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Claimed By Rafa

Claimed by Rafa (Raiden Warriors Book 2) by [Denna Holm]

Rafael Abeden has reached the point in a Raiden males life that it was time to find a mate. Raiden males have the problem of not being able to procreate with their own species so Rafael must find another one to claim and fall in love with. He is set on finding a human woman like his best friend, and prince, Nicolai did. Rafael heads to earth with Nicolai and his mate Abby where he meets her best friend Aaliyah. At once he knew she was the one for him. Aaliyah has had a hard life of abuse and mistreatment. Rafael wants to take all her pain away and show her what it is to feel love. This is a tremendous battle and along the way both discover things they never knew were possible all while trying to stop Nicolai’s enemies from killing him and Abby.

The setting for this novel is mostly aboard the ship Qadira. They use the reference of Star Trek a lot to try and explain things as that is a known cultural norm. The descriptions of the different aliens they encounter are vivid and well thought out. As with the Star Trek references, she uses a lot of human descriptions or animals or dinosaurs to convey what is happening on the alien worlds. This makes it easy for the reader to identify with Aaliyah seeing things for the first time.

As we get deeper into the book and learn about Aaliyah’s past, I felt the anger and frustrations that she has from living through so much pain. Seeing how she was treated by other humans before leaving Earth filled me with anger. This is a testament to Denna Holm’s ability to pull emotions from the reader and give them a connection to the characters. You want to see Aaliyah happy; you feel Abby’s anger at the male posturing, Samantha is your typical teenager and stubborn but adventurous all in one. All the women are fighters, none are weak and docile. The Raiden men appreciate these traits and encourage them.

Of all the different aliens mentioned in the book, I found the Djinn especially interesting. This book hinted that possibly the next one will go more into the Djinn people and how they tie in with the Raiden’s, or at least I hope so. Claimed by Rafa was a unique and deeply engaging novel. I look forward to reading more novels from Denna Holm and certainly more entries int this fantastic series.

Pages: 332 | ASIN: B088G25F9H

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The Call of Magic

The Call of Magic (The Fool's Journey Book 1) by [A.R. C.]

Emma Lie is already an above-average person, working her way tirelessly to earn herself a scholarship to Harvard, while still finding the time to work 15-20 hours a week at her local coffee shop. But when she discovers what she thinks is a rash on her arm in the shape of a ‘6’ she finds out that her very specific life plan will take a detour.

A run-in with a very handsome mystery man at the coffee shop she works at, who she later finds out is Thies and has the same mark as her, will change her life forever. Emma has been invited to the Institut Le Blanc where she will learn magic and become part of a magical army. But just as she is about to deny her contract and leave this craziness behind, she is pulled through a portal and lands unwillingly at the school.

If you’re looking for a book that is as adventurous as it is fast-paced then you should read The Call of Magic. The thing I loved best about this book is the way it is written. Even though Emma has just graduated from high school, it is not written how some young adult books are. Some authors tend to take the teenager’s way of speaking to a level that is annoying to read, but this book is not at all this way. Which allows it to be read by adults as well as young adults.

As a fan of the Harry Potter series, I found this to be like a college version of it, so if you enjoy Harry Potter as well then you will find this series to be just as engaging. Add in some serious girl power and Emma will take you on a magical ride. Her tough and loyal attitude makes her a great role model to look up to as well. Even though she went through some hard times, she was able to better herself and has always kept a spark of magic alive inside her, no matter how deep down.

While reading you will find yourself fighting alongside Emma, feeling all her frustration, the magic that courses through her veins, and the fight to save her mother, who is now in danger. Don’t think you have to be a lover of the fantasy genre either, this book will appeal to all who love a page-turning, suspense-filled story!

Pages: 370 | ASIN: B088DMGFLJ

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The Gold Rush Girls

The Gold Rush Girls by Craig Moody is a tell of women who aspire for adventure and a better life by going west along with the wave of gold seekers in the 1840’s. But the life they find instead is grim, painful, and will test the limits of their will to live. The Gold Rush Girls is about survival, not of man vs nature, but of man vs man.

I was pulled into The Gold Rush Girls from the first paragraph. I enjoyed reading about the rough and tumble details about the trail, the heat, sickness, and other harshness endured on the trail. I love how the author was able to take me to that time and take me on this journey with the Ten women as they struggled to survive against loss, starvation, broken hearts, humiliation, and anger. When they were free I even felt relieved for them even though I knew it would be short lived.

The Gold Rush Girls is an emotionally draining novel, in the same way that The Handmaid’s Tale or Outlander is. The novel is riveting from the beginning but there are relationships and motivations that I think needed a more in depth explanation or exploration. I would have really liked to understand why Z loved Meideth. I wanted a deeper exploration of the relationship between Paco and Caroline’s somewhat stockholm like relationship. The characters were intriguing, but I wanted a fuller explanation of their motivations and how and why they change throughout the novel.

Meredith is a stirring main character that tackles an unbelievable amount of hardships. She is able to rebuild herself after repeated disaster and come out intact. She makes friends, loses friends, has several jobs and seeks a better life. She’s definitely a multifaceted woman that is super human in her ability to endure inhuman torture and come out the other side much the same. She is repeatedly assaulted but never loses her desire for a handsome man or portrays the mental or emotional scars someone might have.

The Gold Rush Girls is an emotional adventure that uses the known story of the search for gold out west and adds provocative new twists that will keep readers constantly thinking and empathizing.

Pages: 302 | ASIN: B0885BVNX7

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The Birthday Gift

 

 

 

The Birthday Gift by Betty Collier is a short story that follows Mrs. Williams as she finds her world turned upside down amid the sudden passing of her husband while he is away on overseas business. Among the themes present in the book are the difficulty in gaining closure from unexpected bereavement and the struggle to exercise forgiveness for transgressions. The role of religion is also significant in this book.

I appreciated the poignancy of Mrs. Williams’ journey to healing after the loss of her husband. It is apparent from the very beginning that she has much love for her husband – the kind that transcends boundaries of space and time. Collier depicts her in the different phases of grieving in order to reflect the immense pain of losing a loved one without having the chance to say goodbye. She reflects fondly on the memories she and her husband shared, and she even feels anger and disillusionment resulting from her God deciding to take her husband’s kindred soul prematurely. However, her love for her family, in particular her daughter Bella, prompts her to be a strong woman and a strong mother.

On the opposite side of the coin, this book is very evangelical in its message. The role of God and religion is prominently interwoven in Mrs. Williams’ thoughts and motivations, which may be triggering to a reader who may not have an interest in religion yet still seeks an inspirational read. Although I still strove to be objective in my reading, the constant preaching and heavy evangelical language were a bit overwhelming.

I appreciated witnessing Mrs. Williams’ healing process after losing her husband, as well as seeing her gain the wisdom to forgive. If you enjoy similar shorter books, such as “The Alchemist” by Paolo Coelho,  which have a religious theme to them, then you’ll also enjoy this book. The expressions of pain and passion is palpable and is the thing I truly enjoyed about this short story?

Pages: 106 | ASIN: B087THC8P7

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Amelia’s Gold

Even in the midst of the Civil War, the Beaches stood as one of the richest and preeminent families in Savannah. As the oldest daughter, Amelia enjoyed all the luxury this provided, without being haughty about it. When her father entrusts her with the chance to save the family’s fortune, Amelia is thrilled at the prospect of serving her family. Her trip to the Bahamas opens her eyes to a world of new experiences, full of adventure, deceit, and a taste of freedom. As the fate of the Confederacy begins to decline, so does Amelia’s, eventually leading her to a life she would never have imagined.

Amelia’s Gold, by James Snyder follows Amelia Beach over the course of a year as she navigates the road paved by her father. The Civil War, the exotic allure of island life, and recovered pirate gold all combine to create an environment that completely unends Amelia’s world and what she always assumed would be her place in it. Nassau itself is a far cry from her home in Savannah in almost every way imaginable, but she navigates it, and its inhabitants, extremely well. Snyder does well to create an accurate snapshot of the world at that time with his meticulous research while still writing in a way that is both interesting and engaging. Although the pacing isn’t always solid, with some passages that just don’t do much to advance the story, it nonetheless never seems stuffy or tedious. Amelia, as well as every one of the supporting characters that filter in and out of her life, are all well written and compliment each other as necessary throughout the course of events.

Over the course of the book, Amelia deals time and time again with the theme of personal growth, both as an idea and an experience. The events play out over the course of only one year, and yet she faces an incredible amount of hardships, each one providing an opportunity to become a better and stronger person. She also achieves the balance of treating others with empathy and kindness without being played for a fool. Overall, Amelia is written as smart, capable, and still distinctly human. She almost serves as an anomaly of how women are typically considered during that time period, instead representing how many of them likely were. 

Amelia’s Gold kept me invested, always curious about what would come next. The character of Felix was especially interesting to me and I wish there were more of him. Snyder carved a path for Amelia that proved to be unpredictable all the way to the very end, and left enough mystery for a reader to ultimately create their own ideas about the rest of her life.

Pages: 376 | ASIN: B086HWJ1XR

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They Had a Common Enemy

Kathryn Gauci Author Interview

Kathryn Gauci Author Interview

The Poseidon Network follows SOE agent Hadley who must root out a traitor in the network before their cover is blown. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting novel?

I wanted to show that for SOE agents working on behalf of the Allies, the situation in Greece was not easy. The political situation in Europe prior to and during WWII was very much one of division, and nowhere more so than Greece which had experienced great upheavals in their country in the early 20th century. However the Greek Resistance did pull together while they had a common enemy and their part in defeating first the Italians and then the Germans was to be admired. Women also played an important role too, as they had done in every war since The Greek War of Independence in 1821.

I also wanted to write the novel that was more a thriller in the style of Film Noir and the old classics, rather than another resistance story. The melting pot that Cairo was at that time was an ideal starting point. Characters in Rick’s Bar in “Casablanca” along with Harry Lime and his Viennese Nazi sympathizers in “The Third Man” were an inspiration too.

Larry is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

Again taking inspiration from Film Noir I wanted Larry to be a larger than life figure; a man’s man who loved women, yet was caught off-guard when he met Alexis. I tried to imagine the physiology behind such a man. He was, first and foremost, an adventurer, but all of us have a vulnerable human side – a soft spot. Alexis was his. I also wanted to show how he respected the men he worked with. The classic thriller writers and such authors as Steinbeck were a great influence for developing his character.

I enjoyed the historic details used throughout the book. What kind of research did you undertake to get things right?

I always try to get to know the places I write about. In this case, I lived in Greece for six years and heard stories from those who experienced the war firsthand. I have also visited Turkey and Egypt several time. I think this is vital as the atmosphere of a place gets into your blood. It is the sights, sounds and smells that touch the senses and give the novel light and shade.

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

My current WIP is another WWII story set in the Jura/Franche-Comté region of France in 1944. I was there for two and a half months 2019-2020, researching the Maquis, Resistance, and smuggler routes into Switzerland. It is a beautiful area of lakes, forests and mountains, and rich with stories of heroes and heroines in almost every village. Unfortunately, the Germans – particularly the Gestapo – could not have infiltrated the area so successfully had not been for the many collaborators, who were paid a huge sum of money for denouncing someone, particularly the head of a network. This time the protagonist is a woman. I expect to have it out by September this year.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitter | FacebookWebsite

The Poseidon Network by [Kathryn Gauci]

1943. SOE agent Larry Hadley leaves Cairo for German and Italian occupied Greece. His mission is to liaise with the Poseidon network under the leadership of the White Rose.

It’s not long before he finds himself involved with a beautiful and intriguing woman whose past is shrouded in mystery.
In a country where hardship, destruction and political instability threaten to split the Resistance, and terror and moral ambiguity live side by side, Larry’s instincts tell him something is wrong.

After the devastating massacre in a small mountain village by the Wehrmacht, combined with new intelligence concerning the escape networks, he is forced to confront the likelihood of a traitor in their midst. But who is it?

Time is running out and he must act before the network is blown. The stakes are high.

From the shadowy souks and cocktail parties of Cairo’s elite to the mountains of Greece, Athens, the Aegean Islands, and Turkey, The Poseidon Network, is an unforgettable cat-and-mouse portrait of wartime that you will not want to put down.

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Literary Titan Book Awards June 2020

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

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

Belonging by Benjamin Anderson

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

KILLING YOUR BEST FRIEND: The Mystery of Psyche and Hidden Romance

KILLING YOUR BEST FRIEND: The Mystery of Psyche and Hidden Romance by [VALDA TAURUS]

Killing Your Best Friend by Valda Taurus is a thrilling murder-mystery set amid the rich backdrop of the Alaskan wilderness. Set in a rustic and remote small town – the type of place where everyone knows everyone’s business and residents befriend each other not wholly by choice, but by lack of alternatives for companionship. Ivan Kortnev is murdered in grisly fashion, with a screwdriver to the heart, and his best friend Alexander Gray, an ex-convict who spent a decade in prison for murder, is convicted despite his inability to recall events of the night. Detective Andy Mohr is convinced, even with lack of material evidence, that Gray is wrongfully convicted. Led by his unwavering and stubborn sense of justice, Mohr embarks on a journey to weave through the entanglements and secrets of Cantwell’s residents to uncover the truth about Kortnev’s suspicious death.

Detective Mohr is arguably the most dynamic character in the book. He is a clear protagonist, fulfilling the “hero” role in this riveting story. Highly independent, his ways of showing care and regard for others often are interpreted as sterile. A natural-born altruist, he has a penchant for ethics over glory and is resolute in his will to uphold what is just and condemn the unjust. In doing so, he is creative in his problem solving and will explore all avenues possible to prove his case, making him the perfect fit to delve headfirst into Gray’s peculiar case and the ominous secrets it holds.

The most palpable theme in this book is the human threshold for pain – what is a person capable of if pushed to their limits, and to what lengths will they go to gain control over their circumstances?  An internal longing for something tragically unattainable is what motivates each of the characters to pursue their respective courses of action. This creates an interesting call to action; as the characters realize what they have become, they are forced to cope with this new identity, even if that means forging a completely new sense of identity.

The development of events in this book is slow to ignite, reflecting the progression of actual real-life murder-mysteries, many of which are known to span decades of investigation, if solved at all. The chapters are short and digestible, yet still provide important pieces of information that are instrumental in contributing to the greater story. This is the type of story that ages like fine wine – the longer a reader becomes immersed, the more the story is built, complete with plot twists and gripping revelations.

Pages: 298 | ISBN: 1480887382

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