Memories of Mars: a Novella (Custodian Library Archives Book 1) by Colin Yeoman – Review

A thought provokingly original novella that will leave you wanting more…

 

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There aren’t many stories that successfully combine real science with imaginative fiction which is not only clever but also thought provokingly original, Memories of Mars is both of those and so much more.

From what is a relatively slow but curious start moves towards an imaginative theory about the origins of man and the history of the red planet known as Mars. That is after main character ‘Josiah Lamples’ discovers evidence of life on the barren surface and is soon ‘let go’ by his employers. This is where the story becomes engaging and interesting with just a hint of deception, we see ‘Josiah’ come face to face with the rabbit hole of theory and that life long question of what happened to Mars?

Colin Yeoman has cleverly fused real elements of biological transmission experimentation with the human memory which possibly fills in the gaps of our history in the universe and more specifically Mars which is wholeheartedly original.

Readers of both science fiction and literary fiction will enjoy this brand of ‘Fringe Fiction’ that gives answers and leaves you wanting more..

4 Stars – A very interesting and original read. Novellas like this don’t get enough credit. Reviews left via Goodreads and Amazon UK

 

 

The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley by Nina Romano – Review

A ballad of love, life and destiny in the West…

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There aren’t many romantic masterpieces out there or stories where two souls are truly meant to be but this book is both and so much more. Nina Romano delivers an epic story of love and life while conveying a rich history of the American West. It’s both poetic and sometimes poignant while even being brutal in parts, of course the old world was back then and you cannot fault the factual elements that are intertwined with the fiction.

‘Darby McPhee’ is introduced to readers as an ambitious and even plucky young woman who aspires to find and education and be someone more than she is. Her roots consist of waiting hand and foot for her brothers and Father; it’s a life she would prefer to leave behind. Her conflict arises in the form of mysterious man known as ‘Cayo Bradley’ whom she is madly in love with. Their romance arrives while plans look to split them apart, one of them is a runner and the other is a lover, they seemingly spend the story going round and round in what is a journey.

‘”Forever” is a dream word. An Illusion. It really doesn’t exist’ 

On that journey we learn of ‘Cayo’s’ extensive backstory. As a boy he was unwillingly taken in by a Native American tribe and saw some truly brutal sights. He lived a whole life before ‘Darby’ ever arrived. As much as he isn’t a true born Native, they become his family and life force throughout even though Cayo never forgot his roots. On the other side of the world seemingly Darby is mixing with those of high society while achieving an education. Of course she meets various affluent suitors but in this case, her love and destiny is that mystery journeyed man ‘Cayo’.

‘He’s a ghost of my past in my ever present’ 

No matter what happens some things are meant to be and that’s what I took away after reading this book. The writing style is both immersive and inviting. It’s adventure, tragedy, history and love all in one tale.

5 Stars – A highly enjoyable read. Reviews left via Amazon UK and Goodreads

Weekly Ramble #68

Many of us crave structure to be productive. We are worker bees after all and to be busy is to live and then this whole lock down thing happened…

I find solace in the two shifts I have to work every week. Even though the 5/6 days off is nice, work has always given everything else in my life a structure. While I left my home over the weekend for the first time in nearly a week I sighed in relief to just be out driving – where I get many of my writing ideas.

With the world seemingly closed, the roads are deserted apart from the army of truckers who are hauling everything to keep this world turning, shout out to them. Even with them on the roads, it’s quiet. Spring is in full force here in the UK and green has exploded everywhere. A part of me wants to see trees take back their rightful place along with many of the critters who are crossing streets more than people.

Quarantine and self isolation is hard and it’s weighing big on us all. I must stress to you all even while it is distracting, you have to stay busy. Immerse your mind in something, my Mrs is taken up crochet while on furlough. Learn a new craft, try something new or I dare say it, read a book. My sales have near enough tripled over these past few weeks. We’re all indoors, hopefully away from harm and so use this time.

Self care is a big deal right now. Stay away from the constant droning of news which is just churning out numbers right now. Put the news away for a while and realize apart from staying in there isn’t much else you can do in this fight, but staying distant is enough for now. We’ll get through it. The storm will pass and the story will continue. Anything and everything is what it will take, do that.

Hope you are all staying safe. Have you tried anything new?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

500 Followers Special – Awesome bloggers who deserve recognition!

Okay, this actually choked me up a little but here goes…

If it wasn’t for the efforts and support of fellow bloggers, this Hall of Information Blog wouldn’t have seen anywhere near the amount of success it has had in the past few years.

Those past few years have been a journey and even through these incredibly difficult times somehow the Hall of Information is celebrating the 500 follower milestone!

I didn’t achieve the figures below on my own, people helped, some are bloggers whom I share this journey with and so this post is a dedication to those supporters! Whoever you are, from regular reader and liker to casual; my salute is aimed to you!

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My sole philosophy in life is to give as good as you get, so this post is dedicated to those who have helped this blog become what it is today.

I sincerely believe without these folks, things would be pretty shitty… so without anymore introduction let me share with you the people who deserve recognition for their blogging efforts and for their support of this blog!

 

Jaycee Lynch – Thinking Moon Blog

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You can pretty much pin point the moment the Hall of information started actually getting views and engagement like it has never seen before. You can blame Jaycee for that and I mean that in the most sincere of senses. I don’t think my stuff would have got anywhere near the amount of exposure it has if it wasn’t for this awesome blogger who started following the Hall of information a while ago now – time flies huh…

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The Thinking Moon blog is a plethora of blogging greatness – it really is the benchmark of content and something every blogger needs in their life. The sheer amount of subjects Jaycee talks about is incredible; from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which I have been a fan of since the age of 13) to philosophy, interviews, book reviews and sustainability (a very important and relevant subject in this day and age).

Last year she even nominated this very blog for two separate awards and has even reviewed my books the Teleporter and Darke Blood. Ultimately J.C has been there for this blog and so in return I do my best to be there for her efforts. She is not only a big time blogger but is also active across social media platforms such as the tweet machine, you tube and the gram… I urge you to connect with her via the links below! J.C’s journey is full of inspiration and colour; something which social media needs!

Twitter:  @JayC_Lynch      Instagram: @thinking_moon_blog  and   Youtube

Megan – A Geeky Gal 

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Megan from A Geeky Gal is one of the most important bloggers I know. Her contribution to blogging and the sheer amount of subject content she covers seals the fact that Megan is a fully fledged blog-star!

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I’m not exaggerating when I say she creates so much content and I use the word important because Megan also blogs about mental health and self care – these are subjects which in the world of geeky things and the wider world of social media that I regard as important and very much needed. Megan regularly completes various challenges and over last summer she did a 30 Day Geek out Challenge which not only shows how dedicated she is to blogging but also how similar our tastes are in so many different things!

Megan nominated the Hall of information for the sunshine blogger award last year; the third blogging award nomination and coming from such a prolific blogger it was a pretty big deal for me. I urge you to check out A Geeky Gal!

Twitter: @ageekygal_  Instagram: ageekygal

Feed The Crime

My next nod goes to most probably the busiest book blogger in all the land of WordPress because Blair of Feed the Crime is always reading and reviewing stuff!

Originally specialising in crime book reviews Blair has branched out to many other genres quite recently and in doing so she has helped get my books seen via some wonderful reviews of ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ , ‘Darke Blood’ , ‘Open Evening’ and ‘The Teleporter’. It seems Blair is a convert of my stuff as it’s pretty ‘out there’ and her views on my work are very much appreciated!

Anyone looking for book rec’s I highly advise you follow and check out Blair’s efforts!

Another awesome blogger who has helped with my book promo efforts is Mullen Crafts who has read and reviewed Open Evening and even took on a pre-released version of the Ghost Beside Me which was a great help! Not only does she review books but blogs about all things craft. I urge you to check out her site which is full of awesome craft tutorials, how to posts and book reviews!

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Stoner on a Rollercoaster is another wonderful and unique blogger who isn’t afraid to express herself via many blogging subjects that range from mental health, rambles of the various and recently the trials of publishing (and I know that pain). Not only does she bring words to masses of followers but has also supported and liked many of the entries the blog has, so for that the Hall of information is thankful!

I recently reviewed her awesome and emotional poetry collection which you can read here.

The truth is there are 500 people who made this post possible and it would be difficult to credit everyone as some are just starting their following but there are still some awesome bloggers who deserve an Honorable mention and more importantly your follow! Check out the awesome people mentioned below! Give them a follow and read their stuff. Many of them have liked and connected with this blog for some time with their fantastic support, thanks to all! Some of them even created some go-to content which has inspired this blog!

Not all followers are bloggers, and I appreciate every single follow, even those who don’t blog – from readers, work colleagues, friends and family to everyone else – Thank you! 

And while I finish with these mentions the Hall of information will be looking to what’s next?

Now that the following is over 500 very soon I shall be reaching out to people via social media to begin getting to know them a bit better with Hall of Information Interviews! Watch this space and thank you for joining me…

 

Honorable Mentions

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DirtySciFiBuddha

Jyn

Christina Engela

etjwrites

sunilmdabral

debjani6ghosh

authorirene

michaeljordahl

seanarchy

Kurt Brindley

Sheree

hexandale

Matt Streuli 

Renard Moreau

The Eclectic Contrarian

kristinagallo

500TH FOLLOWER 

Shaunak

Rock and Roll man. Keep on blogging in the free world….

Open Evening is FREE to download!

TODAY ONLY MY DEBUT NOVEL IS AVAILABLE ACROSS THE WORLD FOR FREE!

Open Evening is a fast paced thrilling tale of survival that will see you wanting more!

Brief blurb..

‘Luke Hartford struggles to fit in at high school and we all know how hard that can be. After a vivid dream shit really hits the fan and it’s no longer about fitting in, it’s about staying alive because his horrific vision comes to life…’

Links below: 

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What are readers saying about Open Evening? 

“Here we have non-stop action with an unlikely band of characters, there are seriously high stakes with times where I was kept on the edge of my seat.
This definitely exceeded my expectations, it’s so addictive…”

 Feed the Crime Blog

“Once the action kicks off it continues until the very end. There are tantalising backstories teased at for some of the characters. There is more going on than we truly understand. But what we do see is our motley crew stepping up to the plate, and shaping up to become just the people needed to try to save the town. The big question is, can they? And can they survive becoming heroes??”

Mullen Crafts Blog

 

Links: 

US and International

UK 

Canada

Australia

India

 

 

 

‘Cells’ by Julia Cowan – Review

An engaging and original debut that takes readers down the ‘well’ of crime…

Cells is a story that begins with intrigue and mystery and keeps you reading all the way to the end. There aren’t many books that manage to carry the mystery element throughout and for her efforts Julia Cowan has done quite well. Somewhere between psychological and crime thriller, the story is told though multiple points of view, a perhaps different choice as it switches between various characters in third person and then first person for main character James – this would be my only real critique as many of James’s scenes feel a little repetitive in writing style but in the same breath pages are turned quickly.

While being about many different things, Cells explores the morality of rehabilitating criminal offenders by way of what is a dark experiment of sorts that aligns with vigilante justice. James never really had a chance from a young age and is caught up in some rather unfortunate circumstances by way of coincidence, or perhaps that’s how it was always supposed to be. His father’s influence is a central theme to his character arc.

What follows is a cat and mouse account that switches back and forth in time while overlapping in what I imagine took some real thought and work to put together by the author. From police corruption, blackmail and even a complicated love triangle this story ticks many of the boxes that fans of crime thrillers will enjoy. In some places it’s brutal and doesn’t hold back with the darker edges readers will experience. The question readers will face at the end of it all is whether or not James is any better for the journey he has been on.

4 Stars – an impressive debut, looking forward to reading more from Julia Cowan!

Weekly Ramble #67

Even in these times of pandemic weighing on my shoulders I’m still writing and reading. Carrying on in the face of adversity is a survival instinct and I’m holding in there, I hope you are too!

Like me you probably can’t help but look at the news for the twelfth time in a day but that’s how we are wired in this age of information. Watching the news all the time will have a bad effect eventually, stay away for a while. Find your escape through means of what you would normally do – in a safe way. Its Easter so theres chocolate and food. Check in with family and friends, use the social media channels, they are still plugged in and aren’t going anywhere.

We as a species have an incredible way of facing the odds with a smile and I’m trying. Truth is I’m doing okay and this covid thing has had a unique effect of my literary stance. Books, my books are selling. Paperbacks are actually selling. These really are unprecedented times and now I am feeling the satisfaction for having a form of art to offer. Others are taking on my work which is there for anyone. Writing will last longer than any who scribes it no matter the times. That gives me hope even in ‘normal’ times my writing will have a place for somebody.

Editing and drafting new stuff takes up some of my time, even with this new pressure of what is happening showing no signs of letting up. I’m not spending hours working but I’m slowly and surely making gradual progress. A page a day, one step at a time and things might be okay…

 

My debut novel Open Evening is free this coming Wednesday!

Revisiting ‘The Staircase’ – I think he did it…

True crime documentaries have taken a huge leap in quality as of recent. One of the culprits of that is Netflix and a few years ago I watched a documentary called ‘The Staircase’ and within a few episodes I was hooked and immersed. 

For those who have Netflix, this is essential if not mandatory viewing and covers the story of Michael Peterson – a man who is accused of pushing his wife down the stairs to a bloody death. The circumstances are odd and suspicious. After a second viewing of the whole deal, I am more than certain he did it… but why?

This post is best suited for those who have watched the Staircase. But those who haven’t be warned this will contain spoilers… 

The Staircase | Netflix Official Site

The whole docu-series is candid and unique look from the accused side of view,  for most it is seemingly on his side and it’s one hell of a roller coaster. Even with my now stance of thinking he did it, I am still aligned with how he was treated by the justice system of America. You do feel for the man and his journey. The District Attorney and Police force played some very dirty games and did everything they could just to get a conviction.

Peterson for all he’s accused of, seems like a nice and fair man. A veteran from the Vietnam conflict and father to four children, two of which are from a previous marriage and the other two, daughters from, well this is where the alarm bells begin to ring…

It turns out a close female friend previously died in very similar circumstances in Germany some years previous. After her death Peterson adopted her two daughters in an act of what appears to be kindness. But then the evidence begins to unravel.

All of this is just my opinion but I think he deliberately murdered these two women because both times they reacted badly to realizing his (bi) sexuality. Now this is just me spit-balling here but the sexuality concept is a big deal in the case. The police found stuff on his computer to suggest he was intending to do ‘stuff’ outside his marriage. While this alone isn’t any cause for murder and especially today with bisexuality and homosexuality being much more tolerated and considered the norm. Both times these women had to of found out and he either wanted to silence them or they didn’t accept it.

Another important point I noticed the second time around is that Michael Peterson loves the camera to a point where he is revelling in the coverage but not in an obvious way. We all know Ted Bundy loved the spotlight and so does Peterson but in a subtle way. He did it and that’s perhaps something we will never know.

What do you think? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Back Pew (Clown Conspiracy Book 3): A Short Thriller by Mallory Kelly – Review

A chilling winters tale of cold blooded murder…

 

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The Clown Conspiracy series gets better and better with every instalment. The descriptive style of writing that Mallory Kelly uses immerses the reader into thinking they are there in the dead of winter alongside Agents Shirley and Carter who continue their chase for these killer clowns.

This time we see an opening that begins with that unique use of description and chaos as the scene is set and we realise another clown is about to strike and this time at a church. It’s just a matter of time and our two Agents arrive while the action is still happening making for some tension and page turning read-abilty.

For what is a short series of reads they work well in telling a story that is full of chills and mystery while also keeping the reader on the edge, I particularity enjoyed the ending which leaves the story open for the next chapter which I shall be taking on soon.

5 Stars  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

PHIS#2 Life Signs by Christina Engela - cover

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!