Soul Seeker opens with a man on death row for the murder of his son. What seems like a heartbreaking homicide with a bleak conclusion turns into a riveting supernatural tale when the man on death row tells his lawyers the truth. A demon named Crighton killed his son. This sets the tone for a novel that is equal parts grounded and gritty with a good measure of the supernatural to keep you guessing.
What I truly enjoyed about this book was the characters. Each one is meticulously developed and evolves as the story progresses. Benjamin Poe, the dedicated father, is empathetic but strong. Crighton is the stand out character, for me, in this haunting novel. He’s Lucifer’s top soul catcher and through his introduction and story line we get to explore various ideas about morality, or the perception of morality, and the dividing line between the two. As well as how choice plays into all of it. Kaylin McFarren has done an excellent job of creating a gray area that allows your mind to wander while being absolutely thrilled by the intricate paranormal story that unfolds.
What happens when a demon and an angel fall in love? As in the beginning, I was not expecting this book to pivot to a paranormal story, and then pivot again to a romance story. Kaylin McFarren has a similar literary talent to Stephen King in her ability to introduce just the right amount of mystery into a story that keeps things eerie and the tension high. Soul Seeker is an exceptional paranormal thriller that delves into the souls of humans, demons and angels. What we uncover is surprising.
Pages: 345 | ISBN: 9798665284903
Tags: angel, author, book, book review, bookblogger, demon, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, horror, Kaylin McFarren, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, Soul Seeker, story, supernatural, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
The Night and the Land is the kind of book you need to get when you come out of a massive reader’s block. The storyline is thrilling, the characters are impressive and Matt Spencer’s writing style is engaging. The author knows how to capture the reader’s interest through minute things like the description of events and details of locations. This is a story propelled forward by Sally and Rob’s characters. A unique development of characterization plays well within the confines of this gritty dark fantasy novel.
We follow the lives of Sally Wildfire and Bob among many other interesting characters. Sally’s family is not the best. They show inconsiderate at best and cruel at their worst. While running away from her family, Sally comes across a compelling young lad, Rob. Sally and Rob begin to develop a relationship that is gripping and provocative. I was fond of Rob but I liked Rob’s father even more. I was thrilled by the father’s surreptitious past and wished the author had written more about him. Reading about the characters’ families, their backgrounds and relations with each other was the most thrilling part for me in the book.
Character development is one of the best features in Mat Spencer’s writing. His style makes it easy for the reader to follow and enjoy the plot and activities the characters engage in. The supernatural elements and the horror incorporated among the themes in the book spiced up the sometimes horrific story. The transition from somewhat real life-like setting to events in dark fantasy is magical.
The Night and the Land is an enthralling dark fantasy novel, utilizing the best parts of the horror genre to explore the depths of some captivating characters.
Pages: 362 | ASIN: B07N7T224R
Iron Dogs follows a group of outlaws who are wounded and on the run. They seek shelter in a deserted New Mexico town. However, they soon realize that something is seriously amiss in the town. Something evil lurks in the shadows. The band of outlaws, once the ones bringing the trouble to town, are now the ones who must fight against it. Each man is tested beyond his limits. Who, if any, will survive the evil that lurks within this desolate town.
Iron Dogs book mixes horror with action and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The story begins with Father Ramon, and immediately there are little tidbits that lead you deeper into an intricately woven story that continues to gain layers as the story progresses. The tone is set from the start, a blend of western thriller with modern horror. I could tell from the first page that the novel was setting a gritty and intense tone. The band of outlaws are close at first, but the challenges that lay ahead test their personal limits as well as the limits of their relationship when they must decide who will be sacrificed.
One of the characters, in particular, Virgil, reminded me of people I knew (in certain scenes) that had me feeling more invested. Especially as the book began to get creepier. One of the things that really thrilled me about this novel was the western feel that permeated the novel, reminiscent of George A. Romero’s gruesome and satirical horror films. Though Virgil was one of the characters who stood out the most to me, I enjoyed Frank’s character as well. As with any good book, the characters act the way they do because of inner motivations and characteristics, making the reader feel a connection to them. A word of warning Iron Dogs will pull you into the characters, but it takes a few chapters. They seem a bit shallow at first, but given time they develop into some intriguing characters.
Iron Dogs is one crazy good story. If you are a fan of riveting horror novels with plentiful action then Neil Chase has written a novel just for you.
Pages: 322 | ASIN: B07CV85D36
Tags: action, author, book, book review, bookblogger, crime book, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, horror, Iron Dogs, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, Neil Chase, nook, novel, occult, read, reader, reading, scary story, story, thriller, urban fantasy, western, writer, writing
The third book in Shannon Condon’s popular Magdalena series, Spider’s Web follows the titular character Maggie and her team of special ops, as they take on new missions from the safety of the Grid. Three years have passed since Maggie’s near fatal injury, but the memories and the scars still haunt her. Unfulfilled and depressed at home, Maggie is determined to reenter the field, whatever the cost. But she’s unsure of who to trust, and equally as unsure of the real world she’s kept herself away from. Before she even has time to plan her next move, Maggie finds herself kidnapped by an unknown foe while on holiday. With old enemies lurking at every turn, will she ever be able to escape the deadly web of her own making?
With plenty of twists, turns, and double crosses that will keep any reader guessing, Spider’s Web is a fast paced novel, part spy thriller, part crime fiction, and part character-driven drama. There’s enough action and adventure to keep mystery enthusiasts happy, and enough turmoil to keep contemporary fiction readers turning the pages. As much about Maggie as it is her kidnapping and the odyssey that follows, the Magdalena series’ third chapter proves Condon’s ability to entertain and enthrall, drawing us into the characters and the world she’s created.
Peripherally, Spider’s Web is a spy thriller, but Maggie is the core of the story. We learn more about her past, her family, and how all the pieces come together for her. Described as female James Bond, Maggie is an intriguing and complex character, whose hardened interior hides a soft, vulnerable core. Whether her anxieties and her panic attacks humanize her or isolate her, depends very much on the reader. For those that like their characters well rounded, if not flawed, Maggie will be a welcome relief from stock action heroes. But those uninterested in bouts of melancholic wallowing, may find that the heavy dialogue bogs down the storytelling at times. Less of a flaw than a marmite situation, Maggie makes or breaks the work, depending on which side of the fence you sit on.
Spider’s Web contains an involving story and some fine writing that is a satisfying read.
Pages: 406 | ASIN: B089QKY87S
Pandora’s Gardner follows a harmless gardner who finds himself between two deadly factions fighting over a piece of tech in his possession. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
The inspiration is drawn from multiple sources, but the main one is the Alfred Hitchcock film, North by Northwest with Cary Grant as the advertising executive Roger Thornhill, who is inadvertently drawn into a web of intrigue through a case of mistaken identity. Other inspiration was the Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan. In both instances, the protagonists are on the run, and getting by on their wits, not knowing who to trust. Other sources were from Saturday morning matinee and the serials from the 1930’s – I always enjoyed the way that at the end of each episode there was a unresolved question or a jeopardy, and you had to come back to find out what happened next.
Concerning the technology, I was reading an article some years ago about someone who, in desperation, waded through the local waste dump looking for a disk drive that he had thrown out. He thought it was worthless, until he realised that it contained a Bitcoin key, apparently worth a fortune. I wondered, what if it had contained something other than a Bitcoin? As technology is ubiquitous and all looks the same, how easy would it be to hide something valuable in plain sight?
Other inspiration was from early childhood and a Brothers Grimm fairy tale, the “Brave Little Tailor”. The story starts with the tailor, preparing to eat some jam and when flies settle on it, he kills seven of them with one blow. He is so proud of this feat that he makes a belt inscribed with “Seven at One Blow”. This leads to various adventures where people assume the “seven” are men, and he rises to various challenges by using his wits. I liked the idea of this misinterpretation of ability driving events.
John is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?
I didn’t want John to be some kind of invincible figure, I had other characters that could fulfil that role, but similarly I didn’t want him to be a wimp who miraculously transforms into a heroic figure as the story continues. He is an everyman, albeit someone who has kept himself in shape and has a sharp brain. I wanted someone who could be put in a situation, and then readers could say, “what would I have done?” rather than thinking, “well – he can do that because he is . I made John a gardener as it was as far as I could get from ex-detective, bodyguard etc A gardener embodies good honest labour, unlike some characters in the book.
The other key thing is that John isn’t entirely comfortable with the idea that some women fancy him, although he always considers women equal, (as it should be). This allowed for interesting dynamics between him and the female leads.
I enjoyed the mix of action and humor in this book. Is this indicative of your normal writing style or something you tried for this novel?
It’s the way I write. Escapism is incredibly important to me, there is more than enough of the real world to go around. When I write I need both action and humour as otherwise I could end up with full on action, (which would wear me out), or a total gag-fest which would end up being forced and not funny. For me humour and action complement each other, it’s like salt and vinegar. Too much of one can leave an overpowering taste in the mouth. I enjoy what I call the “gear change”, to be able to move between serious and humorous prose, and attempting to do it without jarring, although sometimes it’s fun to use that deliberately to keep the story varied.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
It was my intention that Pandora’s Gardener be a standalone adventure. The problem with sequels is “second album syndrome”. How do you follow up, what if the next book is worse than the previous? That said, jotting down idle notes the other day, I realised that there is still more of the story to be told, (without over contriving or forcing it), and I was curious as to how it would end. Therefore, there will be a sequel to Pandora’s Gardener. I’m sketching out the plot at the moment. As to when it will be available, that will be a couple of years I’m afraid. The writing is the relatively quick bit – the time is in the rewrites – I do a lot of them. I’m sure with practice it will improve.
All I can say is that I’ll be expanding some minor characters to cope with an ongoing mystery of Pandora, and John is unwillingly roped in…
Posted in Interviews
Tags: action, adventure, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, david mason, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, Pandora's Gardner, read, reader, reading, science fiction, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Someone To Kiss My Scars is a wonderful amalgam of coming of age, mystery, science fiction, and love story. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that change as you wrote?
The character of Jazz was the impetus for this story—passionate about science, trying to find a way to deal with her childhood trauma and her ineffectual mother, forced to grow up much too fast in a world where body shaming is the norm. She has every reason to be depressed, to have no interests, to be bored with life and the world. Yet she has an unflappable spirit and a burning need to find some happiness in her life. I have always been fascinated with the nature of memory and consciousness. Where do they exist? How can two people who have experienced the same event remember it differently? Can ions passing across a synaptic gap hold memories? What if they actually exist outside the body and the brain is a receiver? These are all legitimate questions that many respected scientists have pondered. The experiment which Jazz conducts in the story where she trains worms, amputates their heads, and then discovers that the worms still retain their memories is an actual famous experiment performed years ago and redone more recently. So the idea that Hunter can capture the memories of others is a direct result of the ideas behind that experiment.
Hunter is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?
Hunter lost everything—his mother, his memories, his younger brother, his purpose. He lives with a seemingly disinterested father who offers no emotional support. He writes stories of imaginary worlds until his brain is invaded by salacious, cruel stories about people he’s never met. Where do they come from? Who can he tell? Jazz befriends him, both dying from loneliness, and their relationship grows. Jazz serves as his guide, trying to explain his visions. Once Hunter realizes that he can remove a painful memory and that so many kids have suffered horribly, he grows into a fighter, someone who will accept any burden to relieve others of their pain. He faces his dark past, which would destroy most anyone else, and channels his pain into the desire to rid others of their pain.
This novel explores abuse in many different forms. What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Too many people believe the experiences depicted in this book are rare and should not be depicted. In fact, more kids and teens suffer from abuse than most realize. I have seen the effects of every kind of abuse against a teen and the lingering harm such events cause throughout their lives. In my experience, most kids suffer some kind of abuse from others or themselves. Their stories need to be told. When some complain that such stories should be muted, that writers who use them sensationalize relatively rare events to drive a story, I have trouble stifling my anger. Too many people chose to ignore reality and believe that focusing on stories without sexual content will keep teens from engaging in sex. The most difficult job today is being a teenager.
One of the main themes is the love between Jazz and Hunter. They know EVERYTHING about each other yet they still love. Hunter has seen Jazz’s darkest days and deeds and finds his heart still filled with love for her. As Hunter says, “People start to heal when someone cares enough to accept their suffering. They finish healing when they kiss someone else’s scars.” Redemption comes only when someone tries to help another.
What is the next project you are working on?
I am currently writing the sequel to Some Laneys Died, but I also have plans to write a sequel to Someone To Kiss My Scars. I also have ideas for two other books dealing with racial conflict. Too much to do and not enough time to do it.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, Brooke Skipstone, ebook, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, love story, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, science fiction, Someone To Kiss My Scars, story, teen fiction, writer, writing, young adult
Adam Frankenstein: Search for a Soul is a collection of thought-provoking short stories. What were some sources that informed your writing?
First, I read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Or The Modern Prometheus. I knew the Universal Studios and Hammer films weren’t true to the book, as movies often aren’t, and I wanted my Frankenstein to be based off the book. In the book he is a sympathetic character, but becomes a murderer. He’s not given the chance to redeem himself and I wanted that opportunity for him.
Next, I read about Mary Shelley. It was important to me to get inside her head and understand her motivations. I watched the movie about her life and I read several books about her including Mary Shelley: Her Circle and Her Contemporaries and Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein. I read university papers about her life and spoke to professors and other experts.
I’ve always been a fan of horror. I love the classics. I’ve read and reread so many classic horror tales that I plan on tapping into as I write. I read modern horror as well. I want to be able to appeal to the modern reader while intriguing them with classic stories.
Adam is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?
I’ve always felt especially drawn to two fictional characters in my life; Frankenstein’s monster and Jane Eyre. There’s something about a person who is all alone in the world trying to be better even when no one else might care about their life. I admit that Adam has some traits you may find in Mr. Rochester. Rochester warred with himself, justifying what he did even when he knew it was wrong. But, he had such passion the reader forgave him his past deeds and wanted to see him become the man Jane deserved.
In the novel, Frankenstein, the monster, who I’ve called Adam, is intelligent and realizes his own plight. He’s not the green-faced monster of the movies. His acceptance of the world’s rejection of him drives him to insist on a companion so he won’t be alone. I think we can all relate to feeling alone in the world at some point in our lives. What can loneliness drive us to do?
I knew immediately that the only way to keep Adam from becoming a true monster was to give him love and let him experience love for someone, or something else. A life totally devoid of love will certainly make anyone a monster. I gave him Bella, his little dog who also happens to be immortal. It wasn’t just the fact that dogs will love you no matter what you look like as long as you’re kind, but it was Adam’s experience of loving and of knowing he had the capacity to love that changed the trajectory of his life.
The Madame and the Madman is my favorite story from the collection. Do you have a favorite, or one that stands out from a writers perspective?
Although I admit to loving any story Victor Dracula shows up in, such as The Madame and the Madman, my personal favorite to date is Marked. It can be difficult to show character growth in short stories. And though I hope to show a little of that in each story, I felt Marked showed the greatest growth. Adam starts out a total brute willing to kill someone for kicking his dog. He’s calculating and unsympathetic to Seline at first. But, the little girl and her acceptance of him change things in Adam. Knowing that Sabine is not the girl’s mother, but is risking her life for the child change something in him. I love who he is at the end of this story.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I recently signed a contract with an amazing agent who is excited about Adam and the other stories surrounding Mary Shelley’s League of Supernatural Hunters. I’m doing the final edits of The Deadly Pieces, which is the first full Adam Frankenstein novel. It’s set in modern times and he has become a U.S. Marshal in Houston, TX. He’s secretly after a witch conducting unsanctioned experiments on the homeless population. So, there’s still the paranormal element though I do work with an actual U.S. Marshal to ensure any procedural parts of the book are correct.
I do have Adam Frankenstein comic books and am currently working on his origin story according to my own mythology. That should be out the first part of next year.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: Adam Frankenstein: Search for a Soul, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, horror, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, occult, paranormal, read, reader, reading, science fiction, Sheila English, short stories, short story, story, supernatural, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Patch Man opens with bombs going off in the war torn country of Summia. One of these bombs injures a one armed child that the Patch Man heals with his magical patches. The ensuing events propels Patch Man and this child on a whirlwind adventure. They accumulate a band of intriguing companions on a treacherous quest into the depths of a dangerous labyrinth where they seek the key to ending the war.
The thrill of reading Patch Man does not stop even as the reader digs deeper into the book. Rick Stepp-Bolling has written a science fiction adventure novel that hearkens back to the classic fantasy epics of the 70′ and 80’s. The flow of the story is compelling and gets to be exciting with the revelation of every new plot twist and new character. I keep wanting to compare Patch Man to other epic fantasy novels because it captures that same feel while remaining within the science fiction genre. Reminding me of the movie Mad Max which is able to accomplish this same balance.
Patch Man and his young female companion have been prophesized to end the war, but even knowing this did not keep me from second guessing their ability to pull it off. While on such a nail biting adventure it is easy to overlook the prophesy and only see the danger ahead. Patch Man was an impressive character. His patches give him a unique ability I have not seen in any other fantasy novel. His skills made him feel like an original character, even within the confines of some fantasy tropes. The other supporting characters in the book were equal parts alluring and compelling. Each added a new ability to the group, and a new personality that added depth to the overall story.
The action oriented plot and the heavily detailed world makes this a book that is easy to get lost in. The story line had me hooked from chapter to chapter as the events continuously build tension. Patch Man is a great book for readers who enjoy science fiction, urban fantasy, and paranormal stories.
Pages: 324 | ASIN: B0759F9WDH
Tags: adventure, author, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, epic fantasy, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, paranormal, Patch Man, read, reader, reading, Rick Stepp-Bolling, science fiction, story, supernatural, suspense, thriller, urban fantasy, writer, writing