Recent Indie Book Recommendations

These are unprecedented times… sick and tired of hearing that over and over again? Do yourself a favour and turn off the news for a while, the headlines aren’t going to change anytime soon so do something better with your time. 

Here at the Hall of information we have vowed to carry on in the face of adversity and continue our sacred vow to read and review indie books and keep this whole book train rolling down the track.

With book reviews comes book recommendations and so here are some recent reads that I urge you to check out for some awesome escapism from the crap reality this season of life has become – I’m talking worse than the final season of GOT…  Let’s go!

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The power of being positive is a powerful thing! And one way out of this shit storm is to escape through being positive or at least taking on a read that is proactive in that. Donald Lee approached the Hall for a review and we were not disappointed because his unique outlook on the self help genre is both thought provoking and valuable for learning so many of live’s lessons.

Donald is a tenured band teacher (no pun intended) and throughout his years he’s picked up a thing or two about life and how to get the most from it. Made up of short parables on very many subjects this book will bring a smile to your face! Check out my review of The Band Director’s Lessons about Life

Next up is a regular name who appears in the reviews here because Christina Engela has done it again with her immersive brand of space sci-fi.

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The Horror! Panic in Space series presents ‘Life Signs’ and my recent review headline reads ‘A trio of enjoyable sci-fi tales filled with mystery, fun and revelations…’

This is the second entry of Engela’s series which I am gradually working my way through. In these distracting times, stories like this are easy to read and are light on the mind while also being enough to whisk you away for a while. I urge you to check out these books along with her many other books which I have reviewed here in the past year (the Quantum series comes to mind…)

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Another author who recently reached out to the Hall is Damien Linnane from the land of Oz- stralia… who presented me with a recommendation in the form of ‘Scarred’ which is exactly what the title suggests. Trust me when I say this one is both good and brutal but it goes to brutal places for the sake of a great story.

To quote my very recent review:There are so many messages within the story such as revenge not always being the answer and the true morality of justice…’ 

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Right now like a lot of folks there’s a bunch of worry and pressure on our shoulders. It’s hard to get into a book but escapism and taking the mind away for a little while is important; enter the first book in the Willie Abrams Saga which is just enough to take you away while not overloading you with a complex overindulgent story. Sometimes simple stories are the best ones and this is a fine example of that. And I don’t mean to be critical when I say it’s simple because this is a rare quality found in indie books.

The Quest for the Sun God’s Tomb by CJ Evans  was a fun and easy to read book. Chapters are pacy and only five minutes or so long which means you can put it down and pick it up as much as you like. Somewhere between Indiana Jones and an original tale, this one is full of action and intrigue! Looking foward to reading more in the Saga soon!

 

So what are you reading? I know these are hard times, but staying in and finding a book to read will take away that anxiety and worry for a while, trust me!

‘The Skeleton in Gelatin’ by Johan Michaels – Mini Review

A short and twisting tale of the unexpected that stirs the mind… 

 

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‘The Skeleton in Gelatin’ manages to entertain and stir the imagination of readers even if it is quite a short story. For what begins in one place slowly and gradually twists into something completely different and unexpected. This could easily be the premise of a Black Mirror episode with it’s sci-fi edge that uses intrigue as the vessel to carry the story.

For anyone looking to be briefly immersed and distracted from the real world then I highly recommend this book!

5 Stars – A different one for the Hall of information, but different is good even if I was unsure about what to say in a review for such a short book. 

‘The Quest For The Sun God’s Tomb : The Willie Abrams Saga’ by C.J Evans – Review

A fun easy to read tale of action and adventure…

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Former WW1 soldier Willie Abrams is content with sitting in the Cuban sun while sipping a daiquiri, he co owns a bar and rum business with fellow war veteran Sergeant Banesfield. He even has a protege in the form of a young lady who will one day take the reigns and so life is good. That is until an old flame arrives on the scene and a shipment of rum goes missing along with this former lover, then the adventure begins.

From rival gangs and gang lords to the deep Mayan jungle where a legendary sought after artifact rests in an Indiana Jones style tomb and all the way to gun fights this story has everything for an immersive and fun read. This would make the perfect beach read or even on a flight as it isn’t too long but you’ll find the pages turn easily in well paced chapters.

There are moments of action and even laughs in what is an easy to read tale of action and adventure guaranteed to keep readers interested all the way to the end! This one will definitely whisk you away for a while!

4 Stars – a cracking adventure that’s perfect to take your mind off things for a while; something we all need right now! 

 

 

 

Scarred by Damien Linnane – Review

A brutal tale of justice blinded by revenge…

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Scarred is exactly what the title suggests and Damien Linnane has carved a unique story telling path by bravely going to some violent and graphic places. It isn’t for the faint of heart but the places readers are taken make for a great story.

You have the historically abused and damaged vigilante in the form of Jason Ennis who leads the story while residing on the fringes of society. He’s the quiet type who could be Batman one day and then in the same breath a cold blooded killer, even though his motives could possibly be justified – the conflict which is genius in this story and that being whether or not Jason’s motives are the right thing to do? He’s complex and haunted by a childhood of abuse, his back story like all of the other principal characters is explored and told through the eyes of whoever is leading the scene. The view even switches in some scenes which is a credit to the author’s execution and work to achieve.

We also follow Howard who is at the other extreme end of life’s scale. He too is haunted by a dark past and uses it as a fuel on others sometimes brutally and graphically. In between the violence and sometimes depravity is a reason to go there, not for the shock factor but for the the greater good of a story which I eventually couldn’t put down.

There are so many messages within the story such as revenge not always being the answer and the true morality of justice. My only real critique comes from the writing style which chooses more often to show as opposed to tell – a rather cliche critique in book reviews and for this book the ‘showing’ works most of the time to immerse one in the depth of backstory and to get into the thoughts of characters.

For those who don’t mind some violence and graphic content, you’ll appreciate a story that goes to places of darkness and scarring to tell it while a few ‘bad guys’ get taken down in the process.

 

5 Stars – I enjoyed this immersive and sometimes brutal tale. Thank you to the author for reaching out! Reviews left on Goodreads and Amazon (UK) 

Life Signs by Christina Engela – Review

A trio of enjoyable sci-fi tales filled with mystery, fun and revelations…

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The second entry of Christina Engela’s Panic! Horror in Space series takes the reader on a ride of mystery through three tales of the ghostly, vampiric and even cursed objects; all of which are hazards that come with deep space travel.

Captain Stuart Flane returns to face these perilous situations and has developed a rap for finding trouble of such persuasions. He’s used to dealing with the macabre and that’s what all three of these stories have in common. All of them begin in one place and through the vessel of immersive and readable story telling they end up somewhere completely unexpected.

From poignant to quirky and fun, these stories pretty much cover everything that Engela is known for with a writing style and depth that will draw you in. I particularly enjoyed ‘Lange’s Legacy’ which carried a certain detective vibe while also being full of twists and revelations.

5 stars – A fun read that will appeal to most readers. A thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for a review left on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Promo Results March 2020

The numbers and results are in! Even though we live in a world that appears to grow rather uncertain by the day, here at the Hall of Information it is business as usual!

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One of the core values that I pride myself with as an indie author is to help fellow wordsmiths and hopefully guide them to some level of book promotional enlightenment. Let’s face it, every author charges towards their dream starry eyed and is then demoralised by the promotion part – telling people your book exists is the single greatest struggle we have as creators. 

So here are the facts and figures: 

Darke Blood was scheduled to be free to download on both Thursday the 12th and Friday the 13th of March – you can do this is in KDP if you enrol your title in KDP select and clicking on the ‘promote and advertise’ button next to your title on your book shelf (google it if you are unsure)

 Total downloads of that two day run: 

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Total: 

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We reached countries and territories never reached before like Italy, Spain and even Japan!

But wait there’s more: 

During this run, I also sold copies of my other books Open Evening and Cemetery House at full price and which are in the same ‘Order of the Following’ Series…. This now confirms the readership know that they are set in the same world – a huge challenge I currently face!

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When the promo ended people were still buying Darke Blood at the full price and so here’s a break down of those sales and the for the one’s above..

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During the free promo Darke Blood went to #1 in all three of it’s charts on Amazon and has got it some much needed visibility.

How did I get these results? 

Book Promo sites:

My philosophy for higher reach is to pay for some of it. There are a great number of book promo sites out there who specialise in reaching readers. Over the years I have compiled a list of those who have worked well and those who haven’t. This time around I only used two major book promo sites and paid a little more than I usually would.

On previous promos I have used many different sites at once for smaller fees, this is known as ‘stacking’ but for this one I used:

Freebooksy ‘Thriller Promotion’ – for the 12th, this cost £72 

E Reader News Today ‘Thriller and Suspense Promo’ – for the 13th, this cost £32

For the money I spent I consider this promo run a success. It’s isn’t a record breaker but it’s enough!

Other factors: 

Recently my Twitter following reaching 3000 – here’s how I did it

My blog following nearing 500 – I put out a post on the day!

Weekdays work well for promos….

People are staying in – for obvious reasons they will want something to read and everyone loves a bargain…

Darke Blood is pretty looking book. Trust me, people do judge them by their covers!

That wraps up another book promo results, have you done any promo work recently? 

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Darke Blood – FREE To Download Right Now!

Book Promo Activated!

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Darke Blood is FREE to download today and tomorrow! The sequel drops this September check out the trailer here…

Grab yourself a copy of Darke Blood here…

Blurb:

The Order of the Following Series.

“There are more than shadows lurking in the darkness of those trees.”

Blake Malone is in search of a new start and arrives in the remote forest town of Darke Heath. The memory of his past mysteriously becomes a blur as he discovers this place isn’t what it seems.

Malone shares a romantic encounter with a woman named Caitlyn and she reveals herself to be a ‘creature of the night’. He learns of her story which intertwines with the history of the ‘Heath’. Together they must face the evil forces of vampirism and witchcraft that await them in the Darke forest.

But just who is Blake Malone? That’s something even he must fight to discover. Because ‘you’ve never known true darkness…’ 

 

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Other books in the series: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Order of the Following Series by Lee Hall

They live on the fringes of society chasing and fighting the horror of what lurks just beneath the surface…

Their symbol opposes evil.

There are five corners to a pentagram.

Five corners.

Five stories.

This Pentalogy is governed and connected by those who look to expel evil from this world.

They are The Order of the Following.

These stories stand on their own but they are also linked….

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1. OPEN EVENING

Embrace the unexpected….

A story of survival of what lurks underneath the fringes of small town America. The sole follower arrives and leads an unlikely group…

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‘Twister pointed to a small pentagram tattoo on her inner arm. Over the top was a more prominent tattoo of a crucifix. He then revealed the exact same mark on his arm…’

2. DARKE BLOOD

You’ve never known true darkness…

Vampires and the occult world; two pillars which are linked to the story of Open Evening while also cutting its own path through the lightless void…

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‘Our following could benefit with more like you two. I shall give you a day to think about the choices you make. If no, then the sun’s power awaits you.’

– a man named ‘Hudson’ (Mayor of Darke Heath township) 

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3. CEMETERY HOUSE

Survival was just the beginning…

The lone Follower Twister is no longer a solo Warrior. His newly assembled group look to find answers about the evil that lurks below. Their story becomes aligned with the occult. They learn of Twister’s origins and the ‘book’…

‘Dreads gently took out a large leather-bound book from the felt bag. That was the first time I saw the symbol. You know, the pentagram with a crucifix over it…’

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“If I can see you. They can see you…”

4. DARKE AWAKENING

Embrace the true darkness…

Everything you thought about these stories is going to change. There has been an awakening in Darke Heath and so the fourth corner appears….

The characters of these stories will collide in an epic cross over full of revelations, action and the occult. 

Creatures, witches and vampires will collide!

It’s time to embrace the true darkness! 

COMING SEPTEMBER 2020

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The Band Director’s Lessons About Life: Volume 1 – 50 Parables on Life’s Performance Cycle by Donald Lee – Review

An inspiring array of modern life lessons told from experience with a spiritual outlook…  

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From the opening pages its clear to see that Donald Lee is a tenured teacher and has used his many experiences to create what is a gem of a book about so much in life with music/performance teaching being the theme.

It consists of short parables that present readers with insightful lessons on many different subjects ranging from time management, knowledge, belief, having fun, performing, forgiveness, failure and so much more (50 in total) – all of which come from the authors time spent teaching band. Every parable begins with a quote from an inspirational figure and closes with a reflection that galvanizes the lesson and an overall insight on each subject. The main insight is spiritual growth and this book will help you look towards being happier, peaceful and successful in whatever you tackle.

There are a heap of self help and spiritual type books out there that cater to certain subjects but this one you’ll find has mass appeal across ages, beliefs and walks of life to provide spiritual insight on ourselves and others. It’s inclusive to anyone much like music and teaching. Everyone will find something to relate to in this book that has meaning and inspiration because we are all in the big band of life together!

‘What you seek is within you, not without you…’

5 Stars – I thoroughly enjoyed this. Thank you to the author for reaching out and providing a copy in exchange for a review – all thoughts are my own! Reviews left via amazon and Goodreads… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awesome Indie Book Rec’s

And so comes another round of Awesome Indie Book Recommendations. From self help all the way to unique literature it’s been one hell of a ride recently, so let’s get into it…

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Break Them All !!: A Modern Era Awakening’ by DRTao is a read and a gift that keeps on giving not only because it’s one of the most read reviews this site has ever had (in recent times) but it’s also entirely unique for something in the self help genre.

Quoting from that review it ‘refers to the phenotypes of our existence that seem to rule us such as ego and ambition and this is guide to breaking away from them in a positive sense…’ 

For a shorter read it’s effective with a message that will open your eyes to our own consciousness. Check it out here

 My next rec’ comes in the form of sci-fi by South African author Christina Engela with ‘Static’ which is a fusing of chilling horror and so much more. Those who have been tuning in for a while here at the Hall of Information will know that I’ve read and reviewed her stuff before; last year I took on the wonderful ‘Quantum’ series. (Book 1 review here.) 

PHIS#1 Static by Christina Engela - Cover

‘Static’ is a part the ‘Panic! Horror Space’ series and combines elements of horror with comedy which I thoroughly enjoyed. You can expect a review for the next story in the series soon!

Recent review: 

Those who are fans of classic and recent horror stories will find this to be a read in somewhat familiar territory while much of the events come unexpectedly and on the fringes of laugh out loud comedy.’

Next up could possibly be the finest example of modern literature out there and I am not exaggerating when I say that ‘Nightjar’ by Paul Jameson is just that.

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It’s rare for me to finish a full length novel in a few days but this one was so immersive I couldn’t help but turn the pages. Both Fantasy and folklore are represented in force while it’s delivered with a crafted style of writing that reads much like a classic. Just what is this book about? I urge you all to check this one out but here’s a snippet of my glowing review:

‘Set in a ‘Feudal Future’ where not many will stray from home because of superstition or perhaps because their clan elders say so; two boys ‘Cord’ and ‘Tuppance’ do just that and embark on a journey of adventure. Early in their travels meet a figure of mystery known as ‘Nightjar’. This somewhat magical character goes by many different descriptions, just who he really is will keep readers turning pages but this ‘man in motley’ carries a magical type of presence letting the imagination run wild…’

We’ve covered self help, science fiction and even folk lore so this book rec post wouldn’t be complete without some poetry and so I bring forth my final rec of this post.

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Swinging Sanity by N.F. Mirza is a ‘brave expression of feeling through poetry that is both thought provoking and inspiring.’ 

This collection is indeed both brave and full of emotion while also managing to be ever so honest. For those who don’t know the author’s blog ‘Stoner on a Rollercoaster’ I urge you to follow it and check out this incredible collection.

‘From self harm, depression, anxiety, loneliness, love, individual suffering and pain to everything else that centres around our sanity, you’ll see it represented here without any reservations…’

 

And so that wraps up my latest round of book rec’s.

What are you reading currently?