High Flying follows stunt pilot Skylar when she’s flung back in time and has a chance to investigate her origins. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
I have always loved time travel stories and have been intrigued by the idea of changing our personal history if given the chance. Our parents have a great deal to do with who we are as individuals but sometimes we don’t understand them and knowing about their past lives become a true education and door to our future. In addition, my father worked for United Airlines for years and I remember sitting on his shoulders, watching planes take off from the tarmac at LAX. I’ve had the opportunity to virtually fly around the world and the idea of bringing my passions together seemed perfectly natural.
Skylar is a well developed and endearing character. What were some themes that were important for you to capture in her character?
I wanted to creating a troubled young woman who was damaged by the choices her parents made and negatively impacted by the people she’s lost in her life. By being forced to experience her parents’ lives first-hand, she has the opportunity to grow, let go her anger and self hatred, and ultimately discover the compassion she holds inside.
Skylar is orphaned when she was young and she tries to reconcile that throughout the book. What were some driving ideals that were important for you to explore?
I initially wanted to make readers aware of the thought process behind cutting—a troubling behavior that was introduced to me by a dear friend. It is more common that people would like to admit or believe and is becoming a common practice among young girls in our society. Bullying and isolation often leads to this method of dealing with anxiety, as well as physical or mental abuse. Skylar finds her release through martial arts and eventually flying. Her struggles with overcoming the neglect she’s known is what makes her a stronger person and a more endearing character in this story.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m currently working on a sci-fi thriller that involves reincarnation and stolen souls. So I guess I’m pushing myself to try genres outside of my comfort level, which has been great fun thus far. I typically write one book a year, so I would watch for this one in 2020!
Skylar Haines has struggled with personal demons most of her life, going to dark extremes to subdue anxieties rooted in her tragic past. On a perpetual hunt for the next adrenaline hit, she discovers a passion for flying and becomes a hard-edged stunt pilot, verging on obsession. In the sky, following her most daring airshow, she encounters a mysterious storm and almost collides with another aircraft, sending her into a perilous dive. Guided by a mysterious voice, she manages a safe landing but finds herself transported to another time.
Eight months before she was born. One week before her father was murdered.
Though baffled by her circumstances, Skylar soon arrives at a single certainty: Before her lies a remarkable chance to change her family’s destiny drastically for the better — or possibly even worse — depending on the choices she makes, before her window of opportunity closes.
It’s not every day that we come across a historical work with as much life in it as we see in Left for Dead at Nijmegen: The True Story of an American Paratrooper in WWII. The level of research and attention to detail that went into the retelling of Eugene Metcalfe’s harrowing tale of survival is shown in spades. The reader has no problem understanding not only the physical situations faced by the main character but also the emotions and state of mind.
The author of this incredible story is hard to identify. Marcus A Nannini is certainly the one who organized and wrote the book, but he did such a good job putting it together that you just can’t help but think it is Gene himself telling you his own story. To add to that effect, Nannini puts a lot of focus on Gene’s sense of humor and personality.
The conversations between important members of the SS as well as many other details seem almost too good to be true from a historical perspective. Nannini dutifully constructs images and characteristics of the POW camps that his subject was forced into that were previously unknown. This work, therefore, is as important to historical study of the period as it is a riveting and fascinating tale.
The story starts off with Gene Metcalfe at school and illustrates his departure from his home, family and friends. Looking to do his part, Gene sets off and quickly finds himself shipping off. From the title, the reader knows there is going to be a traumatic event from the get-go, but what transpires afterwards is quite unpredictable. Left for dead, captured, moved from camp to camp, and bearing witness to many horrifying things, it is hard to believe at times that Gene is going to make it. Even more impactful are the ways that Gene gets himself through the atrocities he experiences.
The writing is direct, simple, and honest, relaying the same feeling that you get from the main character. Left for Dead in Nijmegen, written by Marcus A Nannini and published by Casemate, a resounding recommendation to readers of historical novels.
Pages: 256 | ASIN: B07QM86WDW
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The war the world feared finally came except this was a different kind of war. One fought between the living and the dead. The living lost.
Liam, a former soldier in the war against the dead, had done everything he could to hold back the enemy but in the end he joined the other survivors in the only safe place left— underground.
Now Liam helps keep the last of the living safe in the subway tunnels, scavenging food by day, hiding by night, all the while haunted about how they lost the world above them. He always believed the dead had help but he could never prove it.
He would soon learn he was right all along and that there is no safe place to hide from extinction—underground just might turn out to be everyones tomb after all.
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Lion – Escape from Russia follows 5 strangers that attempt a risky prison breakout and must face the consequences. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
I love prison break stories. Right from the get-go, I decided the 6th thriller would have a fantastic prison-break as one of the key plot elements. The other element I would not compromise on was a ‘non-NATO’ hero. I think we’re all aware of what’s happening in Syria. I thought to myself, I’m certain there are every-day people in Syria, who are heroes, and I must capture that aspect in the story.
This is an exciting prison break story that seemed to revel in the details. What research did you undertake for this book to make things seem authentic?
For any of my research, Wikipedia is a starting point. Then I branch out. For the prison element, I watched documentaries on prisons in South America, Russia, the USA; I read news articles on prison atrocities and stories of members of a Russian pop-band, who were incarcerated. Found a couple of ‘top 10 worst prisons’ lists. I familiarised myself with the design elements of prisons (I love the word ‘panopticon’), found reference schematics for solitary confinement and prison cells, read up on security measures, and then drew my own prison, made it as impregnable as I could… and then decided what I needed to break somebody out of it. A logistical nightmare, good thing I write fiction. 🙂
For the Syria, Turkey border crossing and Russian atmosphere, there was more news article reading. The controversy of the chemical weapons in Syria and the conflicting reports interested me. I couldn’t work it entirely into this book, but it’s coming in the next book in this series. I use Google Maps a lot to familiarise myself with streets, layout, perspectives. The part about the Russian mercenaries getting duped upon arrival in Syria is based on a real incident. To get my facts about mercenaries correct, I read a book which explains how mercenary companies function. I think the Mil gunship is an intimidating helicopter. Without giving away too much, I watched flight sim videos, got a helicopter-fanatic-friend to run me through the rudiments of flying the thing and then put my spin on it. Every vehicle – including the Russian vehicles used in the prison – are real.
You have a knack for creating varied and well-developed characters. What were some ideas you wanted to explore in this batch of characters?
I wanted to capture the strife in Syria. There are so many actors in the war, its terribly confusing and I’m certain Syrians know the original reason for the rising is lost in ulterior motives played out by the US- and Russian-led factions. I wanted my hero to be a political fugitive, and at death’s door. I wanted him to just be fed up with the war… and then, bring him back to the war… for his own objectives. This is because I think the people affected by the War are really doing anything they can to just survive. And that’s the underlying driver for any of the sequences in the book.
Mercenaries have always fascinated me. They’re portrayed as rogue soldiers with tons of attitude when they are employees for a company that needs to show profits. Well, and their job entails doing things regular armies cannot do for violating conventions and so forth. I wanted to bring out the for-profit facet of a mercenary company and focus not only on the boots-on-the-ground but the CEO and his advisors. I also wanted to toss out certain stereotypes. When you read the book, you’ll see my guys are not prone to killing but do their best to avoid it… unless it’s absolutely necessary. That’s why I even showed a merciful terrorist in the first chapter.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
The next book is SPECTRE. It’s Book #3 in the Kirk Ingram action series. I can tell you, I’m pretty excited about it. It ties in everything from Haunted (2011) and Diablo (2015) and takes Ingram to a mind-blowing trilogy. I intend to release it in January 2020 – the anniversary of my debut novel, Haunted, back in 2011.
The Syrian War has spilt into its sixth year. The bloody contest between the Syrian National Army and the Free Syrian Army is confounded by rebel factions, terror outfits, fundamentalists, unscrupulous businesses… and a proxy war between the United States and Russia.
Aslan ‘The Lion’ Terzi, a political prisoner incarcerated at the notorious Tadmor Prison, is near suicide when a Daesh commander inexplicably gives him a new lease on life. Disillusioned by the depravity of the War, he chooses to flee Syria. But, a chance encounter at the border draws him back… for the love of a woman.
Goldline Solutions is the security contractor of choice for Sheikh Akhmed bin Rashid. When the disappearance of Goldline client, Leonid Rashnikov, threatens a lucrative multi-billion-dollar deal, CEO Samuel Goldsmith will put everything on the line to restore the sheikh’s confidence.
Russian FSB agent Illiya Pushkin sanctions an illicit operation in Syria. With a vindictive colleague on her trail, she finds herself complicit in a crime that propels her into the FSB’s most-wanted list.
Five strangers. Working on assumptions. No elaborate plan. No inside help. They will attempt the most audacious supermax prison breakout ever attempted on Russian soil.
In an imperfect world, the singular human instinct of survival is all that matters.
And there will be a heavy price to pay.
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
It’s OK to be Different by Sharon Purtill
Silver Award Winners
I didn’t realize how much I missed my friend Loren MacKenzie until I picked up One Fire Burns Out Another’s Burning by Sarah Butler Zalesky. It may sound clichéd to refer to the protagonist of the Wheeler series as my “friend,” but over the course of the three Wheeler novels, I truly feel as if I’ve gotten to know Loren as a close friend. This third installment picks up where the second, Wheeler in Darkness, left off: Loren recently experienced a painful trauma and death and is struggling to cope with this recent trauma as well as the trauma of her childhood that has resurfaced. Combine those experiences with her high-stress career as a professional cyclist and status as the girlfriend of a famous celebrity and you have Loren MacKenzie, my friend. As in her first two novels, Zalesky packs a ton of action into the novel’s 270 pages, though the story never feels rushed. Rather, the pages feel as if you’re flying along on a bike with Loren, never knowing what’s around the next corner but looking forward to the adventure.
One Fire Burns should be read after completing the first two Wheeler novels, as Zalesky spends a modest amount of time recapping the action of the previous books. Repeat readers will be thrilled to find the return of familiar faces in Loren’s close-knit cycling teammates, the ever-charming actor Graham Atherton, and other supporting characters. But, Zalesky also adds in a few new intriguing characters, as well as deepens the character development of her existing characters.
Where Zalesky shines in this novel, though, is through her development of Loren. She skillfully develops Loren as a more mature and multi-faceted character. Though Loren has always been complex, this time she is finally able to tackle some of her metaphorical demons that have plagued her throughout the earlier Wheeler books. Loren’s romantic interest, Graham, also receives some well-deserved attention from Zalesky. He’s still the same Shakespeare-quoting heartthrob, but I finally felt as if I got to know Graham beyond his gorgeous exterior. As Loren and Graham develop, so does their relationship into a more serious and meaningful one.
Zalesky also brings back the thrilling, nail-biting race scenes in One Fire Burns, as the novel takes place in the spring racing season. Though I am not very familiar with the ins and outs of professional cycling, I love Zalesky’s electrifying play-by-plays of the cycling competitions. She skillfully pulls readers along the race track with Loren, explaining the strategy involved in cycling while also making the competition relatable to readers who may have never been on a bike. There is something universally thrilling about competitions, and Zalesky taps into this with several key cycling races this season for Loren.
In One Fire Burns, Zalesky offers readers a unique and magical blend of thriller, romance, and sports. As before, Zalesky gracefully handles the sensitive issues that Loren experiences, including emotional and physical abuse and harassment, creating a thoughtful and complex novel for readers.
Pages: 317 | ASIN: B07SG73LH9
Articulate and full of spiritualism, Heart of a Warrior Angel by Lali A. Love is a journey not only in the world but within oneself. Our protagonist, Lilac, reflects on her life’s path as she reaches her twilight years. She recalls her journey through life as she crosses literal and metaphorical oceans to become the person she is in the moment. We learn her life story, her heartache, and her triumphs. We celebrate and grieve with her as this book lays bare the raw emotions that entangle themselves with the journey of life.
Heart of a Warrior Angel drips with dramatic tension, and excellent descriptions of the living situation Lilac regales us with is moving and heart rendering. It is a metaphysical thriller, with a touch of supernatural fantasy, following one woman’s journey through the hell on earth she was forced to live as she comes to terms with her ascension onto a spiritual plane deserving of her essence.
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Thrilling from the first page to the last, I was instantly drawn into Lion’s vivid tale of unwavering action and adventure. Lion follows five individuals, brought together through intricate and overlapping incidents to pull off a prison break like no other.
The first scene unfolds with Aslan Terzi locked away and at death’s door when a timely turn of events has him reunited with the outside world. New and old acquaintances gravitate to combat and once again Aslan is thrown into the thick of the conflict, he so desperately tried to run from.
Misquita’s novel was an absolute thrill to read. His research is top notch and the flawless detailing shows for it. When I started the book, I did a double take just to make sure it was fiction! From the get-go we are thrown into the action; bloody, gut-wrenching, fist beating, action. And the pace does not let up. The character’s point of view switches frequently and subtly. You have to keep your eyes glued to the page to catch those quick changes. This is probably my only complaint, I got lost a few times because the narrative changed from one person to the next with little to no warning. However, I was impressed with Misquita’s smooth transitions and by the second half of the book, I got used to the speedy change of perspective.
The well-defined characters of Lion and descriptive action scenes are undoubtedly my favorite features. Each character begins with a defined personality that aids in the development throughout the book. The romantic, family and friendship relations among the characters appear as authentic and never fall into stereotypical roles. For such a short book all the characters portrayed a well-rounded arc. There were, of course, some individuals with a stronger narrative but I never felt there was a character lacking in explanation.
For a book of carnage and war as a backdrop, Misquita does not censor his readers from the gruesome battle scenes. Lion doesn’t pull its punches, with every fight scene emoting the overwhelming desire from the fighters to survive. As a reader, every do-or-die situation expressed the same sentiment as the real things; I had no idea what the outcome would be. The rich detail and graphic storytelling illustrate a gripping and awesome tale that Misquita beautifully crafted for his readers to enjoy, and enjoy it I did. This is my first book of Misquita’s but not my last.
Pages: 304 | ASIN: B07RTZ9JXX
MJC Heathcote delivers a story that combines mystery and family history in a chilling way that has you wondering about the dark forces embedded within a seemingly average object. Although Doves and Crows starts slowly, it quickly ramps up and once it captured my attention it rarely let it go. Heathcote does a fantastic job at slowly building up the mystery and drama, drawing you in and making the resolution all the more satisfying. There are moments when the story slows, but the unique writing style and the clear storytelling keeps this book engaging throughout.
Doves and Crows is an intriguing supernatural horror story that reads more like a crime thriller when people start to meet their untimely death, and more like Paranormal Activity when strange things start happening. The the mystery surrounding the necklace, although intriguing, left me wanting more details. Richard is an easy character to follow and is easy to empathize with, but I would have liked more background on his character.
With any mystery novel that relies on subtlety it’s easy to be too subtle and lose the reader along the way, but Heathcote’s writing is exceptionally fluid and effortlessly delivers some odd twists and dramatic scenes in dark an eerie settings. What I really liked about this book was how it combines many different genres to create a thought provoking story about paranormal forces wreaking havoc on one boys life and his ultimate struggle to rid himself of the dark forces his grandparents unknowingly brought into his life.
Pages: 434 | ASIN: B07L5RS1SD
It has been a full trilogy of books, since we have come back to the main timeline of Joshua Landeros’ Reverence series. Having established an entire prequel series to flesh out his world, Landeros has come back to deal with the fallout and what is left of the UNR. Both sides have taken huge losses, but neither will retreat. And it will be up to the last Marconi, Damien, to rally the surviving UNR Cabinet to lead the country into this brave new future. Meanwhile, the Crimson Angels are in a difficult place, despite their successful strike on the International Summit. Gabriella will have to pick up these pieces and decide who she trusts more. All of this coming to a head to see who will end up in a grave or standing astride it, in this new installment of an epic military science fiction saga.
It is refreshing to be back in uncharted waters, having spent so long in the past, and Landeros ensures readers hit the ground running and wondering where all of our heroes of the past have landed after the last battle. The tension ramps up with little effort and with trademark pacing. The story unfolds with our cast of characters struggling against one another as they seek to either win the upper hand or to make sure they enforce justice.
Landeros’ prose continues to improve with each installment and his stories are becoming more and more complex, rather than a simple military sci-fi thriller they initial books were when the series began years ago. It is a pleasure to see how an author has not only grown, but developed his own flavor in the genre as well. This is another solid entry in the ongoing series and it shows little sign of slowing or stopping anytime soon!
Fans of military fiction or military science fiction should already have Avenge the Silenced on pre-order. Readers, who enjoy gritty action among thought provoking themes would also find themselves quite intrigued with this book.
Pages: 366 | ASIN:B07NNV7GKB
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