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Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest

Black Inked Pearl: A Girl's Quest

An epic tale spun from erratic thoughts placed into text and delivered to the world. That is the sense that readers will get from Black Inked Pearl A Girl’s Quest by Ruth Finnegan. Our protagonist, Kate, is searching for something. She is on a journey through years and lifetimes as she seeks out this piece that is required to complete her. We see this world through her eyes, her thoughts and her experiences. The tale is epic not only in page count, but in content as well. We know that Kate has lost something, that she is searching for this thing, but we don’t know exactly what it is. We are left with speculation and can only turn the next page to find out if she has achieved her goal. With songs, poetry and influences of dreams long past, this tale is one that is begging to be heard.

The way this book is written, with its dream-like prose and fractured sentences, allows this epic fantasy novel to be told in a stream of consciousness style of writing. The thoughts are thrown at the reader: fast and unforgiving. At first glance, the reader may think that our protagonist, Kate, has simply gone mad and the first chapters are from her point of view. However, the entire book reads that way and, if you are not paying close attention, you may get lost. Readers are quickly taken from scene to scene and thought to thought with barely a lull. Perfect for readers who like to be fully engaged in a story.

The words are very beautiful. The poetry both original and borrowed lends a mystical air to the story. If you view the entire book as a sort of waking-dream, it begins to make sense. This writing style is wonderful for conveying emotions and we can get a better sense of how Kate is feeling as she continues her search. The blending of a warped reality with a warped sense of fantasy lends well to the thought of this being a dream-like state that Kate has found herself in.

A whirlwind of a read is what you’ll find between the covers of Black Inked Pearl A Girl’s Quest by Ruth Finnegan. The mystical sense of the book is intriguing. This is a book recommended to be finished in one sitting as you may find it hard to pull away. The dream-like madness that seems to grip the pages make for an exciting read, but this can also be overwhelming. This may be a book suited to seasoned readers who are looking for a dreamlike story of epic proportions.

Pages: 286 | ASIN: B0158VRF26

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A World of Wonder

A World of Wonder by [Ford, Brent A., Hazlehurst, Lucy McCullough]

A World of Wonder by Brent A. Ford and Lucy McCullough Hazlehurst is an educational combination of photographs and poetry, designed to be enjoyed by parents and children together. Giving the latter an interest in the world and to act as a starting point for appreciating its wonders. It consists of 41 high-quality, color images of nature and natural phenomena across the globe, each paired with a relevant, short poem – some newly written for the book, and some classics. The interactive copy has links to further information related to each photo.

The first thing that struck me was the quality of the photos, which are expertly-framed, beautiful shots of a range of animals, scenery, and weather across the globe, as well as views from beyond the upper atmosphere. As an adult, I still wonder at many of them, so it must be magical for a child. They evoke multiple emotions – some are dramatic, some cute, some calm – but all are of a suitable nature for young children, as should be expected.

The accompanying poems are apt for the stated age range of 3-8, and grade level K-2; they’re short, accessible and fun to read aloud. Some are humorous, while many are more instructive about the habits of animals or natural processes. They match well with the photos, and explore different aspects of life on Earth.

The combined variety of photos and poems are ideal for promoting conversation of all kinds between parents and children; it’s easy to tell that the authors have experience in education. Not just parents, but teachers could certainly get a lot of use out of this book, too.

It’s not particularly long, and because it’s designed to be picked up and put down, it seems perfect for different attention spans and available periods of time. It could be used at bedtime, or for car journeys.

The amazing choice of photographs enables you to revisit this book many times, so parents can ask different questions to highlight different points and to introduce more complex ideas as their child grows. This flexibility of use would is a huge draw for parents. It would be ideal for guessing games – trying to remember the photo from the poem, or even the poem from the photo. Budding artists could get some great inspiration from it, and it could be a very useful starting point for crafting projects or for guided research about animal habits and habitat.

I appreciate the authors’ aims and the work that they have put into the book in order to achieve them. A World of Wonder truly delivers on the wonder that it promises.

Pages: 88 | ASIN: B072LJWBSZ

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In Between… Life

In Between... Life: Selected Poems

In Between… Life by Luiz Valério de Paula Trindade is a collection of 30 of the Brazilian poet’s English-language works. Each poem is headed by a full-page, colour photograph that is related to the topic of the poem, showcasing the poet’s other loves of photography and travel. In the introduction, he states that his vision for the collection was to capture a range of human emotional experience in the most apt words possible, but without making the poetry feel inaccessible and distant. It’s supposed to feel like a conversation with a friend.

I loved the idea behind this collection, of sharing poetry as widely as possible. I can certainly imagine philosophising about some of the topics late into the night with a friend. Unfortunately, in places this aim detracted from the poetry itself, leading to the telling-rather-than-showing, shallow exploration of Human Dignity, or some of the repetitive, clichéd references to an unapproachable woman in impenetrable armour.

In other places, though, there was evocative imagery that I instantly related to; Turning the Page is a mature description of unrequited love, and it’s expressed as a rounded story. Many of my favourite poems appeared in the latter half of the collection, and most had this same characteristic. The well-chosen order of the lines and stanzas of You Don’t Know allowed me to travel with the main character as their feelings developed, and the ending felt like the cliffhanger in a novel – I wanted to find out what happened next!

Love is a common theme, but I felt as though more aspects of it could have been covered besides the romantic one – Especially For You was a notable exception.  Within the romantic poems, Today stood out for me, written with a beautiful simplicity that was still deeply imbued with meaning. The repetition of similar phrases has a strength of several other poems. How combines this with descriptive imagery which really got me feeling its frustration! The rhythm adds to this nicely, but I thought the ending of it was a little awkward. I put this down to the occasional, unnatural syntax. I can imagine that in the poet’s native Portuguese these phrases would flow smoothly.

The last two poems I want to mention are Why I Write and Words. As a writer, their content resonated with me, and I think their description of the process and the importance of writing could help people who have different creative outlets to understand why I spend so much time doing it!

Overall, I believe the collection did cover a range of aspects of the human experience, and although it didn’t work for all of them, the poems that did benefit from the simple phrasing were very effective in bringing the emotions alive for me.

Pages: 94 | ISBN: 154303988X

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Pearl of the Seas

Pearl of the Seas4 StarsIn this delightfully imaginative tale, two children, Chris and Kate, find a log of driftwood on the beach. They decide to build a boat and sail across the ocean. Whether by magic or imagination, the two friends and their little dog Holly build their ship, name it the Pearl of the Seas, and begin their journey. Like any fairy tale, there are obstacles to overcome, dangers to face, and kind strangers to help them along their way. They rely on friendship, faith, and kindness to see them home to a happy ending.

Intended as a prequel to Black Inked Pearl, a romance novel, this story is dedicated to young teens. I believe it would also appeal to middle-grade youth as well. There’s a real sense of youth-centered discovery and the freedom to let creative fancies bloom into epic adventures. And I don’t use ‘epic’ lightly; the author weaves in themes, events, and allusions borrowed from the Bible, the original Greek epics, tales of Aladdin and Orpheus, and classic narrative poetry. Indeed, poetry is the heart of the tale, and to me, it read less like a novel and more like a prose poem:

“All things stayed silent. Harkening. The gulls sat in white lines along the rocks; on the beach, great seals lay basking and kept time with lazy heads; while silver shoals of fish came up to hearken, and whispered as they broke the shining calm.”

Poems in traditional form are often combined with the prose. Finnegan creates a language that can take some time to get used to the unusual sentence structure and sing-song pattern of the words. In some passages, the child-like way of chaining words together lends an air of playfulness. Since readers (especially young readers) may be inspired to learn more about the poetry and prose of the book, the author includes a section of notes at the end. She offers more information about key phrases and events, poetic references, and the inspiration for some of the key events in the story. I found this to be a big help in deciphering some of the words and concepts of the book.

The characters are charming. Kate and Chris have their own problems in the real world. Kate is perplexed by math and the nuns who teach her; Chris has lost his mother and is being raised by a foster father. Holly, the dog, finds every opportunity for danger and gives both children a chance to play hero and rescue her. Once they’re sailing the sea of dreams, they meet Yahwiel with his riddles, as well as the benevolent King and Queen who live on an Eden-like island. These characters all have an air of the divine, and the lessons they teach are steeped in the Christian faith.

If you’re looking for a unique book for a young reader or a short chapter book to read to very young children, Pearl of the Seas is a unique story that goes beyond mere entertainment. It’s an excellent introduction to poetry, classic literature, and imagination.

Pages: 138 | ISBN: 1625902557

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Hungry Monster Book Awards: August 2016

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.

Gold Book AwardGold Award Winners

Death Leaders by Kendra Hadnott

Jabberwocky: A Novella by Theodore Singer

Silver Book AwardSilver Award Winners

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.

 

Visit the Hungry Monster Book Awards page to see more information on the awards. See all award winners.

Because it Touches the Soul

“Highlights both the skill and depth of a maturing poet” – The US Review of Books

“A wonderful poetry collection that will delight readers” – The Columbia Review

Author Interview with Lyman Ditson, author of Please Don’t Ask.

Please Don’t Ask is a collection of 51 poems covering a wide range of topics. Dog Nap is my favorite poem. What is your favorite poem in the collection, and why?

Bracelet. Because it touches the soul. It makes us deal with the inevitability of death. I remember the moment that held so much contrast between my mother’s innocent happiness at getting a bracelet and my sadness that she didn’t understand the meaning of the bracelet.

Some poems cover mundane things, like dogs taking up too much room on the bed, while other poems such as Dear Brother, are beautiful and seem deeply personal. Was there any inspiration pulled from real life that you put into your poems?

Yes. Pretty much all of the poems were either about my experience or were pulled out from my spiritual experiences. Some were just silly such as Frog Heaven.

I liked this collection because I could grasp the meaning of the poems, but they were still complex enough to keep me thinking about them after they were done. Do you have a specific style that you like to write in?

I don’t know if I have a favorite style. I love having diversity of style. Most poetry books from one poet use pretty much the same style and it doesn’t seem as alive after a while of reading as when different styles and subjects are used.

Here is a poem from Lyman Ditson.

Yet

Yet still I wait,

the calling distractions
impale me,

yet

I recall the whisper
of grace
and

yet still I wait

Please Don't AskPlease Don’t Ask is an eclectic mix of spiritual and secular poetry written by Lyman Ditson. You will find inspirational as well as comical work in this book. Do not be surprised by the occasional critique of situations that are happening in the world today. Two poems, Cricketland and Adobe Land will seem very familiar to those who know Austin, Texas, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The inspiration for these poems comes from not only a deep commitment spiritually but also an awareness of how day-to-day life can be affected by things outside of our understanding. “Please Don’t Ask” is enjoyable both as a casual read but will also be of interest to students of life in general. “Please Don’t Ask” is suitable for readers of all ages and all students of life.

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Please Don’t Ask

Please Don't Ask5 StarsPlease Don’t Ask by Lyman Ditson is a collection of poetry. There are fifty-one poems in the collection covering a wide range of topics and eliciting emotions of all kinds from the reader. The book opens with the title poem please don’t ask. It sets the tone for this collection, one of sarcasm and dry wit. It makes it clear this is not a book of love poems, or Shakespeare. This is not the book for someone looking for romantic rhyming verses with perfect meter or even following any standard poetic mechanisms. Instead, Ditson uses freeform prose, punctuation and line breaks to convey a deep message in each poem.

Some of the poems are light hearted such as dog nap, a playful take on the frustration of how such a small creature can take up the whole bed when they refuse to move. This is something all animal owners are well aware of. Than there are poems like the general. This piece speaks of war. One of the longer poems in the collection, it goes into great detail talking about the meaninglessness and pain that war causes, that it is not by God’s direction, and not some grand event to run quick into. Instead the author shows the pain, the meaningless loss of life and just the drudgery that is there, not glory.

Ditson has the ability to cover topics well that are mundane and those that are deep. He questions God’s will in many of the poems and those that are devote believers might take offense to some of his tone. Than there are poems such as Dear Brother, that are beautiful and deeply personal. Speaking of the everlasting relationship between brothers that will extend even beyond death. The poem frog heaven gives the reader a look into the world of what might be. It makes the reader stop and think of life in a new perspective, not all things that look bad to start are in the end. The author challenges the reader to think further than the moment and see the whole picture, not just in them, but of the world. Trying to feel truly strikes at the heart of some of todays problems in the world, the inattentiveness we have for those around us as we divulge deeper and deeper into the electronic world. The collection ends with several poems dealing with the end of things, death, end of a season of life, and a message that we are all smaller than we think we are in this world.

Over all Lyman Ditson’s collection of poetry is a good read. It brings forth an emotional response from the reader, as all good poetry should. I enjoyed the lack of whimsical prose and the more sarcastic realist views. The collection brings you face to face with many of the modern issues we are living with right now. It does not shy away from the topics that people do not want to think about. Thought provoking and meaningful poetry, a collection that can bring the reader in and leave them thinking about the subjects well after the cover is closed.

Pages: 140 | ISBN: 1504350324

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Intensity of Emotion

Black Inked Pearl is a romance story following a young woman who falls in love with a mysterious man and then must search for him through Heaven and Hell. I found Kate to be a very well written and in depth character. What was your inspiration for her and her emotional turmoil through the story?

My reading: above all (as you’ll see from the similes) Homer and the mystic love poetry of Shakespeare, Blake and Rumi. Music – the dreams in which the book was given to me (from where?), one dream / one chapter a night for about two months, were interlaced with my hearing classical music through the night, most poignantly Bach, slow Mozart piano and John Rutter’s ‘Blessing’. But most of all my life, living through it:, I think no serious novelist can write of love or emotion of searching unless she has experienced it herself, at least in imagination (what else?): as the agreed poet Aeschylus rightly summed it up ‘learning through suffering … ‘

Within this book you flawlessly blend poetry with prose that brings beauty and intrigue to the story. It takes exceptional talent to blend the two genres together. How did you go about blending the two genres without disrupting the story?

I don’t think they’re essentially so very different, in fact some of the ‘poetry’ could equally well be set as rhythmic prose (my publisher – lovely Garn Press – had quite a discussion about which should be which, we changed our minds several times), and ‘prose passages’ could equally appear as poetry (actually, some of the ‘prose’ similes are now set as verse in my Poems from Black Inked Pearl: after all many of them came directly from, or were inspired, by Homer, the great arch poet). Also as I learned when I was writing my book Oral Poetry it’s really only a fairly recent typographical western convention that makes prose ‘look’ different from poetry. Ultimately it’s the SOUND and the INTENSITY OF EMOTION – or so I think -that are fundamental to poetry, and that, for me anyway, runs all through the book. So in a way it’s all poetry and I couldn’t feel any break between them. That said, interestingly, the poems came separately, also in dreams (each one already made, complete, perfect – well as perfect as it was ever going to get anyway) over the months BEFORE the novel started, mysteriously, to arrive. I thought  they were independent poems. But when the novel chapters were written I saw that, all the time, they were part of the story and needed to be there. So now, there they are.

I felt that Black Inked Pearl is about love, romance, and life experiences that shape the person we become. Is there any moral or idea that you hope readers take away from the story?

I think – as in The Alchemist (a kind of soulmate book with mine) follow your dream, whatever anyone else says – and maybe at the end of that rainbow what you will find will be the pearl, yourself. Love is all, even if unrequited – that has its deep treasures too. The ‘new’ words (the Garn Press copy editor said there were hundreds!!) just came to me; they were just standing there already in my mind (like the poems were), complete, ready to be written. When I looked back (having forgotten…) I saw that they were (almost) all because they made the line SOUND better, more rhythmic. Roll on the audio, oral, version for its full realization, much influenced by my experience of African (and Irish) oral story telling. Oh and often it turned out to be sense too – some subtle change from the meaning conveyed by the ‘ordinary’ form – didn’t James Joyce and Homer and even Shakespeare sometimes find they had to do the same? (sorry, what a comparison….)

Author Links: Facebook | GoodReads | LinkedIn | Twitter | The Open University | Garn Press

Black Inked Pearl: A Girl's QuestAn epic romance about the naive Irish girl Kate and her mysterious lover, whom she rejects in panic and then spends her life seeking. After the opening rejection, Kate recalls her Irish upbringing, her convent education, and her coolly-controlled professional success, before her tsunami-like realisation beside an African river of the emotions she had concealed from herself and that she passionately and consumingly loved the man she had rejected. Searching for him she visits the kingdom of beasts, a London restaurant, an old people’s home, back to the misty Donegal Sea, the heavenly archives, Eden, and hell, where at agonising cost she saves her dying love. They walk together toward heaven, but at the gates he walks past leaving her behind in the dust. The gates close behind him. He in turn searches for her and at last finds her in the dust, but to his fury (and renewed hurt) he is not ecstatically recognised and thanked. And the gates are still shut.Buy Now From Amazon.com

Humanizing the Process

Mirta OlivaSublime Adoption delivers the adoption story from three points of view; from the mother, adoptive parents, and child. From what point of view did you find the easiest to write and which was the hardest?

Adoptions can be for the most part sublime when the endeavor by all parties is a noble one, following legalities and heart dictates. All parties have something to give and some have a lot to lose. For a long time, I had been troubled by certain perceived notions of the good or bad roles each character played in real life’s adoptions. Thus, I tried to impart the right balance in my story by humanizing the process, recognizing the individual pains, and giving credit to those who deserved it – all the while equating the status of being adopted with that of feeling wanted; hence, it was an equally sensible act for me to passionately engage in each subplot – from one character to the next – despite their angst.

It seemed like you took your time in building the characters and the story to great emotional effect. How did you manage the pacing of the story while keeping readers engaged?

I did not plan the whole story at the outset, though I knew how far I wanted to go with it. On those premises, I let the story evolve as I wrote – something I always do. Although the adoption theme was to be the crux of the story, a passionate and illicit love intervened throughout the first chapters, giving way to lies and deception. Each wrong move by two of the characters brought about a new unforeseen scenario, resulting in  a story within a story – adding complicacy and interest.

There was a constant theme of poetry being used to express emotions throughout the story. How do you think poetry bridges the emotional gap between fictional characters and the reader?

When I interject poetry within a story, I am trying to add emphasis to a prior segment. Either the narrative voice or the characters at play can surprise the reader in verse form with their condensed experiences, feelings or thoughts.

Do you have a poem you could share with us?

I am glad to share a love poem, extracted from my recently published book which includes love, motivational, inspirational, abstract and miscellaneous poems.

NIGHT OF NIGHTS
© Mirta Oliva

Night of nights…
As the moon gleefully shines above,
Falling stars spray silvery rays
And a derelict wind blows across my face.
I then feel the warm embrace
Of this radiant night
While I wait for my love to arrive.
.
Night of nights…
Could that be him coming from afar?
I feel his presence ever so near…
But why is the wind swirling around me,
The shimmering stars disappearing,
And the moon beginning to hide,
As I long for my love to be here?
.
I prefer to ponder in vain
Than to hear the truth once again
That my love may never return…
But my doubts have now disappeared…
A guiding star brings his vessel so near
With flashing lights beaming in my eyes
Sending me a message of love so dear…
Nigh of nights, my love has arrived!

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As the title implies, this is a tale of love and mendacity, recurring acts that surround the unique sublime adoption theme. The story does not lead to a merciless condemnation of certain characters for mistakes or actions in their past; instead, it focuses on the cumulative ill effects of lies and deception as the only way to deal with difficult situations. In the end, repentance and forgiveness prevailed, providing a new insight into the complex spectrum of adoptions.

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