This God, I, written by Rocco Ryg, is a novel based around a group of teenagers turned Japanese superheroes as they band together in a battle against evil. The group of ordinary teenagers have their lives upturned when they gain superpowers from a ring adorned with a black rock from Sierra Leone that was passed down to Chikara from her mother. Together, three of the teenagers, Chikara, Gen and Ren band together and travel to America to help rescue their friend Michiko from the evil Damian Chillingworth. However, they soon discover there’s another evil at work, RAMPAGE; a vicious group of white supremacists and anti-government terrorists. The teenagers must learn to work together in harmony if they are to stop the world from being destroyed.
Rocco Ryg has an extraordinary talent of being able to engross the audience deeply with his powerful and exciting story line- right from the first page. This God, I, begins in 1993 where you meet Mika Kaminari, a successful woman who can foresee future events and then soon flashes forward to the year 2012. It’s in 2012 where you meet Mika’s daughter, Chikara and her friends, Gen and Ren. A ring, superpowers and a crazed up white supremacist group of militia combine together for a story of epic proportions.
Japanese anime styled characters cross political extremists set the tone for this action packed adventure. There is a super power for everybody- from an empath who can manipulate the emotions around her to others who can sift through memories to extract the deadliest ones that they need. Personally, my favourite power was being able to heal someone- imagine what we could do with this in the real world!
The superheroes come from a range of backgrounds, such as the Chillingworth family who exude power through their billionaire, lavish lifestyle. The son Damian, sometimes violent psychopath, sometimes brilliant crusader is a complicated character that the reader will quickly form a love/hate relationship with. His rich boy demeanour and sleazy lack of compassion seem to be a cover to an inner child who wishes to be seen as a superhero.
This book has political undertones and I found some of the themes to mirror some of the political issues we are facing today. The story clearly outlines the different political parties which will help explain any terms you may not be familiar with. However, the main theme of the story revolves around the mystical powers given by the ring and the ability to use them for harm or good. This can provide a breath of fresh air when the political plot begins to thicken.
Epic battles crossed with an intense torturous drive to gather intel means the reader will be unable to tear themselves away from the book until the very last page. The reader will question the values of the character as each one faces the ultimate battle of deciding to cross a line between good and evil. It questions the integrity of the human race and raises the question- what would you do if you were given a super power? I would recommend this for anybody who enjoys action crossed with a touch of politics and mystical powers.
Pages: 361 | ASIN: B008HL4XM0
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The TVC Project is the story of a pre-med student Buck and detective Allyson Mancuso as they find themselves thrust into a dark murder mystery, rife with political intrigue. Despite the dangerous world, they have found themselves involved in a seductive romance. At the beginning of the book, Buck is a normal college student focused on his studies and his friends. But a normal night of studying turns his life upside down when his two best friends fail to meet up with him. When Buck discovers that they have been murdered he cannot let go of the investigation until he learns what happened to his friends.
The TVC Project was written by Tom Bridges published in 2013. He is from Dallas Texas and works within the medical field. Bridges background is perhaps the reason behind the realism of Buck’s medical knowledge in the book. Buck and Allyson are both intriguing characters that are given interesting backgrounds that fill out their character and make them feel real. Buck’s history in the navy, making him an older college student at 27, gives his character depth and makes his relationship with detective Mancuso believable. His flaw might be that while we are in his head we see that he perceives himself as an overall “nice guy” despite being sexually aroused in the middle of dealing with the murder of his best friends and memorial services. Allyson herself is given depth in her side hobby of rebuilding her house. The unrealistic part of these characters perhaps comes from how easily Allyson lets Buck in on the case and allows him to partake in the investigation.
One of the most interesting parts of the book is Bridge’s use of character perspective. While much of the book is written from Buck’s perspective; we also get to go into the heads of Allyson and some of the characters behind the murder itself. This writing choice is sure to keep readers captivated as answers coming flying in from different directions along with more questions. I liked that none of the characters had all the answers because this leaves the reader in a perfect position to piece the mystery together.
The story is a fascinating murder mystery and an exciting political thriller all tied up in a passionate romance. It successfully weaves these genres into a thought-provoking story. While the book does come to an end in a satisfying and unique way, it still leaves questions open and possibilities for more to come, which creates a desire to continue reading the second book Bridges wrote as a sequel, Surviving Ghosts. Overall the book was interesting and unpredictable, a necessity for an enjoyable mystery.
Pages: 295 | ASIN: B00FEN4RVG
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Jesus and Magdalene follows the story of Jesus and his return to modern day Earth where he meets Magdalene who is an activist fighting for a better world. This is an intriguing setup to a novel and a unique perspective of a religious story. Why was this novel important for you to write and what was your inspiration?
Religion has played an important role in my cultural development. I was christened, I went to catechism classes, I was confirmed and I went to mass until the age of fourteen. I wanted to create something truly original, involving contemporary problems, politics, the existence of God and human nature using facts, humor, and irony. For example, the relation between Christiany and Ecology or why there are so many racial conflicts. Jesus and Magdalene don’t give answers, but present questions. Why there is so much violence? Why there is so much stupidity? Are we really so much different from other animals? My novels satirize modern society and use irony and humor to provoke reflection and controversy.
Jesus and Magdalene are biblical figures, but in your story they’re striving to make a better world as regular people. How did you handle the balance between biblical and fictional characters to make them feel real and relatable?
For me, Jesus is the most important figure in History. Jesus was the first to say that all men are equal and to question the dogmas of the temple rulers. He also saved a woman from being stoned, according to the tradition. He was a much greater revolutionary than Castro or Che Guevara. Even those who don’t believe they are influenced by Jesus’ teachings. Freedom and Equality – those are the basis of all western society. In my novel I try to describe the challenges Jesus would face if He would visit us again, 2000 years later. But,although he limits himself to accompanying Magdalene attempting only to pacify those on bad terms, even then Jesus is unable to escape the fury of mankind.
What kind of research, if any, did you do to keep the story accurate?
I read the Bible and I search for biblical studies and interpretations.
Is there a pivotal moment in the story that you feel best defines your characters?
Yes, there is a pivotal moment in the story that defines not only the characters but also mankind (in my own interpretation). A con man – Professor Kacimba – is going to recognize Jesus, while the others don’t. A swindler sees the son of God when he tried to read his hand, but the rest of people, including this modern Magdalene, only see a normal man. This is supposed to be funny and sad at the same time.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
I am writing a novel about Communism, Perestroika and the fall of the Berlin wall. The Staline or Lenine ghost could be one of the characters. I hope to be published in the next year.
Jesus returns to earth and meets activist Magdalene who is fighting for a better world. He find an extremist ecological group, which is plotting to destroy a maize plantation it believes to be genetically modified. Then, he observes the rise up against a tourist development that is to be built in a forest reserve. Finally, he witnesses an armed conflict between blacks and gypsies. However, although he limits himself to accompanying Magdalene attempting only to pacify those on bad terms, even then Jesus is unable to escape the fury of mankind. And only a conman will recognize him. Using humor, Jesus and Magdalene broaches recent phenomena of social and political conflict.
Posted in Interviews
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“Japanese teenager Chikara Kaminari, while heartbroken by the death of her mother, inherits a strange black ring. Her mother’s will tells her to share it with her best friend, Renka, and a socialist student named Gen, so that they can save the world from political fanatics. Guided only by cryptic clues yet honor bound to obey her mother, Chikara does as she’s told. As the three develop extraordinary abilities, including emotional manipulation and control over darkness, they set out to uncover the origin of the ring and its connection to their mind-controlling school bully, Michiko.
Their destiny becomes clearer as Michiko’s power grows beyond her control, setting a classmate on a murderous rampage. As predicted, dangerous extremists appear, seeking to use the ring’s power to force their political views onto all of humanity. Chikara and her friends must put aside their partisanship and become the heroes they were destined to be.”
The Onryō by Rocco Ryg is a science fiction fantasy set in Japan. It is reminiscent of a traditional manga where teenagers are the main characters and take on heroic roles with outlandish situations. Some of the outlandish situations include the supernatural elements that writers often feature in Japanese manga and their other works. The book follows the main character, Chikara, through mostly a third person point of view. You get to see the thoughts of Chikara along with other people who she comes in contact, which is vital. Additionally, the main character makes exponential growth from beginning to end.
The first line of the book immediately draws you in. The writing of the book comes off as a very well done first draft that could use a bit of reviewing. Some of the emotions are not explored much, there were minimal grammatical mistakes, and there was one instance in which what was explained did not match what was said beforehand. The writing style increasingly gets better as you continue reading it. As such, it could have done with a bit more reviewing before publishing, but it does not keep one from enjoying the book.
You can tell from reading it that the person is a fan of Japanese cultures, as it reads like someone who knows about the culture and admires it rather than from an individual who was born in Japan. But again, it does not keep you from enjoying the book. The author was clearly influenced by their love of manga, as it was mentioned throughout. Additionally, there were many manga elements within the book, such as focusing on teenage girls, supernatural powers, and teenage romance
The plot of the book was interesting, but a little slow moving. However, it picked back up toward the end. The written action parts are genuinely some of my favorite scenes of the book. The supernatural elements are fascinating and the way it was incorporated not only made sense, but it is an exciting read. Although, the book did have stereotypical women in some places, it still led to some intriguing plot developments and character clashes.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys manga, Japanese culture, and action. It contains much fast-paced action, which is exciting. I can only expect the sequel to be better than the first as the writing and character development of the story improves as it goes on, making any future works by the author promising. The ending of the book, while slow to build, was fantastic. I loved the ending and the change in the main character. It made me want to read the sequel.
Pages: 237 | ASIN: B0058KSKHW
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The Hungry Monster Book Awards are given 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.
Death Leaders by Kendra Hadnott
Jabberwocky: A Novella by Theodore Singer
Milijun by Clayton Graham
Derailed by Alyssa Rosy Ivy
Bar Nights by Dave Matthes
Death of a Gypsy by Janet Hannah
Mervyn vs. Dennis by Niels Saunders
Stage Door Comedies by Sally Roger
Asana of Malevolence by Kate Abbott
In the Eyes of Madness by Michael Pang
Welcome to Deep Cove by Grant T. Reed
The Six and the Crystals if Ialana by Katlynn Brooke
Thing Bailiwick: A Collection of Horror by Fawn Bonning
Tarbabies: The Shadow Man of Ichabod Lane by Allen Brady
Books have the ability to entertain and inform us. They can make the impossible possible. They are vehicles of time travel and windows into perspectives. In books, authors are gods and imagination is their power. Transforming letters into words; words into characters and places; and these into emotions and worlds. Even if we never meet, we are connected by the stories we tell.
Posted in Hungry Monster Book Award
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Mirror, Mirror at 1600 D.C. is a suspenseful political thriller with plenty of twists. How do you balance story development with shocking plot twists? Or can they be the same thing?
Balancing character/story development, plot progress and plot twists is risky business to the writer. If plot twists are ‘random’ and do not connect to or further the main plot, or if the link is weak, story development suffers. Well connected twists serve to move the story along in the writer’s ‘intended’ direction, but I do not think that story development and plot twists are the same thing. Plot twists enhance story development or detract from it.
Friendship, love, sacrifice and duty are virtues that are highlighted throughout the story? Why are these important to telling the story?
Human virtues–particularly the altruistic ones–are at the heart of character development. They resonate and strike an emotional chord with most readers, while providing a moral compass to the character, driving reader and character down the same path. Some readers identify directly to these virtues, others do so vicariously.
I enjoyed reading about Hannah and Harrison and watching their love develop. What was the inspiration for their love story and the connection they have?
I did not want to write solely a political novel. During the year of writing, I was intrigued by elements of mystery, suspense and romance, with a little humor thrown in on the side to seduce the reader in the story. The relationship between Hannah and Harrison is based on two people from my past. They are passionate people who love deeply; hence, it did not require much time for them to decide to be forever bound–in our story, an adoring four months. Despite their chosen careers, Harrison and Hannah’s emotions and ambitions overlap, and their intricate life dance ensues.
Mirror, Mirror at 1600 D.C. is an interesting title? Where did you come up with the name?
The title is an outgrowth of the main plot in Mirror, Mirror at 1600 D.C. To say much more would be too revealing.
When can your fans expect the next book to be published?
I am working on several projects, and also considering a sequel to Mirror, Mirror at 1600 D.C. However, I have no set deadline. I typically spend a year writing a book, complete with revisions. I have authored other books (all books published by CCB Publishing and available in paperback and ebook): Beginnings is based on the lives of two people in love that propels the reader on an emotional roller coaster, as events unfold in their lives. Twelve Upon a Time – Bedside Story Collection Series are 12 colored books that span across the 12 months of the year. Side Stepping the Rules: Broken or Not is a sensitive man’s guide for escaping the clutches of the woman who thinks she’s Mrs. Right. If you are looking for a politically correct book, this isn’t it!
Posted in Interviews
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Path of Jen: Bloodborne is a political thriller based on current events, which gives it a feeling of immediacy. It’s not hard to imagine this story scrolling across the major news networks with breathless newsreaders dissecting every nuance. The title is a clever play on words, and the rest of the novel does not disappoint.
Jena Amadhi is a typical teenager. She has all the latest gadgets, loves music and fashion, and giggles over boys and pop stars. Though her parents fled Iran for the US, she speaks only a little Farsi. For her sixteenth birthday, her father takes her to visit relatives in Iran so she can connect with her family, culture, and values of his family’s mainstream Muslim faith.
Once they arrive in Tehran, Jena is a foreigner in every sense. She doesn’t speak the language and is overwhelmed by the sights and sounds. When she wanders away from her aunt in the Grand Bazaar, she’s kidnapped, transported to Syria, and held captive by the Islamic State. When a visiting doctor learns she’s American, and has had all of her immunizations, he buys her from her captors and moves her to a medical facility. He says she will be the savior of the revolution, and she is renamed Jenna, meaning “paradise.” When the local Imam declares her a holy virgin of Islam, Jen knows something is terribly wrong.
I enjoyed the novel. Jen is intelligent, headstrong, and uses her wits to stay alive. There’s a nice scene where she puzzles out how to load and fire an AK-47 rifle. After being imprisoned around fighters for two years, it’s not out of character, nor is it unusual that a girl that smart wouldn’t be able to figure it out. The story has good pacing, and the switches between Jen, her parents, and the US soldiers trying to help her keep the action – and the tension – moving forward.
Jen’s parents are desperate to find her, of course. Fouzia and Najid Amadhi immediately go to the Tehran police, and though they make one arrest, neither the local authorities nor the US State Department has much to offer. Fouzia’s frustration with the authorities not bothering to look for a girl mirrors her feelings that women are not valued, and it drives her to a life-changing decision. Fouzia’s hope and persistence pays off. A squad of US soldiers discovers evidence that Jen is still alive. One soldier in particular, Staff Sergeant Dustin “Deep South” Parks, plays a key role in the search for Jen.
One particular thing in the novel gave me pause. The idea that a pathogen affects its host with full-blown symptoms immediately on contact isn’t medically sound. Viruses need time to incubate, replicate and induce the immune system to react, which causes the symptoms of infection. To me, this feels like the author is adopting the outbreak mechanics from the zombie craze.
If you’re looking for a timely, edge-of-the-seat thriller, I recommend you read this book. It’s a good start for a gripping series, and the cliffhanger ending will leave you anxious for the next installment.
Pages: 247 | ASIN: B01C9UN2IU