an end to, Raven Gone Rouge.

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God Influenced Her Choices

Eleanor Tremayne Author Interview

Eleanor Tremayne Author Interview

Seven Days in Lebanon is based on your family history that has been passed on to you from your grandmother. Why was this an important book for you to write?

My grandmother was an amazing woman not only because of surviving such horrific events in her life, but also because she always believed that God influenced her choices. When she dedicated her life to raising me, I never realized at the time how much she taught me. It was important for me to preserve her stories, and her memories the only way I knew how; The only way I knew that I could. A novel that all her future generations could keep and learn from. I was determined to immortalize my grandmother’s memory.

Did you have a complete picture of the events you wanted to tell in this book or did you undertake some research?

There were so many stories that my grandmother told not only me but other family members and friends, that I knew I had to include all of them. I chose to use a framework technique to keep the reader interested. Flashbacks were also important to create a genuine sense of how my grandmother must have felt during some of the events. Nevertheless, there were many hours of research to keep the story authentic, and historically correct.

What were some things that surprised you when you first learned of this story?

When I discovered that the Ballerina that my great grandmother, Natasha, knew was the famous Mathilda Kschessinska, the former lover of Tsar Nicholas, it added a new dimension. Later I also remembered that Natasha met the Prince of Kiva when he was a young child. This was ironically the same Prince that saved my grandmother’s life and married her.

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

My next novel is, The Mermaid’s Grandson. Although this novel includes fantasy, it introduces a completely new spin on previous stories. The reader will be able to relate to many of the experiences and learn that the line between fantasy and reality is much more related than one believes. My personal objective is to have it ready for print by November 2019.

Author Links: Amazon | Twitter

Seven Days in Lebanon by [Tremayne, Eleanor]

On a frigid winter morning in St. Petersburg, Russia 1917, eighteen year old Olga Von Eggert must leave her country and family. The Bolshevik army is on a mission to destroy all aristocrats. When Olga fails to join her entourage at the designated rendezvous, Prima Ballerina Mathilda Kschessinska notifies the Khan of Kiva, a mutual acquaintance. The Khan’s son, Prince Razek Bek Khadjieff, defies his father’s orders and sends his strongest Cossack soldier to save the young Baroness. Nearly ninety years later, Damian Tolbert, a Frenchman living in Paris bids $100,000 on an antique diary with the initials NV on the leather cover. Once the journal is translated from Russian to French Damian is determined to find the rightful heir to this antique keepsake. Several years later, by coincidence, or perhaps fate, Damian discovers Anastasia Sullivan, the only living descendent to the journal, in an odd town called Lebanon, Ohio. Rather than answers, Damian finds more missing pieces to his puzzle. Will the “Mind Marauders ” finally leave his psyche? And, who is this mysterious artist, Anastasia Sullivan? This historical novel is inspired by true events of the author’s grandmother, Olga Von Eggert Khadjieff.

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A Completely Foreign Environment

John Wilker Author Interview

John Wilker Author Interview

Space Rogues is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a science fiction, action, and adventure as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

Organically, I’m more pantster than plotter so the stories just sort of form as they go. In hindsight it makes sense, since as a reader, I’m drawn to similar stories.

Wil was an interesting and well developed character. What was the inspiration for his character and backstory?

Wil is a mix of TV scifi characters. Some John Crichton (Farscape), some John Jaqobis (Killjoys), and a healthy dose of Mal Reynolds (Firefly). I like the idea of the out of his depth character, just getting by. He’s smart, but in a completely foreign environment and even the smallest things is a huge learning curve.

I’m assuming you’re a fan of the space opera genre. What are some books in that genre that you felt most inspired this story?

One of my favorite genres to read for sure 🙂 Omega Force by Joshua Dalzelle, Ryk Brown’s Frontiers saga, Randolph LaLonde’s Spinward Fringe, and Jamie McFarlane’s Privateer Tales are kind of my top four, I devour every new book that’s released in these series.

This is the first book in your scifi series. Where will book two take readers?

I view each book as a sort of episode or movie, so I like to sprinkle in a little bit of “Stuff happens before the story starts; a weird mission the crew is talking about, etc. Book two finds the crew in another “Save the galaxy, even though no one asks them to” kind of scenario. I like using the crew to explore big ideas I have, and letting the story play out from their perspective.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Space Rogues: The Epic Adventures of Wil Calder, Space Smuggler by [Wilker, John]

Wil just wanted a crew for his ship.

He got a galactic conspiracy.

Wil Calder is a human, the only one to leave our solar system.

But that was years ago.

Now, he’s a lonely smuggler, looking for a crew, because space is lonely and boring.

Just a few folks to boss around once in a while, is that so much?

What he definitely isn’t looking for, a galactic conspiracy.

But that’s what he and his new crew find. They’ve just met each other and now they have to save the commonwealth from war, no big deal.

Does this untested crew and their entirely out of his depth human captain have what it takes?

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Her Duty to Mankind

John Fennell Author Interview

John Fennell Author Interview

Raven Gone Rogue follows Raven as she tries to find the truth behind her uncles death and needs to go against her former employer to do it. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting novel?

Raven Anderson is a very determined character who will stop at nothing to accomplish her goal. She knew The Foundation would never let her take out her uncle’s killer because he was a source of vital information, so she went rogue to hunt down the man who changed her life forever. As the author, I knew this was a natural story that would make a great plot for Raven Gone Rogue.

Raven is an intriguing character that I enjoyed following. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

She was thrown into the agent lifestyle because of her uncle’s death, thus giving me a perfect character to develop. In the first book Raven and the Panther, Raven went from a teenager to a highly skilled assassin trained be her uncle and the Panther. In Raven Gone Rogue she had to leave The Foundation to accomplish her goal. This also set up conflict with her love Naci Vacara, grandson of The Foundation matriarch Amelia Vacara. The Foundation placed a target on her back.

I enjoyed the balance between action and exposition which kept the novel on a steady pace. Was there a balance you tried to strike, or did this develop organically while writing?

I wanted the story to follow a deliberate course to keep the reader engaged. I knew Raven needed to get back in the graces of The Foundation. Something drastic needed to happen in the plot so Raven could work her way back into The Foundation. It’s all in the book and the reader won’t be disappointed.

Where do you see this series going in future novels?

Raven will continue to rid the world of evil. She and her love Naci along with The Foundation will take on several more adversaries with a whole host of challenges. The next novel, Raven and the Code Book, deals with something that will change the world forever. Again, Raven Anderson meets her adversary head on and fulfills her duty to mankind.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Raven Gone Rogue by [Fennell, John]Raven teams up with world renown assassin Morgan to seek revenge on her former employer, The Foundation, for not letting her bring closure to her beloved Uncles death. The Foundation put Raven in their sights because she went rouge, a policy that her lover, Naci, tried to change. Morgan and Raven organize an auction that bring together world leaders and a rouge scientist, Falcon-X, who will sell to the highest bidder, an advanced breakthrough in travel. Things don’t go as planned at the auction, Raven must protect Falcon-X and hide him. During their travels to Raven’s bunker, Falcon-X reminds her of something very important. Raven’s uncle Bill, although passed, sent her a signal in old film clip that saves her life. She must protect herself and all those around her, after the devastation Morgan creates in her life. Raven must find out the reason for her uncle’s death and who’s really on her side. She, along with her deceased uncle, put an end to, Raven Gone Rouge.

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Boomerang Will Not Return

Boomerang Will Not Return: A Novel of Time Travel by [Crane, David]

David Crane’s Boomerang Will Not Return is a time-travel book set in both the 21st century and 1942-era Germany. It involves three central characters named Stugel, Hartmann, and Crown. One day, Hartmann and Crown fly a secret military plane to deliver cargo to the United States. They were chosen to test it and successfully take off into the skies of Germany. However, soon after flight the bomber gets warped into 1942 Germany due to the influence of a time bending comet. There, they’re intercepted and need to find a way to escape. Hartmann must use his wits and work together with Crown to successfully escape the clutches of their enemies.

You can tell that David Crane has down his research by how in-depth he goes with the weapons and environment of the past. I loved how suspense was kept throughout the book with Hartmann and Deana Crown’s efforts to get through wartime Germany. I personally think the subplot with busting the Russian spies was highly entertaining. However, even with the suspenseful action I didn’t feel it warranted as much attention. It distracted from the main plot line. I would have wanted to see more of the main plot line with our two heroes, as it was much more engaging. There were times in the book where I was left unsure of whether the heroes would actually come out unscathed or not. There was a bit of foreshadowing that let me down, but otherwise the suspense palpable throughout. The interactions that Stugel had with our central characters were interesting, even in the past. Their relationship actually seemed realistic and not forced. Deana and Hartmann were also well-structured, having skills which made them seem balanced and not overpowered. They were also human, having actual worries and even moments of doubt. Emotion like that isn’t seen a lot in spy or government involved movies. Another thing I really found interesting was how the book didn’t represent all of the enemy soldiers as bad, which was a nice contrast from other books which involve the prewar environment.

Crane managed to write a book that captured both sides of the fight. The way he represented the secret government services were all pretty well done. I found this book to be both entertaining and interesting.

Pages: 209 | ASIN: B00LAD30EE

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Literary Titan Book Awards April 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 Money Trail (The Sean Kruger Series Book 5) by [Fields, J.C.]"Mama Sou": Metamorphosis of a Mother by [Griggs, Maria, Clapp, Tyler]The Tribulations of August Barton by [LeBlanc, Jennifer]

Greater Things Than Thou (Blood of the Prince Book 1) by [Dean, R.L.]Seven Days in Lebanon by [Tremayne, Eleanor]

Jai the Albino Cow: Jai Ng’Ombe Zeruzeru by [Gonsalves, Gloria D.]Strong Is . . . by [Pulliam, April B.]

Lost in the Reflecting Pool: A Memoir by [Pomerantz, Diane]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

The Chosen by [Corbitt, Ray]

The Cabin: A Murder Mystery by [Frolick, W.D.]Space Rogues: The Epic Adventures of Wil Calder, Space Smuggler by [Wilker, John]Rock Hard: Chord Brothers, Book 1 by [Roberts, Mariah J., Roberts, M. J. ]

Keeper of Slaves: Book Two of Antebellum Struggles by [Erman, Dickie]Escape from Kolyma: Aborigin Is a Bear Region by [Litvin PhD, Chester]Sailor's Psychology:: A Methodology on Self-Discovery Through the Tale of a Semite in the Squall by [Litvin, Chester]

Plum Rains on Happy House by [Greco, Michael]Moon Dogg by [Greco, Michael]THE ODDS OF GODS: Why Christians Should Not Tell Lies by [Campbell, Rush O. C. ]

Nothing is More: a High Black Comedy in Verse with Music for Six Actors by [Landon, Dolly Gray, Noland, Gary Lloyd]Lamellia: The Wicked Queen by [Gonsalves, Gloria D.]Lamellia: The Kingdom of Mushrooms by [Gonsalves, Gloria D.]

 

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

 

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