‘Sex, Violence, Mars: The Ballad of Left and Right’ by Walrus – Review

Sex, Violence, Mars is back and just as entertaining as the first encounter…

The Walrus collective are back yet again tell a short but entertaining tale of Sex, Violence, Mars and much more. This time around we see ‘Right’ and ‘Left’ in this kind of buddy story as they try their best to navigate the dangerous but always interesting Mars of the future. Of course there’s a range of themes here and they are all aligned with the title.

Armed with atmosphere suits and a stack of cash they soon realise the desired tender on the planet is ‘electro’ leaving them with a struggle to pay for pretty much anything and that includes the dilemma to charge their suits. While they try to survive on the fringes of Mars and it’s complex society, they find others enduring their own struggle, or perhaps just looking to earn a fast buck from two desperados down on their luck.

“You’re never gonna get that money back unless you do exactly what I want. And now you’re in the hole to me for charge and supplies…”

Their journey takes them on an adventure of action and chasing along with some revelations as we find out more about this planet. Sometimes its them doing the chasing and vice-versa as they target the aptly named ‘Death Corp’ and their mysterious but powerful leader ‘Keiser’. Every so often the lore and backstory of this rich universe is mentioned giving this short but entertaining read depth and range.

Just like the previous encounter the style is delivered with heavy detail on description and chapters/sections move with pace. Our two main protagonists carry a fun chemistry with one another as they do their best to survive, swindle and try not to be swindled themselves. Just how does this link up with the first book? Well, you’ll find out and importantly so, its left open for yet more shenanigans on Mars.

4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

Awesome Recommended Indie Reads #8

And so the journey of reading indie books continues. Here are some of my recent reads…

‘Sentinel: Galaxii Book 4’ by Christina Engela

Immersive and enjoyable space-sci fi…’

Full Review

‘A Still Life’ by Elliott Wink

Short and intriguing, an original sci-fi tale perfect for reading in one sitting…

Full Review

‘Dead of Winter’ by Antoinette McCormick 

‘It comes in the night…’

Full Review

Check out Lee Hall on Patreon

‘Fallout’ by Pat Griffith

An imaginative and highly original tale about first contact with corporeal beings from another world some of which are already here….

Full Review

‘Where Darkness Meets Light’ by Sabrine Elouali

Thought-provoking poetry reflecting many themes surrounding the dark and light…

Full Review

‘San Francisco Suite: A Rudy Parsons Story’ by Ethan McCaffery

Well-written detective mystery with noir tones and a metaphysical twist…

Full Review

‘Pirate Sea’ by Kyler Kuehler 

A swashbuckling and sometimes brutal tale packed with action

Full Review

And so that wraps up another edition of awesome recommended indie reads. Thanks for stopping by and remember to leave a review after your next read!

Excerpt of ‘Zero-Day: A cyberpunk action adventure: The Sommerfeld Experiment #1’ by Al Davidson – Discounted Today!

Somewhere in the desert east of San Diego, California.

“Joshua, don’t be a dick. Okay? Humor me,” Marta Guerrera said.

The weapons dealer of choice for terrorists worldwide wore a long-suffering expression. She braced a hand on the warm metal skin of the mobile tech unit, her voice low. An awning shaded her and Joshua from the worst of the searing afternoon sun.

“You have an odd definition of ‘humoring’. You’re asking me to kill four people.” Joshua squinted out over the monochromatic tans and browns of the desert. Far out over the next hill, he could see vultures circling. The sweet-rotting smell of death floated in on a tepid breeze.

“You and I want the same thing. We want Zosar’s money, and he wants a complete demonstration of the Maelstrom’s capabilities.” Marta wasn’t a nervous person, but Joshua noted the tension in her stiff posture, the tight set of her mouth, the pinch at the corner of her eyes. She didn’t like the change in plans either.

“Dead bodies attract the wrong kind of attention.” Joshua had come outside to compose himself before linking his brain to his experimental weapon. He needed a moment, but Marta didn’t seem willing to give it to him.

“They’re scumbag implant counterfeiters.” Marta gave a stiff one-shoulder shrug.

“That’s not the point, you know it.”

“How many hundreds of people are dead because of them? You’re doing the Federal Implant Directive a favor.”

“Doubt they’ll see it that way. We should put this demo on hold. Let me talk to Zosar.”

“Not happening. I know you, and you have no filter. By the time Zosar finishes listening to your bullshit, he’ll want to drop a nuke on this state just to shut you the fuck up.” Guerrera took a breath. “This deal has taken me months to set up, and this is it for me. I’m retiring, so I’m not watching our money storm back to wherever the fuck Zosar hides in between his little wars.” She pursed her lips and watched a lizard sunning itself on the top of a nearby boulder.

Joshua watched Marta walk to the edge of the awning’s shade and cross her arms. Tall for a woman, with a compact frame and dark hair peppered with gray around the temples, she was an ex-marine, and about as endearing as a hungry wolverine.

“Look, we don’t have to like this, we just have to like his money. Do your job, demonstrate the weapon and be a good boy.”

“Good boy? You sound like my fucking mother.”

“There’s a reason I don’t have kids.” She drummed her fingers on her forearm. “It’d be my luck to pop out an asshole like you, and I’d rather not have strangling my kid on my conscience.”

Curbing his irritation, Joshua pressed a palm against the tech van’s security reader and the door slid open. He walked inside, the air conditioning a welcome reprieve from the heat. Guerrera followed, the door closing behind them. Kevin Maitland, Joshua’s best friend and weapon co-designer, sat in front of a half-dozen inactive holoscreen disks and a control panel. He was a slender, dark-skinned man with a halo of black hair and a pleasant, expressive face. His blue t-shirt read, ‘Science is Like Magic, But Real’. Kevin reminded Joshua more of a college student preparing for a math competition than one of the world’s foremost weapon engineers.

Kevin gave Marta and Joshua an absent wave. Kevin had designed and outfitted the mobile tech unit, the size of a delivery skyvan, to support Maelstrom’s operation. The U-shaped console with the holodisks allowed a tech to monitor data. Next to the console was an integrated Virtual mainline rig for the weapon’s operator, its pure nanogel material engineered to block out any outside stimuli. Typical mainline Virtual rigs nanogel material provided virtual sensations, but Joshua’s connection to the Maelstrom depended on nothing distracting him, a complete absence of sensation.

Marta’s gaze darted to a Deimos machine pistol on a stainless-steel table. The automatic pistol’s digital readout displayed a full magazine. “Where the hell did that come from?”

“I got it from one of your people. I told them to put it on your tab.” Joshua couldn’t suppress a fleeting ghost of a snarky smirk.

“Of course you did,” she muttered under her breath. “Are you expecting trouble?”

“It’s only trouble if you’re unprepared.”

“I need that on a t-shirt,” Kevin said, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms behind his head.

Joshua could hear Marta’s teeth grind.

“Well, it looks bad to our clients, like we’re expecting problems.”

“This is my ‘I don’t give a fuck’ face,” Joshua replied with no inflection.

“That’s Z’s normal face,” Kevin chuckled.

This is an exclusive excerpt of ‘Zero-Day: A cyberpunk action adventure: The Sommerfeld Experiment #1’ by Al Davidson which is discounted today and available here.

For more information head on over to Al Davidson’s website here and you can also find Al on Twitter and Facebook.

Every Book I have read in 2021 Pt1

2021 has been a year of variety in terms of reads for me. 43 in total and all of them indie or self published. I’m a big believer of supporting the industry that I’m apart of and so here is a break down of the first 21 books I read and reviewed in 2021…

‘Civil Blood: The Vampire Rights Case That Changed a Nation’ by Chris Hepler

An alternative but realistic take on vampires with sharp political and biological edges…

4 Stars Full Review

‘The Word of the Rock God’ by Brooklynn Dean

An intimately descriptive fable that merges rock and roll with a powerful message…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Husband for Rent’ by Kristina Gallo

A tale full of twisting suspense about those on the fringes of society…

4 Stars Full Review

‘Deadly Odds’ by Allen Wyler

He’s in deep with the big fishes and the odds are hardly in his favour…

4 Stars Full Review

‘Moojag and the Auticode Secret’ by N.E. McMorran

Colourful and imaginative with a positive message about being different…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Snag’ by Dylan Burroughs

A well-paced horror that puts story first and the finer details perhaps second…

3 Stars Full Review

‘From Voiceless to Vocal’ by Danielle Larsen

Candid, brave and ultimately inspirational…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Judd’ by J.D Toombs and Erika Schulze

A ‘high school for heroes’ tale about the power of accepting who you are paired with some unique world building…

4 Stars Full Review

‘Deification’ by Brooklynn Dean

The intimate description and deep prose will consume you long before the apocalypse…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Raven Woman’s Tavern’ by Laura Koerber

There were many things the people of Warrentown didn’t know about Raven…”

4 Stars Full Review

‘Pestilence’ by Susie Kearley

A well-thought-out pacey tale of the times from a promising British author…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Sex, Violence, Mars’ by Walrus

A short but fun sci-fi story with great world building, action and some laughs…

4 Stars Full Review

‘Nocturnal Salvation’ by Villimey Mist

The Nocturnal series has returned and is better than ever…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Don’t Lose Your Head’ by Dave Williams

A twisted, haunting and enjoyable read that dives deep into the shadowy depths of one man’s mind…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Hearts and Spears’ by Somto Jefferson Uwazie

A unique and thought provoking collection of emotion-resonating poetry…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Operation: Palmetto’ by R.T. Breach

The chase is on for one man on a mission to prove his worth and the stakes are high…

3 Stars Full Review

‘Josef The Writer’s Cat’ by Ellen Khodakivska

A heart-warming and fun story told from a unique perspective…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Life of Maggot’ by Paul Jameson

A masterfully written vision and song about the end of time…

5 Stars Full Review

‘King of the Wicked’ by T.R. Hamby

An immersive imaginative take on Angels, humanity and immortality…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Born in Stockport – Grew up in the Royal Navy: Book One’ by Maurice Perkins

An entertaining and gritty series of real life tales told with charm…

4 Stars Full Review

‘ARIA: Book 1 of the Scintillance Theory’ by Gyorgy Henyei Neto

Immersive science fiction with some mystery and time travel elements…

4 Stars Full Review

And so that wraps up part 1. You can read part 2 here! Thanks for reading and make sure you check out some of these awesome books. Remember to leave a review if you buy any! Peace out readers.

Dust & Lightning by Rebecca Crunden – Review

Page-turning sci-fi action with a revolutionary theme…

Rebecca Crunden introduces readers to a futuristic world not too dissimilar to our own time where there’s pollution, a rich to poor divide and a government that stokes the fire of such only now its on a grander scale. Straight away we find this out as the scene is set in this rich setting and the stakes are introduced via ‘Ames’ who is on a rescue mission of sorts. A mission and journey that will take him across planets while being chased all for the purpose of finding his missing brother.

On his tail are the various agents of the Democratic Plantery Alliance which are anything but their namesake and even though our main character is seemingly wanted he still does his best to do the right thing. He meets ‘Violet’ and intervenes in her situation which in turn forges a bond and an unlikely ally in a situation full of uncertainty. They band together and eventually arrive on the distant planet of ‘Kilnin’ in search of answers.

Pages turn quickly in this action and drama packed chase/find story without chapter breaks hence I read it in just a couple of sittings. The world-building is on point and the wider universe is something with a lot of potential especially as the ending brings promise of that. There are plenty of messages and themes throughout with many pointing towards revolution and the nature of humanity.

“Eventually even those who avoided the world were drawn into its madness…”

5 Stars

Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Ironside & Aegis: Origins’ by David E. Bruno

Introducing author David E. Bruno who shares an exclusive excerpt of superhero book ‘Ironside & Aegis: Origins’.

Rocco and Orro laughed on the other side of the room, ready to finish off Aegis as they had Ironside.
But Ironside was not dead—not yet. He slowly opened his eyes and turned his head toward Aegis as she held his shoulders up from the floor. He whispered, “Find Rick and Phil and protect them. Shield them. Go… now.”
“I’m not leaving you. I’m not leaving you. We win or die together, remember?” Aegis cried.
He inhaled shallowly, barely able to speak. His organs bulged from the opening in his gut. “Save yourself. Save them. I’m done… overloaded… exploding… dying. Go!” Ironside’s eyes began to glow bright white. Defying his injuries, he slowly came to his feet. Aegis had seen this before and knew he needed space. She limped to the side, away from both Ironside and their foes. But this time was different. He was injured. Ironside’s skin turned blood red, and his hair became pure white and stood on end. His body lifted and hovered inches above the floor. He held out his arms as static energy crackled from his fingertips and jumped to the walls. The gap in his abdomen began to glow again, bright as the sun and sizzling like bacon in a pan.
Aegis’s heart pounded as she witnessed the metamorphosis of her man. He’d become something else—something she’d teased him about before. He’d become a true demigod—and he was losing the battle for his life. Power coursed through his body in seemingly infinite intensity, yet he lacked the power to heal the damage that had been done by Rocco. “No!” Aegis shouted. “You can’t do this alone, Ironside. We can do this together. I love you!” She wailed at the horror show unfolding before her eyes.
Ironside caught a brief glimpse of her. Steam rose from his burning, dying eyes as moisture boiled off of them. In a calm, measured manner, he said in a strange, deep, metallic timbre, “Don’t cry for me, babe. You gave my life meaning. You are my purpose and you saved me. We came here to save the world. Now let me use what’s left of my life to save you.” He paused as he struggled to grab another breath before addressing her one final time. “I thought I told you to run.”
Finally heeding Ironside’s demand, Aegis burst into tears. Still in pain from being ripped from Orro’s shoulders, she sprinted as fast as she could out the door past Rocco and Orro, who became indifferent to her. The brothers stood in awe at the revival of the man they’d thought to be dead. Aegis had been weakened, and they could terminate her later. To finally slay Ironside, they needed to attack as a team.
Ironside glided silently in the air over to Rocco who unleashed the only weapon he had left, his punch. Ironside tilted his head to the side, raised his hand, and grabbed the fist flying toward him. With an ethereal squeeze of a single hand, he crushed Rocco’s armored fist. It was both graceful, and devastating.
“AHHHH! What the hell are you?” screamed Rocco as he hunched over and pulled his mangled hand inward.
Orro screamed, “My brother! You’re gonna die, little man!” Before Orro could move, Ironside flew at lightning speed toward the sword, as if by the force of his will alone. The sword lifted from the floor to his hand like iron to a magnet. He then flung it toward Orro. The sword spun like a boomerang and struck Orro in the leg just below his knee, severing the lower half.
“AHHHH!” Orro shouted as the bottom half of his golden leg separated and fell to the floor. He crashed to the ground and grabbed at his wound, attempting to stop the bleeding. The severed calf twitched and flopped in pool of blood.
“Wanna go for a walk, big guy? Oh, I see. Some other time then,” cracked Ironside in his deep, metallic timbre. “You should’ve been nicer to us.”
Ironside turned back to Rocco and recalled what Max had told him. All of the Agency’s creations had a weakness—areas of unarmored flesh. He needed to find them. Ironside hovered around Rocco in search of the spot as the giant favored his smashed hand. He found it: a small patch of normal-looking skin was visible in the middle of Rocco’s red back.
“Lookie here. Don’t worry… ” Ironside grabbed Rocco’s neck with one hand and thrust the other into Rocco’s back. Rocco let out an agonizing cry as Ironside effortlessly removed his spine and pieces of ribs. “… I got your back, Jack,” Ironside quipped with the bloody body parts in hand.
With his spine extracted, Rocco fell silent and limp as he converted from armor to regular flesh. Blood rained onto the floor as Ironside held up the body with one hand and the spine with the other. With grim satisfaction, Ironside released Rocco, letting his parts fall to the floor. “Invertebrate worm.”
“This isn’t possible!” cried Orro as he sat on the ground and wailed in pain. “You killed him! My only brother!” He paused and took several deep breaths, trying not to bleed out. In a deep, slow tone, he asserted, “It’s my turn now.” Orro trembled as he unleashed the full force of his ocular beams. Ironside shuddered as he was thrown backward, absorbing the energy. His power increased exponentially. Every cell in his body hummed as the energy multiplied. Static sparks crackled from his skin. Ironside’s whole body pulsed as a corona formed around his perimeter. He had become amplified beyond his limits—a reactor on the verge of a meltdown. The crack in Ironside’s abdomen began to widen and grew deeper as he careened wildly around the room.
Orro released the beam and smiled at his achievement with horrible satisfaction as he rested on the floor. Knowing that he had beaten Ironside, he savored the vengeance achieved for the death of his brother. It was only a matter of time until Ironside fell, this time for good.

This is an exclusive excerpt of ‘Ironside & Aegis: Origins’ which is available now.

You can find more information about David E. Bruno over on Twitter

‘Sex, Violence, Mars’ by Walrus – Review

A short but fun sci-fi story with great world building, action and some laughs…

Ginger is a care free bounty hunter on a mission to Mars where he finds himself getting into more trouble than good and his story is exactly what the title suggests. Even if this tale feels a little brief the science fiction world building stands out and the themes are captured well in this setting. Life is cheap, there’s sex and violence on the surface of this red planet and our cynical hero sees it first hand near enough everywhere.

The setting is paired with a writing style that I found to be executed very well – its a very easy read with some fun comedic elements. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and along with everything else this short book makes for a good read. For what starts out as a slowly paced introduction of this well imagined world soon picks up and is constantly moving forward much like the pages which turn; I was able to read this one in just a sitting.

Ginger is likeable and makes for a different type of hero. It would appear trouble and unpredictability follow him no matter where he goes. His final destination, we’ll have to find out next time as the story ends on a cliff-hanger.

Anyone who enjoys space sci fi with some adult themes will enjoy this one.

4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

‘Blachart’ by Christina Engela – Review

Enjoyable action-packed original space sci-fi

Christina Engela delivers with this action packed tale that introduces the Galaxii series; an expansive world of Imperial space fleets, distant planets, space pirates and beyond. Utilizing her unique, fun and strong narration style we meet ‘Mykl d’Angelo’ who serves firstly as a mystery man seemingly marooned alone in space until the authorities take him in and learn he is trustworthy. His brutal back story becomes apparent and as a reader you naturally side with him. Whether it be for his quick witted one liner’s or ability to deal with most situations and seemingly get out of them; the Imperial space fleet soon employ d’Angelo. He even reconnects with an old flame in the form of ‘Ripley Jones’ who vouches for him.

The real threat in Engela’s deep space Galaxii universe and much like many of her other books are the Corsairs – a mystery group of pirate types who appear to ravage any civilisation they can. Soon enough d’Angelo’s rescuing ship comes across another vessel manned by them and so the action, drama and deception begins. In order to fully intercept the Corsair world, they must align with an unexpected ally.

While this tale is wholly original there are some fun references throughout from old school weaponry, pirate slang terms and even a hilarious fast food reference. From shootouts to car chases this book has everything fans of sci fi action could want. It’s imaginative, highly readable and fun much like many of Christina Engela’s works which I highly recommend!

5 Stars – A cracking read. Reviews left via Goodreads and Amazon. Thank you to the author for providing a copy to review.

The Paris Rescue: The Willie Abrams Saga by C.J. Evans – Review

Action, adventure and history; a combination that makes for a good read and sequel…

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The story of Willie Abrams continues and this time he must face the place that haunts his war time past, peacetime France. We’re taken specifically to the city of Paris on a rescue mission first planted in the previous outing. This time around Abrams is accompanied by long time friend Banesfield and of course old flame Julie who’s father they are looking to save. They carry a dynamic and likeable chemistry that fits well into the the genre which has action, deception and twists.

From the Eiffel tower to the catacombs below this adventure spans the city where the trio team up with someone they first thought were adversaries making for a unique scenario where Julie wants her father returned safe. It becomes a sort of cat and mouse chase that is capped off with an action packed shoot out.

The Paris Rescue is a fun immersive read with a satisfying feel good resolve while also nodding to a potential sequel.

4 Stars 

The Good Kill: A Killian Lebon Novel by Kurt Brindley – Review

An enthralling, gripping tale of epic proportions taking the reader on a ride full of twists, turns and action…

goodk

Kurt Brindley has constructed an intricate  story that immediately immerses readers into the brutal world of organised crime,  drug and sex trafficking and a gangster underworld all of which is centered around main character Killian Lebon. This warrior and former navy seal embarks on a journey in search of answers and revenge while also dealing with a huge level of trauma. He’s a character that for all of his flaws and even dark moments you cannot help but admire and get behind.

The story unfolds gradually via a gripping and very readable style with the emphasis on Brindley’s descriptive full sentences (proper sentences, how I have longed for thee…)  with a series of stories and characters that all eventually find themselves linked later on. There are a wealth of three dimensional realistic characters with many who have their own flaws much like Killian such as ‘RJ’ with her own traumatic history or ‘Toni’ who is trying to do right even though her surroundings are wrong.

As a reader you definitely get value for money as The Good Kill is long read but it needs to be for the type of story it is and takes some time to get through although not once did I feel as if the story dragged and for a read of this caliber that is indeed an incredible feat.

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.

5 Stars – Great read,  Reviews left on Amazon UK and Goodreads