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

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Missing: A Finn Delaney New York City Mystery

Missing: A Finn Delaney New York City Mystery Book 1 by [Bryan, Robert L.]

Mystery readers who love New York: this book is for you. Missing: A Finn Delaney New York City Mystery introduces 25-year-old Finn, a fifth-generation police officer from a family that reveres the NYPD. When an unlucky accident ends his NYPD career, Finn becomes the next best thing: a Private Eye. Finn’s new career is off to a rocky start, complete with threadbare office and octogenarian assistant. Luckily, Finn quickly moves beyond the so-called “cavalcade of crazies” and stumbles into his first serious case. Follow Finn as he searches for a missing person who NYPD claims is not missing at all.

In Missing, Robert L. Bryan explores duty, loyalty, and friendship. He also plumbs the depths of vice that simmer in the city: corruption, greed, and crime. Bryan hits his storytelling stride as the details of the case unfurl. The plot moves quickly with confounding clues, hints of danger, and a parade of compelling characters.

Bryan has a knack for provocative characters. Finn’s apparent lack of self-determination can be frustrating—he seemingly rode a conveyer belt from booties to NYPD blues—but he develops into a likable main character. Early client stories, like the time Finn tailed a cat, are charming but lose something in bullet point format. The reader groans when Finn’s most pressing professional dilemma involves a desk chair and cheers when he finally lands a case.

Still, Finn is inscrutable. Other characters respond to him with generosity and affection when he shows none. I think the women in Finn’s world would benefit from added nuance; they are often one-dimensional. Finn’s father is a bright spot: unwavering in his support and helpful when Finn needs it most. We should all be so lucky.

Fans of the boroughs will enjoy devoted descriptions of Queen’s minutiae. Every intersection is noted, every landmark observed. Do I see a Finn Delaney walking tour of Queens in my future? Yes, please.

The book doubles back at times with Finn uncovering clues already revealed; in one notable situation, Finn hits upon the lynchpin of the case twice in seven pages. The book is lightly sprinkled with errors in grammar and punctuation. Despite these minor distractions, Missing is a satisfying mystery and a good read.

Pages: 197 | ASIN: B07L9DBXDN

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Genesis: The Infinity Series Vol. 2

Genesis (The Infinity Series Book 2) by [Westbay, Bellamy]

A genesis is a beginning: a source, a founding moment. Though Bellamy Westbay’s Genesis is the second volume in the Infinity Series, readers will have no doubt that this tome marks a beginning. The odyssey opens with the beguiling Gwen in grave danger. Though angel Alex is the only being, mortal or celestial, who can ultimately save her, the antidote for her current troubles comes from a source seemingly bent on her demise. Follow Alex, Gwen, and Jasper on an epic journey through a bewitching multiverse, one haunted by evil forces, fantastical creatures, and a series of confounding quests.

In this odyssey of good versus evil, of human nature and the divine, Westbay tackles love, lust, and redemption. She also explores motivations more primal: eternal enmity, darkest jealousy, and destructive cunning. Westbay’s storytelling moves at a heady pace, switching between the questing trio and Gwen’s best friend, facing her own predicament. The book is surprisingly sparse in some places—a run-in with an eloquent dragon comes to mind—but delves deeper in others, offering vibrant descriptions of other universes and their inhabitants, including ethereal Callidora and Eva with her siren song. Vivid details aside, the plot is the star of this show and Westbay moves it forward with skill.

And what an intriguing plot it is. Genesis operates where divine beings move among mere mortals. At first I struggled with a Cinnabon-eating angel but I was quickly won over by Alex’s supernatural powers, very human weaknesses, and impressive wingspan. He is simultaneously angsty and arch. For a celestial being and polyglot to boot, he can be frustratingly obtuse: he knows little of human nature and often his epiphanies land with a thud. Even so, he captivates readers as the boulder-smashing, beast-slaying hero of our story.

If Alex is Odysseus on an epic journey and Eva a Siren, Gwen is Helen of Troy. Though not exactly “the face that launched a thousand ships”, Gwen is certainly the being that launched a thousand cherubic fantasies. The amorous undertones in Genesis know no bounds: whilst Gwen clings to life, both the misguided Jasper and the ardent Alex lust after her. Readers feel relief when Gwen revives and apprehension as death draws near. This epic journey is exhilarating and well-told. Westbay is a true storyteller with a gift for weaving familiar themes into a fascinating new world.

Pages: 414 | ASIN: B07DXP2Y8D

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Leather Horizons – Trailer

Misty Briscoe is ready to gracefully bow out of her successful career and bow in to an uncertain future. But her choices may result in a turning, twisting leap of faith.

Strength is one thing, courage another. Just ask Misty Briscoe. Her dignity has taken a beating the last couple of month’s She’d found herself at a crossroads of staying put in her career or returning home where her family needs her.

If only the choice wasn’t so complex.

Her workplace predicament with her married boss and her successful job in Chicago are anything but stress free. Yet, back home in southwestern Michigan, her beloved grandmother has recently passed, and now her grandfather has disappeared. Add to that, Misty’s best friend needs her support in the most unlikely of circumstances.

In the end, will she remain in the big city where she’s worked hard to attain a career or give it up and begin again at home where she has a sense of belonging?

From the spectrum of executive boardrooms to shadowy blue collar bars, secluded beaches, and dense woods, follow Misty on her challenging journey to find peace of mind, contentment, and a place among loved ones.

The saga takes a hard look at life from the classified agendas of friends, lovers, families, and enemies to the ultimatums behind closed doors. Come along for the ride through the avenues of indiscretion, loneliness, hope, secrets, courage, love, deceit, and integrity into LEATHER HORIZONS.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Case One ~ The Deceit – Trailer

My job? I hunt ghosts. Not to prove they exist—because I already know they do—but to figure out why they’re still here.

My first big case leads me to a mansion on the Chicago Gold Coast, the previous home of a wealthy socialite who lived there until she accidentally fell to her death in 1927.

I’ve never been this determined—and excited—to solve a case like this one before. Pity I’m forced to work alongside a man whose sole purpose is to debunk paranormal activity. But the worst part? He’s gorgeous, and the more we work together, the more I realize I might be falling for him.

Together we’re delving deeper and deeper into the spiritual world. But the more secrets we uncover, the more pissed off these ghosts become; and that’s when I start to realize…we might be in way over our heads.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Literary Titan Book Awards February 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 Labyrinthine Journey (Servant of the Gods Book 2) by [Cavallaro, Luciana]A New Beginning: A Jenny Dewberry Series by [Olsen, J.J.]A Most Diabolical Plot: Six Compelling Sherlock Holmes Stories by [Symonds, Tim]

Silent Spring - Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War by [Hogan, Patrick]Consuming Love: The Joy of Sharing Meals by [O'Malley, Timi]

Hair Loss: Options for Restoration & Reversal by [Gomez, Gustavo J.]Private Money Lending Learn How to Consistently Generate a Passive Income Stream by [Gomez , Gustavo J. ]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

The Misplaced Man: Who is in charge of his destiny? by [James, Nick]Ain't No Messiah: A Novel (Tales of the Blessed and Broken Book 1) by [Tullius, Mark]

Imber: Book One of The Thanatos Trilogy by [Hackett, Tyffany]The Dragon Shifters at Southgate: Book Two of the Seers Series by [Leclerc, Sherry]Tarnished Tiara: The Mysterious Death of an Ingénue by [Scopel, Paul]

Deception: The Ultimate Betrayal by [White, Jackie]No Reflection: Are You Who You Thought You Were? by [Johnson, Christopher]Living in a Changing World by [Small, Evon]

VOYAGES Volume I : A Collection of Poetry by [Debjeet Mukherjee]Tiny Tim and The Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge: The sequel to A Christmas Carol by [Whaler, Norman]

The Audric Experiment by [Barnes, Patrick]The Contest and Other Stories by [DiBuduo, Joe, Robinson, Kate]The Golden Cage: From Entrapment to Empowerment by [Zaher, Margot]

Chasing the Blue Sky by [Lowrey, Will]An Invisible Child by [Ossen MSW, Lenore]

The Incidental Jihadi: An alternative point of view by [Mitra, Samrat]Charlas Con Dios En Calzoncillos by [Chapunoff, Eduardo]

 

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

 

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

Buy Now From Amazon.com

An Intriguing Tapestry

Paul Scopel Author Interview

Paul Scopel Author Interview

Tarnished Tiara is a fascinating story about the mysterious death of an innocent young woman. What was the inspiration behind this book?

I attempted to weave an intriguing tapestry which pulled from three key inspirations. First, the untimely deaths of close family members who left little direction as to their end of life plans remained heavy on my mind. Subsequently, I obsessed over the importance for such planning in our life and issues of elder care. The remedy found itself in receiving professional advice. Next, I pulled from common themes in today’s media centering on vain beauty queens with fragile egos, multiple marriages, and mysterious deaths. It is not an uncommon event. Just before writing the book, I realized at least seven title holders of various beauty pageants, all of them influential people including a former Miss America, had actually been present in my younger years. Finally, I wanted to expose the disease of animal hoarding. From the moment I left the scene of a house in a hazmat situation destroyed by multiple cats, similar to the one in my book, I wanted to express my shock and fury over this real condition. Entering that house was the worst day of my life.

Cece and Liz are interesting characters that shared a deep bond. What were some themes you wanted to capture in their characters?

How deep loyalty and trust of certain family members is rooted

Parenting provides the roots of self-esteem

Dealing with elder care legal and mental health issues

This story takes us through many phases of the girl’s lives. What were some ideas you wanted to explore in this book?

The central idea is that some family members earn the enduring love which leads to trust, while other relatives provoke strained and broken ties. These pleasant and sour attitudes lead to choices which matter, in the end. Choices such as spouses, careers, where to live, and even pets. Hoarding, specifically the destructive effects of animal hoarding on health and property is a key idea I pursued. Further, untreated mental health illnesses and prescription drug abuse affects families and institutions across the country in real, tangible ways. Finally, as our population ages, there is a need to recognize that end of life decisions should be made proactively instead of burdening our loved ones.

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

I am starting to write two books currently.

“Richie and Crazy Joe”, a fictional sequel to Tarnished Tiara, examines the symbiotic relationship of two cousins, a quirky male and supportive female. The male falls under the influence of shady dealings of cousins on the “other side” of his family. Expected: Fall 2020.

“Dirt Court”, fiction based loosely on a female “All-State” basketball player in Texas in 1930, who also was my mother. It is about the life of an immigrant who succeeds despite abject poverty, language barriers, and girls playing basketball when it was not cool for women to be in a sport dominated by males. The high school girls’ team became known as the Legends of Texas and were undefeated in their senior year. Expected: Fall 2021.

Author Links: Amazon

Two women grow in surprising ways to ultimately switch roles as the idol falls from grace
To the outside world, Liz Perkins had it all – beauty, charm, poise, talent and many adoring men. One wonders, how could it all have gone so shockingly wrong?
When the flirtatious beauty queen, Liz, entered a room with her enigmatic flair, no one sensed her fragility – a result of the badgering of a demanding stage mother.
Over the years, the lives of two close girl cousins took dramatically different turns. Cece found long-term fulfillment in her rock, Ross Turner. But contrary to expectations, Liz’s legacy unfolded much differently than imagined. When happiness eluded her through multiple abusive marriages and dubious companions,she was left with the only company that offered her unconditional love – her many cats.
To the casual observer, Liz achieved success and fame. Though attaining celebrity through television, advertising, and public speaking, her search for happiness ended one mysterious and tragic night when everything changed…

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Imber

Imber: Book One of The Thanatos Trilogy by [Hackett, Tyffany]

Tyffany Hackett’s book Imber follows the journey of a young girl named Natylia, who becomes queen before she is of age and takes her mother’s throne. She is accompanied throughout the story by friends like an elf, an herbalist, and a blacksmith. Natylia, after hearing about the legend of an ancient artifact, decides to go with her friends and find the artifact before others take it. Our heroine toils through loss and political conflict to successfully achieve her goal of benefiting the kingdom and saving it from an ancient doom.

Set in medieval times, this book contains so many fantastical things that are superbly described. The characters were well developed and gained layers as the story progressed. Natylia is one example of such a character. Throughout the book, you can see she reacts to stresses and pressures in a believable and relateable way. There is a complexity to all the characters stories, starting superficially and growing into something deeper, which is explored and hinted at throughout the book. One such example is Jyn, who is a friend of our protagonist. He’s ever faithful, and even with his temper he’s something more than Natylia’s guard.

The book explores themes of growing up in the face of adversity, as seen with the protagonist’s ascension to the throne. The trials she faces make her grow up from a young girl into a full-fledged woman right before your eyes. This coming-of-age theme really kept me turning pages all the way through. The author’s writing delivers complex ideas easily, but at times I felt the story was hampered by excessive descriptions, which detracted from the momentum built with some very well orchestrated action scenes. At the same time however, I can’t help but feel that the descriptions helped cement the world better and evoke a stronger image about the story. I suppose this is to say, if you like deep descriptive world building then this book is for you.

While the character development was excellent, I felt that some of the relationships that Natylia has throughout the book were shallow and easily cast aside. There were some relationships that I did enjoy, such as our protagonist’s relationship with her parents and siblings, but others seem to be thrown aside or not developed. I was given just enough to be deeply intrigued and begged for more.

Nevertheless, even with these flaws the book was a thrilling read. The prose was crafted with care and the author was very descriptive throughout. When the action came it kept me on the edge of my seat and was very fun to read.

Pages: 424 | ASIN: B07CMGSDRD

Buy Now From Amazon.com

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

Buy Now From Amazon.com

%d bloggers like this: