The Sawyer Shepherd Chronicles: Rites of Passage by Chad Lehrmann – Review

A twisting unpredictable creature feature set in a small town with a big secret…

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It doesn’t take long for the action to get going in what is a multi genre tale that sits within the fringes of supernatural thriller. ‘Sawyer Shepherd’ takes the lead in this book’s best feature; an ensemble of characters that have depth. He carries the typical mysterious past well even though he just happens to roll into town at the right time – but stories with prophecy and the like justify that to an extent because for me this book worked as an escape.

The setting comes as a strong second and is delivered with a unique style of writing that runs throughout. There is however a lot of cliche moments that some will probably roll their eyes at, but saying that, tropes are there for a reason, because they work and for all the moments that appear to be typical of the genre, most of the time they tick all the right boxes. Saying that I particularity enjoyed the original take on big business developers and how they fit into the threat element of the story and their perception of power.

The dialogue at some points I found to be perhaps a little tongue in cheek along with a romance that felt pushed which then suddenly back tracked. Fans of character driven narratives about ancient evil, secret demon fighting societies and unpredictable action will find plenty to get their ‘claws’ into. There are even some fitting tributes to some of the authors influences which made for a nice touch.

The book breezes by with decent pacing and a few revelations along the way including a double twist in the final stages. Although it was enjoyable, and a wider story is hinted throughout, I’m not sure the ending carried enough weight to interest readers in a potential sequel. Either way new stories about perhaps older tropes deserve to be recognised.

3 Stars – This review premiered via Reedsy Discovery

 

American Blasphemer by By John Gillen – Reedsy Discovery Review

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

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John Gillen has put together a series of life encounters; his own bible you could say or even a modern companion to it. Of course that could be classed as blasphemy through the eyes of some but the many references to God and religion is but a metaphoric vessel used to tell these candid stories. That being said, through all the events that take place its also about his relationship with religion and not once did I find it preachy or overbearing in that sense.

From the title you can probably guess it’s going to take readers to places of a sordid nature and it does, but that’s not for the sake of just telling a story or for the shock factor, its for a deeper meaning that each reader might grasp differently – only a true artist can achieve that. Past the drug taking, the sex and the chaos in these accounts you’ll find the real meaning behind it all and an honesty, a pure and raw poetic honesty. This is a modern reflection of America that highlights violence and a historic thirst for war, it doesn’t sugar coat anything and even touches themes that are happening right now in the world.

I found myself unable to look away right from a beginning that introduces John among a dysfunctional family, he knows them well although he isn’t like them, he isn’t like a lot of people. The many stories might even represent an ‘anti bible’ because like that text they include similar themes such as charity but with a hope of self gain and even a captivating encounter with temptation and bargaining that leads to something much more sinister.

For everything that is laid out on the surface, the trials, the tribulations and the misadventures all of which could be even be classed as ‘total cinema’, it’s what you’ll find underneath that makes this book well worth taking the time to read.

4 Stars – Here’s the link to my Review which premiered on Reedsy Discovery , thank you to them for providing a copy in exchange for this review. This may be one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. You need to check this one out trust me! 

Best Books I’ve read this year, so far…

Whoa we’re halfway there… but I suppose with all that’s going on, living on a prayer is out the window… but books aren’t and no matter what shit storm is going down out that window, the Hall of information vowed to carry on and carry on is what we have done!

Now that we are halfway through 2020, I am also half way through my TBR list and so here’s a breakdown of some of my best reads so far…

 

‘Dead End’ (Clown Conspiracy Book 1): A Short Thriller’ by Mallory Kelly

 

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Short books don’t get nearly enough credit especially when they do everything a longer book can. This series known as the ‘Clown Conspiracy’ is like a bunch X-files episodes that all carry the same chilling clown type theme but branch out in story with individual arcs in each addition. From this first one I was hooked and went back to the series over the past six months. Give short reads a chance! Here’s my review from January

 

‘Nocturnal Farm’ by Villimey Mist

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Vampire stories are still very relevant today, even more so when they break the usual mould and take a path less travelled like Nocturnal Farm which is the sequel to Nocturnal Blood. Book one was a chase style story that introduced the universe while this one represented more of a rescue effort while uncovering more of the vampire world already introduced. The MC is a sufferer of OCD and anxiety, but it’s not glorified or exploited, it’s highlighted in a brave and original way.  The Nocturnal series is definitely the one to watch right now as more sequels are planned! My full review is here. 

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

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The Hall of Information proudly takes on books from all corners of genre. Fiction or non-fiction we’re happy to read them and this unique self help book can best be described as ‘A unique mind opening insight into breaking the shells that govern our existence…’ and that’s taken straight from my review.

Break them all can be picked up by anyone looking for a little more insight into their own mind. It’s written in that accessible way and like I said in my review It’s intelligent but easy to take in and highlights how to see things differently and perhaps not the way we usually see them.’

Nightjar by Paul Jameson

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Every now and then a true literary gem comes along and this one took me by complete surprise. So much so I had to drop mostly everything and just read it cover to cover. Nightjar can best be described as something between folklore and fantasy while being written in a classic literary style. It’s a fresh story with an oldie style and that will take you back and it’s a combination that makes this one a potential read of the year! Trust me, check it out, my review is here…

Swinging Sanity by N.F. Mirza

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And now some poetry because every reader’s list should have some on and mine is no different. ‘Swinging Sanity’ is a deep and sensory collection of poetry, by that I mean it’s  an emotion fuelled account full of feelings that covers a range of subjects. ‘From self harm, depression, anxiety, loneliness, love, individual suffering and pain to everything else that centres around our sanity, you’ll see it represented here without any reservations and with honesty – something the world needs to talk about more…’  Check out my full review here…

The Band Director’s Lessons About Life: Volume 1 – 50 Parables on Life’s Performance Cycle by Donald Lee

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The Hall of Information was approached directly by Donald Lee who introduced his work and it didn’t take much to convince me to check it out. This collection of scenarios serve as parables related to the teaching of music that reflects on lessons learned. The subject matter ranges from time management, knowledge, belief, having fun, performing, forgiveness, failure and so much more (50 in total). This is a book that’ll make you think and hopefully motivate you to be better in the same sense. My full review is here…

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

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I cannot stress how good short books can be when they are good and Memories of Mars is one that caught me off guard yet again. Part science fiction and part literary ficton, this brand of ‘Fringe fiction’ faces the age old question about our origins and that of the red planet’s. To quote my reviewColin Yeoman has cleverly fused real elements of biological transmission experimentation with the human memory which possibly fills in the gaps of our history in the universe and more specifically Mars which is wholeheartedly original…’

And so that wraps up my ‘best books of 2020 so far’ but there are a stack of great reads I did not mention as I am saving them for the yearly review. Thanks for stopping by!

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 

Awesome Short Recommended Reads…

When it comes to reading, it’s not always about length…

Shorter books frequent on my shelf and there’s nothing that beats the feeling of getting to the end of another read. Not only does it give you the satisfaction of having achieved something, but reading apparently makes you smarter, so the more books you read…

Either way here’s a bunch of shorter reads I recommend…. and guess what, they are all Indie books!

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‘The Seller of Sins’ by Kristina Gallo

Genre: Romance

Page Count: 84

The Seller of Sins’ by Kristina Gallo didn’t feel like a shorter read. It carries a depth and style that will make you think you are reading something much longer and detailed.

To quote my review: ‘this tale carries a deeper moral story about love and what really matters and we realize this at the end…’

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‘Fated to Meet You’ by Despoina Kemeridou

Genre: Fairy tale/ Romance 

Page Count: 49

‘Fated to Meet You’ by Despoina Kemeridou is a feel good story that begins like a YA novel which quickly spins into a fairy tale. It’s a page turner which I managed to finish in just over an hour. Here’s what I said in my review from last year:

‘You’ll find there’s a lot more to the story other than happy every after including a curse and even prophecy in what is a short but fun read…’

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

Genre: New Age (Self-help)

Page Count: 65

‘Break Them All!!: A Modern Era Awakening!’ by DRTao is a break the mold mind opening book designed to get you thinking. It’s unique and looks at how to overcome our ‘phenotypes’ (ego, ambition) in order to be more productive.

‘Well written and structured this is a book that may provide readers with insight to some answers you never thought could be out there!’

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‘Swinging Sanity’ by N.F. Mirza

Genre: Poetry

Page Count: 70

‘Swinging Sanity’ by N.F. Mirza is a personal collection of poetry that is deep and incredibly brave to present to the world. You may know the author as awesome blogger ‘Stoner on a Roller Coaster’and I urge you to check this one out!

Recent review quote:

‘For anyone who is a fan of immersive poetry and for those looking to take on a read that is different but also very honest, I recommend this book. It tells a story while also being inspiring.’

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‘Dead End (Clown Conspiracy Book 1): A Short Thriller’ by Mallory Kelly

Genre: Horror

Page Count: 48

‘Dead End (Clown Conspiracy Book 1) by Mallory Kelly is the first of 4 chilling shorts that read like episodes of a crime horror TV show. Two agents are in pursuit of a killer clown which then turns out to be two clowns which then becomes a whole conspiracy.  I’ve been diving into the series every so often this year and I highly recommend the series..

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

Genre: Science Fiction/Space Exploration

Page Count:  68

‘Memories of Mars’ by Colin Yeoman took me by complete surprise. For what started out as one story going one place became the rabbit hole of perhaps our existence. This one got me, and managed to do it in 68 pages. To quote my very recent review:

‘Colin Yeoman has cleverly fused real elements of biological transmission experimentation with the human memory which possibly fills in the gaps of our history in the universe and more specifically Mars which is wholeheartedly original.’

 

And so that brings us to the end of some awesome short book rec’s. Have you got a short book that you would recommend?

Thanks for reading!

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Indie April Book Recommendations

Blog Post 401 and no that isn’t an error code…

This entry is dedicated to the reads I took on this April, or if you are an active member of the Tweet machine writing community it’s known as #indieapril

Those that know me will know every month is Indie April. I’ve said no matter what is happening outside our windows, the Hall of Information will keep going and so here we go…

The first read I took on in April was part of the Clown Conspiracy series which is a series of short reads that see’s two Agents in pursuit of a killer clown which soon becomes killer clowns; hence the conspiracy part.

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The Back Pew’ is the third entry in the series by author Mallory Kelly who never fails to deliver in what is a chilling race against time to stop these clowns. Just where will they strike next? Her descriptive style aligned with those chills makes for a great read and before you know it, it’s the end of another tale. You can read my review here and of course click on the cover for the book link…

Next up we have a debut novel by fellow British author Julia Cowan.

‘Cells’ is a story that will leave you questioning the morality of whether or not there can be any true justice? Can criminals really can be corrected?

The answers to those questions are presented by way of an experiment which aligns with vigilante justice that carries a dark edge. For anyone who enjoys thrillers with a slice of crime and mystery; this one is for you. I enjoyed it and the multiple switching of back and forth in time to bring together a story of intrigue was unique and clever.

To quote my review ‘from police corruption, blackmail and even a complicated love triangle this story ticks many of the boxes that fans of crime thrillers will enjoy…’

What came next is a true gem of a read about life, love and destiny in the American west.

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The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley by Nina Romano was a book that I could not put down. Described as a ballad in my review – it really is and see’s two star-crossed lovers who are meant to be, but their plans and journeys think otherwise, hence the destiny part. There’s drama, mystery and some very well researched history of the time where the modern world was just emerging. Love stories and romance don’t frequently appear on my list here at the Hall but this one, I highly recommend and in these trying days where we all need an escape, put your money on love!

I normally struggle to get into another full length book after reading one so I chose to take on something on the shorter side and this is probably the most unique in this post. 

Memories of Mars: a Novella (Custodian Library Archives Book 1) by Colin Yeoman is something completely different and original when it comes to science fiction, you could even argue it’s a type of fiction that clings to real science and theory while also doing the fictional part very well.

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For what starts like a potentially typical space fiction book becomes a rabbit hole of mystery and theory along with some deception.

To quote my recent review Colin Yeoman has cleverly fused real elements of biological transmission experimentation with the human memory which possibly fills in the gaps of our history in the universe and more specifically Mars which is wholeheartedly original…’

 

And so we are at my final and most recent read of April 2020. Again British crime is a theme as I took on ‘A Dish Best Served Cold: An ‘Archer’ Novel’ by Steve Lumsden after connecting with him on the tweet machine, and I was not disappointed.

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To quote my still warm reviewPresented Over six parts A dish Best Served Cold is a revenge and criminal underworld story that see’s implications from the past shape the present day and the characters in it…’

Before I realised I was already 50% through this book which is written in a style where you’ll be turning pages quickly.

And so that wraps up another month of awesome indie books! A thank you to the authors for their excellent work and thanks to all for reading. 

Do you have any recent book recommendations???

 

 

 

 

500 Followers Special – Awesome bloggers who deserve recognition!

Okay, this actually choked me up a little but here goes…

If it wasn’t for the efforts and support of fellow bloggers, this Hall of Information Blog wouldn’t have seen anywhere near the amount of success it has had in the past few years.

Those past few years have been a journey and even through these incredibly difficult times somehow the Hall of Information is celebrating the 500 follower milestone!

I didn’t achieve the figures below on my own, people helped, some are bloggers whom I share this journey with and so this post is a dedication to those supporters! Whoever you are, from regular reader and liker to casual; my salute is aimed to you!

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My sole philosophy in life is to give as good as you get, so this post is dedicated to those who have helped this blog become what it is today.

I sincerely believe without these folks, things would be pretty shitty… so without anymore introduction let me share with you the people who deserve recognition for their blogging efforts and for their support of this blog!

 

Jaycee Lynch – Thinking Moon Blog

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You can pretty much pin point the moment the Hall of information started actually getting views and engagement like it has never seen before. You can blame Jaycee for that and I mean that in the most sincere of senses. I don’t think my stuff would have got anywhere near the amount of exposure it has if it wasn’t for this awesome blogger who started following the Hall of information a while ago now – time flies huh…

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The Thinking Moon blog is a plethora of blogging greatness – it really is the benchmark of content and something every blogger needs in their life. The sheer amount of subjects Jaycee talks about is incredible; from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which I have been a fan of since the age of 13) to philosophy, interviews, book reviews and sustainability (a very important and relevant subject in this day and age).

Last year she even nominated this very blog for two separate awards and has even reviewed my books the Teleporter and Darke Blood. Ultimately J.C has been there for this blog and so in return I do my best to be there for her efforts. She is not only a big time blogger but is also active across social media platforms such as the tweet machine, you tube and the gram… I urge you to connect with her via the links below! J.C’s journey is full of inspiration and colour; something which social media needs!

Twitter:  @JayC_Lynch      Instagram: @thinking_moon_blog  and   Youtube

Megan – A Geeky Gal 

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Megan from A Geeky Gal is one of the most important bloggers I know. Her contribution to blogging and the sheer amount of subject content she covers seals the fact that Megan is a fully fledged blog-star!

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I’m not exaggerating when I say she creates so much content and I use the word important because Megan also blogs about mental health and self care – these are subjects which in the world of geeky things and the wider world of social media that I regard as important and very much needed. Megan regularly completes various challenges and over last summer she did a 30 Day Geek out Challenge which not only shows how dedicated she is to blogging but also how similar our tastes are in so many different things!

Megan nominated the Hall of information for the sunshine blogger award last year; the third blogging award nomination and coming from such a prolific blogger it was a pretty big deal for me. I urge you to check out A Geeky Gal!

Twitter: @ageekygal_  Instagram: ageekygal

Feed The Crime

My next nod goes to most probably the busiest book blogger in all the land of WordPress because Blair of Feed the Crime is always reading and reviewing stuff!

Originally specialising in crime book reviews Blair has branched out to many other genres quite recently and in doing so she has helped get my books seen via some wonderful reviews of ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ , ‘Darke Blood’ , ‘Open Evening’ and ‘The Teleporter’. It seems Blair is a convert of my stuff as it’s pretty ‘out there’ and her views on my work are very much appreciated!

Anyone looking for book rec’s I highly advise you follow and check out Blair’s efforts!

Another awesome blogger who has helped with my book promo efforts is Mullen Crafts who has read and reviewed Open Evening and even took on a pre-released version of the Ghost Beside Me which was a great help! Not only does she review books but blogs about all things craft. I urge you to check out her site which is full of awesome craft tutorials, how to posts and book reviews!

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Stoner on a Rollercoaster is another wonderful and unique blogger who isn’t afraid to express herself via many blogging subjects that range from mental health, rambles of the various and recently the trials of publishing (and I know that pain). Not only does she bring words to masses of followers but has also supported and liked many of the entries the blog has, so for that the Hall of information is thankful!

I recently reviewed her awesome and emotional poetry collection which you can read here.

The truth is there are 500 people who made this post possible and it would be difficult to credit everyone as some are just starting their following but there are still some awesome bloggers who deserve an Honorable mention and more importantly your follow! Check out the awesome people mentioned below! Give them a follow and read their stuff. Many of them have liked and connected with this blog for some time with their fantastic support, thanks to all! Some of them even created some go-to content which has inspired this blog!

Not all followers are bloggers, and I appreciate every single follow, even those who don’t blog – from readers, work colleagues, friends and family to everyone else – Thank you! 

And while I finish with these mentions the Hall of information will be looking to what’s next?

Now that the following is over 500 very soon I shall be reaching out to people via social media to begin getting to know them a bit better with Hall of Information Interviews! Watch this space and thank you for joining me…

 

Honorable Mentions

bookshelfbattle

DirtySciFiBuddha

Jyn

Christina Engela

etjwrites

sunilmdabral

debjani6ghosh

authorirene

michaeljordahl

seanarchy

Kurt Brindley

Sheree

hexandale

Matt Streuli 

Renard Moreau

The Eclectic Contrarian

kristinagallo

500TH FOLLOWER 

Shaunak

Rock and Roll man. Keep on blogging in the free world….

‘Cells’ by Julia Cowan – Review

An engaging and original debut that takes readers down the ‘well’ of crime…

Cells is a story that begins with intrigue and mystery and keeps you reading all the way to the end. There aren’t many books that manage to carry the mystery element throughout and for her efforts Julia Cowan has done quite well. Somewhere between psychological and crime thriller, the story is told though multiple points of view, a perhaps different choice as it switches between various characters in third person and then first person for main character James – this would be my only real critique as many of James’s scenes feel a little repetitive in writing style but in the same breath pages are turned quickly.

While being about many different things, Cells explores the morality of rehabilitating criminal offenders by way of what is a dark experiment of sorts that aligns with vigilante justice. James never really had a chance from a young age and is caught up in some rather unfortunate circumstances by way of coincidence, or perhaps that’s how it was always supposed to be. His father’s influence is a central theme to his character arc.

What follows is a cat and mouse account that switches back and forth in time while overlapping in what I imagine took some real thought and work to put together by the author. From police corruption, blackmail and even a complicated love triangle this story ticks many of the boxes that fans of crime thrillers will enjoy. In some places it’s brutal and doesn’t hold back with the darker edges readers will experience. The question readers will face at the end of it all is whether or not James is any better for the journey he has been on.

4 Stars – an impressive debut, looking forward to reading more from Julia Cowan!

Recent Indie Book Recommendations

These are unprecedented times… sick and tired of hearing that over and over again? Do yourself a favour and turn off the news for a while, the headlines aren’t going to change anytime soon so do something better with your time. 

Here at the Hall of information we have vowed to carry on in the face of adversity and continue our sacred vow to read and review indie books and keep this whole book train rolling down the track.

With book reviews comes book recommendations and so here are some recent reads that I urge you to check out for some awesome escapism from the crap reality this season of life has become – I’m talking worse than the final season of GOT…  Let’s go!

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The power of being positive is a powerful thing! And one way out of this shit storm is to escape through being positive or at least taking on a read that is proactive in that. Donald Lee approached the Hall for a review and we were not disappointed because his unique outlook on the self help genre is both thought provoking and valuable for learning so many of live’s lessons.

Donald is a tenured band teacher (no pun intended) and throughout his years he’s picked up a thing or two about life and how to get the most from it. Made up of short parables on very many subjects this book will bring a smile to your face! Check out my review of The Band Director’s Lessons about Life

Next up is a regular name who appears in the reviews here because Christina Engela has done it again with her immersive brand of space sci-fi.

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The Horror! Panic in Space series presents ‘Life Signs’ and my recent review headline reads ‘A trio of enjoyable sci-fi tales filled with mystery, fun and revelations…’

This is the second entry of Engela’s series which I am gradually working my way through. In these distracting times, stories like this are easy to read and are light on the mind while also being enough to whisk you away for a while. I urge you to check out these books along with her many other books which I have reviewed here in the past year (the Quantum series comes to mind…)

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Another author who recently reached out to the Hall is Damien Linnane from the land of Oz- stralia… who presented me with a recommendation in the form of ‘Scarred’ which is exactly what the title suggests. Trust me when I say this one is both good and brutal but it goes to brutal places for the sake of a great story.

To quote my very recent review:There are so many messages within the story such as revenge not always being the answer and the true morality of justice…’ 

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Right now like a lot of folks there’s a bunch of worry and pressure on our shoulders. It’s hard to get into a book but escapism and taking the mind away for a little while is important; enter the first book in the Willie Abrams Saga which is just enough to take you away while not overloading you with a complex overindulgent story. Sometimes simple stories are the best ones and this is a fine example of that. And I don’t mean to be critical when I say it’s simple because this is a rare quality found in indie books.

The Quest for the Sun God’s Tomb by CJ Evans  was a fun and easy to read book. Chapters are pacy and only five minutes or so long which means you can put it down and pick it up as much as you like. Somewhere between Indiana Jones and an original tale, this one is full of action and intrigue! Looking foward to reading more in the Saga soon!

 

So what are you reading? I know these are hard times, but staying in and finding a book to read will take away that anxiety and worry for a while, trust me!

‘The Quest For The Sun God’s Tomb : The Willie Abrams Saga’ by C.J Evans – Review

A fun easy to read tale of action and adventure…

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Former WW1 soldier Willie Abrams is content with sitting in the Cuban sun while sipping a daiquiri, he co owns a bar and rum business with fellow war veteran Sergeant Banesfield. He even has a protege in the form of a young lady who will one day take the reigns and so life is good. That is until an old flame arrives on the scene and a shipment of rum goes missing along with this former lover, then the adventure begins.

From rival gangs and gang lords to the deep Mayan jungle where a legendary sought after artifact rests in an Indiana Jones style tomb and all the way to gun fights this story has everything for an immersive and fun read. This would make the perfect beach read or even on a flight as it isn’t too long but you’ll find the pages turn easily in well paced chapters.

There are moments of action and even laughs in what is an easy to read tale of action and adventure guaranteed to keep readers interested all the way to the end! This one will definitely whisk you away for a while!

4 Stars – a cracking adventure that’s perfect to take your mind off things for a while; something we all need right now!