The Relic Spell By Jimena I. Novaro – Review

Hello friends. Today’s re blog is a book review for a wonderful urban fantasy that will see the next instalment arrive quite soon.

Lee's Hall of information

A gripping tale of magic and sorcery with an important message…

the relic spell.PNG

From the very start of this story I found myself immersed into an original and intricately crafted world of sorcery that is both full of action and intrigue. Jimena Novaro has written a book that also captures and reflects on modern times with a distinct rich and poor divide in the setting of ‘Port Monica’.

We are introduced to main character and hero ‘Orion Tamura’ who is perhaps the only powerful sorcerer left in town. By day he’s a regular school kid from a not so privileged family that includes two younger siblings and a mother to look out for. By night he is joined by best friend ‘Max’ and together they fight demons – there are a host of creative, fun and chilling creatures they face off throughout the story. On the surface their relationship appears to be…

View original post 372 more words

Calling Authors and Bloggers! – Unique Opportunity Alert!

Hello loyal followers, readers and passers by. I do hope December is treating you well. As some of you may know next year I am setting my sights on releasing a self help authoring and blogging guide book.

This project I hope, will be an inspirational and hopefully culture affirming experience designed to help those looking to get into writing/blogging and for those already on their journey. The key word here is ‘Inspirational’ and while this book will be filled with guides and help taken from my own experiences my ultimate vision is for it to inspire those who read it.

Therefore, I am calling on the wider writing community to help in the form of a unique opportunity to have your very own quote included in the book. Some of you may have seen my recent tweet, the annual tweet I put out looking for book rec’s for 2021 and this time I have included a question. You can find that tweet here; but I will happily accept any correspondents on this blog. Just leave your answer in the comments. Seeing as there are some wonderful bloggers and writers who follow this effort, I thought it best to include you by writing this post.

Here’s what I am looking for:

1. Your book or blog link.

2. One sentence of advice to someone with dreams of becoming a writer/blogger.

* If I choose your quote, I will reach out and ask you for permission to use it in the book.

Weekly Ramble #88

Crossing the 600 follower mark is truly a noteworthy achievement. From every part of my heart, not just the bottom, thank you for following this blog so it could get to this moment.

When I was much younger, we’re going back to the very early years of when I used to just be a kid staying up and reading past bedtime, I only really wanted to be one thing when I was older; someone. The day in day outer’s who like the post’s on this blog; many who blog nearly daily themselves with pictures, stories, reviews, current events, book tag stuff, craft stuff and even a few political pieces – I feel like I’m someone to them.

Those day in day outers combined with followers who supported this blog from the very start over 6 years ago combined with those just showing up and those who I’ve connected with on the way through all the years – that’s you, loyal cultured reader. It means so much to feel like my words are being read. This blog has become my number 1 platform because of that support. Long may it continue, and those who see something in me, I don’t know what, thank you, wholeheartedly. I’ll keep chasing the words if you help me catch them in moments like this.

Weekly Writing Inspiration #12

Its Friday somehow/ yet again…

I’ve had a semi productive week but only when I have shared memes will it reach completion. Some of them may serve as writing inspiration…

Memes are life….

Ha! I enjoyed this more than I should have, damn you sexy Michael…

Don’t lie, you have a strong opinion about what font you use. I’m a times new roman guy, always have been, always will be…

Every cough, sore throat and sneeze could possibly be the end…

Heart warming author moment of the week…

It’s been around 10 days since Darke Awakening dropped and already we’ve got a pair of ratings, this one the first text review by fellow author Henry Cox – author of ‘Deceit of the Soul’ which I reviewed a while back.

I should really watch Breaking Bad again…

Witchcraft is a real thing…

And so with that, an actual inspirational quote, ends this weeks post. Thanks for tuning in…

Spooky Season Movie Recommendations

To be perfectly honest I’ve been neglecting my horror/thriller passion since this year kind of turned into one but now October is upon us and for those like me who enjoy Spooky Season; let’s explore what movies I recommend to celebrate this time of the year…

Halloween (2018)

I’ve been a fan of the Michael Myers Halloween saga for quite some time and it probably stands as my favourite slasher film series up to Halloween H20. Yes there probably are a few ropey sequels in that collection but the first one was also the first ever slasher film and it paved the way. Spooky season would not be the same without that piano tune straddled by the good old mask wearing knife yielding speechless murderer who stalks the leaf fallen neighbourhood of Haddonfield in search of kills. The concept has been emulated many times in cinema but without the same effect.

A few years back some wise folks decided to reboot the franchise but effectively started again by discounting every film that followed the original to pretty decent standards. I thought it was so good upon release I visited the cinema twice to watch this sequel that packs one hell of a kill count. Jamie Lee Curtis deserves an honourable mention as she returns and picks up forty years later albeit hardened by the trauma of the first film’s events.

Fun fact: The town which my debut novel is based takes inspiration from Haddonfield and also the name of the high school I went to called Harlington making the name ‘Haddintgon’ – cool huh?

Jaws

Every attempt to create a scary film about an evil fish has fallen flat since 1975’s Jaws which holds up incredibly well for today’s standards. The evil fish or great white shark serves as just a side vessel for the story which is really about people being stupid and knowing there is a threat out there so don’t go out there – this sounds incredibly 2020…

The small town trope (which works in near enough every horror setting) or the quiet Island of Amity relies heavily upon seasonal trade in the summer and now a man eating shark could threaten that. The main character is new in town and also the Sherriff, he tries to balance local politics while taking down this threat which looms every so gradually in a film that is perfectly paced, characterised and overall quite scary. The sheer chemistry later on in the film between the three main characters hasn’t been emulated too often in cinema after making things all the more immersive. The shark, which looks kind of fake and was only used sparsely for that reason just heightens the terror. Don’t go into the water – it’s October anyway…

Grave Encounters

I’m a huge fan of found footage films probably because the concept of reality is heightened with in them. Over the years and since the Blair Witch Project some film makers have gone out of their way to make a film seem real and so comes along ‘Grave Encounters’ which is not only a found footage film but it also ticks a huge amount of horror boxes.

The film is a collection of footage all spliced together in continuity that relays the making of a paranormal investigation show called Grave Encounters. You see behind the scenes shenanigans from a highly likeable team as they put together the last episode of their first series, this one being a ‘lock in’ at a vast but mostly abandoned institution. The setting of this film is harrowingly perfect. Corridors upon corridors lay untouched from the primitive days of mental health care. Wheelchairs and gurneys lay empty, doors are wide open from the hundreds of cells, a bathtub sits unused – trust me they got the location bang on in this one! The first person view of this setting at night is one of nightmares.

You see all the usual stuff that paranormal investigation shows do, they even bring in a physic who is just a guy in shades and a leather jacket. For the purpose of the show, they ask the caretaker to lock them in overnight and that’s when it begins. You’ll have to watch it to find out, but trust me it’s worth a look and it’s terrifyingly awesome.

The Cabin in the Woods

For some this may appear to be an odd choice to include but to me the Cabin in the Woods is an incredible yet wonderfully fun film that turns every trope of the genre on it’s head. We like genre bending here at the Hall of Information and if you didn’t like this film it’s probably because you expected it to just be about a creepy cabin in the woods – that’s been done too many times before and even this film knows that.

Joss Whedon had a lot of involvement in this one, you can tell by the casting and the story telling which starts in one place and takes you to somewhere completely random and unchartered. It’s fun, outrageous and overall unexpected. Give it a try.

The Conjuring Series

Yep, the whole series that falls under the Conjuring umbrella is worth your time. I must start with a fair warning; these films are full of jump scares, but not the cheap jump scares you see in cheap horror, the jump scares in this series normally build to one with purpose and these films are well written, well paced and stand nowhere near the usual hokey-ness of the genre. From the first one all the way through to the creepy ‘Annabelle’ series and even ‘the Nun’; these films are chilling, thrilling and walk the tightrope of paranormal and possessions.

Fascinating Horror Youtube Channel

I might have a problem with being obsessed with true but horrifying tales and although this is not a movie it’s a recommendation because the Fascinating Horror channel over on YouTube is one I cannot get enough of. You can see from the screenshot below how many videos I have steamed into. From bizarre naturally occurring events to man made disasters that have truly chilling outcomes, this is a channel not to be missed. The narration style is clear, concise and well paced. Saying that the subject matter is also very well researched but a little fu**ed up also.

Over to you…

That wraps up just a snippet of stuff I’ve been watching so far but October is a long month so hit me up with any recommendations in the comments below…

Recent Reedsy Discovery Reads Issue 1…

It’s been 4 months since I joined book review platform Reedsy Discovery and my experience so far has been mostly good. Not only have I read some pretty cool books but I’ve also connected with some awesome authors. Let’s take a look at what I’ve read recently…

American Blasphemer by John Gillen is a potential read of the year for me and what a way to arrive on a new book reviewing platform. This contemporary/literary fiction story reads like an autobiography and its a dysfunctional one at that. If you’re okay with profanity, swearing and sexual stuff that’s turned all the way up to the extreme you’ll probably enjoy this one although it’s about way more than that trust me. It’s a series of encounters that make up an anti bible of sorts told through the eyes of someone trying to make their way through life in modern America. Like my review said it’s “a masterful labour of modern honesty, told through the lens of a lonesome soul trying to figure out this world and life… 

Rites of Passage by Chad Lehrmann is “a twisting unpredictable creature feature set in a small town with a big secret… and it’s my second Reedsy Discovery Review. Although I am a sucker for small town horror this one did have quite a few tropes usually seen in the genre along with it being the typical ‘chosen one’ story. Saying that this book did enough to hold my attention, it’s well paced and the pages fly by. Full review here.

Senescence by Denver Scott is another potential read of the year and was also my first 5 star Reedsy Review because it’s an incredible deep dive into our potential future. Science fiction and non fiction merge in what is a plethora of all things cosmos and wider science that looks at the many aspects of humankind. Just what will our future look like? Find out with this highly readable and accessible book that boldly goes where not a lot of books have been before – seriously check it out. My full review is here….

The Dreamophile’s Diary by Shazrina is both unique and surreal which is exactly what dreams can be like – the very essence of that weirdness is captured quite well in this series of short stories all based on, you guessed it, dreams. “Life is strange indeed, sometimes what you most desire becomes futile for you the very next moment…” You can read my full review here….

Noxious by Bruce Knapp is a book for those who love their horror with variety. From witchcraft to possessions and everything else that could possibly be enveloped by the shadows of the macabre this one is a page turner. Of course Bruce Knapp is no stranger to the Hall of Information as last year we reviewed the short stories that make up his Night Audit series and now he’s back with another series all based around the town of Blackwater. Watch this shadowy and dark space! Full review here….

And so that wraps up Issue 1 of what I hope will be a quarterly exploration of Reedsy Discovery Reads. If you’re on the platform come and say hi. Until next time, peace out!

Red Headed Book Lover – How I Beat a Scammer — Damien Linnane

Today’s post is another re-blog but a very important one from fellow author Damien Linnane who has generously shared his experience of how he beat a very well known scammer in the world of book reviews.

As some of you will know I have shared my experience with the same ‘reviewer’ and it’s so important as authors and creators we work together in sharing our experiences for the greater good of the writing community! Check it out below… 

 

It was January 2020. My novel had been released for less than two months. I was busy juggling my day job, my master’s degree, running a small business and preparing for an art exhibition. I knew I should have been doing more work to promote my novel, but I really didn’t have the time. And […]

via Red Headed Book Lover – How I Beat a Scammer — Damien Linnane

Weekly Writing Inspiration #4

It’s been a while since I did one of these. The truth is, I’ve been busy being busy…

In between interviewing fellow creatives, reviewing books, celebrating 6 years of blogging among other stuff I haven’t had time to share memes and writing things so here’s a feature length dose of weekly writing inspiration… hello new followers; thanks for the support!

* The disclaimer is not all of these are writing related or even memes… 

I’m 31 on Tuesday, these are my thoughts… 

20200731_210527

Gary has no chill, we all know someone like that…

20200731_210324

The cake really isn’t a lie… (and wear a face covering if you go anywhere public and indoors!)

20200731_210306

I don’t think Samsung’s ‘Atomic Bell’ alarm clock jingle will be appearing on the radio soon, but I can still relate… 

20200731_210607

Promoting new authors and their awesome works. Check out this one from Eleanor DeSouza

Not what I was expecting

 

the 80s

Aliens is easily in my top 10 awesome films of all time… ‘Alright sweethearts…’ 

Not a meme but a very important read for anyone in the author world. Check out the rest of the post by Damien Linnane here

Red Headed Scammer

 

Time flies when your reading books… Wanna know what I learned along the way?here’s a post about that…

achievement

Futurama has appeared back on my viewing sights as of recent and it’s worth a watch just for the comedy value – laughter = good feelings… plus Bender’s got a shiny metal ass… 

Shout out to fellow author and blogger S.D McKinley for these awesome words. Check out his blog and give it a follow! You can read my review for his book here…

sdmckinley 1

sdmckinley 2

So I think I might write another play… the source material is pretty good…. 

ghost

That wraps up this weeks writing inspiration in the form of memes. Thanks for stopping by, rock and roll man!

 

6 Years of Blogging – Here’s what I learned…

The road of life is long and so is the journey this blog has seemingly endured. Has it really been 6 years since I plunged into the world of blogging? Time has a way of slipping before our fingers when we’re busy and having fun, perhaps those two things are the main staples of how all of this is held together. That is along with the revelation that over time has convinced me most people are decent but those who follow this outfit are exceptional. 

What have I learned in 6 years of blogging? Probably enough to fill a self help book and well that may eventually appear on the horizon, I’ll give you an insight because for my followers, it’s the least I can do. These are the pillars that hold up the Hall of Information…  

hall of information

Choose a name that stands out…

Let’s face it, Lee’s Hall of Information is a gimmick style name and back when I started out, gimmick style names for blogs were all the rage. You don’t see it as much these days but I’ve embraced my not so serious blog name. It’s a play on words with my real name and it’s fun.

All the right people can make all the difference in the world

This blog has picked up the support of some awesome people over the years. People who see your vision like you do are important and if you work hard enough they will eventually find you trust me…

Support others like you wish to be supported

This one’s in red because it might be the most important pillar that holds up the Hall of Information and my entire ethos in life (or at least on here anyway). Commenting or liking another blogger’s post will most likely make their day and give just a little justification or satisfaction for their efforts. A few years ago I had the epiphany that basically sealed that ethos when I began to review Indie books. Pretty much as soon as that first review dropped the traffic to this site rocketed, which leads to the next thing…

Offer something that people need 

We’re using green because again it’s important and possibly the code breaking formula in all success everywhere. If you can offer something that people need, they will grab it. Sales people use that tactic to fling whatever they are flinging and I used it in more of a supporting way by reaching out to the wider writing community and offering to read and review their work – I did this to support others like I wished to be supported and it resulted in connecting with so many awesome people, some I even consider my friend plus it led to an often overlooked factor in blogging…

Regular Content is King

Because I have so many indie books on my list and I am always reading (I need to read to get better at writing) there will forever be a constant stream of content (book reviews) being churned out by the Hall of Information. The internet moves quickly and if you don’t put stuff out regularly then you will get forgotten. Being consistent in blogging will eventually get results, trust me. This is also relevant advice to whatever you blog about not just books…

Diverse content is King also… 

Unless you’re a book reading machine, and trust me there are a few bloggers who are, you’re going to need a range of content that extends towards the main stream. Trust me when I say some of my most viewed posts are nothing to do with books or writing. This review for DDP Yoga gets reads nearly every week and this post about wrestling often gets looked at. Neither of them are my core content subjects but they draw in views from outside that bubble.

It takes time

No matter how good you are to begin with or what you offer to readers this whole deal takes time to build. I started at zero and spent years not really knowing why 2 people read my latest post but eventually things grow if you keep going…

the stats

Share your feelings

It’s okay to vent, it’s okay to complain, it’s okay to be honest and express your feelings in what ever fashion you like. It’s your blog and your world first and foremost. I’ve shared many a grievance on here, one particular grievance about a 1 star review of The Teleporter led to a huge response from the writing community.

Look up to fellow bloggers

There are a stack of wonderful bloggers out there whom I look up to. Don’t be an island, reach out to them, connect and share ideas. Be there when they release new content even if you just drive by with a like for a post and read it later. This is a people thing, be part of it… some of those awesome bloggers you can find here.  The blogger who inspired me to do this started out in self publishing and has recently had one of her books optioned for a movie!

Enjoy it, embrace it and go for it

When I look back at those early days when I first put together the Hall of Information title on a background of dark red and an image of books on a shelf, I never imagined those books by other people would eventually be swapped out for my own.

The reviews and content I put out serves a purpose and people have recently used the word respect when they hold me in regard – this is worth more than probably anything else I could ever imagine as success.

That first post simply titled ‘Pilot’ led to where I stand today, pecking away at the keyboard, chasing the words, keeping things going, supporting others and hoping not just my work is a success but that others are too. Writing, reading and blogging is home to me no matter where I hang my hat.

We’ll get there someday and the Hall of Information continues forth into the world of words and beyond. I like that word, beyond, it makes this feel like it could lead anywhere, maybe it will…

To everyone who has ever followed, read and supported this blog, thank you. See ya in the next one! Rock and roll man!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk about… Star Ratings

Book reviews. What do they really mean? Unlike most products out there, books aren’t reviewed for whether or not they function properly, books are reviewed through the opinion of a reader which is entirely different…

The word ‘subjective’ gets thrown around a lot in the literary world, Agents will cling to it when rejecting a query and many other reviewers will use it as an excuse to give good or even bad reviews of stories.

Above the sacred book review is an often overlooked factor of governance, the Star Rating which is the subject for discussion because on at least 3 platforms I know of in the book reviewing world, it differs..

Goodreads

Is Goodreads Free?

Goodreads (the Facebook of the Book world) takes their stance on the star rating system as follows…

More on caveats | lucinda sans

Now I’m pretty satisfied with most of their definitions and let’s face it, the only thing available to review on Goodreads is books so it’s pretty specifically set for them, that is until it comes down to the 2 star and below. To me 2 stars is less than OK for a book…

The truth is, I’ve never rated a book below 3 stars on any platform mainly due to the fact I just haven’t found a read like that yet; I am quite picky and know whether or not I am going to enjoy a book, so I see the star rating as a score out of 5 and anything below three isn’t a pass… (this is just my opinion folks)

Amazon

More Amazon delivery restrictions are coming | TechRadar

Amazon, arguably the most important place for authors to get reviews as it is where their work is sold exclusively from, like me. There appears to be a little difference between their rating and Goodreads, now Amazon have done the Amazon thing and I can’t find anywhere reputable throughout the Google that tells us straight up what each star in their rating system means. This could be because they don’t know, they don’t want us to know or maybe it’s a combo of both. So let us look to the 2 star review as an example:

beam me up

This ‘review’ is taken from my super hero comedy novella ‘The Teleporter’ and as you can see it’s not only a negative review but a DNF review also which is hardly in line with the Goodreads 2 star review of ‘It was OK’.

When comparing probably the two most important book reviewing platforms they contradict one another and that is without another major factor; personal preference which is what Mr Beam me up decided to do with his/her review because even if you put out guidelines, whether or not they will be followed is another thing and this reviewer didn’t then hop on over to Goodreads.

Reedsy Discovery

reedsy

You can expect my very first Reedsy Discovery review tomorrow and it’s a good one trust me! Now their rating system is strict compared to others. They feel that you don’t need to give every book a 5 star rating and of course save that for the truly exceptional reads.

1

2

3

4

5

As you can see from their emoji heavy rating system that it agrees with me in principle. Anything below 3 is a ‘not for me’ but this also makes things tricky going upwards because of their stance of 5 star reviews, one has to find a truly exceptional book to use that rating.

Personal Preference

I don’ think there is one true way to rate a book using the above platforms and their own star rating systems. They differ too much, even without us realising. A four star review from Goodreads could mean something entirely different on Amazon because of the personal preference of a reader or because the guidelines aren’t particularly clear.

Personally I might have been way to generous in the past but arguably the books I’ve read had an effect on me and motivated me to rate them the way I did. The journey these authors have taken me on has led to what I thought of them and I pride myself on the support I give. The 5 star rating I give might not be for a truly exceptional once in a lifetime story but for the effort they put in to write something, to do research or even help me escape this world for just a while.

Authors view reviews as gold dust or even currency these days and it’s big business trust me. If it wasn’t for reviewing books, this very blog would be a ghost town.

What do you think of the star rating system for books?