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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.

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

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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.

Monster Literary Book Awards: January 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

Recusant (The Brin Archives Book 2) by [Cronin, Jim]In His Way by [Duvall, Rebecca]

Stealing Magic (The Legacy of Androva Book 1) by [Vick, Alex C]The Inlooker: Full Length (The Dreadnought Collective Book 2) by [Tumbler, Terry]

Oliver and Jumpy - the Cat Series, Stories 10-12, Book 4: Bedtime stories for children in illustrated picture book with short stories for early readers. (Oliver and Jumpy, the cat Series) by [Stejskal, Werner]

REN: Awakened by [Brittany Quagan]Seed Me by [Lavery, Konn]Master Athina (The Books of Athina Book 4) by [Estes, Danny]

Zurga's Fire (The Orfeo Saga Book 3) by [Eiland Jr., Murray Lee]

Silver Book AwardSilver Award Winners

The Onryo by Rocco Ryg

Slippery Things by Lane Baker

The Great Scourge by C.A. MacLean

The Heart of Hannen by Fawn Bonning

Jesus and Magdalene by João Cerqueira

The Crown Princess Voyage by Dylan Madeley

 

“Books give me the freedom to step outside of myself. That words alone can transport the reader to a reality as believable as the one he or she actually lives in, should not logically be possible. It’s a kind of real life magic.” – Alex C. Vick, author of Stealing Magic

 

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

 

Jesus and Magdalene

Jesus and Magdalene by [Cerqueira, Joao]4 Stars

What would it be like, if more than two-thousand years later Christ walked this earth again? Would he be confused by the spread of technology or would he already know about it from having watched over mankind from above? João Cerqueira tackles this idea and more in his novel Jesus and Magdalene. There is much for Jesus to consider when he returns to the world of man. Such logical concerns as his paternity and the vehicle he decides to use to come back to earth. Scarcely is Jesus walking among men once more then he meets Magdalene. She is the newer version of her biblical-self: wrapped up in an environmental movement with Judas, Mary, Peter, James and others she works towards renewal of the earth. As if it was simply meant to be, Jesus joins her on her mission and we are left to wonder how much of the stories in the bible will play out again.

If there is anything Cerqueira does well in this book, it is describing situations and surroundings. There is an explanation at the beginning of the novel where our author lays out his experience with Christianity and his thoughts on the matter. This is beneficial for those who cherish their faith and may take issue with the idea of a modern-day Jesus Christ. This should come as a comfort to those readers as Cerqueira certainly means no disrespect.

However, while the writing is a plus, it is also a minus. Cerqueira is almost too descriptive or flowery with his language. His metaphors and similes are beautifully written but they cause the story to feel heavy. This, in turn, causes the read to be quite heavy and rely on the intellectual prowess of the reader. While this is not completely a negative for the reader who prefers something a bit more intellectual, for the casual reader this can be a detriment.

The portrayal of technology and the development of character relationships is well played throughout the entirety of the tale. If you have never been an avid reader of the bible or studied any sort of religion while in school, you will not be lost. You can think of Jesus and Magdalene as a tale of two young adults who are trying to make a difference in the world. If you are familiar with these texts, you will find that there is much that overlaps with Cerqueira’s story. It is evident that the man has done his research and is not afraid to use that in his works.

The language that author João Cerqueira uses is beautiful. For a reader looking for something heavier, thought-provoking and requiring footnotes, you cannot go wrong with Jesus and Magdalene.

Pages: 324 | ASIN: B01IS20VQY

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Hungry Monster Book Awards: November 2016

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 Winner

Bean Takes a Walk by Ann Bevans & Matthew Ethan Gray

Silver Book AwardSilver Award Winners

Mother Athina by Danny Estes

Game Over by Derek Eddington

Beyond Cloud Nine by Greg Spry

The Second Sphere by Peter Banks

Seed of Treachery by C.A. MacLean

Wolves Among Sheep by Steven Pajak

Chaste: A Tale From Perilisc by Jesse Teller

The Six and the Gardeners of Ialana by Katlynn Brooke

“When I look at a book, I see the history of books, old tomes with sacred knowledge. The authorities that controlled the books controlled the people. Books brought the old world to order. My books are how I bring my life and my thoughts to order, the only lasting way I can see to impart wisdom and ask questions.” – Jesse Teller author of Chaste

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

The Heart of Hannen

The Heart of Hannen (Atriian Trilogy, #1)4 Stars

Christine Clavin is not a typical teenage girl. Her past is marred by a violent attack so scandalous that her peers avoid her, whispering behind her back. The only redhead in a family of dark-haired people, she’s certain she was adopted and doesn’t belong. She has no friends, and her rage is so deep that when she loses control, she’s dangerous, even to her own family. Her family is at their wit’s end and wants to have her committed, but her older brother Sam does what he can to protect her. Christine wants to be normal, even dating a dashing newcomer, but the date seems to end badly although she still has feelings for the boy.

Christine finds solace by the pond near her house, something catches her attention, so she dives in, and when she comes up for air, she’s in a completely different world. Struggling with the language, the oppressive culture, and her own nightmares, she must find a way to survive and get back home. Her inner fire becomes her greatest asset, but it could make her either a well-treated slave or a fugitive trying to get back home.

The Heart of Hannen is one of the most unique books I’ve read all year, with elements of dark fantasy and gothic romance that tie together seamlessly. Christine is magically transported to the world of Atriia where men rule, and women are bought and sold like horses. This is definitely not the place for hotheaded seventeen-year-olds with anger management issues to thrive, and she runs afoul of men and women alike. When she’s sold to the staff of a local Lord’s castle, she learns—the hard way—how to fit in.

I especially enjoyed that Christine could use her wits, temper, and sharp tongue to do great things, even under the control of an oppressive culture and evil men. Without spoilers, let me warn you that there are twists and turns that you will never see coming, and they are fantastic.

The best part of this book was the invented language. There’s a glossary at the back of helpful words, but I decided to figure it out myself. This helped me get deeper into the story and the main character, since we were both trying to make sense of words that were just out of reach. As she becomes more used to Atriia, so did I, and the story got even better from there.

My only complaint about the book is that the pacing is slow. The plot advances at a snail’s pace, characters are indecisive, and some scenes—while interesting—do little to advance the story. While some tension is good, drawing it out too long invites skimming to a scene where something actually happens.

If you’re a fan of dark fantasy or romance, you’ll find much to like in The Heart of Hannen. Though the main character begins the tale at age 17, this is a land of kept women, fierce battles, blood, and sensuous love scenes, so I’d recommend it for mature readers.

Pages: 488 | ASIN: B00IWYP17S

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The Crown Princess’ Voyage

The Crown Princess' Voyage proposed cover by Rona Dijkhuis4 Stars

We’re brought into a fantasy world right after a princess has ascended her throne while another plots the death of a beast. The Crown Princess’ Voyage by Dylan Madeley tells two intertwined stories about young women thrust into power and broken from that power at the same time. Both have won, both have lost and in the end they both will fight over the same possession. Our princess Chandra is about to be thrust from her kingdom as a peace-keeping act to satisfy those disenchanted with the monarchy. Alathea has ascended to goddess-hood and viciously fights to keep her place. Both women are wrapped in mystery and an air of sorcery, yet which one of them will be victorious in the end?

In the beginning of the book it is a bit difficult to fully grasp which tale is being told. The switch from one to the other can be a bit confusing, especially when Alathea’s peculiarities are taken into consideration. A self-proclaimed Goddess who needs to wear a mask in order to fulfill the dirty parts of being royalty could just as easily be a figment of Chandra’s imagination.

They are two separate women, however, and while they are living different lives they share something in common: Derek Wancyek. This assassin-turned-knight who serves Chandra is also desired by Alathea. There comes a point when he is offered an easy life or the choice to struggle. This means betraying one for the other and the decision our dear Derek makes will be surprising to some readers.

The first section of the book seems devoted to world-building which is important when you’ve got complicated structures like those that exist in this tale. After the first few chapters when the reader realizes that Chandra and Alathea are two separate women who will eventually come into contact with each other, the book is easier to read.

The joy of this book is that we’ve got two strong female leads. More often than not it is the men who shine in tales like this. While both Chandra and Alathea have men that they confide in, trust in, it is clear that these two women are the ones who call the shots. Alathea especially. Her youth was twisted and taken from her in the most dramatic of ways, yet she used this to her advantage and pressed forward with her goals.

One of the best parts of Madeley’s tale is the description. Everything is explained with intricate detail that would have taken ages to compile and keep straight in the mind. Dialogue isn’t used to fill gaps, as it sometimes can be. While there are some rough areas that need tidying up, the story as a whole is compacted into a single volume that does lead to a resolution. The only thing that can be a bit difficult to digest is the large cast of characters and learning about their fates post-story. But in then end, readers won’t be disappointed with this fantastical tale.

Available May 2017

Get book one of the Gift-Knight series available NOW at Amazon

The Gift-Knight's Quest by [Madeley, Dylan]

When a young woman named Chandra takes the throne under suspicious circumstances, she has to solve the deaths of the King and Queen before those responsible get to her. She has to maintain peace in an empire where people consider her the number one suspect. Derek is summoned by an official letter and his people’s tradition to be Chandra’s personal guard. He’s immediately suspicious given that her family ruined his once-noble ancestors, but if there’s no way to escape the world’s largest empire, what might he do to turn the tables? Interwoven with Derek and Chandra’s story is the history of their ancestors, infamous and famous, that lead them to confrontation. A new world is built before the reader’s eyes, and key groundwork is laid for the impending sequels, leading to a highly detailed narrative.

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The True Tree Chronicles: Cleansed

Cleansed (The True Tree Chronicles) (Volume 1)3 Stars

Cleansed by G.S. Scott follows the life and adventures of a young man named Dirge as his destiny is unwittingly grafted to a battle among a triumvirate of otherworldly gods. The fantasy tale, which has a refreshingly contained scope and brisk pace considering the current genre climate, begins with Dirge as a small boy who is loved, if a bit neglected, by his prostitute-with-a-heart-of-gold mother. As street urchins are wont to do, Dirge quickly comes across his call to action in the form of a magical pendant that he finds during an early flight from danger, and thus sets the stage for later conflict. In a series of events that may be a bit on the nose for some readers and exactly right for others, Dirge loses his mother, becomes an orphan, and is immediately adopted into a patriarchal and heraldic order that provides discipline, training, and spiritual sustenance. By the end of the first act of the novel, Scott has positioned Dirge to be the prototypical young warrior – full of both shining promise and untested potential. What follows is a by the numbers rise-fall-redemption story seeing the fated hero forced to choose between serving the god of death or the god of law as they both combat the singularly evil force of Chaos.

Scott’s Cleansed offers enough quirk on top of the familiar that the snappy tempo makes the book a quick and exciting read. Unlike other writers that slog the reader over every continent, mountain range, and ocean, Scott understands that no one needs to see the entire globe to feel gravity. The book primarily takes place in one city, and most of the scenes actually occur in or around the same tavern.  Admirably, Cleansed dedicates it’s pages to putting characters together and keeping the background where it should be.

While familiarity and the use of certain tropes are not automatically drawbacks (and how could they be when they are impossible to avoid entirely?), there are some legitimate issues to take up with Cleansed.  For example, scenes often begin or end at the wrong moments in time, making them either unbalanced or extraneous. There are editorial issues such as misused homonyms or dropped words. And these small items can be overlooked, but what is less escapable is a badly managed point-of-view. The book can loosely be described as 3rd person “close” or 3rd person limited omniscience with respect to the lead character, Dirge. That is the construct that the text follows. Except when it doesn’t. At times it drifts into the first person of Dirge. At other points the 3rd person omniscience balloons to include other characters’ interior thoughts simultaneously. At other points still, the limited 3rd person will focus on a side character’s interiority and exclude Dirge, and this doesn’t occur in any meaningful serialization. It doesn’t happen all the time, which would be more acceptable, because then it might represent a gimmick with which the reader could build a stable, albeit annoyed, pattern or logic. The fact is, the POV slippage happens irregularly.

For some readers, point-of-view grievances are pedantic. For others, they are deal breakers. If you are the former, G.S. Scott’s Cleansed will provide you with a fun, fast read that is action packed and well worth the time.

Pages: 306 | ASIN: B01J92LAEO

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