Valley Fliers brings readers into Jay Smalley’s high-flying world. He is a teenager who is determined to get into a prominent aeronautics university and has a passionate hobby flying model airplanes. It may have initially started as a hobby, but Jay is dead set on making it a career and claims that this is his best chance to fly the real thing. As good as he was at his craft, Jay’s mother always cautioned him, and rightly so. Jay is certain that his plan is fool-proof and has already made up his mind. Jay had a good thing going but his flow got disrupted by the arrival of Oren, a mysterious new face in their community of fliers. Is Oren more than he seems? Jay must find out, before someone gets hurt.
If you’re a fan of coming-of-age novels with well-crafted plots, then the Valley Fliers by David Boito is right up your alley. The author brilliantly puts us in the point of view of a strong-willed teen named Jay. Boito succinctly conveys the essential features of the protagonist’s mindset, which helps readers understand him if not relate to him, and his reactions to events always felt authentic.
The author’s knowledge of model airplane navigation is impressive and is used throughout the book to ensure readers are fully immersed in the model airplane world. The lingo is used throughout the book but is never overwhelming, and even if you don’t know the first thing about flying model airplanes you’ll still be able to understand the story.
The plot continually thickens as the protagonist, along with his friends, notice odd things about Oren. The most obvious one being that Oren’s little aircraft has the same build and model to a drone involved in an alleged assassination and terrorist attack. But it couldn’t possibly be Oren, right? This mystery sends Jay and his friends, and readers, spiraling into a rabbit hole of conspiracy and investigations that could potentially put all of them, and their loved ones, in grave danger.
Valley Fliers uses a unique setup to tell a compelling crime fiction story that explores themes of loyalty with charming characters and a budding teen romance to spice things up. This is an entertaining story for anyone looking for a lite crime drama.
Pages: 240 | ASIN: B09J1LP1CT
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Author Shane Scott’s God of Nothing is a thrilling fantasy book about Titans, Demons, Angels, Vampires, and Bool. It has an interesting take on God, creation, and all associated with it. If you understand traditional Abrahamic faiths, this book will particularly challenge your perspective. Generally, it follows the story of Satan and God’s daughter, Aja Ashe, and her descendants – Sel and Jaxx. Because of the time difference that exists between its protagonists’ adult years, the story hops from the present to the past, sometimes even going back to the beginning of creation. Ultimately, this book covers the birth of Aja Ashe, her discovery of her immortality, her love life, her son’s life, and the love life of her grandson.
As we read from page to page, we understand who Aje Ashe is, her capabilities, and her values. We also get to see how her life choices have affected those close to her. If there’s one thing that the author does well, though, it highlights the duality of the book’s different characters. Only a handful of characters are just pure good or pure evil. Most are layered, complex, and nuanced, like real-life people. This makes the book realistic even though it’s a fantasy one.
While the story is narrated by Miranda, God of Knowledge, to Jaxx (Aje’s grandson) and his fiancé Olivia, it is mainly in the third person, allowing the reader to fully immerse themselves in the different life stories of the characters. What’s more? The author uses short sentences and paragraphs, keeping everything light and easy to read.
Beyond that, the author uses a lot of descriptive languages that helps readers understand even the most complex of concepts. This is particularly important because the book goes deep into the intricacies of how the various creatures of the world were made. It’s also great that the book includes snippets of wisdom at the beginning of each chapter, allegedly from the God of Wisdom. Each snippet furnishes us with new information that is integral to our understanding of the chapter. Moreover, the book is well-edited and formatted – there are no grammatical errors.
God of Nothing is a riveting epic fantasy that is hard to put down. This coming-of-age novel will appeal to readers looking for something different with a dark edge and LGBTQ themes. Filled with conflict and well-developed plot fantasy readers will not be disappointed.
Pages: 426 | ASIN : B08W3KCRRP
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Posted by Literary_Titan
Mammoth Drop follows a scientist to the Black Hills where she finds herself knee-deep in mammoth bones and a murder mystery. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
The Black Hills, and South Dakota in general, is heaven for geologists. In fact, most geologists have to do a field season out West as part of our degrees. I studied in South Dakota and Wyoming in the early 90’s and was blown away by the beauty of the landscape. I’ve also worked with paleontologists who have spent their lives studying mammoths and they’re just as marvelous as the animals they study. I wrote Mammoth Drop to celebrate both their legacy and to share the breathtaking scenery of the region with readers.
Kea Wright is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?
Kea is smart, kind, and terrible with people. Like many scientists that work in the field for months at a time, Kea suffers from broken relationships, a low self esteem, and bouts of depression. I wanted to create a heroine where those attributes, both good and bad, are superpowers: they’re external to the group, often forced to think differently, and wind up in places they shouldn’t be. While a reluctant heroine, I love Kea and I hope that readers will as well.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book (and what can readers expect in Book 4)?
Each book in the Kea Wright series has a unique theme. Cold Flood examines how being put under intense pressure can and release something inside ourselves that we never knew existed. The Meerkat Murders examines the concept of altruism, Mammoth Drop explores extinction, while Murder on Masaya examines sacrifice. Each book also has a different tone. Mammoth Drop is absolutely a camp romp full of drinking and dancing to celebrate a scientist and his life’s work. In contrast, the final story, Murder on Masaya,(released in 2021) is a much darker story about the hazards that scientists undertake to gather data and the sacrifices people make for their family. These changes in tone are deliberate because, growing up, my favorite television show was Doctor Who – you never knew where the next story would take you, it could be the distant past or the far future, or be a comedy or a tragedy. I loved that element of surprise. These books are very much in the same vein and I hope readers enjoy the variety.
Posted in Interviews
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Powerless is a well-written and gritty take on small town life after a major disaster. Kevin Barton and his family live on the outskirts of Harpursville, a hamlet in rural New York. When a major blackout wipes out communication and modern electrical conveniences, the townsfolk must come together to survive. Most of the story takes place in the Barton’s household, where Kevin must transition from administrator to farmer. His wife, Monica, takes on the role of hunter and quartermaster as she minds their ever-dwindling supplies. Their daughter Kelly, and her stranded friend, Dina, try to cope with being teenagers while living through a minor apocalypse.
Powerless is a very realistic take on a prolonged state of emergency. While it is not nearly as dire or hard to digest as Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” (which gets a brief mention), and there are no post-apocalyptic monsters or zombies, the author covers actual threats, like lack of food, water, medicine, and the mixed intentions of other people, which makes this story feel much more grounded.
I find it refreshing that Kevin is an ill-equipped modern day everyman, more suited for desk work than living off the land. He’s not a man “with a certain set of skills” or a former special forces soldier. He’s just an average forty-year-old man who is lucky enough to live next door to a working farm in a time of crisis.
The theme of “power,” who has it, and who does not, is explored throughout the novel. Characters who find themselves powerless in the new world develop new skills to survive, some for the better, some worse. As supplies run out the idea of “neighbors helping neighbors” becomes more of a veiled menace than cheery mantra. Coming on the heels of a global pandemic, what once would seem like a survival fantasy story feels very real and very possible at this time in history.
Powerless is a riveting post-apocalyptic novel that plays with being a psychological thriller as well as a compelling character study.
Pages: 370 | ASIN: B09TX9P62R
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, Jeff O'Handley, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, post-apocalyptic, Powerless, psychological thriller, read, reader, reading, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Ashes in Venice follows a detective in Las Vegas who must find a murderer that is killing murderers in gruesome ways. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I wanted to explore the psychological similarities of good and evil and how the line between the two can often become blurred, depending on the circumstance. In this case, one of the book’s main characters decides to take the law into his own hands when traditional police work falls short of delivering justice. But is this true justice or is it simple revenge? When is violence justified? Is “an eye for an eye” still a valid answer to an unpunished crime? If a good person does something bad long enough, does he or she ultimately also become bad?
Did you create an outline for the characters in the story before you started writing or did the character’s personalities grow organically as you were writing?
I first sketch out the general direction of a novel so that I have a feel for its beginning, middle and end. I then draft key scenes and dialogue by hand in a notebook until things fall into a natural chronology so that I get a sense of how the story should be paced and plotted. By habit, I speak out the dialogue as I write it. The more I flesh out characters, the more attached I become to their personalities, and this helps determine if they become primary or secondary players in the story.
Once I have about 30k words of a first draft completed I’m usually confident of expanding what I have into a full novel of at least twice that length. I actually enjoy editing and revising a book more than I do assembling the first draft. It’s an agony for me to get the first draft to the point where I think it can grow into a completed book that somebody might actually want to read.
I’ve abandoned more books than I’ve finished and this is probably a good thing. My background is newspaper reporting, a job where you throw away more writing than you keep, which is a good rule of thumb for any writer.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
The blurring of the line between good and evil. The difference between justice and revenge. How all acts have answerable consequences: we are accountable for what we do and what we say and this determines the paths we take in life.
How life is never black and white, but rather a general scale of varying shades of gray that are constantly changing and adapting based on how we act toward each other.
Posted in Interviews
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Eli Pope is back with Snapshot Into A Killer’s Mind: The true story of Billy Jay Cader, giving readers a new perspective into our main character’s life through the eyes of Amy Jo. The investigative reporter shows how Billy Jay became who he is today through her various interviews/snapshots. She humanizes our villain and demonstrates how a loving childhood could have changed the course of his life. We also get to know about Amy Jo’s childhood and her present-day life following her interviews with Billy Jay. If you love The Mason Jar Series, you have to pick up Snapshot Into A Killer’s Mind!
As always, Pope delivers a stunning take on tragic events. The author dives right into the gritty details of Billy Jay’s story with a unique twist. We are essentially reading Amy Jo’s now published book as if we are living in the universe where The Mason Jar Series takes place.
I enjoyed the duality approach Pope took to demonstrate how love can make all the difference after living through a traumatic childhood. He always does a fantastic job discussing the plights of this world in a way anyone can understand, but so few people talk about.
The scene where Amy Jo goes to visit Billy Jay’s father felt so realistic and made my skin crawl. He captured his essence perfectly through his impeccable word choices. It was easy to visualize the aging abuser and the pathetic state he was in. I could feel Amy Jo’s disgust and fear the entire time.
While I enjoyed this novel just as much as the entire Mason Jar Series, I felt that some of the information we were given was repeated. We hear Amy Jo speak about many of the same sentiments and phrases throughout the story. Despite that, I still feel that this is a compelling psychological drama that explores humanity in the unique way that only Eli Pope can.
If you loved the previous books in The Mason Jar Series then you are sure to enjoy this one as well! It works as a short companion novel to the rest of the books. I look forward to the sixth installment and can’t wait to see what twist and turns Pope gives readers next. Snapshot Into A Killer’s Mind: The true story of Billy Jay Cader is a must-read for lovers of dark psychological thrillers.
SCHLOCK Featuring Russia Cop is a collection of four dark satirical short stories searching for the “Russian Soul.” What was the inspiration for the setup of your stories?
There is a long-standing tradition of films which combine a noun plus “Cop”, such as Samurai Cop, Maniac Cop, Hollywood Cop, Psycho Cop, Kindergarten Cop, etc. This is my favorite genre of film and I wanted to create my own “Cop” story that could join the ranks. I wanted to say “pantheon” here, as in I wanted to create my own “Cop” story that could join the pantheon of “Cop” stories, but pantheon only refers to people. In that case I hope Russia Cop can join the pantheon of famous noun plus Cop characters. Moreover, Russia Cop sounds a lot stupider than Russian Cop and that really appealed to me. Russia Cop is the oldest story in the collection in that its origins date back to around 2018. The idea of Russian Soul is inherently farcical and nonsensical and does little more than to disguise horrible Russian behavior and beliefs as values. Russia is a very schlocky place and Russians are quite fond of what they perceive as their own exceptionalism. The character of Russia Cop was created to be a personification and enforcer of this Russian Soul. The reality is, after 24 February, this story is already obsolete, as what is happening in Russia right now is far more atrocious, pathetic, damaging, and inhumane than any fiction could ever be. For the sake of clarification, I am talking about what’s happening in Russia, not Ukraine. What’s happening in Russia is the death of free speech, human rights, and common sense. As it turns out, Russia doesn’t need a Russia Cop. The Russian people are eagerly and willingly eating up the propaganda and dangerous beliefs all on their own. On a side note, there isn’t really an appropriate place to bring it up so I will mention it here: 75 percent of sales proceeds the book makes in 2022 will go towards supporting Ukraine.
Tsoi Lives was the last addition to the collection, which probably explains why it feels the most different from the rest (as in it isn’t completely farcical). I’m a huge fan of Tsoi’s music and often found myself in frustrating situations where I couldn’t express why his music was so profound to me or those around me simply didn’t care. The book exaggerates a bit in that it makes it seem like nobody in Russia cares about his music at all. That isn’t true, he is still quite popular, BUT, in my own experience, more and more younger generations turn their nose up at his music and see it is something to be embarrassed of. I’d always wanted to write something somehow connected with him, but a straight up biography would be boring, it seemed more appropriate to write about how his music affected others rather than making a story about the man himself.
I am far too ashamed to explain the origins of the remaining two stories.
Did you create an outline for the characters in the stories before you started writing or did the characters personalities grow organically as you were writing?
Typically, I don’t create outlines for characters. I write as many pages as I can of a given story until I hit a wall and from there, I’ll start outlining the story (not the characters) to see where it goes. I never let plot get in the way of character growth though. Even if I want the plot to go one way, I consider what choice a character would make at a given intersection and let the character dictate what happens next.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Themes always come later. I never set out with themes in mind. I am simply trying to tell stories. With The English Teacher, it essentially condenses all the frustrating and terrible aspects of living in Russia into one night. As the stories came together, themes of frustration, yearning, alienation, propaganda, xenophobia, etc. appeared. I suppose the most blatant themes come in Tsoi Lives, in which one person experiences the frustration of being obsessively passionate about something that nobody else seems able to grasp.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m debating between starting a new endeavor (which will likely be an unreadable and unwieldy behemoth only I find interesting) or resurrecting my first book which I never got published. Both works have science fiction elements and are quite different from my previous two works.
Posted in Interviews
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As Judge Neeson holds a party with well-established millionaires, other judges, and famous revelers, his judge’s judicial assistant is said to have been tasked with meeting someone claiming to carry incriminating files on him. The following day the assistant finds the judge’s house vacant with only Neeson’s dead body left on the floor. Head bashed in and body assaulted beyond belief, Detective Chief Inspector Sheehan is put to the task of solving the murder of Judge Neeson.
Over the following weeks, Sheehan discovers that they are dealing with a provenly deranged serial killer as more bodies are uncovered. And as fate would have it, each murder is documented and justified by the killer on a blog posted to the Dark Web called “Niemen,” which launched the same day Judge Neeson was discovered. Each post proceeds with decoding the meaning of old philosophies surrounding vigilante work and justice of the people and the fate of the victim the author decided to unleash these philosophies on.
Author Brian O’Hare’s gripping book The Dark Web Murders is filled with impressive realism and has been well researched. Rarely seen these days in a lot of fictional crime, the attention to detail truly makes this enthralling book stand out against the crowd. Using a slow-burn approach, the author introduces small details about the setting and crime scenes to the reader. This attention to detail continues throughout, creating a complex plotline. In the style of a hard-boiled mystery, O’Hare gives extensive and often gruesome details to his murder scenes. This reminded me of Dan Brown’s works, which would leave readers with no doubt about the suffering the victims endured.
One characteristic that makes this unique novel stand out is the character development. Each character is distinct and memorable. The side characters are lovable and realistic, giving readers someone to relate to as they progress through some of the darker moments. The crimes have a poetic justice feel to them with the killer’s use of philosophical ideas that presents a calculated series of killings.
The Dark Web Murders is a riveting crime thriller that will have readers on edge till the end. The mystery behind the murders is engrossing as clues will lead readers down false trails and keep them guessing until the reveal.
Pages: 322 | ASIN : B07NYH1FK4
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