Ascension of the Phoenix follows a detective seeking release in street fighting, but success leads her down a dark path toward revenge. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
The major inspiration was Leila Wells, herself. I wanted to delve into the notion that everyone has a dark side and what would happen if someone who is an upright figure gives in and falls. Now for the street fighting and fighting tournament, Mortal Kombat and the Tekken video games were heavy influences. Being such a fan of Law and Order: SVU helped me make Leila a detective.
Leila is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?
She is who I wish I could be. An authoritative figure who is also fair and generous, and who uses her position for good. She doesn’t abuse her power. Doesn’t bow under pressure. Is physically and mentally strong. Someone who is in control of their emotions… well, sometimes.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Quite a few of them. One theme being the struggles against dark sides because Leila isn’t the only one. The different ways people deal with grief is another. Exploring how someone can lose who they think they are—their identity—and how they fight to come back, and how they sometimes change. And no matter how bleak or hopeless a situation, there is always hope/a light in the darkness—you just may have to wade through more darkness to reach it.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The Dragon of Russia is the next book in this trilogy and will be available August 2021. Like I did with Ascension of the Phoenix, a companion short story will also be released in the Fall. It will be called The Crane’s Dance, following a new character that Leila meets in Russia, like how The Panther’s Pride is in Jamaal Gordon’s POV.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: action, adventure, Ascension of the Phoenix, author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, Jessica Piro, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, suspense, thriller, urban fantasy, urban fiction, video games, womens fiction, writer, writing, young adult
Justin Madrid, in Aeon Rises, is a teenager, unhappy with how he is fitting in with his peers. The problem? He is not fitting in with his peers. He is weird and different than most of the other teens around him. He cannot play video games without getting blinding migraines. He also can’t be on anything electronic. He does have one good friend, Kevin. He spends most of his time trying to get his mom to give him a ride to school instead of making him ride the bus. Oh, and he really wants a smartphone so the other kids will stop making fun of him. Sounds pretty typical, right? Well, the book takes a whole other direction almost immediately.
Jim Cronin creates a different, fun world in this engaging book. Justin soon learns that he is not at all who he thought he was. He also learns that all is not as it appears in his small town. For instance, there are aliens running the library (an idea most kids could probably buy). The Skutarans, led by bad guy Keldon Ankara, at the library immediately see Justin as a threat and the adventure begins. Justin’s uncle, Jonah, knows all of the information that has been kept from Justin. He takes over with Justin and opens up a whole new world for him. With all of the new information, it is now up to Justin to save Earth from the Skutarans.
I enjoyed this book from the first chapter. I was immediately pulled into the story. The main characters are all teenagers, but I don’t think that affects who would enjoy the book. I think I enjoyed it as much as my teens would. Aliens play a huge part in the book. That aspect of it was very entertaining. I enjoyed reading about earthlings through the eyes of the aliens. It is very well written.
Along the way, Justin and his friend Kevin team up with an otherworldly girl named Myah. One of the best parts of the book is the way Justin and Kevin communicate in movie quotes, a fact that drives Myah crazy at first. It all evolves in a fun way though.
I would recommend this book to anyone, adult or child, science fiction lover or not. It was fast-paced and exciting. Despite it being science fiction, it was written in such a way that it almost seemed believable. I found myself reading it without having to suspend my disbelief. I also found myself thinking that the story would make a great movie. I liked the three young characters in the same way I liked the characters in Harry Potter when I first read that book. I highly recommend it.
Pages: 201 | ASIN: B07H5PCSJ4
Tags: aeon rises, alibris, alien, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, ebook, fantasy, fiction, fun, funny, goodreads, harry potter, ilovebooks, indiebooks, jim cronin, kindle, kobo, library, literature, movie quotes, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, science fiction, scifi, shelfari, smashwords, space, story, teen fantasy, teen fiction, video games, writer, writer community, writing, YA, young adult
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.
Bean Takes a Walk by Ann Bevans & Matthew Ethan Gray
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
Posted in Hungry Monster Book Award
Tags: action, adventure, alien, amazon, amazon books, author, author award, author interview, bean takes a walk, beyond cloud nine, book, book award, book review, books, chaste, children, crime, dark fantasy, ebook, ebooks, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, fighting, game, game over, genre fiction, goodreads, horror, interview, invasion, kids, kindle, literary award, literature, love, magic, mother athina, murder, mystery, novel, parents, post-apocalyptic, publishing, reading, review, reviews, romance, sci fi, science ficiton, science fiction, science fiction book review, seed of treachery, short stories, space, stories, teachers, the second sphere, the six and the gardeners of ialana, thriller, urban fantasy, video game, video games, war, wolves among sheep, women, writing, YA, young adult
Game Over begins inside a virtual world created by Sybil, an AI that rules over the virtual world of Elysium. Ekko Everlasting spawns into what seems to be a video game, armed and ready to fight, although he has no memory of who he is or why he’s there. He knows only his name and his innate ability to survive in a kill-or-be-killed environment. This skill helps him win his first match in No-Life, the most popular game in Elysium.
Flush from his win and mobbed by fans, he’s saved from an imposing cyberman—and potential deletion—by Ridley Scott, who tells him that Ekko is an important asset to the resistance. Ridley and his boss Dadgar recruit Ekko for their mission to find the central core of the Sybil system and free what’s left of humanity on Earth. Dadgar tells Ekko that Elysium was created to solve humanity’s problems, including illness and death, so millions of people were uploaded into the system. If humans in Elysium don’t live up to Sybil’s standards, embodied by the No-Life game, they are reprogrammed or deleted by the cybermen. Deletion brings death in the real world.
There’s a lot to like in this novel. The stakes are as high as they get: life or death for not only Ekko but humanity itself. The games he plays, No-Life, Myth and Magic, and The Test, bring the kind of exciting combat and split-second decision making that will keep you on the edge of your seat. His adversaries and allies are experts at the game, and the scenarios Sybil pits them against are both elegant and deadly.
There’s also a throwback to the “choose your own adventure” books that were popular in the late 1970’s and 80’s. At several points in the story, readers are given a choice for Ekko’s next action, and the wrong choice can lead to the words: Game Over! If you follow the right choices, it leads to a surprising conclusion with an interesting twist on Ekko’s mission—and his identity. His journey through the different levels of the game reveals the lengths that the elite will go in their quest for power. In this case, literal power measured in watts instead of mere credits.
A few things didn’t go over well. Every scene that ends with a choice of adventure has an obvious “opt out” spoiler, so it’s too easy to avoid the “game over” choice. I was also a little confused about the cyberman, Naraku Carbon. The author gives him an entire chapter and backstory, but after that chapter, he vanishes completely. His only contributions to Ekko’s story were brief encounters that could have been fulfilled by any anonymous security drone.
I would recommend this book to people who enjoy gaming, tense action scenes, and life or death adventure. Though it borrows a few concepts from popular movies like Battle Royale and The Matrix, Game Over offers an interesting take on what might happen if life really is a simulation.
Pages: 268 | ASIN: B01KNJ8WB6
Tags: action, adventure, ai, amazon, amazon books, author, battle royale, book, book review, books, chooes your own adventure, cyber, cyberpunk, derek edgington, dystopia, ebook, ebooks, elysium, entertainment, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, fighting, future, game over, games, goodreads, humor, kindle, literature, matrix, mystery, novel, publishing, reading, review, reviews, role playing, sci fi, science ficiton, science fiction, science fiction book review, stories, the matrix, thriller, video game, video games, virtual, writing
Mervyn vs. Dennis tells the story of Mervyn Kirby dealing with his crisis of a life. The story begins with Mervyn going into an interview to be a video game tester. A job that Mervyn is not interested in nor good at, but he desperately needs. When he finds out his boss is racist he pretends to be as well so that he will get hired. Dennis finds Mervyn to be a kindred spirit so he hires Mervyn. Dennis is disliked by many of the employees and doesn’t have many friends, but he doesn’t care. All he cares about is Mervyn. Things get out of hand when Mervyn tries to keep his distance and Dennis keeps pushing their friendship further. Dennis shows up everywhere Mervyn is, invites him for dinners and to his house. Mervyn realizes that Dennis has a secret. Determined to find out what it is, Mervyn discovers something horrifying and unbelievable.
Mervyn Kirby is smart, determined, and willing to take risks. He has no experience in his job but he takes it anyway. Dennis Lane is weird, funny, and understanding. The story reveals that not everyone is as they seem. Everyone fights their own devils and just because you think you know someone doesn’t mean you know what’s going on in their head. Dennis has a dark side that he hides from people very well.
I enjoyed the setting of this contemporary story. It was easy to immerse myself in the world because it’s delivered effortlessly. The humor is sharp and unexpected, even making me literally laugh out loud at times. The interactions between Dennis and Mervyn are something I always looked forward to when I picked the novel up to continue reading. And really it’s Mervyn’s interactions with everyone in the story that is entertaining; like with the CEO, with his first date, with his brother and his friend, and his colleagues. The reason why I liked this story so much was because it was believable. The struggles that Mervyn faced is much like the struggles we all face; a job he dislikes, trying to make ends meet, first date crisis, fussy boss, and family problems. The story is easy to connect to; however, I found that there was an overabundance of description rather than dialogue. Nonetheless, the mystery and the suspense of who the actual Dennis Lane is kept me going. I love a good mystery and this book has it all. The ending was spot on and will someone please tell me why everyone is carrying a pineapple.
Pages: 253 | ASIN: B01I1TAID0
Tags: amazon, amazon books, author, book, book review, books, comedy, crime, dark comedy, ebook, ebooks, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, funny, kindle, mervyn vs dennis, murder, mystery, niels saunders, novel, publishing, reading, review, reviews, satire, stories, suspense, thriller, urban fantasy, video games, writing