Blog Archives

The Jinxed Pirate

The Jinxed Pirate (Graylands, #2)5 Stars

Adventures like these don’t come very often. Riddled with intrigue and building up a world The Jinxed Pirate by M. Walsh is a definite read. We have a delightful cast of characters from the mercenary to the tragic warrior princess with a splash of other-worldly beings as well. All of their lives and paths will come together in an excellent adventure where you might find yourself rooting for the bad-guy without realizing it. Each character is on a journey of sorts and where it leads them is anything short of ordinary. What happens when the warrior princess can’t save her people? What about the mercenary who doesn’t seem all that interested in what he’s doing? Our title character himself even seems to shift his shape depending on what his needs are. The carnal animal driven only by his desires. These all come together with fantastic story-telling and riveting action to create a beast of a tale.

The language in this book is intellectual without being dry; descriptive without being desperate. Walsh knows how to craft a tale and the way the narrative flows demonstrates an excellent grasp of a writer’s tools. Our prologue and epilogue are written in the first person, yet we don’t know much about who is showing us this world. The rest of the tale is told from the third person and that effortless transition really speaks to how well Walsh has command over the story. Some authors can let the tale run away from them and it ends up becoming nonsense. Walsh takes on a large task, and delivers.

While this book appears to be part of a series, it can stand alone just fine. It is rare to find an excellent book that is part of a larger tapestry that can be enjoyed on its own. The Jinxed Pirate achieves that sense of completion without discounting the possibility of the world being expanded either before or after the events we read about.

In the first few chapters we are introduced to our cast of characters. The descriptions that Walsh provides enhances the image in the mind of the reader. The reader is also not overwhelmed by excessive information. There is a delicate balance to be struck here and Walsh appears to be no slouch with his craft. The imagery and information flow effortlessly together.

If you’re looking for an excellent read with the potential to be wrapped up in a bigger world, The Jinxed Pirate by M. Walsh is a must-read. Too often writers attempt to create worlds that span multiple books but rely to heavily on the audience consuming every single volume in order. Enough backstory is explained in this edition that prior knowledge of the world is not required. This only proves to intrigue the reader and assist in capturing their attention and desire to know more. This is not a book to be underestimated. Readers will not go wrong adding this to their ever-growing pile of ‘must-reads’. This reviewer suggests that, perhaps, you place this one near the top.

Pages: 494 | ASIN: B06VWKX52Q

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Thing in the Pond

Fawn Bonning Author Interview

Fawn Bonning Author Interview

The Leader of Lors is a genre-crossing novel with elements of fantasy, romance, and suspense as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

It carries on in the same vein as The Heart of Hannen as an erotic fantasy romance. Other elements – horror, suspense, adventure and mystery – just fell into place as the story progressed.

The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?

I would have to say Eubreena. She’s fiercely protective of Christine, mainly because she feels responsible for maiming and nearly killing her, unwitting though it may have been. Her heart is kind and her friendship true.

What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?

The Atriian Trilogy actually began as a horror short-story called Thing in the Pond. It was originally about an earthquake that opens up an underwater cavern in the family pond, releasing a monster from another dimension. Instead of this creature wreaking havoc on Earth, I decided to let Christine follow it back through the caverns. And thus the Atriian Trilogy was born.

How do you feel you’ve developed as a writer between The Heart of Hannen and this book?

I believe my growth as a writer between the first and second book of this series was quite remarkable. For the first book, time restrictions only allotted an hour here and there for writing, a method not very conducive to good storytelling. By the time I sat down and got my head into the story and wrote a few sentences, it was time to call it a night. I was able to dedicate more time to the second novel, between five and six hours a day. Needless to say, the writing began to come much more easily, seeming to flow naturally, and the results were amazing. For the third book, I doubled down, writing between eight and ten hours a day, and did it ever pay off. By the end, I merely had to place my fingers on the keyboard and the story practically wrote itself.

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

My next project will be an erotic paranormal romance based on another short-story from my horror collection Thing Bailiwick. A bodark is a creature of Russian lore, a man capable of shifting into a wolf. Though they are not bound to the cycles of the moon. They can transform at will, and whilst in wolf form they not only possess the enhanced senses and abilities of the wolf, they are able to maintain human awareness and intelligence. Except for when the time comes to mate, an event which occurs but once in their lifetime. Then all must beware the bodark, lest his senses become overpowered by the feral instincts of the beast lurking within.

Projected release date – Jan 2019.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Leader of Lors (Atriian Trilogy, #2)

“How far will a mother go to protect her child?
Christine will go to beyond the ends of the Earth,
back to the brutal world of Atriia,
back to the man who will possess
her at any cost.

He is Lor Zeria,
the very Leader of Lors,
revered and respected by all,
yet feared by Christine as no other.

This is a tale of fantasy and bravery,
of adventure and horror,
of passion and obsession,
of survival and betrayal.

And for Christine Clavin . . .
it is her own harrowing tale
of destiny.”

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Outpost

Outpost (The Fylking, #1)5 Stars

Delve into this mystical world populated with equally mystical beings. In Outpost by F.T. McKinstry we are introduced to a race of beings called The Fylking. Ethereal beings that have crossed over the universe and jumped from their world to the world of Math. These creatures shift from animal forms to those resembling a human but not quite. They cannot be seen by just anyone yet everyone knows they exist. A group of individuals known as Wardens act as liaisons between these beings and the rest of the world. For better or worse, they are entwined. We have three main characters who will shape the tale: Arcmael, a Warden, Melisande who is a woman that knits and Othin, a Ranger in the king’s employ. Innocent interactions beget the telling of an intricate tale: one that will see war, death and heartache feed off each other. Each of the three holds a part in this tale and some are more important than we are first led to believe.

McKinstry begins her tale with world building. This is an essential piece of any good fantasy novel as readers need to have some sort of understanding. This is a world not of our own and McKinstry does a great job carefully laying out the lore, legends and very geography of the world of Math. In the very back of the book there is a glossary which also holds some pronunciation tips. This is a bonus as some authors just expect people to understand. McKinstry gives preliminary information in the glossary without giving away what happens in the context of the tale. This can be a delicate balance and she achieves it well.

While Outpost is declared the first novel in a series, it can stand well on its own. There is a beginning, middle and neatly wrapped up ending which answers the burning questions raised while reading. Technically, more books are not required to enjoy the story, so it would be interesting to see if McKinstry carries on with the same set of characters or if the next book simply takes place in the same world. Either way, Outpost is an excellent installment.

Another thing to note is that the chapters are named. This is more insightful than just simply numbering them as it gives readers a sense of what is to come. Not many authors seem to name their chapters anymore, but this sets the tone for an adventurous read.

While McKinstry weaves the story, and captivates readers it is the characters themselves who seal the deal. Each character is created with such depth and personality that they could almost jump off the page and walk among us. What it is exactly that creates this feeling is nothing short of excellent writing and an author who has practiced their craft and carefully constructed this world. Indeed, McKinstry is much like a goddess with the way author sways the characters and dictates their actions. It’s almost like the author is there, within the pages, guiding the characters as well as the readers along.

For anyone who is interested in the rich tapestry of fantasy with solid world building and three dimensional characters, Outpost by F.T. McKinstry is a must read.

Pages: 370 | ASIN; B0138V5YE4

Buy Now From Amazon.com

The Hunters Sign

The Taming of Adam: Part 2: The Hunter's Sign4 Stars

Jason Hubbard brings readers back to his world of magic in The Taming of Adam Part 2: The Hunters Sign, the sequel to his first novel in the Taming of Adam series. Adam tries to move on from his past dealings with the monster Ellen from Envale, so he moves to a new college in Almin to continue his studies as a black mage. Here he ends up with several roommates of which Ricky Grater is introduced. Ricky ends up playing a big part in the novel and in Adam’s life. This novel takes the reader through Adam’s experience as he falls in love with Amy Graine, learns about old and darker magic, and becomes involved in Entercor Contracting massive community rebuild project.

Most of the novel takes place in the Union of Altoria, in the city of Almin. It is like any city you would find around the world. This world sounds a lot like earth, but has magic and two moons. Hubbard uses a lot of plays on common names, words, movies and such that the reader can identify with current pop culture to get a feel for what he is saying and trying to convey. A lot of the social topics that are discussed are also relevant to modern times making the book very relatable even though Earth is not overrun with mages taking jobs, there is the constant concern over jobs going away due to technology and the high costs involved with getting services that the novel covers. Hubbard does a good job with explaining the social structures and pushing his view that those with more abilities need to be more compassionate and work for the common good and not focus on personal wealth.

The first half of the book is mostly character development with little action and a lot of psychological musings on the part of Adam and Ricky. Both are black mage’s, though Adam is much stronger and is dedicated to his studies. Ricky however is a womanizer with little care for anything beyond his own desires. Hubbard spends a lot of time on Adam’s relationships with women, namely Delhi and Amy. Both women offer different perspectives on his personality and bring out different things in him. Ricky never stays with a woman longer than it takes to score with her, but he becomes attached to the character Cameron who is the quintessential playboy living in the casino and always having money and women.

The second part of the novel is when the action starts and we learn what the Hunter’s Sign mentioned in the book title is, and what it is for. Entercor is making this happen with the help of a man named Alec that is believed to be a strong mage with the gift of prophecy. Adam is left with determining if the Hunter’s Sign is something to use for the good of the city or not. As Adam learns more about the magic surrounding and his connection with the shadow world he must make hard decisions that will affect not only him but those he loves and the entire city.

Overall The Taming of Adam Part 2: The Hunter’s Sign is an entertaining continuation of Adam’s growth as a black mage, his understanding of the shadow world and his own personal growth as person. The novel ends with a lead into the third book that Jason Hubbard has published.

Pages: 343 | ASIN: B00WRWHPYS

Buy Now From Amazon.com

The Dreadnought Collective

Terry Tumbler Author Interview

Terry Tumbler Author Interview

I think The Sightseers Agency is the best book of the Dreadnought Collective, and you did a great job of balancing the characters, conflict, and plot. Knowing that this was the last book in the series what was one thing you wanted to accomplish before the end of the series?

Loose ends to be tied up, conclusively.

The recurring characters are so unique, each with their own set of skills, flaws, and quirks, that it’s a delight to follow them from one adventure to another. What was one character you felt went through the biggest change throughout the series?

The Inlooker, posing as Claude Broadbent.

The Sightseers Agency ties up a lot of loose ends, answers questions, and ends on a hopeful note. Did you always have an idea of how the series would end or did it present itself as you were writing this last book?

It makes me feel uneasy to admit that this is the last book in the Dreadnought collective series, but you’ve put me on the spot! Yes, it makes sense to treat it as such, with infills later, like Bernard Cornwall did with the Sharpe’s series. I always aim to write with previous knowledge of the ending, but cannot claim to stick with it as the story evolves.

What is the next book that you’re writing? Are you working on another series?

The next book is the start of another Sci-Fi series. It involves new technology based on true inventions in the past. It also speculates on what alien contact could be like, when we reduce our population level. It will be a ‘vehicle’ for humor, to lighten the underlying message passed to readers.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website | Blogspot

The Sightseers Agency (The Dreadnought Collective Book 5) by [tumbler, terry]“The first recruit to the new Sightseers Agency is a remote viewer who actively seeks the resolution of events threatening world security.

Both his fledgling agency and that of The Deaduction Agency are members of The Dreadnought Collective.
The term ‘Dreadnought’ is based on a type of battleship introduced in the early 20th century, larger and faster than ever before and equipped entirely with large-caliber guns.

It applies in this instance because the cerebrally talented agents who enter its portals are expected to fear nobody and be scared by nothing in the performance of their duties.

They pursue those who indulge in criminal and seditious activities in the modern meritocracy using unorthodox techniques.

The Collective will embrace several types of Black Arts as it grows and faces unusual challenges. These once belonged to the realms of Science Fiction but are fast becoming a reality in the emerging new world.

This is a series of Whodunits set in the future.”

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Monster Literary Book Awards March 2017

The Hungry Monster 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 The Hungry Monster is proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Gold Book AwardGold Award Winners

This God, I (The Onryo Saga Book 2) by [Ryg, Rocco]Witch Heart: Leadership always requires sacrifice (Gray Girl Book 3) by [Spieth, Susan I., Spieth, Susan]

The Lifeblood of Ill-fated Women (The Blood, Sun, and Moon. Book 1) by [Breaux, Kevin James]The Leader of Lors: Book II in The Atriian Trilogy by [Bonning, Fawn]

The Sightseers Agency (The Dreadnought Collective Book 5) by [tumbler, terry]

Silver Book AwardSilver Award Winners

Fractured (Lisen of Solsta Book 1) by [St. Martin, D. Hart]The Husband Who Refused to Die by [Darby, Andrea]

The Bug Boys by [Hoffman, Stewart]The Status Update by [Buck, Sonia J.]

The Wanderer's Last Journey (The Orfeo Saga Book 4) by [Eiland Jr., Murray Lee]Uncle Stubby Gets Married (Shadow and Friends Series Book Five 5) by [Jackson, S., Raymond, A., Schmidt, M.]

“Books bring to life aspects of literary genius.” – Mary Schmidt, author of Uncle Stubby Gets Married.

Visit the Hungry Monster Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

2PM On A Black Summer’s Day

2pm on a Black Summer's Day3 Stars

A mysterious box that cannot be opened. A line of witches and the melding of two very distinct spiritual ideals. Throw in the military while all these groups try to fight demons and you’ve got 2pm, On a Black Summer’s Day by IP Spall. An interesting story that takes place in a quite town in America spanning at least a decade while the true main character doesn’t make an appearance until later on. We begin with a normal teacher who is trying to make a few extra dollars from his eclectic collection of ‘junk’. It is Samuel that finds the strange box at a market but it will be his son Chris that opens it all those years after his father’s death. What begins as a drunken gathering unleashes forces beyond human understanding. Shadow creatures pour into the world of man from beyond a void. Their appetite is insatiable and they thirst for human blood.

Spall has a knack for the surprise. What first seems like a simple book about growing up and coming to terms with grief unexpectedly morphs into a supernatural thriller where no one knows who will die next. The surprise demon summoning is just that: a surprise. While we got an idea that magic exists and is relatively accepted in this world, there was no foreshadowing for the battle to come. The surprise works in Spall’s favour as it is executed quickly before the reader or the cast has time to react. This allows the reader to be pulled in and feel as though they are part of the story themselves. A clever tactic for sure.

There are some drawbacks to this book, however. Stylistic and grammatical issues aside, the story appears to take place in the United States of America. This isn’t clarified until a chapter or so into the book but it comes as a surprise. While reading how the characters talk and the description of the town, it feels as though this book takes place in England, perhaps in a small village or hamlet. There are certain phrases and ways in which the characters talk that do not occur in everyday American speech. This is not relegated to a single family, but affects all in the story. This is a bit confusing for the reader. Had the story taken place in England or anywhere else in the United Kingdom it would have seemed natural.

This jarring bit of speech aside, the entire flow of the book seems as if it has been sped up. Time passes in a blink and characters whose point of view we were reading from on one page are dead on the next. It fragments otherwise good storytelling and detracts from the overall tale as a whole. A massive battle occurs and then the story is just over.

Those who delight in reading about magic, the macabre and the quintessential fight between light and dark are sure to enjoy IP Spall’s book 2pm, On a Black Summer’s Day.

Pages: 139 | ASIN: B01MXPZ9TW

Buy Now From Amazon.com

The Leader of Lors

The Leader of Lors (Atriian Trilogy, #2)5 Stars

I was pleased to return to the land of Atriia with The Leader of Lors, the second book in the Atriian Trilogy. I recommend you read The Heart of Hannen first, before trying to pick up the complex story and the Atriian language.

Christine Clavin is back in her hometown on Earth. Her daughter Becca, a cherub with blue eyes and her mother’s red hair, is nearly a year old. Christa has reunited with Kyle, who loves Becca even though he is not her father. The night before she is to move in with Kyle, her daughter is kidnapped by Hannen, and she’s dragged back through the fraigen lairs of Black Pond to save her daughter. She is justifiably furious with Hannen and refuses to stay with him. Unable to get back home, she’s forced to remain in Atriia.

In her absence, the legend of Crista Clavin, the Loper of Zeria, has spread throughout the land. Jerrod, the Lor of Cas Zeria, is heartbroken without her. Unable to stand living with Hannen for another day, she and Becca slip away during a day at the market, and Crista’s harrowing adventure begins. Her path leads toward fame as commoners and nobles alike recognize her as their hero. Jerrod wants her for himself, convinced she will bear his heir and will do anything to protect her. Hannen will not give up on her. Others want to use her as a pawn to further their own standing or for their own twisted pleasures. These conflicts become political, and threats of war and unrest are everywhere. But Christa has only one desire that matters: protect her daughter at all costs.

I am happy to say that this book is better than the first. As Christa faces captivity, betrayal, false safety and gilded prisons, she proves time and again that the legends about her are not just “tot’s tales” but very true. Her fiery temper, fierce maternal instinct, and devotion to those she loves carry the plot, and it’s a nail-biting read full of tension and adventure. I had a hard time putting this one down. The characters are vivid, with old friends returning from the past, as well as new characters who bring joy, passion, tragedy, and high drama to the story.

The author’s skill at building a memorable fantasy world is excellent in this installment. A stand-out example of this is when Christa travels the countryside in disguise and uses her legend and notoriety to reward those who help her or intimidate and punish those with bad intentions. It’s a tale straight out of the heroic myths of the past and added so much heart to the story.

Don’t forget that this heroic tale is also a romance. I often found myself ready to throttle Christa for being an idiot, but that’s a compliment because I was that invested in her story. The love scenes are tastefully written, but I would recommend this series for mature readers. Overall, it’s a fast-paced, exciting read. Christa is a heroine with plenty of flaws, and the Atriian Trilogy is a fantasy world you’ll enjoy escaping to.

Pages: 590 | ASIN: B00J3D2CQU

Buy Now From Amazon.com

The Sightseers Agency

The Sightseers Agency (The Dreadnought Collective Book 5)5 Stars

The Sightseers Agency picks up with Richard Pencil leaving the government position he took up at the end of the previous book. With the new world order well underway, the big three-letter agencies are breaking up, and Richard is going back to work with Joe Fraser and the man known as the Inlooker. Richard also has an impressive upgrade to his extra-sensory detective powers. He’s joined by a new remote-viewer, Miss Plum Duff, whose talents were honed by alien intervention. Fraser hires them to launch the the Sightseers Agency, reporting to him and their mysterious benefactor. Their mission is to oversee the behavior of elected officials, and another secret goal is revealed later. Seb Cage, who is now a talented computer security specialist (along with the skills he gained from the Sombrella Syndicate), joins the agency as well.

The Sightseers soon discover that the greatest threat to earth isn’t just from rogue officials and politicians, but also hostile aliens who have been planning an attack for some time. Complications arise because some of the aliens on Earth are friendly, while some are more like tourists who take on human form just to experience something different. Ms. Plum Duff comes into her own here, since she, like Seb, has a long history with regard to aliens.

Like the previous agency novel, there is an overarching plot that is played out in several different investigations. While the book is described as a series of whodunits set in the future, each case is a link in a chain that ultimately brings conflict on both a personal and global scale. I was glad to see more about the use of psychic mind-reading to ferret out lies and criminal activity, and the manipulation of auras and even the soul itself. There’s also the fascinating angle of this “new world” society, run on a democracy-on-demand system with a goal toward a true meritocracy. While some of this society’s social practices seem dystopian, others, like the use of Tesla’s wireless transmission of energy, offer a utopia of readily-available power.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed throughout the Dreadnaught series is the author’s vivid imagination. His notes at the beginning of the books give real-world tales of psychics and UFO phenomenon that act as the launch pad for his stories. His humor and wordplay are also in full force, with inventive non-cuss words, ribald comedy—especially when it comes to Richard and his Lothario tendencies—and the continued jokes about “potties,” which are ubiquitous self-driving transport pods, giving “on the throne” a whole different meaning.

Overall, this series has been fun to read. The major recurring characters are so unique, each with their own set of skills, flaws, and quirks, that it’s a delight to follow them from one adventure to another. The Sightseers Agency ties up a lot of loose ends, answers questions, and ends on a hopeful note and fans of the series will be satisfied by the ending.

Pages: 307 | ASIN: B01KBAKX1E

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Monster Literary Book Awards: February 2017

The Hungry Monster 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 The Hungry Monster is proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Gold Book AwardGold Award Winners

The Time Slipsters (The Dreadnought Collective Book 3) by [Tumbler, Terry]

Special Task Force: GREEN MAJIK #1 "Pretty Hate Machine": The Reader Feedback Dooms Day Edition by [Templeton, Don]

Silver Book AwardSilver Award Winners

The TVC Project by [Bridges, Tom]
The Nightmare From World's End by [Stava, Robert J.]Coffin Dodgers: A Sci Fi Horror Book by [Adams, Tom G.H.]

“Books are the linchpin of my existence. My earliest childhood memories revolve around the magic of reading, of being transported through time and space via a vivid story. Since I was old enough to know what a book was, I knew I was destined to write books as well.” – Don Templeton, author of Pretty Hate Machine

Visit the Hungry Monster Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

%d bloggers like this: