‘Love’s Ragged Claws’ by Gary Gautier – Review

A short read with plenty of literary depth…

It has been fifty years since ‘Gabriel’ last confessed and so when he does there comes a story of confession through literary depth. For a short read, Gary Gautier packs in so much to construct a tale of reflection, feeling and memories.

I’ll admit, I’m not sure if I did grasp everything within the layers of this book as there is plenty of metaphoric or even symbolic moments interwoven with stylistic description, sentences and the overall flow. For only fifty or so pages, I’m definitely urged to maybe go back a few times a read it just to capture everything which is just one of the unique values this book has.

Like many great reading experiences, our individual interpretation and the relationship it has with what the author has laid out makes it and here they work very well together. The reader’s imagination is given room to breathe while also being taken along the path by the author .With some heavier themes and emotion mixed with lighter funnier moments, the journey this book took me on was interesting from the get go. The existential and moral dilemma ‘Gabriel’ explores through his relationships gives this shorter read a great amount of depth with some great writing.

‘Moral knowledge is easy. Moral action is hard.’

4 Stars

‘Of Swans and Stars; Finding my own North Star, one poem at a time’ by E.M. McConnell – Review

A uniquely emotive and descriptive collection of poetry…

E.M. McConnell delivers a fantastic array of poetry that touches on so many subjects and across the four parts there is something that will resonate with anyone who takes on these words.

From the subject of being hopeful to even myth and magic which made for a great way to finish the collection, McConnel’s brand of poetry is strong, brave and consistent throughout. In particular ‘O, My Muse’ spoke to me along with ‘Music’ where the description really shines from the very start.

‘The beat skips and slithers down the cord Dodging errant quavers with amusing grace…’

This collection took me on a unique journey of language, rhyme and magic encapsulated by a British charm. There’s modern references and a power in these words along with the occasional mention of dragons all framed by an excellent looking cover and brilliant formatting.

For anyone looking to take on immersive poetry, I’d highly recommend this one!

5 Stars

‘The Watchmaker: A clock can talk’ by Ellen Khodakivska – Review

An enchanting tale of life, destiny and time…

Ellen Khodakivska tells a unique and enchanting story that follows five generations of watch makers who reside in Campobasso Italy. Their lives much like all of ours is ruled by time and how we manage it – there are a lot of fantastic messages and even some great symbolism throughout that really captures the concept of time. Even though there are many wonderful characters, it feels as if time is a character itself in this wonderful story.

Written with a style that reads like a sophisticated fairy tale, there’s a certain charm this book contains throughout as we meet the different generations of the ‘Donelli’ family and follow their lives. From heart warming moments to some that are sombre or even tragic, all of it is defined by the power of time and as watchmakers, they all follow the footsteps of their previous generation but that is after being told that there may be darkness if certain chains are broken.

On the fringes and always watching are the ‘Gift’ and the ‘Curse’ who are seemingly playing a game against one another and the pawns are those who have the initials ‘DD’. Told with heart and plenty of emotion this original tale has something for everyone and how you see time, may differ from others but the wise message within is universal.

‘Time always shares its wisdom with you if you are a good listener; Time can become your merciless enemy if you neglect it; Time can be your best friend if you manage it smartly; If you respect time, it respects you back…’

5 Stars

Exclusive Excerpt: ‘Soul of Light and Thunder’ by Arianne Nicks

Fellow author Arianne Nicks shares an exclusive promotional excerpt of her novel ‘Soul of Light and Thunder’

I should have done as I was told, but I was curious and kept my eyes open.

In the next moment, I wished I had listened. Kane was looking straight through me, frowning. His gorgeous smile disappeared, and his grip was stronger and steadier. His countenance was almost scary. Around us, huge white light circles were growing and spinning faster and faster. I got dizzy and felt like I was the one reeling. I knew what was happening—relocation spell. How did I not think of that? The dizziness got my mind all foggy, and I lost track of my surroundings. I was seeing multiple faces of Kane, all of them unclear and glimmering. Mercifully, in a few seconds, the circles disappeared. When I got my senses and balance back, I saw the landscape changed. The darkness of the night was gone, and so was the dense forest in Chicago and the shadow of my house.

A slow, warm wind ruffled my long hair from behind my shoulders. It brought a fresh, flowery smell, like a dewy garden in the early morning. Maybe because it was an early morning here, with a hidden, shy sun. We were surrounded by the most splendid and majestic trees I have ever seen in my life. Absolutely huge and thick trunks, with bright yellow leaves forming immense, round crowns, almost competing with the sun. I felt my mouth opening in awe of them. If I had to put an image to the word magic, this would be it. Ironic, wasn’t it?

“Ginkgo trees,” Kane said, smiling. His frown was gone, and he was himself again.

I unwrapped my arms from around him. He let me go but grabbed my hand.

“We’re here,” he added.

“We’re…where?”

“We’re in Japan. Come, my father is waiting for us.”

Oh, there. Yes, that’s where we were going. My thoughts were functioning again, so I could think about what happened. I didn’t know they could relocate with another person, especially with a commoner. It appeared to have taken more focus and more time to cast this on two people; I remembered the other ones disappearing almost instantly. That, or Kane tried to take it easy on me so I didn’t pass out. Still, the reeling sensation was more intense than I was prepared for.

This is an exclusive excerpt of ‘Soul of Light and Thunder’ by Arianne Nicks. You can find more information here.

‘House of Tigers’ by William Burton McCormick – Review

‘We’re innocent lambs in a house of hungry tigers…’

William Burton McCormick has constructed a cleverly plotted murder mystery where two unlikely characters band together quite literally to decipher the unexpected unfolding before them.

In the backdrop are swarms of mosquitos that threaten anyone outdoors and so immediately the locked in atmosphere presents itself from the very start as ‘Inspector Ilya Dudnyk’ arrives at Aristov Manor. His job is to oversee an Oligarch family inheritance dilemma but soon realises like most high stakes financial situations, blood has a tendency to be spilled. Even though he is seemingly on the side of the law, that thin blue line is blurred just a little giving readers a front row seat to the happenings that follow.

With plenty of tension and page-turning mystery vibes; the setting, characters and pace are all on point here and pull everything together well to make for a fun original reading experience. Of course there are unexpected twists and revelations in a who done it/who’s still doing it scenario as events unfold with the story.

5 Stars

Awesome Recommended Indie Reads #10

The road to reviewing indie books continues and so here are some of my recent reads, all of which I recommend!

‘The Perfect Athlete’ by Olivier Doleuze

The Perfect overview and resource for the fit and healthy conscious…

Full Review

‘SurReality’ by Matt Doyle

‘Everything that happens in SurReality is entirely real’

Full Review

‘The Mermaid From My Nightmare’ by Kristina Gallo

A thrilling and twisting tale with so much beneath the surface…

Full Review

‘Pearl Fields and the Oregon Meltdown’ by Drew Faraday

A unique and immersive vision of survival and life during apocalyptic times…

Full Review

‘The Liar, The Bitch and The Warmonger’ by Morton R Leader

A family affair with darker edges

Full Review

And so that wraps up another edition of Awesome Recommended Indie Reads. Keep reading and keep reviewing!

‘Pearl Fields and the Oregon Meltdown’ by Drew Faraday – Review

A unique and immersive vision of survival and life during apocalyptic times…

Pearl Fields and the Oregon Meltdown is a unique reading experience that plays out much like the transcript of a confession, life story and vision of one woman’s survival during the ‘Meltdown’. The wonderful thing is, its all three of those and more because the immersive conversational style adopted by Drew Faraday pulled me in from the very start and it isn’t one I’ve seen that frequently in fiction. Onthe surface it might appear as just ramblings but like all great books its what lies within those words that make it. Stories of childhood, love, struggle and life in apocalyptic times make up the experience that pulled me in from the start.

The ‘M’ virus and its fallout is where the majority of this story is set but we only get snippets of that from ‘Pearl’ and the focus is more on her many experiences during and then after. Its almost as if she is in the room telling you about the various trials and tribulations of her life and she’s a fun character to be around. Perhaps a little hardened by that life and her well fleshed out presence really puts you in the passenger seat of her ride. From her wealth of back stories to the various fun names she uses such as ‘Camp All She Wrote’ and even naming a suicide vest ‘Severance Package’ are just a few of humorous references peppered with a hint of darkness and there is a lot of emotion at the heart of this one.

‘I wouldn’t have gone through hell on earth on my own for nearly four years only to be pent-up in this rank jail cell pouring my heart out to a damn gizmo in hopes of not taking the long drop…’

Its part post-apocalyptic and part confessional-survival with ounces of humour and the question is, will this confession help her find acquittal? The answer is something I perhaps would have liked to have seen a little more from but that’s a minor critique at best.

Very enjoyable and original.

4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

‘SurReality’ by Matt Doyle – Review

‘Everything that happens in SurReality is entirely real’

Clever and unique, ‘SurReality’ is a combination of speculative and addictive fiction that I read in just a couple of sittings.

This short read shares the same title as the smash reality TV show it is about focusing on the paranormal and urban legends. After experiencing a sharp rise to fame with online viewers after their 2015 Christmas special turns gruesome, the story follows the fallout and subsequent reaction through the mode of transcripts, blog posts and news articles giving it a unique but modern Dracula-esque touch.

With one host missing and a lot of chatter online, this is modern look at how a TV show tries to live off the ‘reality’ of certain events whilst capturing the imagination in a unique way. Sometimes shorter reads are all you need to pique our interest and imagination, ‘SurReality’ is a perfect example of that. Great cover also!

5 Stars

‘The Perfect Athlete’ by Olivier Doleuze – Review

The Perfect overview and resource for the fit and healthy conscious…

Tenured Jockey Olivier Doleuze lays out a hugely beneficial resource/overview style guide for anyone looking to improve their nutrition and fitness that is packed with information.

This easy-to-read book is delivered with an approachable chatty style that partners well with the sheer amount of definitions, explanations and what is essentially a blue print for modern sport/nutrition and more. Early on it is stated that this book is for “Athletes and aspiring fitness enthusiasts’ but everyone or anyone who wants to be more conscious of their health through exercise and diet this is a must-read, it really will open your mind and awareness.

Structured much like how the ideal workout it begins with the warm up – definitions of the basics are laid out like nutrition, metabolism, calories, fuel and so much more. Although this is a lot of information, its written with a light style that isn’t too heavy to take in and makes for a memorable start to the work out/ reading experience. The chapters that follow, cover everything in detail but again not too heavily, many guides do suffer from adding ‘fluff’ but this one is lean and in good shape, trust me.

I was drawn to this book to learn and to find more insight into how my own diet relates to my fitness and now my mind is very much open especially with the very meaningful and motivational statement about weight only really being a number.

This book exactly what I needed to refresh my fitness journey because I think many of us sometimes get lost along the path when it does relate to weight expectations, nutrition and fitness. I’ll happily admit a lot of this stuff I didn’t even know until I picked up this guide which I shall be using in the future for reference.

4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery.

Awesome Recommended Indie Reads #9

The road to reviewing indie books continues and so here are some of my recent reads, all of which I recommend!

‘A Stranger From the Storm’ by William Burton McCormick

Brilliant fun – a historical mystery with plenty of atmosphere

Full Review

‘Witch in the Lighthouse’ by Azalea Forrest

A quaint and fun magical tale…

Full Review

‘The View From Here’ by Leon Stevens

An exploration themed sci-fi novella not of this world…

Full Review

‘The Caverns’ by Olen Crowe

In The Caverns an ancient evil lurks…

Full Review

‘Red on White’ by J.P Biddlecome

‘The Wolves came, rising from the waves…’

Full Review

And so that wraps up another edition of Awesome Recommended Indie Reads. Keep reading and keep reviewing!