Our war will not unfold in your imaginary heaven. We will fight on Earth with human beings as pawns and weapons.
Lu Darlington is a seer, bound to the daemon Talion through ritual and blood. It’s not a role she enjoys, but she has little choice: daemons take what they want and destroy whoever stands in their way.
So Lu’s surprised when Talion doesn’t punish her for her newfound ability to keep him from possessing her whenever he likes. In fact he’s pleased. The stronger she is, he explains, the more powerful he becomes.
And he needs that power, because a war is brewing in the daemon world, a war that will be fought by—and through—humans.
Lu’s friend Lisa Duncan can’t see daemons but she’s seen what they can do and so has stayed far away from Lu for years. But after a bizarre attack on Lisa leaves half a man dead and she learns it’s only the first skirmish in the daemon war, Lisa realizes the safest place to be is with Lu.
Then Talion sends Lu away to teach her skills to another seer and Lisa must stay behind to look after Lu’s son Solly, conceived through a daemon ceremony with Talion. At four years old Solly’s seer abilities are already so strong Lisa is sometimes more afraid of Solly than for him.
As Talion’s enemies grow bolder, Lisa and Lu face attacks from every direction. There seems little hope any of them will survive—until Talion and his allies devise a plan.
The only problem is how much it will cost.
Posted in Book Reviews
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The short story collections’ lesser popularity, compared to the novel, boils down to inconsistency. Just like an album, there are bound to be one or two skips in almost every short story collection out there.
This was my mindset coming into Something Went Cold, Glenn Reschke’s short story collection. With just 5 short stories across 160 pages, I thought that all of them had better be good. And with my experience when it comes to short story collections, five is almost never enough to keep the whole boat afloat.
Well, I’m happy to report that I’ve been proven wrong. After reading the book, I put it down on my desk with a sigh of relief. Reschke did it – he made me enjoy a short story collection from cover to cover.
Whether intentionally or unintentionally, he seems to have created a piece of literary work that feels right at home with the Netflix Generation. The synopses for the short stories vary wildly, with “#MeToo” being about an abused woman’s revenge and “The Afterlife of Adolf Hitler” which imagines how the late dictator and monster moved to the other side. I would be remiss not to mention the boldness of the latter.
The diversity of the stories and their fascinating topics capture the readers’ attention immediately. There’s never a dull moment or a narrative that goes too long. And just like the “Next Episode” button on Netflix, it’s pretty hard not to turn to the next page once you’ve finished a story.
Instead of being one unified piece, the book feels more like a portfolio or showcase of Reschke’s writing. It’s all over the place in the best way possible, but it leaves you wanting to know who Reschke is as an artist. This collection doesn’t satisfy that question. But at the end of the day, that’s a minor flaw compared to the quality and talent that he displays here.
Pages: 162 | ASIN: B096586Q9L
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The House on Chambers Court by GJ Scherzinger is an engaging and alluring fantasy novel that follows a corporate spy, Xavier, on a perilous adventure. The senator discovers Xavier’s intentions to expose him before Xavier is able to out the senator. On the run, Xavier steals gold and the incriminating documents to out the senator. Drawn into a bungalow by strange music on Chambers Court, he encounters a woman named Tamarina. She sends Xavier on a dangerous quest to steal the book of Undone Deeds in order to free himself.
The House on Chambers Court by GJ Scherzinger is such a thrilling and satisfying read. The author’s writing is expertly descriptive making the reader feel as though they are by Xavier’s side the whole way. Readers are able to imagine the characters and their surroundings because of the detailed writing that sets the scene and develops the character within it. Scherzinger’s inventive writing immediately captivates you and keeps you guessing from the turn of the first page.
The use of magic is something that I really enjoyed in this novel because, although this is a sword and sorcery novel, the magic feels grounded and always felt like there was a system behind it all. All of this ensures that readers are engrossed in the epic fantasy story without ever thinking twice about the magic.
Nestled among the detailed world are some intricately developed characters that continue to grow as the story progresses. I really enjoy fantasy stories that setup characters that are just as intriguing as the mystery they are heading into. The reader becomes invested in the character’s feelings and thoughts so that the surprise ending will hit them pretty hard.
I appreciated that the author shows the reader rather than telling the reader exactly what is going on, giving the reader room to imagine. While the story does feel rather grand, the excellent writing ensures that the pace is consistent and the plot is easy to follow. The theme of enchantment characterized by a cursed grimoire in a way makes me think about the polarity of good and evil, and how there should exist a balance for a society to thrive.
The House on Chambers Court is a fun fantasy adventure novel that will appeal to readers looking for a well defined sword and sorcery story that is elevated by captivating characters.
Pages: 502 | ASIN: B09MY5FQ2K
Tags: adventure, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, epic fantasy, fantasy, fiction, GJ Scherzinger, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, story, supernatural, sword and sorcery, The House on Chambers Court, writer, writing
The Fourth Wall is a paranormal thriller that uniquely combines military fiction with supernatural elements. The book’s narrative follows Captain Thomas Jett, a U.S. Army Reservist, who volunteers to go to Afghanistan on a tour of duty. He’s assigned the mission of solving a mass murder that occurred in Kandahar. Despite familiar real-life enemies, such as the Taliban, being present in this story, the reality of what entity caused this tragic event seems to be much more mysterious and otherworldly. The author creates a very realistic and gritty landscape of modern warfare with intriguing mystical and nightmarish elements- the detail of which is truly captivating. From the sleepy buildup of Jett first arriving in Afghanistan to the eruption of the epic final battle, this book is a page-turner that will pique the interest of anyone who enjoys paranormal stories in a unique setting.
The best elements of this riveting novel for me were the pacing and the level of detail. The story was incredibly well structured which ensured that I always knew what was going on and why. Every conflict was presented carefully and meticulously. I often find that war focused stories tend to rush into conflict, as perhaps the author believes that is the only thing the reader is interested in. But with Scott Petty’s sharp writing, the large amounts of background detail and buildup made the world feel authentic and the story was engrossing because of it.
Similarly, the amount of detail and description given made every branch of the story seem so realistic. As the context of the story is a very real and serious conflict, I appreciated that the author dedicated extra attention to fleshing out all the characters and setting in the story. Despite the paranormal aspects, readers will be able to appreciate the real and raw experiences that service members experienced over there. I liked how the details were in no way rose-tinted or glorified. They were gritty and profound and painted an authentic portrayal of warfare.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Fourth Wall and how the author crafted the description and themes so effectively. Blending accurate combat in an exotic setting with intriguing paranormal elements makes this one of the more surreal supernatural thriller’s I’ve read in a long time.
Pages: 354 | ISBN: 1639881174
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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
Silver Award Winners
Storm Front 8 by Steven Paul Germane
Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information.
Posted in Literary Titan Book Award
Tags: 30 CHICAGO CHRISTMASES, adventure, author award, book award, book awards, childrens books, epic fantasy, fantasy, fiction, horror, kids books, Literary Titan Book Award, Literary Titan Book Awards, memoir, murder mystery, mystery, new adult, nonfiction, paranormal, picture book, post apocalyptic, romance, science fiction, scifi, self help, space adventure, space opera, supernatural, suspense, thriller, womens fiction, writing award, young adult
Mystic of the Midway follows a young girl that starts seeing and hearing things no-one else can after an accident. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
That’s a great question. The answer is sort of in reverse. Having returned to visit Crystal Beach in the early 2000s you could feel the ghosts of the park still present throughout the town. That experience, as well as subsequent visits, sparked my interest in the area and its history. When I decided I wanted to write a story set in Crystal Beach, I knew it had to be a ghost story, so I worked somewhat backwards to the setup.
What is one of your favorite memories from Crystal Beach? Did this memory influence a particular scene in the book?
My memories of Crystal Beach are actually all recent. Revisiting the area with my young family was what inspired me to write about the area. As part of my research memories of the park came flooding back to me. But the singular moment I recall that had me decide to write was my 8 year old son reading Judy Blume’s Super Fudge on a lazy summer morning at a Crystal Beach cottage we had rented. He was just becoming an independent reader and was beaming, laughing at the antics of Fudge. I decided I wanted to write something that celebrated the area and hopefully inspired reflection and some laughter.
Which character in the novel do you feel you relate to the most?
Definitely Effie. Her character really captures how I saw the world at that age.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Currently I’m working on a dystopian YA novel entitled The Mutant and the Mule. I’m hoping it will be available in 2023.
Posted in Interviews
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The Whisper of Dragons follows a Story Whisperer that must solve the mystery behind the chaos engulfing the planet before a deeper threat leads to the death of humankind. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I first pictured the story world of The Whisper of Dragons when I was walking through a state park, looking at tree roots poking out of the ground. I’d been listening to a podcast reviewing a book about the complex communication and social networks of trees and the messages that flow between them under the earth. I began to think about how everything communicates with everything else. And that was the beginning of the magic system of the novel, the idea of magic manipulating the stories between everything. As a writer I value language, and believe that the stories we tell affect reality. So it was an easy step to think about stories as the connection between matter and a force that could be manipulated to influence matter.
The other major influence on my novel was the common experience of living with the existential threats to our world today. We face so many problems that it’s pretty disheartening at times. So like anyone else, I look for solutions. Since I’m not a scientist, technology maverick, politician or spiritual leader, I’m stuck trying to build solutions with my writing. It helps me process all of the uncertainty we live with. In this book I got to combine many of my interests including language, a fascination with human nature and its shortcomings, and a curiosity about what constitutes life. Plus, I’ve adored fantasy and science fiction all of my life and have so much fun building worlds out of my interests.
What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
I relate to my protagonist Kavi’s need to find a purpose in her life and untangle her identity. My day job is as a psychotherapist, so I love questions about how people develop their identities. Since it’s a common for most of us mere mortals to walk around feeling disconnected and different from other people (I don’t mean to be negative, I just listen to so many folks who feel this way), I wanted my character to be experiencing her personal version of the largescale external threat of the novel, humanity’s disconnection with itself and how that threatens everyone’s survival. And wanted her to figure out her way through to accepting herself and to finding a way to humanity to become more connected.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
As I have already mentioned, some major themes include connection versus disconnection, and how love, forgiveness and compassion help address the contrast between the two. I also wanted to address the idea of magic and science as a blend. Not because I believe we’ll be able to harness magic in our real world to help solve our complex problems, but because any of our solutions will mean thinking out of the box and redefining what we often assume are singular solutions that look at something only from one lens. And finally, I wanted to think about how we make assumptions in our personal relationships, and how even when they have been injured or fragmented along the messy paths of our lives, there is a chance to heal and to develop more understanding. I wanted to explore this idea not only in the main love relationship of this novel, but also in the protagonist’s relationships with her foster sister and her long time mentor.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My current project is a book tentatively named Dreams Walk the Earth. It is another contemporary fantasy set on modern day earth. The premise is that the collective dreams of humanity have been harvested to bring the magical creatures from human imagination to life. Dragons, faeries, witches, shapeshifters, unicorns, and vampires. They have hidden from humanity because of the danger to themselves with exposure, having only come out to the world when they helped heal society in the aftermath of World War II. They withdrew again after that grand effort, but with environmental threats and political unrest, the protagonist Aislinn, who embodies a mixture of all of their magic, must convince them to help heal the world and save humanity. Only they discover that another magical race has been created from the dregs of human nightmares and is a threat to everything. I am hoping that this novel will be available by next Christmas. In the meantime, I have another complete manuscript that needs revision and then I will push forward o publish called The Demon’s Whip. It’s a dark high fantasy, very different from what I’ve written in the past. I worked on the project years ago but was distracted from the finish line. But I’ve gotten some good feedback on it and want to get it out there.
I’ve previously published a contemporary fantasy trilogy called The Eden’s Court Saga, also available on Amazon. The first book of the series is Ruling Eden, so check it out. There are some similarities of that story world to my current project, Dreams Walk the Earth, although they are not at all meant to be set in the same universe.
Posted in Interviews
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Camp Afterlife follows a teen who overdoses and ends up at a camp that gives him one last opportunity to find peace before moving on. How did you come up with the idea for the camp in this story?
Honestly, it was my Covid story. I had been hospitalized with Covid right when the pandemic happened. Everyone said I should write a Covid novel, but I didn’t want to. I liked the idea of when you die that you go to camp. It made me happy to believe that is what could happen. It gave me some comfort with the afterlife.
What were some emotional obstacles you felt were important for Gus to face in this story?
I think the biggest issue was that everyone isn’t out to get him. I felt like he felt so alone in the world and no one cared for him. I wanted Gus to figure out that he had people in his life that truly loved and cared for him.
What is a common misconception you feel people have about loss and grief?
I think that it goes away with time. I lost my brother twelve years ago to suicide, and those emotions never really go away. You just learn to deal with it. That was why I loved the dynamic of the brothers.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next novel is called Missed Calls. It will be out in February. It’s about the rise and fall of a friendship over the years and how politics can ruin friendships sometimes.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Camp Afterlife, covid, ebook, fiction, ghost fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, lgbt, lgbtq, literature, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, story, supernatural, teen fiction, writer, writing, young adult, Zachary Ryan