‘The Player Without Luck’ by Kristina Gallo – Review

A thrilling page turning story that will keep you immersed from the start….

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English isn’t Kristina Gallo’s native language but that is certainly no disadvantage as she tells an immersive dramatic tale of the unexpected that grabs you from the start.

We’re thrown into the seedy world of gambling where main character ‘Silvija’ loves to spend her time and money. With her focus on trying to win she suddenly discovers a body and that’s when the journey of twists, turns and a sinister history begins. To the police she might just be that ‘blonde chick’ but soon enough the revelations come and she just happens to be linked.

Those revelations intertwine through a story that switches back and forth in time with a pacy page turning style and for a shorter read the author manages to include multiple themes from mystery, thriller, tension, deception and even with some erotic tones. There’s a lot going on in a short space of time giving readers a sense of urgency to read it all the way through because as soon as you start this book, you’ll want to read the whole thing.

4 – Stars, the newest read from Kristina Gallo makes for a great escape! 

‘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!

‘Mark of a Demon’ by Despoina Kemeridou – Review

A modern feel-good fable of forbidden love and a hint of darkness

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Despoina Kemeridou returns with her unique fairy tale style voice to tell a heart warming, feel-good modern fable that explores many different themes including love, sacrifice and the value of life. We are introduced to ‘Heather’ who is born with a weak heart and so her mother bargains with demonic forces to save her but at a cost. 

That bargain will eventually come to fruition and as ‘Heather’ grows up we see her young life unfold in the authors style that keeps pages moving while also providing important plot detail – this has all the feeling and vibe that fairy tales of old contain but with a fuller feeling story that carries more of an adult theme.

To say anymore about the story would be giving spoilers and this is a book that deserves to be discovered and immersed in, even if it is a shorter read that is by no means a disadvantage. There a moments that are both heart breaking and heart warming that make up the drama that is a fun read and escape that I highly recommend.

4 Stars – A great addition to the authors repertoire. Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads.

Check out a recent Hall of Information Interview with Despoina here.  

‘Moon-Sitting’ by E.M. Harding – Review

An original and well-paced character driven sci-fi with a difference…

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E.M. Harding writes with a style that initially holds it’s cards close to the chest allowing readers imaginations to be fed an original world that views it’s moon as somewhat of an enigmatic danger. Since it’s arrival to the planet of ‘Infinity’ which brought much destruction, people are assigned to watch this threat. Main character ‘Lucky Marsh’ happens to be one of three Moon Sitters and her curiosity fuelled by nightmarish visions drives the story to unfold while answering the many questions that surround this dangerous lunar force. With a beginning that carries mystique, answers come soon enough.

I’ll happily admit I was caught entirely off guard with this book. It doesn’t take long until the twists and revelations light the path this story takes the reader on. The characters and how they interact with the world to find answers is just one of the many strengths along with original world building and originality as a whole – I haven’t read a science fiction book quite like this one.

The revelations and twists eventually form into an issue of morality and choice that ‘Lucky’ must face as well as a matter of time while readers discover her past and present which run in tandem throughout the book. Novella’s and shorter books deserve just as much credit especially when they are as good as this one. It’s different, readable and enjoyable.

4 Stars – Reviews left via Amazon UK and Goodreads 

How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal By S.D. McKinley – Review

An entirely unique and original page-turning journey of variety on the open road…   

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Somewhere between unique, random and fun is where you’ll find How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal which is a road trip story with a difference. This unique tale is told with imagination that makes for perfect escapism while also carrying an intelligence with snappy dialogue, fun characters and interesting encounters. 

Main characters LJ and Rom decide that they are done with rally car racing and decide to make a pilgrimage of sorts across country along the open road to save their close friend. The action picks up quickly and doesn’t let off the gas near enough all the way through page turning chapters where our heroes come across a multitude of ‘out there’ experiences from trashing motel rooms rock and roll style, fixing their vehicle, high speed racing to even the supernatural and everything else in between. The unpredictable is at play here, making it feel like the story could go anywhere next and it does. There are even zombies!

In most logical circumstances everything in this story shouldn’t work, but it does and the style of writing just flows and works flawlessly in what is one of the most original books I have ever come across. It’s clear that the imagination of S.D McKinley is one of a gifted story teller with an original voice.

5 Stars – A real interesting and fun read. Thanks to the author for providing a copy in exchange for am honest review. Reviews also left on Amazon and Goodreads. 

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! 

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 

‘I Will Kill You in My Dream’ by Kristina Gallo – Review

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Be careful with dreams, they may come true….

Everyone who has been through the struggle of fitting in at school can relate to this short story about teens in Croatia during a time of transition for the country. Teachers from the previous political regime don’t help, parents cannot relate and the popular kids don’t help. If you’re not one of them it’s difficult. Even if you attempt to get in on the social scene it involves going to a seedy club where ‘whoever survives could make a story’ which works as a metaphor for the wider environment this story is set.

‘Helena’ like a lot of teens has potential but is otherwise engaged, for this she is berated by the school while also made to feel invisible. She’s not a bad student but perhaps she attracts bad things and then the dreams begin…

‘I will Kill You in My Dream is an engaging and satisfying short story with a supernatural edge about the struggle of being a teen.

4 Stars

‘Mr Mercedes’ by Stephen King – Review

Satisfying and suspenseful crime thriller that’ll keep you reading….

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While Stephen King might be known for stories with a paranormal edge he’s more than capable of delivering one in the realms of a modern crime thriller. Of course he keeps the depravity and absurdity close nit because that’s what he does and I might be questioning my own tastefulness here when I say I kind of enjoy where he goes sometimes; even if its on the fringes sick. This is for all intents and purposes to tell a story and that he does here.

We see the typical loner/mother issues/tech nerd killer who takes his own aspirations to more and more depraved heights while he also taunts the cop who could never catch him, a retired detective. This could have been a police procedural if the main character ‘ Bill Hodges’ hadn’t given back his badge so instead its a cat and mouse private investigator type set up that grows more and more dramatic. While he chooses not to confide in old colleagues about a still to be caught perp, he takes the taunting personally and this sets up the perfect conflict that double backs on the story.

There are secondary characters that bring possibly more dimension than the mains and they become needed by ‘Hodges’ in this world of computers, social media and technology. By the end you’re rooting for them to pull out the win. It’s dark, urban, mystery intertwined and thrilling fun written in the highest quality.

5 Stars – My first paperback read in nearly two years. Back to indie reads now…. 

All Dressed Up (Clown Conspiracy Book 4): A Short Thriller by Mallory Kelly – Review

A satisfying concluding chapter to the chilling and thrilling Clown Conspiracy series…

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Every book of the Clown Conspiracy series acts as an episodic puzzle piece when put together tells a wider story. In this final episode readers will be left mostly satisfied with an ending that is perfect for the genre and the story as a whole – you’ll be wanting more but also you’ll be assured that it’s over (for now).

Of course Agent’s Shirley and Carter are the centrepiece that are trying to put this puzzle together from ‘Dead End’ to the ‘Back Pew’ and all the way to this story that focuses on a carnival themed wedding. You can imagine what follows and the chase culminates this time.

Sharing what happens would be giving spoilers as this book and series is worth the short time it takes to finish and arguably does everything better that a longer book would do. There’s some great use of description sided with the chilling creepiness that comes with clowns and takes readers on a journey.

5 Stars – A great series of short books that pull together for one wider story…