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

Immersive page-turning horror stories full of thrills and chills…

S.J. Krandall delivers a delightfully chilling collection of page turning, fast-paced horror stories that will keep readers on the edge. All of them are linked and have that similar theme of something lurking in the shadows or the feeling of being followed. That sensory type of immersion is what I enjoyed the most – this is the stuff that will keep you up at night or if you are inclined to a good scare, perhaps the opposite.

Good horror takes a lot of work and imagination to balance and you’ll find it here paired with a style of writing that feeds the imagination.

While our imagination is given room to breathe these stories all start out with a slower pace which quickens as they unfold. This tempo makes for a dramatic thrill ride where the stakes unfold each time for different people who all seemingly succumb to similar gruesome ends. Based in countryside that is equal parts beauty and full of mystery that’s lurking for the next victim. Highly enjoyable and recommended for anyone who does enjoy horror with pace and a little blood.

5 Stars – Thank you to the author who provided a free copy in exchange for a review.

‘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

‘ARIA: Book 1 of the Scintillance Theory’ by Gyorgy Henyei Neto – Review

Immersive science fiction with some mystery and time travel elements…

‘Dia’ sets out to recall lost memories while trying to decipher what is real and what is dream in an immersive and partly surreal story that puts readers in the very centre of her dilemma. To begin with everything is shrouded in a level of mystery as our main character tries to put her memory together while also being unsure who to trust and that is while she recovers from the recent past. This is a future world where the ‘ARIA foundation’ seem to control and see everything and after an event known as ‘The Scintillance’ we gradually find out what happened and how ‘Dia’ was involved.

To begin with I did struggle to get into the story but it picks up and figures itself out as events unfolds and it gets better throughout. The stakes emerge and as ‘Dia’ learns about her past the twists, turns and drama emerges into an enjoyable story. Some of the concepts were original and overall I was immersed into a world that has only just been introduced as this is the first of a wider series. For those who enjoy science fiction with mystery and time travel elements, this is the one for you.

4 Stars – Thank you to the author who provided an advanced copy in exchange for an unbiased review.

“Consistent Creative Content” by Lee Hall | Book Review

Thank you to fellow writer Ellen Khodakivska for this wonderful review of Consistent Creative Content which is discounted tommorow!

Ellen Khodakivska

If you need a dynamic, informative, inspiring guide to authoring and blogging, you definitely should read this book.

Pic by valerioerrani on https://pixabay.com/

Genre: A guide to authoring and blogging in the social media age

Language: English

Release date: 2021

The Plot:  The last time I was so obsessed with reading the book about writing was reading “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King. But, truth to be told, Lee Hall managed to stand head and shoulders above my previous read related to writing. This book is not just an ordinary guide to authoring. “Consistent Creative Content” is a multilayered manual for people who can’t imagine their life without writing. The author doesn’t teach you how to write; he gives you brilliant tips on keeping afloat and not giving up in this hectic, competitive bookish world.  Revealing his personal writing experience, the writer leaves…

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‘Born in Stockport – Grew up in the Royal Navy: Book One’ by Maurice Perkins – Review

An entertaining and gritty series of real life tales told with charm…

Maurice Perkins delivers a memoir that is full of charm, fun and tales of experience that covers the years of his childhood to being a young man in the royal navy. Each chapter is full of fun encounters relayed in a way that confides in the reader as if you were sitting opposite Mr Perkins while he shares them; from a youth spent being a ‘scallywag’ getting into all kinds of trouble to finding success in the Royal Navy – his journey is both inspiring and full of lessons that are valuable for anyone. The terminology is fun and many of the Navy cantered stories are insightful while also being entertaining.

Of course much of these recollections are of a time gone by like the many scraps he’s had which are highlighted with a dusting of humour and just the right amount grit. Not once did I feel like there was a dull moment and the many tales flow into one another well which keeps pages turning in what is a fun journey and only part one. I’ll definitely be reading the next part soon.

4 Stars – Fun, gritty and a journey full of charm.

Guest Book Review: ‘Into the Breach’ by Halo Scot Reviewed by A D Green

Introducing fantasy author A D Green who reviews ‘Into the Breach’ by Halo Scot.

5/5 stars – A Brutal, visceral Grimdark Horror that will stay with me

I am not a massive Grimdark fan. I have read a few before and most have failed to engage me. Not so Halo Scot’s offering. It grabbed me by my shirt front (okay T-shirt) and did not let go until the last page.

The story is set thousands of years in earth’s future and it is not a happy one. The planet is scorched and has flipped so that Antarctica is the new north and humankind lives there in a desert wasteland. A rift has opened, a gateway to the seven realms, it seems we are not alone and the gods are revealed. Powers are awakened in humans that mirror the four seasons, summer for mages, winter for shields, autumn for shifters and spring for healers.

Into this backdrop come Kyder (our antihero) and Rune (our hero). One born at the height of the summer solstice, the other the winter. The most powerful of their kind they are two sides of the same coin. One broken by birth, the other broken by death. One a psychopath, the other an empath. One born on the fringes of society the other at the heart.

No story is for everyone (I mean some people don’t like Lord of the Rings if you can believe that!) but this story should come with a health warning. I found it as disturbing as I did fascinating and I could not stop reading it.

The story alternates from each protagonists point of view and moves at a great pace from when they are children to young adults. Halo Scot pulls no punches, is brutal to the point I would have turned away if I watched this on a screen, but reading it I had no choice but to read the words, live the emotion, good and bad. It is morally indecent, a lot, which I found more disturbing than the violence. I mean, violence is a known thing, right? We all watch it and read it and see it happening in our world. But what we think, what we know of as right and wrong, those deep, dark questions that hide in the back of our minds are so much scarier when they are on a page (or maybe that is just me).

Into the Breach is much more than all that though. What really carries the story is the conflict of emotion, the war of the soul. It is a story of love rather than hate and of redemption (yes, that old chestnut we all love). I was sucked into Kyder and Rune’s world and bought into their lives in equal measure.

We love Hannibal Lecter for his intelligence and hate him for his cruelty and he scares the s**t out of us, well Kyder is cut of the same cloth. I wouldn’t say he was my guilty pleasure but he was my guilty something.

Anything I didn’t like? Well not really. Maybe a small bugbear, a gripe, that both protagonists break the fourth wall at times and talk directly the reader. Just a thought here or observation there. Well, I didn’t like this. I didn’t notice it in the first half of the book – only the second but that could just have been due to shock! It was a conscious decision by the author, presumably to engage the reader. Make them feel they were part of the story if only a witness to it and I get that some people will love this (I mean, I liked Deadpool’s fourth wall breakage) but for me, it ruined the spell that had been cast, took me out of rather than into the story. Like I say, potatoes, potatos. Thankfully, for me, it was not overused.  

This book will live with me for a long time. It is beautifully written, all the characters feel so alive and uniquely distinctive and oh so very human. I could go on, could probably write an essay on this book but well I won’t, too damn lazy and who would read it!

If you are still intrigued after reading my review then stop procrastinating. Go buy it and read it yourself and go write your own damn review. Halo Scot, I salute you, even though you scare me a little and there is three more books to come. Gulp.

This review first premiered via A D Green’s blog which you can find here. You can also find him over on Twitter and he is part of the #indiebookclub who choose and review a new indie author every month.

Books by A D Green

‘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.

‘Josef The Writer’s Cat’ by Ellen Khodakivska – Review

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

Ellen Khodakivska tells a unique story from a unique and imaginative perspective, that of a cat named ‘Josef’. We see the big wide world through his eyes and his journey to becoming a writer’s best friend is a heart-warming tale for all ages. The writing style is easy to read and a few pages in I was immersed into the very real world and life that pets have. Although they may only be around for part of our lives, to them we are their lives and that is the deeper meaning to this story which is highlighted at the very start. We do sometimes take things for granted in life and this story reminds us that pets are such an instrumental part of it while they also have a life too.

The sights, the sounds and smells are all captured well making the unique perspective of this story a must-read for anyone looking for originality in story telling because you’ll find it here. ‘Josef’ has a wonderful personality that resonates throughout as he interacts not just with people but with other animals too – a cool concept. I very much enjoyed this and would highly recommend this book, especially to those of the writing persuasion or to anyone who loves animals.

5 Stars – Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads.

‘Hearts and Spears’ by Somto Jefferson Uwazie – Review

A unique and thought provoking collection of emotion-resonating poetry…

Hearts and Spears is a unique and thought provoking collection of emotion-resonating poetry that covers a multitude of subjects. From deep emotion all the way to politics and even nature Somto Jefferson Uwazie has left no stone unturned while constructing this journey that readers will enjoy every word of. There’s a certain balance of rhythm within these words that stretches across all of the poems – something that resonated with me because many poetry collections feel like they are mashed together but in this book they feel like they are supposed to be there side by side to convey a wide array of emotion.

There are some real moments where our kind poet has shared some life experiences such as losing a beloved pets and even his love for food. So many inputs represent the social element of life from the value of teachers to the wonderful but endangered species of Africa. We see pictures and illustrations throughout that heighten the senses and add value to the journey. Every poem is them crowned with a quote to remember from a famous figure and even some from our host. For anyone looking to take a journey of variety through some wonderfully crafted poetry then this is the one for you!

“Life offers one omnipresent constant,

Hope hope and even more hope… “

5 Stars – Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads

‘Don’t Lose Your Head’ by Dave Williams – Review

A twisted, haunting and enjoyable read that dives deep into the shadowy depths of one man’s mind…

‘Don’t Lose Your Head’ is a literal, metaphorical and symbolic title for a unique story that takes readers down the rabbit hole of conscience and repercussion. ‘Alan Burris’ sets his sights on what appears to be a rather easy robbery opportunity which doesn’t go to plan and becomes an encounter that ultimately takes him on a path of torment. On this path we learn of his dark past which he cannot escape while very recent events weigh upon everything he does in the few days after. It seems everywhere he turns this encounter follows and no matter how he tries to bury or hide it there it is beside him. The voice in his head cannot be silenced seemingly and it gets louder and louder.

What’s real and what isn’t blends into one throughout as author Dave Williams delivers these atmospheric visuals with a writing style that keeps you reading. Are we supposed to sympathise with ‘Alan’? Or are his actions condemnable? Questions and the conflict presented like this heightens the already heavily psychological element that’s at play here. With some cool references and even some inspiration from an art exhibition the author once visited this book makes for a twisted, haunting and enjoyable read that dives deep into the shadowy depths of one man’s mind. Will he come out unscathed? You’ll have to read it to find out.

5 Stars – A very enjoyable read that clings to the darker side of things. Reviews via Amazon and Goodreads.