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Literary Titan Gold Book Award Feb 2023

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

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 writing talent of these brilliant authors.

Award Recipients

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

Literary Titan Silver Book Award February 2023

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

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 writing talent of these brilliant authors.

Award Recipients

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

Rilloön

Rilloön: Dark Passage by Justin Grimmett is a seafaring sci-fi epic that is sure to leave readers on the edge of their seats. The story follows Rilloön, a young echniodyne living on the island of Chloelle on a diamond-shaped planet called Karoquil. The echniodyne are a scaly humanoid race living under the despotic rule of the cruel lect’veneel after being abandoned by their gods eons ago. After a vision calls into question everything the echniodyne know, Rilloön must make a dangerous journey into forbidden waters in hopes of finding a better life for her people. Along the way, she’ll face up against the deadly leviathans that inhabit her world’s oceans and the secrets and history that have been hidden from the echniodyne for generations.

Though science fiction on its surface, the worldbuilding appears to draw heavily from the fantasy and dystopian genres as well, coming together to form a setting with a little bit of something for everyone. Whether you want a tale of rediscovered lost technology or an action-packed adventure on the high seas, this book will not disappoint. It also features a strong female protagonist, something that can be a bit of a rarity in the genre. The author does a good job of avoiding some of the more negative tropes associated with female characters- while Rilloön is unquestionably competent and fierce, she’s also allowed to be vulnerable and, for lack of a better term, human, in a way that many a “strong female character” is sadly lacking.

While the worldbuilding is incredibly in-depth, I found some of the word choices odd. For example, as it takes place on an alien planet completely disconnected from our own, slang terms like “heebie-jeebies” felt a bit out of place. Other than that, the writing is incredible and readers are able to immerse themselves fully into the world created by Grimmett.

Rilloön: Dark Passage is a gripping sea story adventure novel that science fiction and fantasy novel readers will be able to enjoy as elements from both are present. The unique world the author has created is truly fascinating, and I look forward to spending more time there in future installments.

Pages: 460 | ASIN : B096ZK86JX

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Thomas Edison and the Lazarus Vessel

Book Review

Thomas Edison and the Lazarus Vessel by David Church is a gripping page-turner. The main story follows John Dawkins, a man who, following the death of his former mentor Thomas Edison, is given a mysterious device that seems to grant him the ability to speak with the dead when he first activates it.

Two years pass, and the device never offers such a display again, leading John to think it was all in his head. That is until one day, when it unexpectedly begins to move, carving out a message telling John to find a former associate of Edison’s who has been kidnapped. This leads John on a thrilling journey to discover the secrets Edison left behind before they fall into the wrong hands.

This creative historical fiction book offers an entertaining alternate history starring many of the big names of the 1930s. Edison is, of course, a major character, but we’re also introduced to such memorable personalities such as George Gershwin, Groucho Marx, (both of which I feel don’t show up enough, if at all, in historical fiction novels) and the Roosevelts.

I would call this a historical thriller with some sci-fi and fantasy here and there that twist the story in fascinating directions, but so much is encompassed that it frankly seems to defy the traditional genre. The comedic moments sprinkled throughout earned a fair amount of chuckles from me, and there were even a few scenes I would classify as being genuinely effective horror. This occasionally creates some tonal issues, but nothing that diminishes the quality. I appreciate the writer’s ability to move between those moments and include them in one story.

The characters were written in such an engaging way that I wish we had gotten to spend more time with a few of them, which I think would have helped eliminate any trace elements of tropes and alleviate any issue with ‘fridging’ readers might notice. This is a sequel, but the story definitely stands on its own. The author also included just enough background information that readers will be able to follow the general setup, though not in a way that would be intrusive to anyone who has followed the series from the first amazing book.

I highly recommend Thomas Edison and the Lazarus Vessel to anyone looking for a fun and action-packed romp through 1930s America.

Pages: 270 | ASIN : B0BT4874XW

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Blood Relations

A bloodthirsty and ageless alien named Eros finds himself on Earth. On his arrival, the beauty and compassion of humans make him fall in love with them. After meeting Camellia, the love of his life whom he cured of an illness, he is inspired to find a way to extend the lives of others. Eros’s venom possesses special qualities that can treat diseases, heal injuries, and cause people to fall in love. Throughout his endless existence, Eros fell in love many times, but Camellia was the one who stood out the most. Eros was not perfect; he always had a strong urge to bite women and suck their blood as his way of feeding. He had no control over it and was often referred to as a vampire.

Eros is a fascinating character and I found his abnormal actions to be intriguing. He was cold-blooded and could not stay out in the sun like a vampire, but the author imbues him with enough of a unique quality for the story to feel refreshing. Camellia is a loyal lover and the way she was completely devoted to Eros is admirable. The supporting characters are all well-rounded and have recognizable qualities that make them relatable. For example, Linda and Christine have different personalities although they work together. It seems all the women Eros meets are bound to fall for him. The author does a fantastic job of combining science fiction, fantasy, and romance into a riveting story that will feel like it can go in any direction. From Eros’s strange venom to his laboratory work, and crazy love fantasies, the story was engrossing.

The writing style of author Glenn Stevens is easy to follow, ensuring readers are always immersed in the story. The book is well written but I would have enjoyed it more if the story was a bit shorter. I would recommend Blood Relations to fans of science fiction, fantasy, and romance. The story is thrilling and captivating, and you will be glued to the pages until the end.

Pages: 507 | ASIN: B07H277BLH

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Even After The End Of The World

Cheryl Peña Author Interview

Descent of the Vile follows a photographer and mysterious woman who barely escape death and must figure out a way to survive together and save humanity. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

This was the first time I used a dream to create a novel.  I’d watched all three films in the Three-Flavours Cornetto Trilogy consecutively, and although the films have comedic elements, I had a nightmare that night that became the opening sequence to Descent of the Vile.  When I woke, I had the feeling that an epic journey would come of it, and I wanted to write it down.  Originally, I wrote it as a novella, but I had to cut too much out to keep it at the shorter length.  So, I revised it to add the missing part of the story, and it became this short novel.  I liked the idea of an antagonist that changes throughout the story and a hero who is flawed, but learns from his past mistakes.  I also wanted to have Jackson’s perspective, even if a flawed one, the only perspective we see throughout the story, watching the events unfold through his eyes.  His journey isn’t only the one he takes with Nadine, but a journey of discovery as he learns that life still holds possibilities for him, even after the end of the world.

What was the inspiration for the relationship that developed between the characters?

Originally, I thought I didn’t want to have it be a romance at all.  And I think there is a romance that isn’t quite a romance between them.  They bond with each other beyond any level of attraction.  I also didn’t dwell on it, but there is an age difference between them, so I did consider that they might separate at the end, but the further I got into writing it, that seemed unlikely due to the personalities of the characters of Jackson and Nadine both.  Although they might not have met if not for the apocalypse that occurs, I thought they would at least find comfort in not being alone through the traumatic experiences that they endure.  It was important to me that Nadine save Jackson’s life, in more ways than one, and that Jackson opens up to her, learning that together they are stronger than they are apart.  But I didn’t want her to remain as someone Jackson has to protect, that they evolve to working more as a team.  It was also difficult to write from a male perspective, while creating a character who might be at once hurt but not broken.  He is healed by Nadine’s presence and discovers that he can evolve as a person, too.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I definitely wanted to write a story about an older protagonist.  Jackson is in his forties at the point of this novel, although it isn’t mentioned.  He has an established career.  Nadine was a student who dropped out of college, so she is younger, but she’d been in a stable relationship before she meets Jackson.  It was important that they both learn to accept each other for who they are and to grow as individuals.  But the main thing is that there is never a point of no return, when someone can’t make a new start.  I feel like there are few older protagonists in genre fiction especially, and older people still have valid contributions to make.  Also, making the point that being established doesn’t mean that a person can’t make a change and start over was important to me.  It’s never too late to learn a new skill or to make a career change or to move across the country to your dream house. Life isn’t static ever, and finding your own peace is something you have to work at, but you’ll never know what you’re capable of if you never attempt anything new.

Will there be a follow-up novel to this story? If so, what aspects of the story will the next book cover?

The sequel was signed by my publisher last summer, so it should come out this year.  It’s titled The Blood Hotel, and it takes place five years after the events in Descent of the Vile. Jackson and Nadine have settled into a comfortable routine when the return of a familiar foe uproots them and sends them fleeing once again. This time, the enemy has changed tactics, and they wonder what they can do to end the threat forever. There will be some themes that do come up again, like the fear of change, but it’s a new story with a different setting, so hopefully readers of Descent of the Vile will enjoy it. I think it’s a bit darker in tone with historical correlations, but you can simply read it as an action adventure if you prefer. I want it to be an enjoyable read, but there’s something more if you look for it.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Photographer Jackson Riley is annoyed. He gets called to an unusual job where he’s given few details, and the client doesn’t seem to understand the time involved in taking large format photographs, which they specifically requested. Even worse, he almost misses the shuttle bus taking him back to his vehicle. But that’s when his entire life changes.
He barely escapes horrifying peril on the shuttle and races away in his car, only to rescue an enigmatic woman named Nadine who barely speaks to him. In doing so, he wonders what strange new terrors he’s discovered. Seeking to uncover the answer to the mystery, he drives away from the city and hopes to outrun any danger while also keeping his new companion safe. Eventually, however, he is no longer sure that running for the rest of his life is enough. To end the threat, he thinks he may have to return to the starting point but wonders if Nadine is too traumatized to face it again. Facing the choice of what to do with the mysterious woman he supposedly rescued, he must decide if he will protect her at all costs or if he will put her at risk to save the last of humanity.

Disruptions

T.N. Baldwin is back along with Logan, Carla, Junior, and his full cast of beloved characters in the second book of the Magicium series, Disruptions. Having survived their excursion to Shanghai, the group finds themselves going their separate ways in this action-packed adventure. As each character digs deeper into the world’s mysteries, they’re forced to come face to face with who they are and who they’ll have to be to survive. Loyalties are tested and sometimes betrayed when not everything is as it seems.

Disruptions is an incredible addition to the already fantastical series. Baldwin does a superb job of building off the world and magic systems already established in Discoveries. Where he truly shines through is his willingness to experiment with everything we thought we knew before. Logan and Carla, as magi, are constantly interacting with the world around them in new, engaging, and creative ways while staying within the bounds of what Discoveries built. Just like predecessors, Disruptions isn’t overbearing in its worldbuilding, either. Instead, Baldwin has a way of gently easing his readers into his realm without overwhelming them with information – a skill I’m sure plenty of fantasy readers can appreciate. The one thing I did struggle with was keeping track of the characters. Because Logan, Junior, and Carla are on such different paths, it becomes hard to keep track of everything happening and who everyone is. Other than that, I truly enjoyed reading Disruptions.

Disruptions is a gripping epic fantasy novel with exciting characters and world-building. Like in Discoveries, each character is well thought out and, most importantly, well-written. This series will keep science fiction readers engaged and excited for the next book, as the action and adventure are unpredictable. I can’t wait to see what Baldwin has in store for us in the third installment.

Pages: 671 | ASIN : B08CRKGN35

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Our Unbelievably Complex Universe

Shawn Adair Johnston Author Interview

Interstellar Sex Wars and the Blind Detective follows a renowned blind private investigator who is drawn into a case in which the fate of sentient life hangs in the balance. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

There are two interconnected inspirations for the story. The first is to introduce a credible blind hero into popular literature. If I can inspire some young blind men and women to pursue professional success, good. The second inspiration is to challenge readers to think seriously about enormously important issues (within the context of an exciting sci fi/fantasy mystery). I think many folks in the modern world have lost their way. It is my personal belief that good and evil really do exist and that there are transcendent forces at work in our unbelievably complex universe. I also believe that certain animals will be intellectually augmented in the future and that it is possible that self-aware and autonomous artificial intelligence will be developed. Exploring the ethical and practical implications of these issues, without getting preachy, while keeping an exciting story moving along, is a project.

This book is filled with intriguing characters. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Well, the point of the blind hero is hopefully self-evident. Beyond that, since intellectually augmented animals are in our future, I am fascinated as to what they would be like. As a retired forensic psychologist with a specialty in neuropsychology, I thought it would be possible to imagine what it would be like for a dog, a porpoise, and a chimp to receive such augmentation. I believe that my characterizations of the augmented animals in my stories provides a credible description of their cognition, personality styles and relationships with human beings. And then there is the question: what on earth might a truly self-aware and autonomous AI be like? With that, much fun did I have though it could not avoid getting a little scary.

What scene in the book did you have the most fun writing?

With regard to “Interstellar sex wars and the blind detective” I most enjoyed the scene where the octopoids sing ‘amazing grace’ to their astounded human counterparts. In my second book, “Demons, the great white north and the blind detective,” my favorite scene was the debate in the cave concerning the existence of the soul between the humans, the intellectually augmented animals, the AI and, of course, the demon from hell. That debate includes info from Plato, Jung, parapsychic research and research on dreaming. It was a chore to write it while keeping the story moving, and all but one of ten reviewers thought it worked. You cannot please everyone.

Do you plan on writing more books in this universe?

I must write more books from this universe. It is far too much fun to stop now.

Author Links: Website | Amazon

In this futuristic adventure, Shawn Adair Johnston describes the struggle for equal rights of males on Octopodia, the preparation on Earth for an extraterrestrial invasion and the plan of the “Awakened” to bring about galactic serenity and beauty, no matter who gets hurt.

Renowned blind, private investigator Peter Straw, of the “Third Eye Detective Agency,” assisted by his intellectually augmented guide dog, Watson, is initially retained by a victim of child abuse to aid her in the civil trial of her wealthy and powerful stepfather. In the midst of this investigation, because of a unique friendship between Watson and the first self-aware and autonomous AI to originate on Earth, Straw and his canine companion find themselves drawn into an interstellar intrigue in which the motives of two different alien actors are unclear and the fate of sentient biological life may hang in the balance.

Exotic locations, plots within plots and an unforgettable cast of human, intellectually-augmented nonhuman and inhuman characters provides the reader with a good old-fashioned mystery story on a believable future Earth. Recognizing that human history is characterized as much by the fantastic as the tragic, the reader is treated to a non-dystopian story full of surprises, dry humor and a thoughtful consideration of current and future moral dilemmas. Prepare for a story that will be as emotionally satisfying as it is thought-provoking.
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