‘Pestilence’ by Susie Kearley – Review

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

Pestilence is an extremely well thought out story with an accurate outlook on the events that lead to the collapse of society through a pandemic. For some and in recent times that might feel a little close to home but this book carves a new and different path while acting as a social commentary. The vessel in this scenario is the emergence of a fungus which is the resultant of a warmer climate – a reaction to how we treat this planet. Every major moment that unfolds is covered by Susie Kearley who tells this story with a unique overview style that keeps the events moving and homes in on the reactive details even if things move quickly – this pace works for the genre giving it a page turning flow.

The emergence of a wonder drug ultimately leads humanity on a downward path of addiction and excessive consumption with eventual side effects that become incurable. Its humanity not learning from the past on repeat over and over again as we see the medical system downplaying this emerging threat through lack of knowledge and then being overwhelmed. There’s a theme throughout of vicious cycles where the government or even society fails to take note of a very real threat all caused by our species.

a toxic culture of unhealthy living, a reliance on pharmaceutical drugs rather than health living, destroying the planet and allowing the pathogenic fungus to thrive…”

The story is told via a wide array of characters and from the very beginning they live their way through a well imagined and ultimately important case study about our nature. We see the elite taking from the less fortunate and with force – more social themes that ring true and echo to our reality. This world we live in is fragile and our attitudes will be probably be our undoing. A threat emerges and those who survive it perhaps leave further generations doomed to live through something similar and that’s probably the most powerful message of all.

5 Stars – A rollercoaster of a read with a powerful message. Reviews left via Amazon, Goodreads and BookBub.

Essential Self-Help Book Rec’s for Authors

Sometimes consulting the Google isn’t enough and my top advice for anyone looking to learn a new skill or to even hone their current ability in anything is to pick up a book about it. The non-fiction market is huge and also packed with some very handy guides about the intricacies of authoring and publishing.

This is my 600th Blog post and it is dedicated to showcasing the best self-help books I’ve read over the years, from the one that inspired this blog to Amazon algorithm optimization all the way to a part memoir packed with awesome practical writing tips; these are essential self-help book recommendations for authors…

‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’ – Stephen King

Okay, were starting with a relatively high bar and even for those who say they have never read anything by possibly America’s greatest storyteller (near enough everyone it seems) you’ll find something worthwhile in this book. Even though it’s relatively short for a Stephen King title this memoir takes us through his early days all the way to finding success as an author. We even hear about his near fatal accident – thank the Lord he survived! The focus is on his journey while every so often giving hints and tips throughout – some are even basic practicalities like where you should situate a writing desk! What I enjoyed the most about this book is the clear admiration King has for the craft and writing style while also mentioning other authors. For anyone at any level in writing this book is essential trust me!

‘How to Market a Book: Overperform in a Crowded Market’ by Ricardo Fayet

If you want to seriously earn money in authoring then this is the guide for you. It literally shows you the calculations on how you can convert a hobby into a potential career through the right marketing channels. Recently reviewed on here and for Reedsy Discovery this book is basically an extensive extension of Reedsy’s guides and blog posts that dive into everything you need to know about selling books and where to do it. From ‘going wide’ to Amazon chart optimization all the way to having readers find you. This recent release is essential if you are serious about writing as a career.

‘Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing’ By Catherine Ryan Howard

There aren’t many that know the Hall of Information blog was inspired by this book which I read way back in 2014. After a hugely successful career as an indie author, Catherine Ryan Howard has sort of become the benchmark for me in terms of success. She even secured a six figure publishing deal and the wonderful thing is her career started as an indie author. ‘Self ‘Printed’ is now into it’s third edition and because of the wonderful advice within that led me here it deserves a mention! You’ll find specific guides on how to format and publish books via Amazon all the way to selling, of course this is accompanied by a fun style of delivery – just read the blurb and you’ll know. To me it’s essential and something I even go back to every so often.

‘Amazon Keywords for Books: How to Use Keywords for Better Discovery on Amazon’ by Dale L. Roberts

Another Reedsy Discovery find and it’s an incredible eye opening resource for those published via Amazon – most reading this are and this book homes in on the power of Amazon’s search bar/key word optimization. This is just the tip of a big iceberg that deep dives into how the world’s biggest book retailer functions. The easy to understand writing style explains Amazon and that finding readers is just like having a conversation with an old friend you’ve got a lot in common with – trust me, Dale explains it way better… My verdict after reading this one is that I’m not using Amazon correctly and the knowledge I gained was essential and applied straight away! Here’s my review.

The wonderful thing about the writing industry is that no matter what level you are there will always be someone looking to support you. All of the authors above do just that and so if you are in doubt, you are never far away from a fellow scholar looking to share some much needed clarity and advice.

And so that wraps up my essential list of self-help books for Authors. If you’re looking for some further reading and a few more author resources then check out my own section dedicated to such. Let me know in the comments if you have any self-help book rec’s for authors.

Pre-order now!

It might be a tad indulgent to include my own title in this post but I also have a self help book for authors and bloggers and you can now pre-order it for a discounted price.

Weekly Ramble #100

One Hundred Rambles. One Hundred moments in time. One Hundred thoughts of days and times gone by to reach this point. A literal roadmap of my blogging past that’ll probably be imprinted on the internet forever or at least longer than I will be around.

Statistically February 2021 turned out to be the greatest month ever for the Hall of Information so finishing that month with my Hundredth Ramble is kind of aligning for me. It’s funny because near enough halfway through it the numbers were dwindling to the point where I was concerned maybe someone had been spreading rumours about me or something. I rolled up my sleeves, dug in and got into the blogging like I’d never done before. For it I got rewarded with nearly two thousand views. Flexing an engaged twitter following helped along with an important interview and of course continuing onwards with as much content as possible. The BookBub featured deal continues to bring new eyes to this place while the established followers continue their support, a winning combination.

The news in the UK is good. We’re driving towards daylight and away from the shackles of a pandemic that made it’s mark. For everything it took away it gave me as an author and blogger opportunity. Now I am looking to innovate what I have as a blog and by introducing external content from fellow bloggers. Some of you know I have opened my doors to guest posts and I will also be re-blogging fellow bloggers articles. If you want a re blog just reach out because together we can all achieve more!

For everyone who has joined this journey, from the first ramble to number one hundred, thanks for being a part of it!

Re-blog: This blog has been nominated for the Liebster Award!

Hello friends, today marks an important anniversary. Its 2 years since this blogging effort got nominated for an award so I thought I would re blog what was a pinnacle turning point. We haven’t had many nominations over the years so it’s worth celebrating….

Lee's Hall of information

I can happily announce that this rather small blogging operation has been nominated for an award!

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First and foremost I humbly accept and let me take this opportunity to say thank you to the Thinking Moon Blog for the nomination. This is the first time my writing efforts have ever been recognized in any way, it truly does mean a lot but this award nomination isn’t all about me (begrudgingly moves away from the spotlight…)

As well as being the rules of my nomination (more on that in a bit) it is my duty to say something about the fellow blogger who nominated me. The Thinking Moon Blog  contains a huge and diverse amount of content categories from sustainability articles all the way to Buffy the Vampire Slayer stuff (my favorite category). You can also find more Thinking Moon content via the tweet machine and Instagram. The word on…

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January Reading Wrap-up

January went kind of quickly this time around. Well it did to me because time flies when you’re in a good book and so here’s what I read…

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

In this different take on Vampires Chris Hepler delivers and immerses readers into a biological/political world where those with the vamp pathogen have certain rights. There’s espionage feels paired with the concept of vampires in entirely new territory…

You can check out my full review here…

One Line Review:

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

Rating: 4 Stars

‘The Word of the Rock God’ by Brooklynn Dean

Life on the road in a small venue rock and roll band paired with a tale of biblical level temptation – yes please. Brooklynn Dean delivers with a uniquely immersive writing style that’ll encapsulate and provoke your thoughts. It’s different but well worth a read.

Here’s my full review….

One Line Review:

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

Rating: 5 Stars

‘Husband for Rent’ by Kristina Gallo

Kristina Galllo tells a gritty story that could easily compare to a soap opera but with way more bite about multiple characters all on the fringes of the underworld. There’s deception, threat and even murder. A short but gripping read.

Full review…

One Line Review:

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

Rating: 4 Stars

‘Deadly Odds’ by Allen Wyler

For a story about one nerd looking to make it with a woman it goes deep into the criminal/terrorism underworld. Allen Wyler’s style kept me turning pages and wanting to know more about Arnold Gold who starts out with holding back the truth but for good reason…

Here’s my full review….

One Line Review:

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

Rating: 4 Stars

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

Neurodiversity takes centre stage in this colourful unique tale where N.E McMorran sets a fine example of awareness and inclusion while also telling an entertaining story. There aren’t many books like this one and for the wonderful message it stands for its worth reading and applauding.

Here’s my review…

One Line Review:

“Colourful and imaginative with a positive message about being different…”

Rating: 5 Stars

And so that wraps things up for last months reads. Thanks for stopping by, see y’all in the next one….

‘Deadly Odds’ by Allen Wyler – Review

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

Artificial Intelligence genius Arnold Gold seems to get himself in an increasing amount of trouble as his journey unfolds in a thrilling story of dramatic deception. For someone who just wants to make it with the fairer sex he sure does pay the price long after resorting to pay for such an experience which in turn leads to the barrel of a loaded gun and the rabbit hole of threat that envelops his life.

It’s part ‘True Romance’ part ‘Loser’ as our young hero has this way of tripping into a situation after an encounter with Las Vegas escort ‘Breeze’ who becomes the gateway to Gold’s deep trouble. While their time together is intimately relayed there’s always this feeling of some level of threat bubbling just under the surface. We learn that his success in the betting world is aided by the fact he’s a computer prodigy who surfs the Darknet which then in turn attracts less desirable types who want to exploit it soon piling on the pressure – eventually it seems everyone is after him, including the law. Perhaps Gold’s one and only pinnacle flaw is his uncanny inability to help himself or even refuse help – frustrating and immersive at the same time for readers and his legal counsel.

“fate had trapped him in a vise of opposing forces, slowly squeezing him to death. His only hope – at least as far as he could see was to stay on point and play the game…”

Allen Wyler has put together a strong story that I found to be both addictive and easy to read. On the fringes of crime or revenge thriller with some espionage themes it makes for a gripping read. Just how will Arnold Gold play himself out of this trouble? That’s question which will eventually be answered, the odds, deadly at best.

4 Stars – this review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

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…

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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…

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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.

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!