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Literary Titan Book Awards March 2021

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

Silver Award Winners

Trust vs Lust… a biography by Ian D. Niall

Intrepid Spirit by David Tunno

 

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

 

Fetch

Victor and Victoria, highly competitive brother and sister, are accustomed to having their grandfather’s attention and are quite used to having their pitches heard at Christmas. Their inventions are always looked upon with wonder, and they know each year their grandfather will consider each of them as contenders for the annual featured Christmas toy. They are both ready this year–Victor with Billy and Victoria with Fetch. Victoria is sure she will win this year. She just knows that Fetch will easily win over her brother’s robot. What the two don’t know is that there is someone else in the picture–someone who could cost them everything.

Fetch, by Paul Richardson, is the tale of two twenty-somethings competing for top honors in their family’s company. All either of them wants is to be recognized and not be ousted by the guest inventor invading their space. The idea of having someone outdo them or take their coveted place as future head of the company is causing them both anxiety and nightmares. Their battle to maintain their place is not the only storyline in Richardson’s work. When Fetch is discovered in a recycling bin, things change for everyone.

Written with young adults in mind, Fetch pulls at the heartstrings. Des Perret’s storyline will grab readers and pull them in instantly. His desire to provide for his family and the struggle he must endure to earn a living will resonate even with young adult readers. I love that Richardson is tapping into feelings of empathy and showing readers of this genre what it is like for adults to work hard to overcome obstacles and financial woes. Des wants to be a good father and wants to make his children happy–this is a beautiful lesson for young readers.

Richardson’s work is unique and features a focus on technology that will undoubtedly appeal to young adult readers. Amazingly Fetch’s artificial intelligence becomes increasingly sentient and almost frighteningly real. Readers will enjoy watching Fetch grow from a concept in Victoria’s mind to a main character in the plot.

I would definitely recommend Richardson’s book to any young adult reader interested and versed in technology. Fetch’s plot twists make the book a fun and is perfect for anyone looking for a lite and science fiction book.

Pages: 288 | ISBN: 171637927X

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Age of Magnus: The Iron Dawn

Age of Magnus Book Two (New Era 2): The Iron Dawn by [David Crane]

The Iron Dawn centers around a supercomputer named Magnus as its protagonist in a world one hundred years after a devastating pandemic is followed by a nuclear war. Magnus – created before the war to assist first-time exploration of planet Mars – survived and possessed full knowledge of human history and technological development. With this, it decided to take the survival of the human species into its own hands by taking over the world, Magnus was not met without resistance, however.

The Iron Dawn is an intellectually refreshing science fiction epic. The choice to tell this story from the viewpoint of an A.I., artificial intelligence, instead of the humans trying to beat it was new and provides an interesting take on a dystopian future society. It did have me wondering initially if we were following a villain or a hero, but Magnus’ morality was shown through how it treated humans, cared for humans, and how, in many cases, it thought like a human. This gave the novel good steam to move forward on while also keeping uncertain whether Magnus would go through a corruption arc or not.

Even though Magnus, as a character, had many strengths and endearing moments, it was not devoid of flaws especially with how it intended to deal with the current war against itself. Fortunately, there are many other characters we meet along the way that teach Magnus things that it never considered and caused it to reflect. This along with a bittersweet romance humanized Magnus to a great extent and made it that much more enjoyable to read.

However, a lot of the tension gradually falls away after Magnus experiences less pushback from both companions and enemies. This doesn’t take away too much of the whole novel, however, as we constantly meet new characters and come to understand the viewpoints of the antagonists the tension rises again as these people we care about are lied to. Though the initial tension never quite came back the same.

The setting itself was vivid, and it was intriguing to explore not only Earth in its post-apocalyptic stage but also Mars and its alluring new findings.

The Iron Dawn is a refreshing dystopian fiction with a visionary look at the future and an imaginative story that will keep science fiction fans entertained.

Pages: 384 | ASIN: B08KPL3K2S

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Devyn’s Dilemma

Devyn is full of uncertainty regarding her summer job at The Towers. From her lack of confidence in the ability to perform her duties, to the fear that someone might learn her dreaded secret, to the constant views of the river she hates, everything about it makes her nervous. However, she was given no choice, and soon Devyn is surprised to find how comfortable she’s becoming in the huge house. Her employers are generous, loving people who show her what a family can be, and almost all the rest of the staff do all they can to help as the days pass- especially Brice, the handsome Irishman that Deyvn can’t help but imagine a future with!

In Devyn’s Dilema by Susan Mathis, Devyn comes to Dark Island, and the grand castle known as The Towers, scared and uncomfortable. Her life at home with an emotionally abusive mother has taught her that she has little to offer to anyone and is mostly incapable of the simplest tasks, but since someone needs to earn money for the family, Deyvn is sent off for the summer. The characters we meet throughout this heartfelt novel are all unbelievably close and loving. But the cast of characters are peppered with intriguing characters that break up the stereotypes; the rough around the edges love interest that is almost out of reach, the villainous staff member hellbent on destroying the main character’s happiness with no apparent motive, and the group of friends who seamlessly accept that character as one of their own without question. Mathis nonetheless makes them all engaging, but what she is most masterful at is making The Towers seem like a character of its own. As Devyn explores all its nooks and crannies and secrets of The Towers it becomes a character that is central to everything else. It is something that is simultaneously safe and terrifying, a physical embodiment of how Deyvn views life. 

Devyn’s Dilema is a dramatic Christian romance story that is ultimately about shaking off the past and embracing the future. For years, Devyn has been shackled by the guilt of what occurred the day her father died and it has prevented her from enjoying anything in life. As she comes to realize that guilt, lies, and secrets only succeed in creating more pain, she finally begins to grow as a person, seeing for the first time that she might deserve the happiness and joy she has always denied herself. The message to not be so hard on yourself is one that many readers could use.

Although the image of The Towers will stay in your mind long after any of the human characters, it was still exciting to follow them through the summer and see each of them get what they might deserve, for better or worse! Devyn’s Dilema is a touching historical fiction novel that will leave you entertained and smiling.

Pages: 279 | ASIN: B0817GQXSJ

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Orange City

Orange City by [Matthew Goldberg, Lee]

Orange City by Lee Matthew Goldberg is an exciting dystopian thriller and pretty much a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s about Orange City: a bizarre place where its inhabitants are kept firmly under the control of the Man. Here they toil away for faceless organizations and use petty distractions to not drown in the misery of their jobs. Here, Graham Weatherend is placed in a unique position– he has to decide whether he will work for a dangerous and addictive new product, innocuously named Pow! Soda or whether he will take up the more risky path of finding out exactly what is going on in a world where he can trust few.

Graham is an introverted and humorous character with neat tricks up his sleeve in the most unlikely situations. His quest is to find out the truth about the soda while avoiding being banished to The Zones. All the while navigating the unexpected effects of Pow! Soda. There are some other difficult topics also addressed in this book– especially surrounding Gayle’s situation. The abuse of power and free will are central to the characters’ motivations and behavior.

I kept trying to anticipate the next twist of the plot but I could never guess where this book was going to go- the book is not only a few steps ahead of me, it simply does not follow regular science fiction rules. Which is not a bad thing at all- I was strapped in for a fun romp and ended up with a substantial and thoughtful novel. There’s probably thousands of science fiction books and movies in the world but the best of the lot have always been the ones that are adjacent to reality. The sweet spot in the uncanny valley where if the universe were merely a few degrees askew the characters’ lives would be our lives. This is what happens here.

The writing is sharp and cool- it has a neo-noir thriller vibe to it that wouldn’t be out of place in a movie where a tortured Ryan Gosling runs around town saving people while being drenched in moral ambiguity. Meaningful prose and intense drama ensues.

Orange City is a great read for anyone who enjoys science fiction thrillers or just cool and atmospheric books in general. Just be prepared to have a mini-existential crisis about where our world is headed!

Pages: 231 | ASIN: B08R96Z37G

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Buried Beneath The Sorrow And The Mayhem

J. N. de Bedout
J. N. de Bedout Author Interview

Health Reformation follows a relatively healthy man on a journey through a dystopian healthcare system that is supposed to be perfect but turns out to be a nightmare. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

As 2020 opened with the pandemic, and life around the country deteriorated, I wondered about how emergent diseases might change our lives and institutions. Buried beneath the sorrow and the mayhem, a nascent idea started forming about how healthcare might evolve in the future, but in a provocative and entertaining way. This effort meandered and flowed through much of January and February. But I only decided to write this story once I determined the name of one of the main characters. That lightning strike propelled this curiosity from a possible future project into something that deserved my immediate attention, and the mere mention of that name to those in my inner circle reinforced that assessment. Energized by the feedback I received, I started writing in March of 2020 and released it in November of the same year.

But I also didn’t want it to be “about the pandemic.” The various fictitious viruses in the story provide a background against which the characters venture into a revamped healthcare system. The inspiration was thus multifaceted: the 2020 health crisis, the repeated calls for free universal healthcare, the ubiquitous push for ever more automation and the loss of jobs to overseas labor markets. Furthermore, people nowadays have to fill their own gas tanks and go through self-checkout lanes at supermarkets—and at some restaurants. Robots build more than people do. And trying to get customer service over the phone is a maddening descent into insanity. This story is not a commentary or analysis of any of those topics, though. Those were the ingredients and the viruses were the oven that helped bake this morsel into a darkened future that looms all too possible.

Jason is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

He’s a young man with a new bride and big plans for his future. The pandemics are just background noise for him. Looking back at 2020, I think a lot of people had big objectives that got dashed by the advent of covid-19. But imagine when we collectively get past the lockdowns, quarantines and business closures, and things open up again. Dreams will flourish anew. People will want to travel again. Jason encapsulates all of that optimism. And he’s generous. He sees the best in people, and he didn’t care that his wife was convicted of murder and has a trail of dead husbands in her wake. But he also has some flaws that are exposed as the plot advances.

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

The military has a saying: “no plan survives contact with the enemy.” Likewise, intentions get twisted by reality, whether it’s because of cost, greed, unexpected delays or something else. I wanted to expose a healthcare system that was born from the finest intentions, but fails to deliver actual value. It’s an extrapolation of what we see around us today. Among the hindrances that deform this imaginary healthcare system are the regulations that helped create it.

The second main theme revolves around the offshoring of jobs. As Jason emerges from the hospital, and the hidden costs of “free” becomes apparent, he has to face a new nightmare. In this situation, I chose an entire industry that employs thousands and eliminated it outright from the national scene. For Jason, that has dire implications—but it does give him that chance to finally travel abroad, albeit not to his ideal destination.

But there were also tertiary themes at play, too. Protests were a staple of 2020, and there’s a vociferous march demanding change in the book. I also wanted to showcase a reality where gangs peddle access to unemployed doctors instead of selling illicit substances, stores have disappeared from city streets, and hospitals have built-in furnaces.

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

At the time I started writing Health Reformation: Murder, Medicine and Rehab in the Age of Pandemics, I was already in the finishing stages of what will now be my next book. Peace through Purpose is a Book Zero (or prequel) for my next series, a galactic epic that will provide [fictional] answers to the big questions that have always vexed us. Why are we here? What is humanity’s future? How will life on Earth end? What role will artificial intelligence play in the future?

Peace through Purpose is a collection of six tales that introduce an alien utopia before it is destroyed by an unforeseen enemy. Each enjoys a distinctive flair while also building upon a unifying foundation, with topics ranging from resettling refugees to raising a family to eradicating threats that imperil the ongoing harmony to managing planetary ecosystems. The main series will take place in the aftermath of the aforementioned apocalyptic event.

Like Health Reformation, this galaxy-spanning civilization is not perfect despite the ideals espoused by its governing authorities. Scratch beneath the agencies and the mantras, and universal peace is, as it is on Earth today, within reach but always beyond our grasp.

This prequel to the upcoming series should be available later in 2021.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Saving lives is a hospital’s primary purpose.
Seems obvious, right?
Jason was a lucky fellow. He married a former doctor, albeit a notorious one with a wicked past. The dream home he fantasized about, a remote villa in the pristine Andean mountains of Peru, dangled within reach. And the pandemics sweeping the globe killing millions receded into a distant malady that afflicted other people, those with no apparent plan for their future. But when a pain develops in his groin, and his wife recommends visiting the nearby local hospital, everything changes.
Enter the facility, get diagnosed, select the best treatment from the options provided and be home in time for supper. Simple and painless.
Free universal health care made access even easier. Long wait times, surprise bills large enough to bankrupt millionaires, and aloof doctors that only pretended to heed their patient’s concerns had become bleak facets of a dire past few yearned to revive. Visionary reforms guaranteed everything was better now, cleaner and more efficient.
And he had contracted no lethal viruses.
So after a pep talk from his infamous wife and a dose of joy to lift his spirits, he sets off on his quest for wellness.
What’s the worst that could happen?

Hollyweird Needs

Hollyweird Needs: when monsters fell from a hole in the sky by [Michael Greco]

Michael A. Greco’s Hollyweird Needs is one of the most unique books I have ever read. The first word that came to mind as I read it was “peculiar”. From the characters to the storylines, there seems to be an eerie vibe to this book.

It follows the life of Chester, Smegman, Wordsworth, and other autistic teenagers living in a Los Angeles special need school dubbed “Special Kneads”. Although most of these teens don’t have any other caregivers, the school staff and neighbors play a huge role in their everyday lives, some even taking the place of family.

Havoc ensues in the shopping center that houses the school (Butts Plaza) when a new arcade claw game mysteriously shows up. Although the game seems harmless at first, it begins sending those who play it to the past, something that eventually results in devastating consequences. It is ultimately up to the teens to save the adults and restore order.

Not only is this book’s storyline unique but it also goes to great lengths to explain what goes on in an autistic person’s mind. I particularly appreciate the author’s efforts to not paint any of the teenagers as victims but rather as masters of their own destiny. Their individuality really did shine throughout the book.

The use of wordplay throughout the narrative is also a nice touch. For instance, the fact that that Wordsworth doesn’t speak and the claw game is called Dimensional Needs is quite a treat. But while the plot of the story is quite solid, but the execution is wanting, some dialogue seems out of place, and there seems to be a large cast of characters to keep track of. Apart from brief family history and information about their journey with autism, we didn’t get much about who the main characters were, and I really wanted to know because I found the characters interesting and wanted to know more.

With a solid concept and a large dose of creativity, Michael A. Greco’s Hollyweird Needs is an interesting science fiction story that will appeal to readers who like a little dark comedy in their urban fiction novel.

Pages: 264 | ASIN: B08SJ2XGMS

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The Last Mission of The Seventh Cavalry

The Last Mission of The Seventh Cavalry: Book Two: Finding the Soyuz escape capsule by [Charley Brindley]

Sarge made a promise, but he isn’t invested in keeping it. His men do not hesitate to remind him that he once told them that the Seventh Cavalry had made its last mission. Yet, here they are preparing again and listening to the list of orders to which they have all grown accustomed and about to set out on a rescue mission after which they all plan to rest, regroup, and recuperate. Once the group manages to agree on a leader for the mission, the wheels begin to turn and they are off on a path that will lead them again into the unknown.

The Last Mission of the Seventh Cavalry: Book Two, by Charles Brindley, picks up where Book One of the same name left off. Sarge, the fearless leader of the aptly named Delta Platoon, Alpha Company, Second Battalion, Twenty-Second Division of the Seventh Cavalry, U.S. Army, and his unique group of characters inhabit the lush home of the late Consul Lucius Aemillus Paullus. Their needs are more than met, and they are living their best lives. Duty, however, calls. They are needed immediately on a rescue mission that may take much longer than any of them expect.

As with Book One, Brindley does a brilliant job of making fantasy feel like a part of history. His characters are all stand-outs with well-developed backstories he shares with readers in this installment. Getting to know each one right out of the gate helps readers understand each and every idiosyncrasy and how they relate to the mission at hand. Again, I am in awe of how Brindley manages to make his writing come across as realistic while giving it all the elements of a full-blown epic fantasy.

Humor is a large part of Brindley’s work. As serious as the mission is, the characters never fail to include quips and jabs at one another that make the reading less heavy. Not a scenario passes where the characters don’t insert humor and cutting remarks aimed at keeping the overall mood light and the characters more relatable.

I highly recommend The Last Mission of the Seventh Cavalry: Book Two to any reader who enjoys fantasy adventure as much as they crave well-developed storylines. Fans of strong female main characters will find Brindley’s work especially satisfying–nowhere else will readers find a more diverse and intriguing group of leading females.

Pages: 291 | ASIN: B08STJTJBL

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