Planet of Men: Book 2 of Enigma follows Peter Blackwood as he tries to save his planet Enigma from the lurking dangers of invasion and the alien red cloud. Accompanying him are a ragtag bunch of rebel smugglers as he tries to find and activate the Heart of the Sun before it is too late. Despite his personal struggles and sacrifices, Blackwood has to keep a brave outlook in the face of danger, inventing new, ingenious strategies and tactics to keep the enemy armies at bay.
The starting scene of the book immediately drew me in. The way the author kept lulling me into a sense of calm and then suddenly bringing in the action was startling and always kept me on edge. Peter Blackwood, the protagonist is one of the most relatable protagonists I have read in awhile. He is brave and trying to do his best in the hostile situations he keeps finding himself in. This is not to say that he does not have flaws, because he does. And the fact that we are let in to see him fighting his internal and external demons adds to his wonderful and very real character. He represented a persons desire for freedom and equality, without losing their humanity. I could almost see him as being the male equivalent to Katniss Everdeen of the Hunger Games.
The female characters in this story were also depicted as strong and inspiring. Both Sachiko Nomura and Lita Sandir were both well fleshed-out characters. Their lives existed beyond being simply narrative tools for the story, and I loved both of their personalities.
The imagination behind the weapons and battle methods used in the story were impressive. I usually find myself zoning out in fantasy fiction books when an extremely complicated and difficult-to-follow action sequence comes up. However, that was not the case here. David Crane is an expert at keeping the reader engaged throughout the scene, while keeping it easy to follow.
The insidious presence of the alien red cloud was also one of the most unique antagonistic presences I have come across in sci-fi. The omnipresent danger always lurking around the corner, catching every single misstep- I got chills at the simple but terrifying reality of the situation. This was a gripping book and perfect for anyone with an interest in science fiction and fantasy.
Pages: 231 | ASIN: B008D535S8
Banks and O’Neil are on a mission, and they have a defined target: Clint Holden. Obtaining access to one Clint Holden will not be the easiest of tasks, though. Making their way from their own world to Clint’s is the first obstacle. Finding him among the masses of country folk is their second. Standing, unknowingly, in their way is Jason Cooper, a washed-up police officer still biding his time on the force. Banks and O’Neil face some interesting obstacles as they search for Clint Holden and seek to accomplish their mission. If they can get past Cooper, finding Clint will be a breeze, or will it?
Requiem, Changing Times, by R.J. Parker, is an adventure of otherworldly proportions. Peppered with humor, steeped in suspense, and filled with everything fantasy fans seek, Parker’s novel delivers it all.
I enjoy humor in any fiction book I read. Some plots call for it more than others. Parker understands this better than anyone. Throughout this unique plot alternately set on Earth and beyond, Parker manages quite well to give lighthearted lines to his cast of characters. Their exchanges are welcome breaks to some of the more intensely focused exchanges.
One aspect of the book that did tend to interfere with the flow was the introduction of accents by some of the characters. Rather thick and intricate accents permeate much of the reading and require some rescanning of text to fully grasp the character’s intent. While I am all for accents and a true-to-life feel, these accents seemed to halt the flow somewhat.
Parker introduces Clint and Corbin as relatable characters readers will appreciate and find likable. Watching the entire adventure unfold with school-age boys as the key protagonists makes the story all the more relatable. Readers who want the feel of the adventure stories from their youth will find Requiem, Changing Times right up their alley. Complete with school drama and a teacher every reader will love to hate, Parker’s novel sets up a fantastic background for the two main characters, Clint and Corbin.
I highly recommend Requiem, Changing Times to any reader seeking a new science fiction fantasy. Those of us intrigued with stories of the extraterrestrial will find Clint and Corbin’s adventure a fast-paced quick read for its length. Memorable characters and a unique set of circumstances involving the two young boys make Requiem, Changing Times a must-read.
Pages: 450 | ASIN: B07XY439NX
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Lost Frequencies: The Soul Prophecies by Caitlin Lynagh is a book that gives you all the benefits of escapism while maintaining a terrifying sense of reality throughout.
It is about a group of people in a dystopian world, trying to survive against all odds. Their world is ravaged by the carelessness of their ancestors. They have to struggle for their basic necessities, all the while fighting back an evil but pragmatic corporation.
The novel switches back and forth from the past, and between dream sequences filled with strange prophecies. I found this a little disorienting. But it provided great contrast and detail to their fictional world. It was also quite fast paced, so it took me a while to get a hang of all the things taking place, especially the dream sequences.
The world itself was reminiscent of The Hunger Games, albeit more exotic and more relevant. Especially considering how their world came to be from climate change and being indifferent to the state of the planet.
Some of the secondary characters were totally adorable- particularly Ehi and Zerren. I felt immediately connected to them and was rooting for them throughout. Apart from these few, however, there were a lot of other story lines of characters I did not particularly care about. They had interesting side plots, but I wish the focus had remained more on the main few.
The objects in this world were also incredibly fascinating- like Lif, a biological metal that can be manipulated with thoughts. The differences between the humans and Iyeekans were very interesting and creative.
If pressed, I would probably describe this book as a science fiction adventure, but that would almost be unfair. This is because the book almost transcends genre. Even the planet’s reality seems not so distant from ours. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a scary yet hopeful science fiction experience.
Pages: 310 | ASIN: B07T943KDL
Steel Reign follows a super-soldier turned bounty hunter who must rescue his sister from pirates before a deadly virus consumes him. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
Steel Reign represents a segue novel that will connect the two worlds of my Scifi Universe of THE RED GEMINI CHRONICLES. It takes place in a nearby galaxy called Proxima Centauri, where two twin Red Dwarf stars have gone Supernova and merged with one another. This happened in the previous series called THE STAR-CROSSED SAGA, which won multiple awards for science fiction, including Readers’ Favorite, CLS International Book Awards, and Literary Titan Book of the month. This was a trilogy that spanned both Proxima Centauri and our galaxy, The Milky Way. Once it was completed, the main characters of the story, William and Sydney, relocated back to Proxima Centauri on William’s homeworld of Fabricius. That’s where William now reigns as the king and faces challenges from the neighboring five Houses and mercenary factions spread across ten Inner and Outer Colony planets. They would all love to conquer Fabricius since it has the most optimal living conditions and, therefore, prime resources.
I was inspired to write Steel Reign’s story because once I finished with THE STAR-CROSSED SAGAS TRILOGY of books, PROTOSTAR, SUPERNOVA, and SOLSTICE, I wanted to build out this fabricated universe of mine and I needed to have a fulcrum on which to work from. Steel’s character was so impressive that I chose to build an exposition narrative through him to smoothly transition readers into the next phase of my storytelling. Steel Reign is a Bounty Hunter that was introduced in THE STAR-CROSSED SAGA and had a growing character story arc in book three SOLSTICE. The story, in particular, STEEL REIGN: FLIGHT OF THE STARSHIP CONCORD, builds on his character development and provide more history of Proxima Centauri and sets up the more extensive series that I am working on called THE RED GEMINI CHRONICLES, which I compare to a Game of Thrones in Space.
Steel Reign is a character that was fun to follow. Where did the idea for his character come from and how did that change as you wrote?
Who doesn’t love a bad guy, turned good, right? It’s the original prose of writing where you try to force the reader into believing the unthinkable and fall in love with either the character or the story. Reign gave me a chance to do both since I had already built out THE STAR-CROSSED SAGA and was looking to glue things together in a separate transition novel. Reign had been introduced as a badass character, hat you weren’t sure you could trust when he is introduced in SOLSTICE, but then you soon realize he’s the real deal and you quickly cling to him. A lot of readers of THE STAR-CROSSED SAGA expressed that they wanted to know more about him, so it seemed very obvious of the direction in which I would go to fuse more of the story of Proxima Centauri along.
I love science fiction adventure stories like this. What draws you to this genre?
Science fiction to me is the last plane of existence (in a fictional world) where race, creed, and color really don’t matter. Because you’re dealing with alines, right? So who cares if you’re different. All that ever really matters is the journey of the characters and the story at hand. What’s important to them? What makes them tick? The challenge in scripting Steel Reign’s story was finding the right amount of conflict to continually move the story along while trusting that the readers love both the Sci-Fi world I was building out and remaining attached to Reign and not getting lost in the details. But since I, fell in love with the world on my own, the transition began to develop with increased ease over time. The duality between Reign and the galaxy of Proxima Centauri – a complex world, ever-changing, while containing equal parts volatility and predictability – was quite remarkable in the end.
Will there be more stories to come following Steel Reign?
Well, that is absolutely a truth! but not just Reign himself, but the entire cast of THE STARCROSSED SAGA. Once THE RED GEMINI CHRONICLES is created, you will read about all of them coming together in an epic, long story that will have a lot to offer readers of all genres.
A Thief turned Spy, turned Bounty Hunter, turned Hero!After surviving an all-out implosion of catastrophic proportions following the failed fusion of twin stars Mira A and B in a class B Supernova, the people of galaxy Proxima Centauri have pressed forward with dreams and hopes of finally living in peace. But for Bounty Hunter Steel Reign, the clock of destiny is speeding ahead at a steadfast pace as he desires to hunt down a group of rogue super-soldiers before they can plot against King William Derry and his kingdom on planet Fabricius. Consistent work as a Hunter in Proxima Centauri has always been a feast or famine occupation, and when the flow of credits slow to a snail’s pace, Reign must find a secondary means of funding to finance his seek and destroy assignment by way of scalping a precious artifact on the open Black Market. That is, until his supplier comes up short, forcing him to pump the brakes and fall back to Plan B: finding his long lost sister Olia who was captured by the space pirate Forge, and forced to compete in a deadly game of chance aboard the Eclipse. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the stakes have just been raised when he discovers that she is the only source of an antibody that can offer a cure for the deadly, venomous DX virus lurking in his blood, just waiting to consume him. To survive, Reign will have to test not only his skills as a legendary assassin, but also his patience, as he takes on a rogue band of misfits to steal and crew the prototype starship Concord to thwart Forge’s plans once and for all.
The world was chaos. War has torn apart the country, politics and families. With the Dominion taking over, 15-year old Willow and her family flee to safety in the west.
She has been raised as a member of the Crows, rebels who fought against the Dominion, a group now scattered across the country, to heal, plan and regroup.
Willow, along with her brother Brice, are continuing their training as warriors in their remote mountain hideout. As time passes, Willow’s strengths and talents promise to launch her quickly into leadership of the rebel faction. But will the jealousy of others threaten the very life she’s been groomed to live?
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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.
Gold Award Winners
Crimson at Cape May by Randy Overbeck
Cuttle: A Novel by Chelsea Britain
Silver Award Winners
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What I like most about Harvest is the ability to throw around technical terms but still keep things grounded and understandable. How did you find that balance in your story?
I love books that not only captivate me with their narrative and make me fall for their characters, but also those from which I walk away feeling that I have learned something new. Science, especially science discussed in this book, is difficult. Most people don’t advance too far in their science education. Not because they don’t want to, but because the incentives in life tend not to align with getting PhDs in physics and astrophysics and chemistry and anthropology… That doesn’t mean that most readers are not interested in those topics. I believe just the opposite is true—readers of science fiction read this genre because they love all the science. So when I find some fascinating bit of research that I get excited about, I want to share my excitement with my readers. I embed enough real science (might as learn something that is true, right?) into my stories, that people hopefully walk away learning something new in a painless and entertaining way. That’s the goal, anyway. To do that, I can’t simply write an info dump, I have to make sure that each thing I ask my readers to learn is motivated by the story. Humans learn by telling each other stories. Science could be taught this way too.
“Harvest” is the story of first contact. So by its nature, it has a lot of chemistry and physics and astrophysics nuggets in it. But I wanted to expand the story so that the reader is given tools to think about evolution in general. What would life be like on some other planet? How can we use what we know about our own human evolution to make educated guesses about alien one? We can use logic and deduction to make educated leaps into the unknown. I think the best of science fiction does this. And those are the books I love most. So I write what I love to read. That’s the balance.
I enjoyed the well drawn characters in your novel. Who was your favorite character to write for?
This is always such a difficult question—I’m the author, I gave birth to these people. How could I choose a favorite? But I do have one: Alice. Alice is so smart, both emotionally and intellectually. She has an ancestry of an African Pygmy. She will always be an outsider, even as the society described in my book works hard not to notice her being different. It would be impolite, right? So this perspective of perpetual outsider gives Alice a unique point of view that changes the course of human history…evolution. Being different gives her power. That is something I try to incorporate in all of my stories. We are all different, all unique. We all have weakness, but we also all have powers. I write hard science fiction, but my characters are people who tend to be rejected by their society—crippled, orphaned, cognitively different, emotionally damaged, homeless, broken in some way or another. I want my readers to feel empathy for individuals that are very different from them or to recognize themselves in my characters.
What readers reactions to your story have surprised you the most?
The most surprising reactions to “Harvest” had to do with its being illustrated. Most modern adult books don’t have illustrations. But I grew up with books that did. I fell in love with Captain Blood not only from the narrative of the story but also from his pen & ink portrait in the book! I love the additional dimension images add to a story. Not every illustration is as I imagine it in my mind’s eye, of course, but each is always a thrill. So I wanted to give my readers the same experience that made/makes me happy while reading books. Quite a few of my adult novels are illustrated. I feel like those who don’t like them are free to disregard them, and for those who like that kind of thing you’re welcome!
Almost a century after Keres Triplets asteroid impact and subsequent nuclear exchange almost ended all human life on Earth, a strange artifact is discovered on one of the moons of Saturn. Who should be sent to the outer reaches of the solar system to initiate the first contact with an alien culture? Dr. Varsaad Volhard, an evolutionary-socio-historian, is chosen to help the world understand the alien civilization that left an artifact some thirty thousand years ago, before humans even learned to farm, at the time when other human species still walked the earth. While Vars prepares for the mission, her father, Dr. Matteo Volhard, discovers nanobots among the microplastics he studies. The bots are everywhere and seem to have been created to bond with human cyber implants. Why? Matteo is made to keep his discovery a secret…as well as his and his daughter’s true origins. Both were donated to a Human DNA Vault as babies. Matteo was raised as a Seed before leaving with his young daughter to study ecology around the world. Who knows what? Who is in control? How does one communicate with non-human intelligence? People seem to die in gruesome ways as their cyberhumatics go haywire on Earth and on Luna and Mars colonies. Is Earth under attack or is it all just a cosmic misunderstanding? Vars needs to use all she knows to solve the mystery of the ancient civilization on Mimas, as her dad battles the alien nanobots at home.
Of Sound Mind and Someone Else’s Body is a hilariously imaginative novel about a freaky body swap. It is about Alan Maitland, a successful businessman who has woken up in the body of Hana Toussaint, a sophisticated escort. He slowly connects the dots that connect him to this sticky situation, some of which include a disastrous science experiment and a missing scientist. Along the way he discovers that living as a woman is far from easy, especially in Hana’s profession. However along the way, they develop a bright and playful relationship. They both develop respect and compassion for the life that the other lives, even if it may be on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Although it is reminiscent of the classic Freaky Friday or The Hot Chick body swaps, the story itself does not sound old or unoriginal. I was hooked from the beginning till the end. Often the plausibility of such a premise can be easily undermined, but the author has a knack for portraying recognizable human tics in even the wackiest situations.
William Quincy Belle also makes some intelligent commentary on the ways of today’s world. Gender inequality and class discrimination are addressed in a light hearted but thought provoking manner. I was expecting that the topic of sexuality and gender identity would be explored a little further- especially considering the dilemma that arises from being confusingly attracted to/trapped in an unexpected body. Even if I didn’t necessarily learn anything new, it was still refreshing to encounter a novel that acknowledged the realities of the modern world. Also the various physical shticks provided on behalf of Alan (walking in stilettos, makeup shenanigans) were endlessly amusing.
I particularly enjoyed reading Hana’s character. She was a playful and charming character but not without intelligence. Any doubts that Alan may have had about the nature of her profession vanished when he realized she was equally matched, if not better than him.
This was a vastly entertaining read and I pretty much zoomed through it. I look forward to exploring more of Belle’s works, especially if they are to include Alan and Hana.
Pages: 155 | ASIN: B01LYWXM4E
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