Odd Spirits by S.T. Gibson – review

A modern story about feelings and relationships intertwined with spiritual magic…

odd spirits

S.T. Gibson has delivered an original tale that gradually unfolds around a married couple who experience a kind of spiritual disturbance in their house.

Although there are elements of several genres blended together in this book such as romance, paranormal and spiritual they are all combined in a light way that makes for some great and very addictive reading which would suit all readers.

The two main characters ‘Rhys’ and ‘Moira’ are a believable and very real feeling couple who have to look within to resolve their issues. One of the best things about this book is the characterization and the way this couple interacts with each other. This story is about them after all and their resolve fitted perfectly to the rest of the book as well as the whole concept of novellas.

Good novella’s don’t get enough credit and this one in particular is a gripping and enjoyable read.

5 Stars 

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Over The Pass, and Other Stories by Susan Mary Malone – review

An anthology of deep and wonderfully descriptive short stories that whisks the reader away…

the pass

Using a combination of vivid settings and a deep immersive writing style, Susan Mary Malone has put together a book of tales that can best be described as escapism in it’s purest form. The american landscape described throughout will make any reader think that they have stood overlooking places of natural beauty even if they have never been there and that is just one of the many values this book contains.

Human feelings and emotion are woven together along with the sometimes grand settings even if they are simply in the backdrop because in the foreground is where much of these stories subtly take place. At a glance it would even appear that nothing really happens throughout the duration of each but there is so much more within and it’s literary art of the highest caliber.

I very much enjoyed the descriptive nature of the writing which was complimented and balanced by the individual stories, all of which are in the moment and are even savored.

In particular I very much enjoyed ‘Winter’s Prey’ which for me set the president of discovery for what was to follow in what I believe to be a unique collection of stories.

5 Stars  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Reasons why you should read indie books

January is over, it felt like a whole damn year but we got there. It’s February now and my reading list continues to grow as I continue to network with fellow indie authors.

How many reviews have you left recently? I’ve left 4 this month, and they constitute to 4 reasons why you should read indie books because all of them are written by indie authors!

altaica

I opened my reading account with ‘Altaica’ (The Chronicles of Altaica) By Tracy M Joyce. Late last year I reached out via the tweet machine to the indie author writing community. One post particularly gathered a lot of interest including Australia! Tracy M Joyce introduced me to her fantasy world that flowed and read like historic fiction.

In my review I made comparisons to Wilbur Smith and even Tolkien and that is no way an exaggeration because this accessible and immersive book is world building at its finest.

Even if you’re not convinced by my review there is an abundance of them via amazon…

undertown

The best cure for completing a book is starting another and so I consulted my list which consisted of many different indie books but ‘Undertown’ by K.Noel Moore just stuck out to me.

“Something happened tonight, I don’t know what. Something that ripped the veil between the Chicago of the living and the Chicago of the dead…” 

This novella (which I managed to read in one sitting) is a gripping and clever fusing of real events intertwined with paranormal fiction. If you were to combine the crime wave era of 1930’s america and a deep but subtle building ghost element you’ll get ‘Undertown’ which is available now via amazon…. 

I kept the ghostly and paranormal tempo going by reading ‘Blood of the Sixth By K. R. Rowe’ next…

sitch

In this book there is a lot going on, but it is written with such clarity it never clouds or confuses the reader. To quote my review ‘Blood of the Sixth has a complex interwoven plot which is delivered in a way that makes it an easy to follow read; something I imagine the author has worked tremendously hard to achieve. The whole layout of the book from short sharp chapter length, to characters all the way to general story has been well thought out’.

I found the story to slowly build and gather steam later on but in the earlier stages I was gripped by what is a compelling and sometimes chilling tale with some twists and a little gore (I’m dead inside so not a lot phases me..). Overall a great read which you can grab via amazon here..

And finally, and by no means least The Alien Diaries by Glenn J. Devlin: my review literally dropped the other day! 

alien diraries

I’ve had this novel pegged for a while as the premise is so damn intriguing and without giving any spoilers away, it is!

‘The Alien Diaries’ has two simultaneous stories running throughout, one of which is via a diary from the 1700’s and the other set in modern day as those characters read the diary. It’s a clever combination in which the narration and tenses changes in what seems like an effortless style (although I imagine the writer put in a huge amount of work to achieve).

I really enjoyed this book and even found myself taking my time because there was a small element of me not wanting it to end. Check it out here….  

So I’ve managed 4 books this month, with 30 as my target this year. Remember folks above all, reviews are gold dust, so leave one!

The Alien Diaries by Glenn J. Devlin – Review

A fantastic original tale that merges science fiction and history…

alien diraries

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The unique premise unfolds gradually in a way that compliments the story using a style of clear and descriptive writing. The Alien Diaries opens in a way that keeps the reader intrigued and guessing what this book is really about.

The two main plot lines; one set in modern day and the other delivered via diary entries from the 1700’s give the book a time travel feel in which I found myself completely immersed throughout. The diary entries are brought to life in the first person perspective as if the characters from the other plot are reading them with the reader and their side of the story is written in the third person. I am highlighting this specifically because I found this to be very well done and it isn’t easy to make different perspectives fit but this worked perfectly for the book’s entirety especially the mysterious elements of the story which eventually gives the reader answers.

Colin and Maddie serve as great main characters whom both have depth and a wonderful amount of chemistry together as the story unfolds even if what they have been through historically was unfortunate. Because of this I found myself rooting for both of them as well as sometimes even laughing at their antics. The pair really do go through a journey in this book.

Overall The Alien Diaries is an immersive and gripping original tale that nods to some important history as well as taking the reader on a journey through time. I even found there to be some great references to writing and reading in general all of which tells me the author has spent a great amount of time and effort constructing a story that everyone will find enjoyable.

5 Stars 

 

Blood of the Sixth By K. R. Rowe – a review

A slow burning tale that twists into the deep shadowy darkness of the unexpected…

sitch

There’s a lot going on under the surface of this story which sits within the realms of gritty urban horror, mystery and witchcraft. Blood of the Sixth has a complex interwoven plot which is delivered in a way that makes it an easy to follow read; something I imagine the author has worked tremendously hard to achieve. The whole layout of the book from short sharp chapter length, to characters all the way to general story has been well thought out.

Like all good books Blood of the Sixth is about a lot of different things which are all linked by the main story. The concept of something lurking in the shadows is exploited well and gives the book a psychological edge; there were some instances it really got into my head but in a good way.  The main character ‘Allie’ is an on the surface quirky soul with a lot more going on in her head and beneath the surface much like the whole story.

For some parts of my reading experience I genuinely laughed and others I found to be quite harrowing (again in a good way) as there were some real graphic violent portions all of which fitted well for the genres. The use of description in some instances has been painstakingly constructed and again the hard work by K. R. Rowe is obvious to see.

Overall this story is a journey that slowly twists throughout and culminates into a great ending. In the latter stages I found myself unable to put the book down.

5 Stars 

 

Undertown: A novella by K.Noel Moore – Review

“Something happened tonight, I don’t know what. Something that ripped the veil between the Chicago of the living and the Chicago of the dead…” 

Undertown is a clever fusing of history and horror intertwined with real events set around the historic crime wave/prohibition era of 1930’s America. I found myself reading this novella in one sitting within a few enjoyable hours. undertown

The story centers around main character Billy Foster jumping from his present to past in a clear and well paced style. As Billy’s coming of age tale unfolds towards a life of crime influenced by his older ‘brother’ George it slowly moves and twists into a ghostly direction that is unique for the genre.

In the present day of Billy’s story we see him along with homeless companion Sam as they both struggle in the fringes of the crime society beneath the streets of Chicago. There are subtle hints that suggests an unspoken romance between the pair; something I thought added an extra dimension to their friendship giving this retro story a modern feel and relevance whilst not being over done.

There are plenty of references and terms used in the narrative which are authentic to the historic era with a handy reference/definition section placed at the end of the book (something I felt was a nice touch and shows the author has put in a large amount of care, research and thought into).

Overall Undertown is a perfectly paced, easily readable and well written history novella with just the right amount of chills and atmosphere to make it stand out.

5 Stars 

 

Altaica (The Chronicles of Altaica) By Tracy M Joyce – Review

Fantasy world building that reads like historic fiction…

‘Altaica’ is a book set in a world of clan’s, troops, magic, bows, swords and a plethora of diverse characters. Although I did struggle to get into it initially , I enjoyed this debut novel which has been put together with an imaginative and intricate level of detail. altaica

The writing style has a feel of historic fiction meets fantasy; giving it a unique voice comparable to Wilbur Smith meeting essences of a modern day Tolkien. There were some instances I forgot that this was in fact based in fictional places as I became immersed into the story. I particularly enjoyed the diverse range of characters with their unique names which the writer has clearly put in a lot of thought and time to create along with the world they live in.

Overall ‘Altaica’ is an epic journey and delivers in gradually immersing readers effectively to escapism; something which all authors no matter the genre strife to achieve. This type of book and the way it is written makes it very accessible for those unfamiliar with the fantasy genre along with satisfying those who frequently visit worlds such as this one created by Tracy M Joyce. You could even say this book steps out the barriers of genre that it would usually be defined by and carves its own path making for a unique, fun and enjoyable read.

Four Stars 

 

 

Zone 23 by C.J Hopkins Review

A wordy but very addictive and immersive read…

cj

Zone 23 is a story told in a uniquely odd and sometimes funny style. C.J Hopkins has created an imaginative and deeply descriptive world of social classes. There were many instances I found myself amused and then there were times I didn’t particularly understand whether or not something was supposed to be funny or more serious. Either way its a very immersive read and the author’s vocabulary range is like nothing I have seen before which is a big positive and something many aspiring authors should take note and learn from.

I found myself unable to put this book down and I managed to read it over a three day weekend although I didn’t get much else done as it is a very long but overall rewarding read. The description is heavy a lot of the time which unfortunately weighs down the flow of what is a really gripping and immersive tale.

Much of the themes echo to the world we live in today although it is set in a ‘dystopian’ world and makes fun of the genre in a clever and original way. Many of the chapters end on a cliffhanger giving it an effective page turning quality. The characters throughout felt three dimensional and believable in the world they live in.

Above all I would describe Zone 23 as a highly immersive, very interesting story with some attributes many of these ‘dystopian’ tales could only dream of having.

4 stars.

Endsong by Roslyn Renwick – a review

Immersive imaginative escapism with a powerful voice and premise…

endsong

I found this book to be like nothing like anything I have read before. The style of writing immediately immerses you into the mind of main character Rhea Forrester; a complex and curious lady who carries this story with a wonderful amount of depth. From what would appear on the surface becomes so much more and not only does that apply for the whole story but for Rhea also.

To put it simply this book is different and original for the genre it falls under, that is an incredible achievement. I felt as if this was a journey which slowly moved down the rabbit hole somewhere between fantasy and science fiction with a whole host of sub genres and tones. I say slowly because the pacing of the story moves steadily and in a way that asks questions which are answered later on and during, gripping readers all the way through and deeply most of the time. The story evolves as it unfolds with a high level of tension nearer to the latter stages which was in fact always there but subtle and well thought out.

There were many instances I found myself asking ‘what is this about?’ which is a positive because this truly is a tale of the unexpected and it is also something readers will have to find out on their own because Endsong is worth the read. Books should be an escape and this is the pinnacle of that much like Rhea Forrester of Poplar close and her journey. All of the characters purposefully contributed towards what is a fascinating reflection of humanity.

If you are looking for a deep immersive and original tale then this is a book I highly recommend.

5 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review of ‘The Last Driver’ – Episode 1 – Old Dogs by Bookshelf Q. Battler

A sometimes absurd but always fun story of the future…

last driverI picked up the kindle version of this book for 99p after noticing it via the blog of Bookshelf Q. Battler which I follow.  Set in a not too distant totalitarian type future where the ‘freedoms’ we have today are severely reduced in some creative and original ways. This gives ‘The Last Driver’ an interesting and potentially limitless premise which carries the central story by comparing the future with present day.

Although I felt ‘dystopian future’ type vibes this book is far from the stories typical of that genre. There are still the usual traits such as media control and censorship but they are cleverly conveyed and even contain a level of humor in which I enjoyed. In fact the humor is what kept me hooked and I read this in a matter of days.

Told through the eyes of older gentleman Frank Wylder; his story bounces between the future and 2010 when he was younger so automatically the reader will able to relate with his struggle to describe the world he once lived in. Pop culture references are used frequently in the earlier stages and they tend to mostly aid the story as opposed to some books where they are unnecessary in usage.

Frank owns a classic car in a world of self driving vehicles and driving a car is in fact a thing of the past, this should give enough insight to the world in which he lives. In particular my most enjoyable part of the story was the description and depiction of ‘state approved’ channels and even a ‘state approved newsreader’ conducting an absurd ‘debate’ piece. I used the word absurd but it is also funny and worrying close to how some news outlets already operate.

Overall I found this book enjoyable and very readable. The ending was left open for a potential sequel which I would be interested in reading. I recommend it to anyone looking for a an enjoyable and insightful look into the future.

5 stars.

Click here for amazon link.