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Be still my tentacle heart! Hand of Chaos by @JayHamlet Top-Ten #Review & a #Recipe

My second review today for Tw0-fer Tuesday today is for Hand of Chaos from J. Hamlet. This one has a giveaway and plus Mr. Hamlet has been sweet enough to grant me a kick-ass Top Ten List. I asked Mr. Hamlet to send me a list of his top ten comfort foods and vices while writing. I am still giggling my ass off here as I realize not one of them is food. Not.. a one! Oh and the best one on here for me? Well it involves tentacles… First though, let’s talk about the book.

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Be still my tentacle heart! Hand of Chaos by @JayHamlet Top-Ten #Review & a #RecipeHand of Chaos
by J. Hamlet
four-half-stars
Pages: 313
on September 4, 2013
Genres: Action & Adventure, Crime, Horror, Mystery, Occult & Supernatural, Paranormal, Speculative Fiction, Thriller, Urban, Urban Fantasy, Zombie
Source & Buy Links: Masquerade Tours
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Kobo • • Goodreads •

Exhausted, cynical, and confused, Anna is always there to report for duty. She's part of a clandestine government team that defends the nation against supernatural terrorism—a job that understandably leaves her life in shambles and drives her to drink a little more than she should. Toss in a fear of intimacy with a desire to have friends and lovers like a normal person and, well, Anna is a troubled soul wrapped in a special agent with arcane, magical powers. Waking up hungover at five-thirty in the morning with a zombie-infested apartment building in the heart of DC to deal with, she knows she's got the makings of the worst morning possible. 

Her team is its own challenge. A battle-scarred Nigerian shaman, a bookish shape-shifter, an inept summoner, and a brilliant but cantankerous wizard round it all out. Her partner, an immortal and cursed Paladin, is the only person she knows more jaded than herself. Getting them all to work together is never easy, with Anna often caught in the cross fire. 

Their target, Ethan Morgan, is one pissed off necromancer. His brother was KIA by his own government, the victim of an experimental magical weapon they decided to test on the battlefield. Now bent on revenge and sponsored by one of hell's most powerful demons, Ethan has a plan of his own to make us all pay. Anna and her team are fighting against the wake of destruction, but Ethan is always one step ahead. With the number of bodies he leaves and reanimates growing exponentially, Anna's wondering if they'll stop him before he engulfs everyone in an undead horde. 

Proving once again that revenge is best served cold, usually with reanimated corpses, J. Hamlet’s genre bender is the kind of seat-of-your-pants thriller that changes your view of what is possible in literature. This jaunt into a dark reflection of our world of the blends dark fantasy and surreal horror with a spy thriller to create an extraordinary new genre all its own, riding the rails at breakneck speed as heaven and hell throw out every villainous creature they can. Hand of Chaos is a no-holds-barred action fest full of imaginative horrors and inspired satire.

I received this book from Masquerade Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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I gotta be honest and upfront here. I seriously get all excited when I read a smart book. I love finding hidden messages, metaphors and meanings behind the characters (or would that be caricatures.. hmmm). Hand of Chaos has it in spades. It is bubbling pot all the things one looks for in a fun book, a little bit of magic for every one of you awesome people (at least if you are cool like me). Seriously Mr. Hamlet throws a whole lot of hocus-pocus in this pot full of a book!

One of the things I enjoyed was though the author made some “veiled” commentary on the political arena in Washington DC over the last decade or so. Like most creative people I tend to lean a bit to the left… OK a lot to the left. I have a horrible bad taste in my mouth with the people who claim to be these wonderful Christians and use religion and politics to control the masses. When J. Hamlet’s Hand of Chaos starts off the Arcane squad; Division of Unconventional Weaponry and Tactics, DUWAT (Do What? Buwahahaha) guys being part of the NSA and the God Squad of Templar Knights who are part of the US Army and DoD, have a straight connection to God including the spouting of God and Country etc… Gotta love politics. Or sometimes you want your shaman to take a crack at them.. oh wait.. he…………… spoilers! Just make sure you don’t have the inept wizard cast a spell…

Oh but wait…wait (giggling), it gets better.. (I just am getting all excited today). OK get this, now.. the Arcane squad basically covers Chaos, so the third choice or good or evil heaven and hell, just two sides of the same coin. Then we have the DoD covering Heaven. But the best part? Hell… come on, GUESS…Ohhhh come on! The CIA! Poor Geoff was focused on gaming and talking to his friend he was completely ill-prepared for his woman to scream in laughter. When I screamed out in laughter, I knocked over a huge box of Magic the Gathering cards, he flew out of his chair and looked at me like I had just given birth to a two headed calf (buwahaha) or ummm I had just knocked over a well organized set of about 12 decks… oops! All I was able to say was….

..and then I started snorting. He kept trying to get it out of me and I kept going “Hail Satan and the CIA…

Did I mention how much I like clever authors and smart reads? At first this reminded me a little of Seanan McGuire Indexing which was a very unique division of Fairy Tales about to go wrong. I loved that series as I also love her October Day series, but this ended up ramping up to another thing entirely. Then it reminded me a bit of some Lovercraftian tainted tales. But it wasn’t as full of $25 dollar words and overly narcissistic descriptions as his tales were. Plus considering Lovecraft was also a hardcore xenophobe and Mr. Hamlet tends to poke fun at everyone so I won’t put him in this category. Don’t get me wrong, oh how I love HP with my completely tentacle wrapped soul but sometimes reading his Gothic flavor of horror needs to be taken with a side of Pepto-Bismo. 

The characters are awesome. I fell in love with Anna, our main protagonist and our cursed Paladin Roy. Both who are dealing with the day and day dealings of the DUWAT (Do what?????? Sorry I cannot help myself) with bad bars and worse booze. They are real people who just happened to be a bit special in the supernatural realm. I still am sitting here leafing through the book and catching new things. It is chuck full of arcane references, different kinds of religious mythos and still over all kept me smiling and at times holding my breath because of the shock and awe treatment. This book really was a complete meal.

Hand of Chaos is a rich urban fantasy centered around the Washington D.C. area where villains and heroes are a plenty and sometimes you are not sure what side you want to be on. Even without the influx of demons, ghouls, angels, immortals and a gal who is… The hand of Chaos (wink wink, nudge nudge) it was a pleasure for my literary palate. I enjoyed this book way to much if that is possible. In fact so much I probably will be reading it again to find out all the nuances. Do I think there is a message in said bottle of joy? Sure. Things are not always black and white people. Sometimes you need to squint to see the other choices or perhaps not minding getting your knees a bit dirty… oooooooh yes I went there Mr. Hamlet!

No not there, you dirty minded little reader! *snorting*

Mr. J. Hamlet as wrought this completely enchanting genre-bending bowl of goodies. A good grind of Urban Fantasy, a heavy sauce of Procedural, a nice diced bit of Thriller, with a seasoning of Horror and Sex (sometimes together..*shuddering*) all baked together in a crispy complex crust from one heck of a cook author. I already sold one book after telling Jess Resides There she best go buy it and read it and giggle with glee along with me. I hope you hurry up and get the sequel done! You have a new fan-girl in town and this one comes with goats (see below, and no I don’t use them in a sacrifice to bind a demon).

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When I asked Mr. J. Hamlet to give me a list of comfort foods and vices while writing I expected a mixture of both libations and secret candy obsessions of … oh I don’t know, Pixie Sticks? Who knows! But what I did not expect was this. Enjoy the list and enjoy the recipe I created in honor of this incredible book. Like the book it is a pleasant warm feeling, a bit of a bite and it will always make you smile!

Comfort foods and vices while writing

When I’m writing, there’s often a lot going on in my mind. Sometimes, it’s too many ideas at once. Sometimes, it’s indecision. Other times, my internal editor simply won’t let the sentences fly free, imperfect though they may be. In those cases, I often need some assistance, and that can take any number of different forms. One of my favorite ways to do so is to have a nice, sophisticated drink. It can really help me relax and embrace the imprecision of my writing and let the words flow. Here are some of my favorite drinks to have while writing, because there’s nothing better for writing about spirits than to have some. Obviously, you should only do so if you are of legal drinking age in wherever you might be reading this from and if you drink responsibly.

  1. Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Whiskey – A VA distillery that turned me on to rye in the first place, and they still make one of the best I’ve ever found.
  2. Beaujolais Nouveau – Is it a coincidence that Beaujolais season coincides with Nanowrimo? This immature wine is perfect to consume with all the half-baked ideas and words that flow through me during that month. G
  3. in and Tonic with Jack Rudy Tonic Syrup and Green Hat Gin – Jack Rudy tonic syrup and seltzer water makes the best tonic water I’ve ever had. I like to combine it with the gin from DC’s up and coming gin maker (especially the spring/summer seasonal) for a G&T with some real distinctness.
  4. Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey Finished in Port Barrels – I love the roughness and sour flavor of rye whisky, but sometimes I want something a little smoother. The Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey provides just that for those late night writing sessions when my mind is fading.
  5. Kilchomen Machir Bay Scotch Whiskey – This stuff is the antithesis of smooth. This young scotch is more like a wake up call than anything else with its wild and untamed flavor. It reminds me that whiskey isn’t all about age and time. Dark and Stormy with Reed’s
  6. Ginger Beer and The Kraken Rum – I know, it’s supposed to be Goslings and Goslings. I like to blaze my own trail, though, and I prefer the combination of these two together for the gingery spiciness and the vanilla that comes through.
  7. Port City Porter – Malty, rich, and roasty this porter checks all the right boxes for a fall and winter beer. From a great Alexandria, VA brewery.
  8. Devil’s Backbone Azrael– Not just because it has a great name, this belgian strong pale ale is satisfying and a touch sweet. From a Lexington, VA brewery that’s really making waves.
  9. DC Brau The Corruption – It has the perfect name for the town it comes from and the perfect bitterness for an IPA to match it.
  10. Black Box Malbec – Sometimes I’m a man of simple taste. And when I am, I reach for this, the very best of boxed wines that I’ve discovered. I like nice and expensive Malbecs too, but sometimes you want the cheap stuff.

 

About J. Hamlet

Everyone needs a hobby. And, like most people, J. Hamlet hopes one day that his hobby will liberate him from his mind–­numbing day job. He chose writing. Not one of the easier ones. He chose it at the tender age of 14, churning out terrible science fiction novels that heaped on the cliches and barely hidden tropes of all space operas. Thankfully, those creations reside in the prison of an old Commodore 64 hard drive and several 3.5" disks (kids, ask your parents) in a landfill somewhere. And, let me be clear, the world is better for it apparently.

Along the way, Mr. Hamlet kept writing. Through college. Through grad school. Through the beginning of  his career, such as it is. he has stated he likes to believe he picked up skills. Mr. Hamlet wanted to write novels that had things he wanted to see. Hand of Chaos, is his debut novel, brings together elements of a spy thriller and a police procedural with dark and urban fantasy. He followed that with Scarred Earth, a serial alien invasion novel he is releasing entirely through tumblr. Though he thinks he is probably going about this all wrong, he just doesn't know any other way. Find him around the net at the following.

 Pinterest  |  Tumblr

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For my recipe share I am going to give you what we used to do with Ginger Beer and rum, though not these two kinds. Let’s call it something akin to the book… Hook, Tentacle and Sucker! The book hooks you in, the tentacles keep you going and the bite of the ginger beer gives it that sucker punch (as does the book too…). Over all I believe it is a worthy name! Shall we make one?

5 from 1 reviews
Hook, Tentacle & Sucker
Influenced by The Perfect Storm - Kracken™ Rum (http://www.krakenrum.com/recipe/5)
Ingredients
  • 2 Bottles Reed's Original Ginger Beer/Brew
  • 4 oz. (two shots) of Kracken™ Rum
  • Chopped Ice
  • Chilled glasses
  • ⅛ cup of Fresh Lime Juice
  • Lime Slices
  • Sugar
Instructions
  1. Mix all but 1 TBSP of Lime Juice and the rum into a glass pitcher in the back of the fridge,
  2. Meanwhile, place ¼ cup sugar in a shallow bowl and the TBSP of lime juice in a saucer.
  3. Sugar the rims of 2-4 glasses (depending on the storm you need to calm) by dipping them first in the lime juice, then in the sugar.
  4. Refrigerate the glasses. Add one and approx. a quarter of the other bottle into the rum-lime mixture and stir. I would start with 1-bottle and add up to ½ of the other bottle till the ginger flavor is right. It really is a matter of taste.
  5. Garnish each with a sugar dipped lime wedge.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2-4 cocktails
 giveaway-alteaa Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway: There is a giveaway for this tour. A $50 Amazon/B&N Giftcard or a Book Depository shopping spree of the same value.
Open Internationally. Ends 9/15. Void where prohibited.
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HOC Banner
Breakdown on my Rating
Cover
4.5 Stars
Character Development
5 Stars
Editing
4 Stars
World Building
4.5 Stars
Overall: 4.5 Stars

4 Comments

  1. Hahahahhah! This was a treat. I loved all the gifs, too. I’ll have to check this one out. Is that kraken beer any good?

    • Kraken did not make the beer, it is Kraken black rum. The Ginger Beer is made by the best and they actually call them brews. BUT ya.

  2. That was a great review. He won me over at Kraken Run, and you told me to buy the book so I did now I seriously can’t wait to read it.

  3. The cover hooks me first of all, but the review clinches it.

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