Perfect Reads for Spooky Season

The season of spookyness is here and what better time to get into a book because the evenings are short and the lanterns of carved fruit are being lit. Here are some indie books that I think are perfect for spooky season.

‘Evil Eye: A Slasher Story’ by April A. Taylor

Of course this season brings with it the plethora of slasher films like ‘Halloween’ and ‘Friday the 13th’ so if you like them, you’ll love ‘Evil Eye’. Set on a remote island during a hurricane, there’s a masked killer stalking those left behind. Perfect for this time of year. Full review here.

‘Fear Farm No Trespassers’ by S.J. Krandall

For those who enjoy shorter reads that all link together, this is the one for you. Each story of ‘Fear Farm’ starts with that slow creepifying burn which then flows into much quicker tempo producing those spooky season thrills and spills. Well worth a read for anyone looking to be thrilled. Full review here.

‘Don’t Lose Your Head’ by Dave Williams7

Although to me ‘Don’t Lose Your Head’ is an all-year-round type of dark read it will definitely haunt you in deep and unique type of way. Conscience and repercussion take centre stage in this story that I couldn’t put down and there are plenty of themes within that perfectly align for this time of year – atmosphere and creepy visuals are a plenty in this one. Full Review Here.

‘Deification’ by Brooklynn Dean

It probably doesn’t get any darker than the apocalypse and Brooklynn Dean delivers it on a lavish plate full of prose, depth and darkness in a story that will keep you glued. This one is perfect for spooky season but again definitely an all-year-round type of read. Full Review Here.

‘Nocturnal Blood’ by Villimey Mist

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Without vampires there would be no spooky season and my go-to indie vampire story is the ‘Nocturnal’ series starting with this part one. A unique blend of chase and discovery take a young lady on one hell of journey down the sometimes gory but always satisfying rabbit hole of vampire horror. Full review here.

‘Demonspawn’ by Christina Engela

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I’ve always got time for a little space horror especially when it is this good and chilling. A stranded and down on their luck crew of the I.S.S. Mordrake discover a seemingly abandoned vessel floating in the depths of space. What they discover takes the reader on an awesome ride. Full Review Here.

‘The Ghost Beside Me’ by Lee Hall

You’ll have to excuse the blatant self promotion here but there isn’t a ghost story on this list and considering how well this book is doing of recent, I thought I’d give it a little plug. ‘Ghost’ is a unique short read making it low commitment which is part of the appeal. All you need is a free evening and you’ll probably get through the whole thing. Here’s a recent review.

Thanks for stopping by and check back soon for some more reads that are perfect for spooky season!

‘Wonder Rush’ by Dan McKeon – Review

An immersive and suspenseful teen spy thriller with some darker edges, a positive message, originality and depth…

Dan McKeon delivers an immersive and suspenseful tale of one teen assassin who has always followed orders and never questioned those giving them. When things don’t go to plan ‘Wendy’ finds herself facing a rabbit hole of questions as she deciphers what’s good and bad while coming to her own conclusion. It’s part- coming-of-age part-morality check as the ‘agency’ giving the orders begin to reveal themselves as not so reputable.

Through the multiple missions and names she takes ‘Wendy’ begins to realise even if you eliminate bad people, there will always be someone else innocent effected by it. That is without mentioning if the target even is bad in the first place.

“Even those who do bad things have people who care about them, and their loss effects them…”

There’s a certain depth to that morality where choice and accountability of one’s actions make you as a reader question everything. It’s immersive and dark sometimes – death always is but our main character keeps things light hearted and you find yourself rooting for her because she is a force for good. You can give a person all the assassin training in the world and try to engineer out all human elements but they are still human and perhaps that message is at the centre of a great story that I took my time reading.

While there are plenty of concepts that are original and they merge with others that we’ve seen before in spy thrillers; it’s always the abandoned warehouse for a meeting point but the bubble gum idea is genius and of course fun. Although there is some violence there isn’t anything too graphic so I’d recommend this book to older teens and above and to anyone who enjoys a spy thriller with a difference. Highly enjoyable.

5 Stars – This Review First Premiered via Reedsy Discovery

‘King of the Wicked’ by T.R. Hamby – Review

An immersive imaginative take on Angels, humanity and immortality…

T.R. Hamby has constructed an original immersive and imaginative take on Angels and how their world interacts with the human one. We meet ‘Nora’ who is a struggling performer when she encounters ‘Mel’ who at first seems like a threat until he reveals who he truly is. What follows is a journey that will keep readers turning pages as the twists and turns present themselves. Its well written and even logical in places – especially when it comes to how these Angel types operate and have operated over time. We get a glimpse at the history of ‘Mel’, his world, and of course ‘Michael’ who plays an instrumental and pivotal role in the wider story which plays out.

With morality being a key theme throughout, these Angels and their motive is to put an end to bad people doing bad things which adds some high stakes as they must track them down before more bad happens. This concept is then woven into ‘Nora’s’ story which continually evolves. Romance and selflessness sits at the very centre of a real world fantasy story that will leave you wanting more.

5 Stars – Reviews left on Amazon and Goodreads.

‘Nocturnal Salvation’ by Villimey Mist – Review

The Nocturnal series has returned and is better than ever…

Leia Walker faces the implications of her new affliction in this action packed third entry of a series that gets better and better. It’s clear to see Villimey Mist has grown as an author and she delivers this story with tight to the point description along with a style that’s easy to read. That growth and development translates to the diverse cast of characters; some familiar faces while others are still new – multiple characters is a hard thing to get right but for the best part of this book it’s executed well.

We get a front row seat to Leia’s struggle and inner conflict as she tries to adjust to her new reality. ‘Sophie’ although just a vision serves as a stark reminder of a journey that has now taken a different turn. There are sights and feelings not seen before in the series which adds a freshness and new dimension. The lust for blood our hero experiences is part of that conflict which she faces in near enough every direction.

“My blood sings a violent song of brutality. My bloodlust surges through me, and I allow the monster to take the reigns…”

From Amsterdam to London and then over to the US this jet setting story is high stakes, in fact they are the highest they have ever been and its enjoyable. From shoot-outs to car crashes the chase is on to find a cure for the deadly blood of ‘Adam’ a big bad who serves as a calculating sometimes slippery enemy adding to Leia’s conflict. She eventually starts to get used to her situation and takes a responsibility to protect those around her with a desire to be a better fighter. Concepts that are original for the genre are explored further – we see how the likes of ‘Sangues’ work and what it is like to be ‘feral’. There are dramatic turns and even shocking moments that’ll keep those pages turning before a resolve that is both satisfying and even a little emotional.

5 Stars – A great read that caps off an awesome series that represents the genre well. Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads.

‘Snag’ by Dylan Burroughs – Review

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

If you are looking for a slow building horror that keeps you engaged all the way through then this is the book for you. It’s ‘Predator’ meets ‘The Thing’ with a dusting of ‘Alien’ as newly released former prisoner ‘Jay’ finds himself taking a job as a logger to start again. After connecting with an old friend he heads out to the forest and mountainous surroundings where he encounters others on their own journey of working to start again. The trees and forest setting slowly closes in and then someone goes missing. That is while something stalks them, what exactly, you’ll have to read it to find out.

“It was quiet here. Not the pleasant kind of quiet in the forest where you can appreciate the the silence of the world. This was the oppressive, pressurised silence that bore down and made them yearn for any sound beyond their own breath and boots…”

Although the story is well paced there are just a few critiques I have that mainly relate to basic spelling errors and sometimes hard to understand abbreviated dialogue that I found myself having to read twice. Other than some over description in places Dylan Burroughs delivers a likeable creepy horror with a sense that something is watching in those trees. If that description was kept tighter this would have been perfect, perhaps something to aim for next time. The characters are three dimensional and react to the world they are in while the story progresses with a slow build that eventually culminates. These men will have to band together to fight the unknown. Our lead character Jay has a history which he looks to escape from and do good by with some old fashioned redemption. There are some good concepts here but some of the finer details just let it down a little.

3 Stars – A missed opportunity with a good concept let down by the editing…

‘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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The Best Books I have read this year – 2020

It’s hard to believe that we’ve got to this point but we have. For all the words you could use to describe the dumpster fire that is and was 2020 I am going to use the word grateful.

Grateful for the authors who have provided me with not only an escape through their wonderful works but grateful to them for providing a vital centre pillar of content for this blog – reviews. Some of these creators have become friends and important connections in the world of online authoring for me. This post is dedicated them and the best books I have read this year.

While the criteria of ‘best books’ is derived mainly from my own personal taste it is also influenced by how many views the review got on here along with my admiration for the author. These works are an extension of some wonderful personalities who make up an incredible community. So let’s dive in…

‘Nocturnal Farm’ by Villimey Mist

A flawless and fresh vampire tale full of mystery and unexpected twists…Quote from my review

For all that the vampire genre has been through over the years let’s just say it’s incredibly difficult to find originality – I should know I’ve written a couple of vamp tales myself… but the ‘Nocturnal’ series stands out to me and Villimey Mist does an awesome job at continuing a gripping story with a refreshing take on vampires. I reckon soon enough there will be a third book out so now is the perfect time to jump on the ‘Nocturnal’ rollercoaster of gore…

‘Break Them All!!: A Modern Era Awakening!’ by DRTao

A unique mind opening insight into breaking the shells that govern our existence…Quote from my review

Here at the Hall of Information we review all types of books and this mind opening breezy self help book is the most read review of 2020 and it’s also a book the resonated with me. It focuses on breaking down the barriers in our mind like ego and ambition to give a better outlook on life. It’s worth a read trust me!

‘Nightjar’ by Paul Jameson

Pure immersive and original literature that reads much like a classic… – Quote from my review

‘Nightjar’ caught me completely off guard and before I knew it I was whisked away into the ‘Feudal Future’ through classic and uniquely stylistic description and writing. The style and story is so unique I felt compelled to reach out to author Paul Jameson some time after for a Hall of Information interview and we delved deeper into the mind and creativity of a truly awesome story teller. This book is very much a contender for my favourite of the year.

‘Swinging Sanity’ by N.F. Mirza

A brave expression of feeling through poetry that is both thought provoking and inspiring… – Quote from my review

Those in the WordPress Bloggersphere will know the author/poet of this collection as the awesome Stoner on a Rollercoaster and this book really stood out to me. To be able to share verses of the subjects seen within the pages of this collection is incredibly brave, creative and generous.

‘Scarred by Damien Linnane

A brutal tale of justice blinded by revenge… Quote from my review

Australian author Damien Linnane reached out for a review of his awesome revenge thriller and since then I have found out he wrote this tale while in prison – this makes for an interesting and unique personal story. We’ve spoken regularly via email about publishing and book marketing and these days you can catch him on various podcasts relaying his unique journey.

‘The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley’ by Nina Romano

A ballad of love, life and destiny in the West – Quote from my review

I’ll happily admit that I still haven’t read another romance since this one back in April but for good reason because ‘The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley’ was incredible. The epic love story between two souls is something I was really immersed in and it also made for a wonderful lockdown distraction. The Western genre is something I hold close to my heart and this one I highly recommend! Nina Romano combines well researched history with some gripping story telling.

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

A thought provokingly original novella that will leave you wanting more… Quote from my review

Combining real science with imaginative fiction all wrapped up into a novella length story is not an easy feat and Colin Yeoman succeeds with this thought provoking read that is seemingly just the beginning. The question is did man originate on Mars? And how exactly did we find ourselves on Earth? Of course this story just browses that subject which is well worth pursuing – those who like high end space sci fi especially. You can also read my review of the sequel here.

‘American Blasphemer’ by By John Gillen

A masterful labour of modern honesty, told through the lens of a lonesome soul trying to figure out this world and life… -Quote from my review

Talk about raw, emotional and candid but there are many more words I would use to describe this journey of honesty. This literary novel doesn’t hold back in what could even be the anti-bible. American Blasphemer served as my first Reedsy Discovery Review and ushered in a new era of access to higher profile authors and books. The fact Reedsy approached me is credit to the authors who provided me with books to review so I could get noticed.

‘How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal’ By S.D. McKinley

An entirely unique and original page-turning journey of variety on the open road…  – Quote from my review

This book wins the award for the most unique and ‘out there’ read of 2020 but in a fun and interesting way. S.D.McKinley has fused the buddy road trip story with elements of the paranormal and a hint of high octane. You can expect a boat load of different things all flawlessly put together in a well told story, that’s why it got 5 stars from me.

‘Moon-Sitting’ by E.M. Harding

An original and well-paced character driven sci-fi with a difference… -Quote from my review

‘Moon-Sitting’ is a cleverly written story that starts in one place and opens into a world of something much more. It stands as a book that caught me entirely off guard through the twists and revelations that become apparent. It’s books like this that give science fiction and novellas a collective positive voice. Even after six months and many books later I haven’t read anything like this one since – the world building is something that stood out especially in this one.

‘Mark of a Demon’ by Despoina Kemeridou

A modern feel-good fable of forbidden love and a hint of darkness… – Quote from my review

Despoina Kemeridou’s writing has a unique fairy tale style vibe and it is very much present in her second novel but this time there’s a more of an adult feel. Demonic forces and bargaining are at the forefront of a breezy immersive read. Despoina was also kind enough to be the first ever Hall of Information Interviewee and for that we were ever so thankful. We are looking forward to seeing what’s next from this awesome author.

‘The Player Without Luck’ by Kristina Gallo

A thrilling page turning story that will keep you immersed from the start… – Quote from my review

The works of Kristina Gallo are always guaranteed to be entertaining and considering English isn’t her first language it’s incredible how much she has achieved in publishing. As a supporter of fellow authors you’ll find her across the many social media platforms reviewing books and being a positive part of the writing community. ‘The Player Without Luck’ stood out for me with the multiple themes such as mystery, crime and deception. Here’s a recent Hall of Information interview Kristina took part in.

‘The Silent Betrayal’ by Momus Najmi

Original, eloquently written and thrilling. A tale of deception that reads like a spy thriller but carries a much deeper meaning… – Quote from my review

The ‘Silent Betrayal’ is a thrilling journey that Momus Najmi tells with an eloquent writing style. The story sees the son of a multi millionaire businessman lift the lid on a sketchy past and fortune he is set to inherit. My review stands as one of the most viewed posts of the year on here which is impressive but justified because this one is a great read and somewhat of a gem that deserves way more recognition!

‘Senescence’ by Denver Scott

One giant leap into the future of humankind via the cosmos through the vessel of science that makes for a fascinating read! – quote from my review

You should know by now that here at the Hall of Information we love a good space sci fi and ‘Senescence’ by Denver Scott is a pure visionary look into the future of humankind through some wonderful real science merged with fiction. This is one you shouldn’t miss and was another wonderful Reedsy Discovery find!

‘Deceit of the Soul: Saving the World from COVID-19: Before the Pandemic’ By Henry Cox

A thrilling and interesting page turner that looks to seek out the truth… – Quote from my review

When any major world event happens there’s always someone looking to capture the imagination and after Henry Cox reached out for a review of this book I realised that’s exactly what he did. We have all been affected by the whole covid thing and ‘Deceit of the Soul’ goes into the origins of something still very relevant now. This one is definitely worth a look.

‘The Ballad of Ricky Risotto’ by Marc Cavella

An entertaining gem of a read celebrating the glory days of pro wrestling with a modern voice… – Quote from my review

Some of you may know that for years I have been a fan of American pro wrestling and so after Marc Cavella reached out for a review for his short but punchy book I felt very much obliged. It captures the very essence of the ‘business’ in what is an entertaining read. Set in the much adored territorial glory days of wrestling Marc does a great job in bringing history to life with sight and sounds of a bygone era. You can read a recent Hall of Information Interview with the Marc here.

‘A Diary in the Age of Water’ by Nina Munteanu

A truly important once in a generation read that flows like a wild river right through your imagination and heart – Quote from my review

I’m being 100% serious when I say ‘A Diary in the Age of Water’ is one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read. For what it stands for is truly a statement towards our own damning of this beautiful planet and our most precious resource – water. Canadian Author Nina Munteanu has put together a masterful look at where we could possibly end up if we don’t act. This one was another Reedsy Discovery find and thus totally justified my joining of the platform well and truly!

‘Blachart’ by Christina Engela

Enjoyable action-packed original space sci-fi... – Quote from my review

South African Author Christina Engela was the very first person to reach out to this site for a book review and served as an important turning point for this blog. Since then her work has probably been one of the most featured here and for good reason – she writes great books! Even though it has been a while I eventually got to the next book in the space sci fi Galaxii Series ‘Blachart’ and was not disappointed by this futuristic action packed tale of space pirates. Highly recommended!

‘Biosphere: Hazard’ by B.W. Cole

Breezy, thrilling and gripping science fiction set in a visionary world… – Quote from my review

Keeping with the space sci-fi theme ‘Biosphere: Hazard’ was a book I discovered after Distant Shore Publishing reached out for a review. It turns out they publish some awesome stuff in the form of short stories and this novella which draws influence from the likes of Alien and Bladerunner. If you like atmospheric reads then this one is for you, and me!

And so that wraps up the best books I have read this year (2020). All mentioned will feature on my Indie Book reviews page for the next 12 months!

Thank you for reading and a shout out to every author who has provided me with a book this year. Even those not mentioned, you’ve shaped this blog to bigger and better heights which is all propped up by reviewing and embracing books!

See you in the next one!

‘The Silent Betrayal’ by Momus Najmi – Review

Original, eloquently written and thrilling. A tale of deception that reads like a spy thriller but carries a much deeper meaning… 

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Momus Najmi has written a thrilling story with an original and eloquent narration style where main character ‘Johann Blakemore’ candidly confides in the reader on a journey to lift the lid on his rich father’s sinister past. This high society world is introduced with a stylish combination of pessimism and humour through the eyes of a character that knows something isn’t right. Just how did his father earn such a wealth? 

Even being in line to the throne of big business and lots of money doesn’t particularity interest ‘Johann’ and especially if the source of it may have a sinister origin, neither does the prospect of being arranged to marry, even if he’s indifferent about it – a conflict he must face time and time again throughout the journey of twists and discovery. Just who is on ‘Johann’s’ side? That is something even he will have to think twice about in a book that reads like a spy thriller and then eventually becomes a spy thriller and it’s a fun thought provoking one at that.

The author has put in much effort to explore so many moral subjects throughout but in light doses. From politics, business, charity, freedom of choice, greed, wealth to even our wider purpose in life there are some thought provoking moments while the story gradually builds towards a satisfying finish. We see unexpected twists, turns and eventually answers in the form of surprising revelations for our main character. 

From this beginning I could tell this book was unique gem of a read and not once did it feel like a chore to turn the pages, quickly I might add. This is definitely a read I would recommend for anyone looking to take on something original, thrilling and thought provoking. 

5 Stars –  A cracking read that kept me interested all the way through. Reviews left via Goodreads and Amazon. 

‘Magpie’ by Paul Jameson – Review

A quaint wonderfully written short.. 

Magpie by [Paul Jameson]

Magpie is a quaint and wonderfully written short by Paul Jameson who immerses readers from the get go with his unique folklore style. Having read it in just one sitting this story serves as just a snippet of the authors ability to tell stories that fuses classic and modern style description and composition. Having read his other work ‘Nightjar’ this book carries the same feeling and of course just an edge of darkness so readers who enjoy one will certainly enjoy the other.

From the note at the end it’s clear to see this story found the author in some sense while he was exploring a real place which heightens the immersive element of the setting. There’s a level of mystique about near enough everything including the history of what happened in this world and our own imaginations are given the scope to follow a story the author first followed. This is a story and reading experience that I highly recommend.

5 Stars – Magpie is currently Free to download and you can grab a copy here for a very limited time.

If you interested in reading more about Paul Jameson check out a very recent Hall of Information Interview I did with the him here; it’s a must read insight!