Twinkle, once a brightly shining star high in the night sky, is now alone on a journey to find himself again. He is like no one else now but refuses to give up his mission to rejoin the other stars and illuminate all around him. As Twinkle searches for the light he has been promised exists for him, he encounters one planet after another. Each of the planets explains in no uncertain terms that they cannot give him what he seeks, but each directs him toward Sol, the sun. Twinkle’s journey is long, and he is persistent; the lesson he learns is an important one.
Twinkle’s Starlight, written by Rachael Higgins and illustrated by Carole Higgins, is a beautifully illustrated children’s science fiction book that perfectly balances fact and fantasy. The sweet story of Twinkle’s journey to find his light leaves readers with the distinct feeling of hope, motivating them to persist in all things. Though an unlikely character and one who is different from any other in a children’s science fiction story, Twinkle fits in nicely with this genre and provides young readers with an oddly lovable character to champion.
As an elementary teacher, I was pleasantly surprised at the mixture of fiction and nonfiction in Higgins’s work. From cover to cover, teachers will be able to use Twinkle’s Starlight to easily illustrate elements of both fiction works and nonfiction text. I can see Higgins’s book being used as part of a science curriculum or as an integral part of an interdisciplinary text set for ages 6-10. Twinkle’s Starlight makes for a fantastic classroom read aloud.
Carole Higgins has done a wonderful job of illustrating Twinkle’s adventure. The paintings are quite striking and add to the nonfiction feel of the tale. While colorful and appealing to the eye, they are true to the images students will most likely have seen in their science texts. The illustrator’s style and choice of color schemes make the illustrations especially eye-catching. Every other page has a beautiful canvas painting of stars, planets and space that are all one-of-a-kind.
The stunning illustrations and touching story will have young readers asking for more from Twinkle. The message throughout Twinkle’s Starlight is a strong one and definitely one that will resonate with elementary students.
Pages: 27 | ASIN: B08LT9HH4D
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I’ve Got You is a fun space adventure for young readers. Captain Fantastic and his best friend Winston sail through the galaxy when they encounter a scary looking galaxy. When Winston gets frightened Captain Fantastic’s mission is to reassure his best friend and let him know that he’ll never be alone. Together, they can face anything.
Tommy Balaam has created a charming children’s story that is filled with colorful images that give life to this simple but effective story. I don’t often come across children’s picture books that fall within the science fiction genre. This is a welcome surprise as the story embraces it with a unique charisma that is reminiscent of early science fiction TV shows like Flash Gordon.
The story begins with the duo departing on an adventure. Before long we’re given a peek into their various exciting adventures on diverse planets and against many cute monsters. All relayed through rhyme. I loved the story but what I enjoyed most about this book, much like a comic book, was the fantastic art and imagery throughout the story. A fantastic start to what promises to be an amazing intergalactic children’s series.
Pages: 32 | ASIN: B08BKSBHSN
Tags: adventure, author, book, book review, bookblogger, Captain Fantastic Book 1, childrens book, comic book, daniel howard, dog, ebook, elementary, fun, funny, goodreads, I've Got You, kids book, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, parent, pet, picture book, read, reader, reading, rhyme, science fiction, scifi, space, story, teacher, tommy balaam, writer, writing
Back in the 1600s, Charles Penfield drove a girl to her death. Since then, her soul roams the world seeking revenge through generations of the same family. She strikes every few decades to cause havoc. This had come to be known as the Pennfield curse.
Decades later in 2053, Jimmy Mashimnoto-Pennfield is well aware of the family curse and is looking for ways to get rid of it. He finds a solution in time travel, something that will not exactly get rid of the curse but will divert it from him. An alternate universe is created and Professor Pennfield catches wind of this. Jimmy’s intentions could make for a direr situation for Shippy so he has to be stopped. Now the Professor remains to fight Jimmy through the time-space continuum.
The characterization in this book is exceptional and sets up some remarkably vivid characters. Each character is bespoke and continues to develop as the story progresses adding layers that make the characters interesting and engaging. Understanding the characters is easy, being that this is a complex time travel sci-fi book, I appreciated this. Jimmy is quite obviously the villain, with his selfish motivations, his character is easy to dislike but still empathize with.
This book is long and complex, but it needs to be in order to dive completely into all the ramifications of meddling with the past. There is a lot going on in this book, time travel, curses, and multiple storylines. At times I got lost, but the author masterfully brings the story together in satisfying ways that kept me engaged. The moment of realization when events in the story comes together and makes sense, for me, was satisfying.
The way the professor and Jimmy try to outwit each other with intelligent and well thought out moves is an engaging experience. They’re each smart and cunning in their own ways and I was entranced watching them clash. This is the same feeling I get when I read Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series; intelligence used as a blade to attack and parry.
Time Framed is a suspenseful book with an absorbing story, an interesting villain, and a relatable underdog. Some parts of the book were hard to follow, but when you catch on, this book is simply addictive.
Pages: 748 | ASIN: B07DN3RNBC
Posted in Five Stars
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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
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Posted in Literary Titan Book Award
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The Rhine is an exciting space opera following a dramatic chain of events set off by the Free Mars Now movement. What served as sources of inspiration for you while writing this book?
The Harmony series is based off of a 15 year old TV script that I wrote about Martian independence, the novel form is its third incarnation. That script was inspired by the TV show Babylon 5. I wanted to explore Mars more thoroughly; what is the impetus for the movement for independence, who are the leaders, what is their endgame?
We follow three very well developed characters in this story where their actions intertwine. What were some driving ideals behind their characters?
Mat is the ‘everyman’ or ‘average guy’ that suddenly finds himself in circumstances beyond his control, and in this capacity he is simply ‘reacting’ to what is happening. This was a deliberate design of character. Every one of us can relate to being ‘tossed’ into something that we must deal with- circumstances not of our own choosing. This also works as a forge for our own character, who we really are will come out. I think of all character archetypes, this is my favorite.
While it may be said that the UN (in my story) is the catalyst- their oppression of Mars setting everything in motion- the character of Alexandria is the one that sets the story off. She is my ‘grey’ character; a family woman, yet ambitious. In her case I wanted to explore those traits, how to balance ‘work’ and family. She loves her family, and seeing a world in the grip of government powers that live for greed, she decides to do something about it.
As the Governor of Mars, Shultz is completely dedicated to his people, but as the story progresses we see he’s in over his head. We hear so much about bad politicians, I thought I would shift the paradigm and make a good one.
You’ve built an intricate world in this book, between Earth and Mars and the corporations. What was the funnest part about building this world?
For me it’s the visualization. In a previous review of the book it was stated that I ‘lavish on detail’, and the reason for that is that I just write what I see. If Shultz and Jung are in his office talking, I imagine the office’s sights and sounds and smells. The same holds true for the Sadie’s corridors and cabins, or Apex’s boardroom.
This is book one in the Harmony series. Where will book two pick up and when will it be available?
Harmony Book 2: ‘Year of the Child’ picks up two months after the events in ‘The Rhine’, opening with Misaki. I expect it to be available by November 2019.
The colony depends on Earth businesses for goods, but Earth is run by an imperialistic United Nations whose regulations and sanctions are overbearing.
Increasing tensions are only exacerbated by suspicious pirate attacks in the Belt. It is rumored the attacks are the work of the Free Mars Now grassroots movement or privateers paid by the Martian government in defiance of the UN. Recent victims of a pirate attack, Mat and his crew aboard the Sadie, discover evidence that could prove the rumors true.
With the UN squeezing the colony for every dime they can get, and Shultz looking to better the Martian situation, there are deals to be made. No one knows that better than Apex Mining’s CEO, Alexandria Reinhardt, whose Board of Directors has ordered her to sell their ore to the Martians despite a UN embargo. Her plans are more ambitious than simply ignoring government decrees, though.
Will the Free Mars Now movement find a way to release the colony from their 100-year lease to Earth? Can Shultz find a way to work with Earth companies without angering their government? Does Mat possess enough evidence to prove Mars’ disloyalty? And … in the past what happens when you push a distant colony too far?
Aeon Rises follows Justin, an average teen, as he stumbles upon otherworldly beings that are trying to kill him. How did you come across this idea and how did it change as you were writing?
I wanted to write a story that would be fun for middle school or high school student to read. A scifi story with characters they could relate to and who they could identify with. Even though I was a secondary teacher for over thirty years, it had been a few years since I retired and I was sure some of the slang and habits of teens had changed some over that time. I enlisted the aid of a class of eighth graders to read portions of the story and give me specific feedback about the teens characters. Their feedback was incredible and guided my writing of those individuals in the story. The changes they suggested made the Justin, Kevin and Myah much more true to today’s teens.
Justin isn’t exactly an average teen, he has an aversion to most electronics. What were some obstacles that you felt were important to Justin’s character development?
Due to his inability to play video games or watch the same shows most others his age took for granted, Justin faced a fair amount of ridicule and bullying from his classmates, except for Kevin. I drew on my own experiences growing up being the brunt of several bullies, but I wanted Justin to rise above it and, though it still hurt, not give in to the abusers. He relied heavily on Kevin to get beyond it all, and then he learned about his abilities and his importance. That made everything else pale in comparison, even though he could not rub it in his tormentor’s faces. Aliens are a secret after all.
The Skutarans see Justin as a threat and want to destroy him. What were some sources of inspiration for you when creating their race?
I watch a lot of scifi movies and read a ton of scifi books as well. I simply took characteristics of evil aliens I have read or seen over the years and blended them into traits of the Skutarans: Arrogance, Hyper Ego, superiority complex, all combined with advanced alien technology. What more could you want in an evil overlord alien?
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be published?
I have recently been recovering from a major surgery, which has affected my ability to focus on anything for long. It is only in the past few weeks I have been able to start thinking about a new novel. To get back into practice, I am working on a short story about ice miners on Europa, a moon around Jupiter. From there, I have an idea about fusing scifi and fantasy in a story about aliens digitized into a LOTR style movie who are discovered by a fan of the movie and their collaboration to rescue the aliens from the orcs, wizards, etc. and return them home again.
Justin Madrid always considered himself an average nerdy freshman in high school, and an outcast because intense migraines prevent him from playing video games or watching television. Even looking at a phone screen hurts. But when the aliens, disguised as local librarians, started trying to kill him, everything changed. And now it is up to Justin and his cool new power to save the earth from invasion.
Posted in Interviews
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The Martians have been ‘enslaved’ by earth for many years and they want their freedom back. It’s rumored that a movement has been formed to rebel against the UN. A movement thought to be behind the pirate attacks in the Belt including one on the Sadie. Matt and his crew may have found proof of this rebellion. The question remains though, is the evidence enough? Will it prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the rebellion is led by Martians? Can Governor Gerhard Schultz find a solution to the difficult situation? Can the governor find reprieve for Martians without going against the UN? How will Apex Mining CEO go about being forced to go against the government?
One of the most enjoyable things about this book is that it is quite relatable. While the real United Nations is (probably) not like the one in the book. One can still compare the colonialism in the book to the neocolonialism that is rampant now. One can find the similarity in Alexandria’s position with that which is faced by many people in her position. The Rhine is both interesting and entertaining while speaking to many modern issues.
R. L. Dean is impeccable and his skills at painting word pictures is on full display. He easily pulls you into his story, and before you know it your in the deep end of a thought provoking science fiction novel. This is a thrilling novel that kept me engrossed from the moment I met Matt to the very end. This science fiction story, although set in the future and in space, is still believable, which is something I always look for in my sci-fi stories.
Matt is a good leader that gets along with his crew but also remains firm and well respected. Alexandria, like any other child who takes over from their esteemed parent, is misunderstood and underestimated. She is admirable in the way she handles Edgar. R. L. Dean is able to balance the characters just enough to understand who they are while still keeping an air of mystery around them.
Everything from descriptions to dialogue are succinct and engrossing. Or it could be that the book was so immensely enjoyed that the discrepancies faded into the background. I loved experiencing the ride with Matt, Yuri and Haydon, and it was enlightening to be in the boardroom with Alexandria giving glimpses into her home life.
At the heart of it, this book is about freedom and how to achieve it. Would you like to achieve freedom through aggression or would you like to be more civil about it?
Pages: 273 | ASIN: B07LD2CQ11
Tags: action, adventure, alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, conspiracy, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, government, ilovebooks, indiebooks, James S. A. Corey, kindle, kobo, literature, mars, mystery, nook, novel, publishing, R.L. Dean, read, reader, reading, rebellion, science fiction, scifi, shelfari, smashwords, space, space opera, story, suspense, the expanse, The Rhine, thriller, UN, united nations, writer, writer community, writing
When Abby Harris takes her faithful German shepherd out for a hike in Oregon’s beautiful mountains, getting abducted by aliens isn’t even a blip on her radar. Her trusty can of bear spray and the pocket knife isn’t much help against the seven-foot monsters who swoop in out of nowhere to transport her to a ship in space.
Nicolai Nekbet is Crown Prince for the House of Nekbet on the planet Raiden. Unable to bear healthy children with females of their own species, Raiden warriors must hunt for a bride outside their own world. Nicolai has his heart set on a human even though their planet is protected by an ancient species called Laizahlian. When he sees the tall blonde-haired beauty out in the mountains with only a dog by her side, he knows he must have her.
With Abby safely on his ship, Nicolai injects her with his shaprata, his essence. His shaprata will change her on a cellular level, making them compatible for procreation, but he must still work hard to win her heart. If she rejects their union, it could easily mean his death.
Posted in book trailer
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