Lost in a Quatrain: Poetry Anthology by Adiela Akoo – Review

An interesting, thoughtful and meaningful array of great poetry…

lost in a quatrianLost in Quatrain is wonderful collection of poetry that covers a vast range of theme and subject matter from race, culture, political and faith with pretty much everything in between.

Through the many poems; all of which range in length and structure the reader is taken on a journey that resonates the sometimes poignant or meaningful recollections and thoughts of Adiela Akoo. Many of them are short but still carry a powerful message while others are longer, from a few lines all the way to a few pages there is pretty much everything a poem should be in this book.

‘Coupling’ is definitely a poem I could relate to as a creative and of course I have to mention ‘Whiplash’ for it’s unique structure. I found the humour in ‘Drunken Man’ along with a great appreciation for ‘Race with the Wind’ amongst many others

For anyone who is a fan of poetry or has an open mind to it I highly recommend this book.

5 Stars – Disclaimer: I was provided with a free e-copy of this title in exchange for a review, thank you to the author for providing that copy!  

Some more reasons why you should read indie books!

In between all of my efforts on what has been a journey this year I’ve still managed to continue reading and reviewing Independently published books. That is of course between attending weddings, trying to have a career, writing more books, publishing more books, promoting more books, trying to stay healthy/active, being present on social media, playing Red Dead Redemption 2, engaging on social media and doing my best to text back…

I guess you could say I’ve been busy, but not too busy, never too busy to help promote fellow wordsmiths so without talking about myself anymore here are some more reasons why you should read indie books! 

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It feels like a century ago that I read what is a true masterpiece of fiction but in fact it was only mid August I finally reached the summit of new release ‘The Good Kill: A Killian Lebon Novel’ by Kurt Brindley. The first thing I noticed about this book was the writing style which can be described by two words ‘proper sentences’. Of course that isn’t all because what unfolds in this book is a blockbuster journey or redemption.

So what is the Good Kill about you ask? Well to quote my review:

‘It’s modern Jason Bourne meets Taken but it feels fresher with a grittier story that is brutal, dark and sometimes violent and always entertaining. There’s revenge and redemption as well as a series of revelations that appear in many different pinnacle moments during the story which is split into 4 parts all of which culminate dramatically.’

‘The Good Kill represents independently published books in the finest possible way.’

And furthermore this book also represents the higher end of fiction and literature. You can grab a copy here.

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‘Suspense, drama and modern issues all of which are tackled in a fun but important way...’

Of course I am talking about the third book of the ‘Quantum series’ by South African Author Christina Engela. As I gradually make my way through the series this year each time I take on another instalment it is apparent that Engela can tell quirky fun stories while also building worlds which are all wrapped together with an important message. ‘Dead Man’s Hammer’ is science fiction at its best and it is highly readable. From my review here’s what I had to say

‘Someone is targeting my favourite characters; an assassin enigmatically named ‘Villainessa Tittel’ who is after one person in particular and series regular; Cindy Mei Winter. ‘Villainessa’ proves to be quite a force in her field of work and does everything in her power to draw in ‘Mei’ whom share an interesting history. It is in this history where readers will find the true message and meaning of the story.’  

You can find out more about the Quantum Series and much more here

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Seeing as October happened I had to find myself a spooky read or something at least representative of the season and ‘Haunted Ends’ by Elizabeth Price does just that but in a clever and original way. To quote my recent review:

‘…it’s part ghost story and part murder mystery which turned out to be an overall fun read. The story opens with ‘Sam’ who is short in stature but full of character. His journey makes for one of two main plot lines that eventually intertwine after the initial chapters; the other follows ‘Rocky’ a car fanatic and paranormal investigator that used to be able to see ghosts, this is an ability that returns to him and he decides to use it which makes the story.

Eventually we see ‘Sam’ and ‘Rocky’s’ paths cross in a ghost buddy story situation seeing them team up to solve a murder shrouded in mystery and deception’

You can grab yourself a copy here

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Fairy tales are something I hold in quite high regard, they feel like home territory for me considering I have adapted 2 for the stage (soon to be 3, I hope) and Despoina Kemeridou has my stamp of approval for what is ‘a feel good fun and imaginative modern fairy tale…’

‘Fated to Meet You’ begins like a typical YA story but quickly unravels into what is a world of Kings, Queens and Castles as M.C ‘Nora’ is seemingly transported away from the mundane of life and into that world. It’s a short but effective read (I took me about an hour to get through) and shorter books don’t get enough credit, especially one’s like this!

 You can grab a copy here.

That just about wraps up my latest book review efforts. So far I have read and reviewed 35 indie books this year, my hope is to get to 40 by the close of December. If I don’t see you through the week, I’ll see you through the window… rock and roll and reading man! 

*Bonus content for those who scrolled this far…

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Book 5 is coming this December. I will be reaching out to potential beta readers very soon. The reason I have left if rather last minute is because it’s not a long book, but I think it’s good-ish… Watch this space…

 

Weekly Ramble #50

Weddings can be an incredible thing. I should know, I’ve been to 2 in the past week. Both of which were for some of my best friends and people I know. Whatever your outlook on love and togetherness all reservations and opinions of such are reunited when you see a couple who mean the world to you get together. Sometimes it takes a wedding to truly realise that two people are meant for each other.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve become a person who cares less about my own success and more of a person who cares to see others do well. Perhaps that’s me being the connoisseur of stories, seeing real characters in this world answer to destiny and succeeding.

In fact there is nothing more in this world that I want than to see others achieve success and to find themselves. Of course love can be a huge part of that for many of us, but there are folks out there who are yet to find such things and can still be happy. Perhaps happiness like love is in the eye of the beholder.

Being just a few days removed of my own brother’s wedding I am starting to process how special that day was, not only for him and his now wife but for the family and friends that were part of it. Families have a way of drifting apart for whatever reason but life is too damn short and sometimes it takes something like a wedding to reunite old memories and acquaintances. Family, friends and love is important to us all, it’s what makes us truly human.

I think I nailed the best man’s speech. They laughed and enjoyed my words which were from the heart. There was emotion, laughter and fun – not just in my speech.

In a world where many of us all have our own struggles, it was days like that which make it all worth it and you probably know the saying by now, ‘love is all you need..’

Weekly Ramble #49

How the hell are we in November, again? Even with a mere eight weeks until the culmination of not only another year but another decade I got a lot of stuff left to do!

These days it’s kind of cliche to be busy, but this past year I’ve been one of the busiest motherfu**ers in the world… Okay that may be a tad over dramatic but I’m tellin’ ya now, even though on the writers side of things it’s been good, if not awesome, everywhere else, off the written page has kicked my ass.

This ramble post is just a check in before what is one of the biggest weeks of the year for me. My brother is getting married tomorrow and I have the honour of being the best man – this involves a speech in front of a very specific audience – family and close friends. The truth is, I’m anxious, nervous and every other type ous there is available. As a whole the speech does what I always do, it tells a story. I’ve recited it out loud several times and I am probably prepared for it. I’ve been in 16 stage shows in 9 years but this is whole different type of gig. I’ve constructed what I hope is a speech that is emotional, touching and sometimes funny with a balance towards a wide audience of ages. Its in situations like this you just have to trust the story to do the rest.

The next ramble will probably be a debrief of sorts. My mind is only focused on this right now but at the very back of my mind is my 5th book.

‘The Ghost Beside Me’ drops in December. I am on the lookout for a handful of beta readers, anyone interested in a shorter read that is both weird and a paranormal romance then hit me up. Until then, I’ll see ya’ll on the other side…

Fated to Meet You by Despoina Kemeridou – Review

A feel good fun and imaginative modern fairy tale…

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To begin with Fated to Meet You reads like a young adult story that appears to be brief and without much detail, that is until readers will realise it is in fact a modern fairy tale and for a fairy tale style story it’s a great read!

Main character and narrator ‘Nora’ depicts her early twenties life as one of struggle in both work and social; she isn’t interested in a relationship or is she just waiting for the ‘one’? And then she is transported to another world of Kings, Queens and castles. Despoina Kemeridou has done a great job of combining a first person narrative which also embodies the fairy tale style where detail isn’t always important but the flow of the story is. Time moves quite quickly along with the chapters making this one a page turner; I managed to read it in just over an hour. 

‘Nora’ decides to stay in this new world and soon after finds herself arranged to marry a King from another Kingdom. What unfolds is a roller coaster of drama, revelations and of course love and friendship. You’ll find there’s a lot more to the story other than happy every after including a curse and even prophecy in what is a short but fun read. Stories of the shorter persuasion don’t get enough credit and this one certainly deserves some. 

4 Stars 

 

 

400 Followers/ 5th Book Announcement

It’s been nearly a year since I seriously considered walking away from writing and blogging for good. We all have those moments where we question the path that we are on and whether or not it’s ‘worth’ continuing.

The real honest truth is I wasn’t happy with where this journey of writing was heading. You could say it was down to lack of ‘sales’, reviews, followers and even readers; this was especially so after churning out 4 books in 2 years and not having much to show for it. That story telling fire inside of me began to fade.

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Even now I still don’t know what I really want from writing and maybe I’ll never know. All I actually know is that I want to tell stories and that is something I love doing. Even back last year when that fire in me almost died I never stopped writing, even during my most darkest of hours last year, whether it was my next stage play or a book, the truth is, it put me back together in a sense and I did a lot of soul searching. I eventually accepted that my ‘success’ as a writer isn’t actually down to me, it’s down to everyone else, and then came the ultimate realisation;

It doesn’t matter if I ever reach a pinnacle moment of success in writing, I do this because I love it,

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If I can’t help myself as an author then why not help others? 

And so I got to work. What started out as an initial plan to review a few indie books in order to get some reviews for my own stuff exploded before my eyes.

People, good people, bloggers, writers, reviewers and everyone else in between started to take note of my efforts. It turns out the answer to all my writing success woes stood right in front of me, don’t be an island and my actual success doesn’t matter. Enjoy the ride, enjoy the creating and now above everything enjoy the words of others! I couldn’t list the sheer amount I have learned from reading fellow indie books!

My motives for reviewing indie books changed from a vain attempt to get more book sales to an unconditional act in supporting story tellers who deserve to be read. On that journey I have found all of you, loyal wonderful followers who are now 400 strong.

To get an appreciation for how much this has quickly exploded, I celebrated 200 followers for this Hall of Information back in March! In that time that following has doubled.

My whole faith in this and all of my creative fire has been restored this year because of people like you. And so it is with that in mind I would like to officially announce my next book release will happen this December. I’ve decided to do this super last minute for a few reasons but the only reason you need to know is that I am releasing book number 5 for all of you; followers, readers, supporters and everyone during this journey that has become my friend. It is you guys that put my faith in this back together. 

‘The Ghost Beside Me’ is a totally unique paranormal romance written in the style of a diary that see’s a paranormal sceptic convinced to believe in not only the forces that aren’t of this mortal world but in love also, that is in order to no longer be alone. Whether or not you find companionship in a ghost or a physical being isn’t the point, love doesn’t discriminate, even in mortality. Even if people are ‘gone’ they never leave us. 

It’s kind of a Christmas story as well and in a sense I think Christmas ghost stories are far better than Halloween ones, there’s more of a meaning to them. Although I think it has potential to be incredibly powerful it is quite short, I’m talking less than 15,000 words in length but it’s still a book.  

I promise you’ll be hearing a lot more about ‘Ghost’ soon; this is a completely solo project apart from Design for Writers who will providing the awesome cover art. I am soon going to reach out to a few people for a beta reading opportunity.

To everyone who follows this blog, all 400 plus of you, thank you, rock and roll man! 

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Weekly Ramble #48

This has been probably the most important year of my life, in both writing and everything else and even now there are several plays to be made before the final bell is rung. 

Everything that I have achieved hasn’t been easy but it never is. This blog is approaching 400 followers, this year we started south of 200. Incredible things happen when decent people back you and that’s probably my real secret to all of this; good people trusting my words which are also good and honest.

Story telling as a whole is just a collection of good ideas fashioned into some kind of order and then put on the page. Convincing people to take on those pages is the hardest part of all of this, but we’re getting there. This always was and always will be a one person at a time kind of deal. To all 398 of you who one by one made the effort to follow this Hall of Information – thank you, when it reaches 400 there will be something of a reward…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haunted Ends by Elizabeth Price – Review

A fun quirky tale of the paranormal with mystery and intrigue…

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Haunted Ends is part ghost story and part murder mystery which turned out to be an overall fun read. The story opens with ‘Sam’ who is short in stature but full of character. His journey makes for one of two main plot lines that eventually intertwine after the initial chapters; the other follows ‘Rocky’ a car fanatic and paranormal investigator that used to be able to see ghosts, this is an ability that returns to him and he decides to use it which makes the story.

Eventually we see ‘Sam’ and ‘Rocky’s’ paths cross in a ghost buddy story situation seeing them team up to solve a murder shrouded in mystery and deception. Rocky’s journey seems to be full of misfortune while ‘Sam’ is doing his best to adapt to his new existence.

Elizabeth Price has created a world where ghosts are characters too and not just some scary concept making it accessible to most readers; it’s quirky in places but still believable throughout.

As the story came to it’s final chapters everything was wrapped up nicely (although quite quickly) making for a good paranormal read that’s different, imaginative and fun.

4 Stars 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open Evening & Cemetery House are FREE to download today!

Halloween approaches, the leaves have turned and the temperature has began to recede. While the shadows do their best to cast over everything it’s time to embrace the season and the unexpected because both Open Evening and it’s sequel Cemetery House are free to download today and tomorrow only! (this is a one off deal) 

dfw-lh-3dx2Every published author has that book which broke them into the world of story telling and Open Evening is that for me. It’s a story in which I am immensely proud of and I pretty much got to work on making a sequel for straight after; that was after penning Darke Blood which happens to be set in the same world now known as the ‘Order of the Following’. 

There are going to be more books based on these stories coming soon!

So what are they about? 

Open Evening and Cemetery House are two fast paced reads of the unexpected and survival. They are about so much more than the horror that is on the surface; they highlight the social struggle of growing up along with what it’s really like to go through high school. As much as there is terror and action, they are stories of friendship, coming of age and above all life. Much of the stuff in this book represents the years I spent at school – so it’s real to an extent. 

Its ‘Alien’ meets ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ ‘Final Destination’ and ‘Blade’ all wrapped up in some Halloween spookyness!

A recent review of Open Evening: 

“If you ever found secondary school hard, then you’ll be able to relate to the main character. If you loved Buffy the vampire slayer, then you’ll love this book…”

You can download a copy of Open Evening here for free! 

Cemetery House then picks up literally three weeks after the events Open Evening. High School is over and those who survived have moved into the world of work while something else lurks just underneath the surface. Not only is this a sequel but in this one you get answers and the rabbit hole goes deeper into this world which will then lead into the Darke Blood sequel!

‘CH’ is ‘Jurassic Park’ meets ‘House on Haunted Hill’ while continuing on from Open Evening.

You can download a copy of Cemetery House here for free!

A recent review of Cemetery House: 

“I really enjoyed this follow up to Open evening, gripping story definitely a page turner for me…”

 

This is probably one of the only times both of these books will be available together for free! 

 

 

 

 

HITMAN: An evening with Bret Hart – Review

‘My career was everything to me.’

Those were the first words said by Bret ‘the Hitman’ Hart on what would become an evening of honesty and even some real emotion as he recalled the run up to his WWE return; that being the Hall of Fame induction in 2006.

And that was the subject of this evening’s show (Bret’s WWE return and beyond) of what has been a several night tour of the UK for Hart, London being the final stop which was all well presented and put together by Inside the Ropes.

Just an hour or so before the audience like myself had the opportunity to meet Bret; although brief I did manage to tell him how much it meant for him to come over to the UK and the fact I don’t think professional wrestling got any better after him. He was softly spoken and truly thankful like he always has been for the fans.

‘That mean’s a lot,’ he said and of course he continued on with signing autographs and meeting the large turn out of fans.

For those not so in the know about the history of professional wrestling; I watched it religiously while growing up and even into my early twenties along with my brother who got us tickets to this event. The performance side of wrestling and the spectacle is what always attracted me to it, this is probably why I eventually joined a drama club and performed in shows. Wrestling is a performance art; it’s story telling and most punters who know me on here will know where I stand when it comes to stories.

Bret Hart is arguably one of the greatest ever, the 90’s was mostly a good decade for the Hitman while he became more and more popular. He won championships and was a staple to the industry and the then WWF. He really was (and still is) a Canadian hero who also inspired the rest of the world. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on what side you stand Bret’s career hasn’t been without controversy, of course the 1997 Survivor Series ‘screw job’ comes to mind (google it if you haven’t heard of it) – possibly the most fascinating piece of wrestling politics in it’s whole history. His rivalry on and off screen with Shawn Michaels cannot be ignored. Hart has also been through a lot more, he lost his own brother Owen, a fellow wrestler who tragically died during an event in 1998.

At the near end of the decade Bret who then wrestled for rival outfit WCW was forced to retire eventually due to a rather stiff kick to the head by Bill Goldberg; a person he referenced with the upmost contempt and now I have heard the real story, I don’t blame him. Not only did this kick cause a severe concussion; it took him a year to recover but it also led to a life changing stroke some years later. Goldberg apologised via the phone 8 months later.

We can all agree Bret Hart has been through a lot of misfortune; he lost a lot including the majority of a 16 million dollar contract he had with WCW after he got injured. His final payout via Lloyds of London – who he also regards with contempt, 1.6 Million and this included the a stipulation that he could never wrestle again.

His departure from the WWF in 97 wasn’t a good one. He’ll be the first to admit that he was angry and mad for a long time.

‘It doesn’t help to carry around a lot of grief,’ he says when tackling the subject of what he’s been through. 

There were a few moments when Hart had to stop, for a man who has been though so much and probably hardened by it he still manages to get emotional and this is when everything really sunk in to me. A lot of folks over the years have said he’s just a bitter former wrestler, he isn’t and he’s so damn proud of the career he’s had.

Bret even was determined not to be erased from Wrestling history and why should he? His family; the Hart’s are a famous wrestling family from Calgary; they deserve to be recognised. Vince McMahon of WWE, or the enemy back then called Bret whilst he was still in the hospital post stroke. They began to mend fences and Bret knew he deserved to be in the Hall of Fame which is what the subject of the phone call.

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The evening continued with a plethora of eye opening accounts of his return to the WWE and even his long awaited return to their flagship show Raw in 2010. This was indeed another emotional recollection but he had to do it, he had to bury the past and he did. Of course Bret went on to have a ‘match’ at Wrestlemania after seeing Donald Trump throw down with McMahon; of course Lloyds of London began a lawsuit but they did the match anyway even with Bret not able to take bumps.

After all these years Bret ‘the Hitman’ Hart is still able to fill an auditorium just by telling his stories and they were worth every word. Even though he’s older he’s prouder than ever of what he has achieved and you can tell that by how emotional he got – something I never thought I would see, he let us in. You can still argue to this day that Bret is the excellence of execution, he admitted he never hurt anyone in the ring, so my belief sways towards him being just that!

This was my first Inside the Ropes show; I’m definitely going to be looking out for future shows especially if they were like this one! 

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