‘Sentinel: Galaxii Book 4’ by Christina Engela – Review

Immersive and enjoyable space-sci fi

Christina Engela returns with her immersive and enjoyable brand of space sci-fi in the latest instalment of the Galaxii series.

Captain ‘Sonia La Belle’ is tasked with an uphill struggle of bringing the starship I.S.S. Munray back up to better standards. With mostly disorganised personnel and the ways of a former disgraced captain leaving the ship in disarray, not to mention an old flame on the crew, this new skipper has her work cut out and then come the space pirates.

In the wake of these ‘Corsairs’ being a near enough wiped out, two particular outlaws find themselves in possession of a dooms day-esque technology that threatens not just ‘La Belle’s’ reputation but much more. A pirate resurgence begins along with a matter-of-time chase that ensues with drama and deception at the forefront of a great story delivered by way of Engela’s best writing to date. For anyone looking to for some fun space sci-fi immersion then ‘Sentinel’ is the book for you!

5 Stars – thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!

‘Recovering Alice’ by Catherine Morrison – Review

A gripping uplifting tale of romance and relapse…

Catherine Morrison has delivered finely balanced story about addiction that carries the message of love and honesty without glorifying the issues surrounding alcoholism. Whilst some of the subjects within are heavy, they are handled with grace and make this book more than a love story or simply a tale of recovery because it is that and much more

We meet ‘Alice Patterson’ in the midst of a relapse and from the depths of this dark moment she encounters ‘Bob’ a man who eventually becomes a beacon of hope. The mystery surrounding this man is heightened to begin with and for good cause as Alice questions why anyone would be interested in someone like her with such issues? The inner conflict that aligns with the wider plot is very well done here, its realistic and gripping. As a reader I wanted her to succeed and that is the true sign of a gripping read.

The messages within are plenty with a main theme of recovery and the concept of finding the right person who will not only accept you for your faults and who you are, but will support you also. I particularly enjoyed the final chapters as Alice begins to realise that she is a force for good even when surrounded by those with similar struggles and for anyone looking for an uplifting read, this one is for you.

5 Stars – Reviews left on Amazon and Goodreads

‘SKINNER: Thirty-five years. Four killers. One city’ by Nathan Jones – Review

Immersive near future sci-fi meets the macabre…

Dayne Mitchell has a fascination for the macabre and the wider subject of serial killers who have plagued the British city of Bristol for many years. As a sufferer of bipolar he almost looks to the dark subject of killing as a coping mechanism to get through life in a near future world that is intriguing and imaginative – these two words are what I would use to describe a story that takes readers to dark and sometimes graphic violent places.

There are a wealth of modern subjects and heavy themes in this book that are executed very well by Nathan Jones who merges near future science fiction to thrilling murder mystery with a lot of depth. The vessel being Dayne who endures a journey of discovery, twists and then horrifying revelations as his research into Bristol’s murderous past eventually comes to him. Fans of darker crime drama will certainly appreciate this one along with those looking to learn about the geography and history of a great city.

5 Stars

Weekly Ramble #141

Indie April is here! Which in recent years has become quite a spectacle for fellow indie authors to celebrate their works and support each other. Even those outside of the author bubble jump on board for a month that I have been looking forward to for quite some time. You’ll find me across my platforms supporting fellow indies in as many ways as I possibly can because this author support train does not stop!

To anyone who does support indies like me or for any month of the calendar year, thank you! To those who have releases this month, best of luck!

Outside life things have been keeping me busy for the past few weeks or so but now I am back for more blogging, book reviewing and of course social media-ing. 2022 has already been an extraordinary year for so many reasons and while it does appear to be passing rather quickly, I am ready to seize every opportunity to keep on rocking and writing in the free world! Have a great April!

‘Lazy Creativity: The Art of Owning Your Creativity’ by Kyle Bernier – Review

A detailed, modern and refreshing take on creativity that covers so many applications for success!

I had so much fun reading this detailed guide that not only lays out so many ways in which you can explore creativity, but it also normalises and embraces laziness to the point where it can even help with that creativity.

Kyle Bernier delivers his outlook through several easy to digest chapters that work together as an intricate guide whilst using an approachable style littered with light humour and a relatable tone. It is also written in a way that anyone can follow and for that makes it must read. There is plenty to digest and take in but it never feels overwhelming even if I did read it all in just a few sittings, now I am equipped to be the best lazy creative I can possibly be. Bernier identifies so many applications and types of creativity such as quiet, ugly, big, small – this guy really knows his stuff and as an artist and academic he has the knowledge to back it up.

“Everything we need to be successful creative people is inside us…”

Most of us have incredibly busy lives and so finding time to pursue creativity tends to fall further and further down the priority list but this guide opens your eyes in so many ways to find time, even if it is just a short amount to pursue that creativity which to many like me, cannot function without. There are heaps of positivity here not just for being creative, but for everything that surrounds it.

For anyone creative or those looking to be more creative in a plethora of different ways, you’ll have a lot of fun reading this awesome guide which carries a great vibe throughout and will lay out everything you need to equip yourself to embrace laziness and become the best possible creative!

5 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

‘Powerless’ by Vicky Ball – Review

A well-written twisting thriller with darker themes…

Vicky Ball delivers a twisting tale that carries a plethora of darker themes while being executed in a page-turning style that hops back and forth in time with dual P.OV’s. Ball does everything to tell this story and succeeds. As readers we are shown just enough to suggest what is happening beneath the surface of a story that tackles the themes of naivety, coercion, trauma, addiction and of course danger that is a lot closer than first realised.

When ‘Beth’ returns home after several years after disappearing it brings up all kinds of questions and contention that places her younger sister ‘Abby’ on a twisting path of realisation. There is a lot to unpack and it happens gradually while the twists appear unexpectedly. Perhaps this a cautionary tale for those who are younger to not be so trusting to those who clearly want something – a powerful message aimed at readers of a certain younger age who will get something from this book. What we are shown is just enough without glorifying or even exploiting the many issues the reader and characters face. The concept of ‘Businessmen’ simply casts a long enough shadow to suggest what is really happening and the message being about trust.

With a story that goes full circle, Powerless is a thrilling and twisting tale that will take readers on a dramatic and sometimes unexpected ride.

4 Stars – Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads

‘Summer of ’77’ by Rebecca Amiss – Review

An easy-to-read heart-warming story of friendship and nostalgia

Summer of ’77 is a wonderful feel-good tale about childhood, friendship and life that readers of all ages will enjoy. Rebecca Amiss has succeeded in delivering a page-turner that takes you back in time while also reminding older readers about what it is like to be a kid.

Albert Weiss and his father relocate from the big city to a small sea-side town in Maine to start again. With the grief of loss that is still very fresh its a struggle for them both in their own unique ways, Albert has left friends behind and his father needs to find a job. While the stress of leaving their old home plays on Albert’s mind he becomes distracted by the appearance of a girl called Robin. To begin with he takes her friendly persistence as a nuisance but eventually learns that she is a kind and good force in his life. Their friendship although a struggle at first becomes a mechanism for Albert to move on. Both of these characters have a depth and dynamic that works incredibly well for this story and they are better for knowing each other.

It was funny to think that even though Albert had only known Robin for a month, it felt as if he’d known her his whole life, and yet she still found ways to surprise him.

There are a host of fun nostalgic references littered throughout the story that took me back to a more innocent time where the stresses of adult life don’t exist but as a kid sometimes life can be hard and having good friends or family really helps. This is a rare gem of a story that any reader will certainly enjoy while having an important message and feel good vibes.

5 Stars

‘A Twist in the Rift’ by Meg Radiant – Review

Original page-turning sci-fi with unlimited portals of potential…

A Twist in the Rift is an original and imaginative story about ‘Lyricia’ who has the uncanny ability to see and travel through ‘Rifts’ which are portals to other worlds. She grows up knowing this and it isn’t until adult age that she acts upon it and so the rabbit hole of possibility unfolds. The scope and imagination of author Meg Radiant is executed well with a page-turning style that leaves readers wanting more while there is a plethora of characters, cool concepts, terminology and worlds to be explored here. Above all this book is an adventure.

There were just a few points where there seemed to be more showing as opposed to telling in the writing but for the nature of this page-turning novella it works. For anyone looking to read some original sci-fi with new worlds and concepts, this one has portals of potential.

4 Stars

February ’22 Wrap-Up

The sometimes strange and short month of February has come to a close so here’s a wrap-up of what has been going on here at the Hall of Information in that time…

Podcast Appearance!

This month I appeared on the awesome Indie Book Talk Podcast to share all of my wisdom on Author Twitter.

New Guide Alert!

My aim this year is put together a new guide every month. In between my writing, reading and procrastinating on social media efforts, this month saw my 9 year celebration of being on Twitter. Here are some things that I learned and a basically how I operate right now to stay present, support others and sell books. I basically don’t stop.

#indieFebruary – some love for Indie Books

Over on Twitter I did my best to try and get a new hashtag trending. While the results weren’t great I still led the charge in supporting my fellow indie authors by putting together a series of posts celebrating my favourite indie reads. You’ll find some below.

Indie Book Recs: Space/Sci Fi Horror Memoir/Non-Fiction Thrillers Shorter Reads

Reviewing a new Stephen King Book

I’ll admit that most of this month was taken over by my reading efforts of Billy Summers by Stephen King – like many of his works, it was enduring but overall a worthwhile read – here is my review.

Guest Articles

Of course the Hall of Information is always open to guest content and so here is some from this month:

How To Stay Creative With Chronic Pain by Ariel Jensine Dodge

Overview: SHAKEN NO MORE by Jacqui Morrison

I’ve nearly finished writing my next play adaptation…

Part of the reason why I have been less active on this blog in February is because I am deep into writing and nearly finishing my next play adaptation. You’ll hopefully hear more about that soon.

And so that wraps up Feb 2022, have a good one!

Indie Book Rec’s : Shorter Reads

In celebration of #indieApril over on Twitter and because there are some wonderful indie books out there, I’ve put together a series of posts recommending some awesome works I have read over the years.

This post is dedicated to some shorter indie reads and so here are some books I highly recommend:

‘The Right Thing’ by Kelsey Kupitz

‘An easy-to-read mystery full of intrigue, atmosphere and chills…’

Full Review

‘Fated to Meet You’ by Despoina Kemeridou

‘A feel good fun and imaginative modern fairy tale…’

Full Review

fated to mee you

‘‘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…’

Full Review

‘The Ghost of Whitmore Manor’ by Sarah Jayne Harry

A breezy paranormal romance with a young adult edge…

Full Review

‘Josef The Writer’s Cat’ by Ellen Khodakivska

‘A heart-warming and fun story told from a unique perspective…’

Full Review

‘Life of Maggot’ by Paul Jameson

A masterfully written vision and song about the end of time…

Full Review

‘Nevada Noir : A Trilogy of Short Stories’ by David Arrowsmith

A brief but deeply descriptive brush with the dark…

Full Review

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to use #indieApril over on Twitter to show your support for indie authors and their awesome works!