Monsterland Reanimated by Michael Okon

Monsterland Reanimated by Michael Okon
Publisher: WordFire Press
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (252 pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by Honeysuckle

After Monsterland has imploded, the entire world is thrown into chaos. World leadership is gone, economies have collapsed, and communications are non-existent. Wyatt must go beyond the boundaries of his small town to reestablish contact with the outside world, and alert the government about a traitor-in-chief.

During his journey he discovers a new threat released from the bowels of the defunct theme park.
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When an army of relentless mummies, a life-sucking ooze called The Glob, and a hybrid reanimated Behemoth rise from the depths of Monsterland, who will survive?

This ain’t no fun filled summer at Six Flaggs. The monsters are back and they mean business.

In the exciting followup to the hair raising Monsterland, Wyatt and his friends will face a new crop of creepies from down below. I could only imagine the new adventure author Michael Okon had come up with to keep this reader on the edge of my seat and turning pages furiously. I wasn’t ready and it was very exciting! Mummies and slimy blood sucking ooze?? Mr. Okon knows his key audience.

Wyatt won me over in Monsterland with his grit and typical teen self. Mr. Okon did an excellent job on character development. For anyone who lives with teen boys, this character is what you imagine. He’s smart but also sarcastic. Determined but also easily distracted. Speaking of distractions, there’s some sweet romance in this book.

Monsterland Reanimated is told from two POVs and has the feel of a very late 80’s B movie type, gritty dirt road town. I kept expecting giant worms to come burrowing out of the ground but, in truth, it was something a little more sinister. I liked how the author brings in the classic horror and makes it relevant to this modern story. Something, or I should say someone, makes a return that no one expected. But that wasn’t nearly as surprising as how the gang figures out how or with what to fight the mummies. This was a fun read.

Reader’s don’t have to have read Monsterland to understand book two but it helps. There are references that will make much more sense, plus the background of how it began. The author leaves the end of the book open to another adventure so, now is the perfect time to visit or maybe revisit Monsterland and it’s gallery of ghouls.

Final Solstice by David Sakmyster

Final Solstice by David Sakmyster
Publisher: WordFire Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (298 Pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

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When successful meteorologist Mason Griers is recruited to consult for a mysterious environmental firm, it’s the perfect chance to put his lifetime obsession with violent weather to practical use. Solstice Inc. promises a new technology that can accurately predict, and possibly control, catastrophic weather events around the world. Too late however, Mason learns that Solstice is made up of high ranking and powerful Druids, and he’s become an unwitting tool in the firm’s dark plot that could remake the world on a scale not seen since the last great extinction.

Mason Grier is flattered when he is recruited by Solstice Synergistic, Inc. After all, he is only a weatherman for a San Diego television station. He accepts the job right away when Solstice’s medical advances cure his daughter’s deafness. He doesn’t really think things through or examine the company at all. He just gets caught up in the moment. However, all too soon he begins to discover that Solstice has the power to change weather, making catastrophic storms at the wave of their Druid staffs. In addition, they have an agenda to stop global warming in ways that will cause mass extinctions. As Avery Solomon, the head of Solstice says to those Druids who want a more peaceful change, “You speak of balance, and I tell you, I am merely righting the balance, restoring power to where it belongs. Not with man and his technology and his medical miracles and his immunizations and ecological re-engineering. That is what has usurped the balance.”

Final Solstice is a very timely and engaging story. I found it especially powerful as I suffer through a very dry hot summer. Mason is obviously in over his head and it isn’t immediately obvious why Solomon has picked him or what he is supposed to do. I found Mason to be likeable and maybe a bit naïve and out of his element. However, he cares deeply for his family and he is a quick learner, especially when he is helped by the Druids who oppose Solomon.

Fantasy and mystery fans alike will enjoy this novel. It is filled with information about both weather and global warming, and the plot is well-grounded in facts. The mysteries abound and Mason has to work hard to become a force in his own right, rather than just Solomon’s puppet. Can he change the path that Solomon has set? Can he do it before the Earth is destroyed? Time is not on Mason’s side. This is a novel that isn’t easily set aside or forgotten.

Witches Protection Program by Michael Phillip Cash

Witches Protection Program by Michael Phillip Cash
Publisher: WordFire Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (216 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Wes Rockville, a disgraced law-enforcement agent, gets one last chance to prove himself and save his career when he’s reassigned to a 232-year-old secret government organization.

The Witches Protection Program.

His first assignment: uncover a billion-dollar cosmetics company’s diabolical plan to use witchcraft for global domination, while protecting its heiress Morgan Pendragon from her aunt’s evil deeds. Reluctantly paired with veteran witch protector, Alastair Verne, Wes must learn to believe in witches…and believe in himself.

Filled with adventure and suspense, Michael Okon creates a rousing, tongue-in-cheek alternate reality where witches cast spells and wreak havoc in modern-day New York City.

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The basic premise is one done before; youngest son tries to measure up to the expectations of a powerful parent and competes and loses to the overachieving elder siblings and the youngest never seems to do anything right. I have a lot of sympathy for Wes, the hero. Not only does he want to succeed and make his family proud, he has to contend with his reading disability. There are so many reasons to like Wes, and very few not to.

The difference is that the powerful parent is actually a good guy. He really does love his son so it was refreshing not to have to deal with that kind of family conflict. As for Wes’ mega-successful older siblings, they never appear on stage – I get the feeling that there is no animosity between them, just a fervent wish on the hero’s part to be successful in his own right. It sounds like he has a great family, and it wasn’t until the very, very end that I found out it’s a family with secrets. Wow, did my mouth hang open upon that realization! Talk about saving that extra fancy firework for the last hurrah in an amazing finale. I can assure you I was grinning from ear to ear.

Even though the majority of this novel is about Wes and his finding his own path and self-actualization, he isn’t the only star. Morgan is the heroine that readers will aptly come to the conclusion of being hapless, much to her aunt’s dismay and annoyance. The aunt is a very twisted soul and yet, in her own perverted way, I think she really does love her niece – she just has an unhealthy way of expressing it. Morgan, it turns out, isn’t as hapless or as helpless as a reader is lead to believe and that bumped up the story another notch on the ‘cool’ scale. However, I too would draw the line at gummy bugs come to life. What a master stroke of devious imagination. Ick!

One thing I’m absolutely happy about is the little electrical zings between Wes and Morgan. I don’t know if it will actually turn into a romance but they sure were in ‘serious like’ with each other. I know I am in like with them. J

Secondary characters are absolutely fascinating. Mr. Cash totally hoodwinked me because quite a few are not at all how they are initially portrayed. Only at the right time, when it benefited the story most, did the author whisk away the figurative tablecloth to magically reveal astounding truths, magic and connections. The condensing of the action into a tight well written couple of chapters filled with chases, attacks, magic fights and zooming witches, animated inanimate objects and colorful descriptions just blew me away. I just loved the flow of this novel.

The point of view is mostly told from Wes’ side, but Morgan has her moments as well as her aunt. The head-hopping was kept at a minimum however, so when it did occur, it was valuable and appreciated.

All in all, if you are looking for something different that entertains, amazes, impresses and surprises, Witches Protection Program will give you all that and more. It’s funny, clever, witty and smart. It’s action packed, fast moving and a fun conflict. It would make a great movie and if it stayed true to the book? I’d pay to see it. I enjoyed Witches Protection Program that much.