‘Sex, Violence, Mars: The Ballad of Left and Right’ by Walrus – Review

Sex, Violence, Mars is back and just as entertaining as the first encounter…

The Walrus collective are back yet again tell a short but entertaining tale of Sex, Violence, Mars and much more. This time around we see ‘Right’ and ‘Left’ in this kind of buddy story as they try their best to navigate the dangerous but always interesting Mars of the future. Of course there’s a range of themes here and they are all aligned with the title.

Armed with atmosphere suits and a stack of cash they soon realise the desired tender on the planet is ‘electro’ leaving them with a struggle to pay for pretty much anything and that includes the dilemma to charge their suits. While they try to survive on the fringes of Mars and it’s complex society, they find others enduring their own struggle, or perhaps just looking to earn a fast buck from two desperados down on their luck.

“You’re never gonna get that money back unless you do exactly what I want. And now you’re in the hole to me for charge and supplies…”

Their journey takes them on an adventure of action and chasing along with some revelations as we find out more about this planet. Sometimes its them doing the chasing and vice-versa as they target the aptly named ‘Death Corp’ and their mysterious but powerful leader ‘Keiser’. Every so often the lore and backstory of this rich universe is mentioned giving this short but entertaining read depth and range.

Just like the previous encounter the style is delivered with heavy detail on description and chapters/sections move with pace. Our two main protagonists carry a fun chemistry with one another as they do their best to survive, swindle and try not to be swindled themselves. Just how does this link up with the first book? Well, you’ll find out and importantly so, its left open for yet more shenanigans on Mars.

4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

‘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

Awesome Recommended Indie Reads #8

And so the journey of reading indie books continues. Here are some of my recent reads…

‘Sentinel: Galaxii Book 4’ by Christina Engela

Immersive and enjoyable space-sci fi…’

Full Review

‘A Still Life’ by Elliott Wink

Short and intriguing, an original sci-fi tale perfect for reading in one sitting…

Full Review

‘Dead of Winter’ by Antoinette McCormick 

‘It comes in the night…’

Full Review

Check out Lee Hall on Patreon

‘Fallout’ by Pat Griffith

An imaginative and highly original tale about first contact with corporeal beings from another world some of which are already here….

Full Review

‘Where Darkness Meets Light’ by Sabrine Elouali

Thought-provoking poetry reflecting many themes surrounding the dark and light…

Full Review

‘San Francisco Suite: A Rudy Parsons Story’ by Ethan McCaffery

Well-written detective mystery with noir tones and a metaphysical twist…

Full Review

‘Pirate Sea’ by Kyler Kuehler 

A swashbuckling and sometimes brutal tale packed with action

Full Review

And so that wraps up another edition of awesome recommended indie reads. Thanks for stopping by and remember to leave a review after your next read!

‘The Tolworth Beacon’ by Huw Langridge – Review

Intriguing British mystery with tension, atmosphere and code-breaking vibes…

There’s a lot going on in the life of ‘Chris Powell’. His marriage is strained and there’s an important royal visitor coming to the shop he manages in just a few days time. After a strange attempted burglary at a neighbour’s place the intrigue unfolds in what is a mystery filled ride where I found myself quickly turning pages.

After he mysteriously receives a radio frequency number, Powell realises he is on the path of deception and tension as he has to decipher what it means while finding out what is really going on. Is someone watching him from afar or is he paranoid? Questions arise as tension builds and eventually a very real threat emerges. For those who are interested in the subject of number stations and even code breaking will enjoy this interesting novel with a range of themes and heaps of atmosphere.

4 Stars – Reviews left via Goodreads and Amazon

‘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

‘Billy Summers’ by Stephen King – Review

An enduring multi-layered tale of one gun for hire and his final shot…

Stephen King has succeeded yet again in turning his hand to crime fiction but describing this story as just a few genres would be an understatement because like always, you get your money’s worth. ‘Billy Summers’ is the name of a man who is a gun for hire, he has a sometimes dark history which readers will gradually realise while also being connected to the underworld of big business and organised crime.

There is a lot to unpack and digest here along with references of many different things through multiple layers, some I grasped and probably others I missed. A few figurative elbows are aimed towards modern politics but for the most part we stay in the neighbourhood King is known for. Our main character turns his own hand to writing a memoir of war, childhood trauma and much more while carrying out a final mission. They do say ‘write what you know’ and for this story its metaphorical in a sense. The ‘dumb self’ concept is particularly clever and a needed vessel to give Summers a certain calculated depth although my only criticism is we don’t get all of him and after such a long read is kind of a waste to me. For a man who spends much of his time covering up who he is, readers never really get to know the real side to him.

Of course the story is an enduring one, we have a slow introduction and long middle and even a long end but it works for the most part. There are many twists, turns and that textbook depraved/twisted style which Stephen King is known for but in smaller doses. I particularly appreciated the reference to one of his older works and for those who aren’t into the supernatural side of things, this one is perfect for you.

4 Stars

‘Escaping First Contact’ by T.S. Beier – Review

Original and imaginative space sci-fi full of depth and immersion

Set in a detailed future of cultivated space filled with different species and cultures, T.S. Beier has built a world of depth and originality. These species, some alien and some more familiar to us collide as a diverse group find themselves trapped on a ship, it soon becomes apparent, that even though they might have differences, they will need to work together to survive and escape.

It is within those differences where the story contains power along with plenty of messages about understanding and cohesion while also being fun. Readers will get a lot of information throughout as the point of view changes which establishes a universe with plenty of depth. From the usage of new inventive language to describe certain species to the dialogue interactions – there’s a strange but fun sexual curiosity undertone between some providing a good balance of humour as these characters try to understand each other and navigate their way through a death trap environment and a ship they aptly name ‘Misery’. The whole chemistry between everyone is the real strength in this story.

“Get your weird xenophilia fantasies out of here, Rip!”

And this ship ‘Misery’ is an organic kind of Rubik’s cube full of mystery where threat and challenge lurks around every corner. Our heroes are placed in various scenarios as their journey progresses and just who is behind everything? You’ll have to read it to find out.

They’re playing with us. The only reason you’re all alive is that they want you to be…”

Anyone who enjoys space sci-fi with plenty of detail and originality along with a message about different cultures working together will certainly enjoy this one!

5 Stars – original and imaginative! Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads

Excerpts from -No Rest for the Wicked and After the Glory

Fellow author and blogger Megan Hinde shares some exclusive excerpts of her works…

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If your new here or just need a reminder I write fiction. Here are two excerpts from my ebooks available on Amazon. Also all my ebook titles are free with Kindle Unlimited, or .99 cents each. -Megan

Fireweed

Blood dripped off the side of the heavy bottomed crystal ashtray, in Corbin’s hand. Surrounded by exotic flowers in the Botanical Gardens Greenhouse, staring in disbelief over what had just occurred. Corbin had always considered himself an intelligent, rational man.

Hell he was Dr. Corbin Newcomb practicing Cardiologist with the University Medical Center.

Diana had done nothing wrong, they had spent a lovely day together looking at antiques, having lunch and touring the gardens. She had even picked out the ashtray that was now splattered with her blood as a gift for him. Corbin dropped the ashtray, turned and stumbled towards a bench. He sat staring at Diana’s body. Trying to remember…

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‘Deceit of the Earth – Heavy Metal’ by Henry Cox – Review

A thrilling jet-setting tale of deception stretching further than anyone can imagine…

Henry Cox returns with his thrilling brand of reality style storytelling for Deceit of the Earth which pairs a satisfying personal tale to modern fiction diving deep into the subject of our planet’s resources and those trying to control them.

Kansas Attorney Benjamin Oliver finds himself tasked by US intelligence or so he believes to find a unique treasure that dates back to WW2 and carries a power and influence nobody could possibly imagine. Why him? Well, that’s what readers will spend the story finding out and it is delivered with depth as technology, military and government secrets all combine for an excellent reading experience that is along with a good old fashioned slice of romance and even some feel-good family moments. Cox does a great job of merging real-life concepts from his wealth of knowledge to those of his own imagination – a style that is both original and immersive. From military aircraft to world geography, the delivery of his knowledge and imagination merging makes everything believable and the final verdict may even be out of this world.  

The several twists in the latter stages will creep up on readers as the culmination will provoke your own thoughts on this planet’s mineral resources and how we handle them. Just who really is in control? Readers will certainly feel like they are no longer in Kansas after reading this one and that’s a good thing.  

5 Stars – A cracking read with a modern Crichton meets Dan Brown feel.

Weekly Ramble #119

Last week saw my Twitter hit the 13k follower mark and I was so busy with content that I had no time to take a moment and let it sink in. Of course we are already moving towards 14k and things just seem to be going from clay to stone on the platform for me.

I seem to have figured things out over on the Tweet machine and just this year it has become an exceptionally powerful tool for my author blogger endeavours, Not only do I regularly sell books on there but I also bring that following over here to read the various articles and guides I write. Now I have even managed to leverage that awesome following over onto Patreon. Over the weekend I secured my first Patron – a fellow author who will get their own feature on here soon and that is just one of the many incentives you’ll get if you join. Others include a free book and social media shout outs to that 13k following.

This week my first fictional Patreon post will premiere in the form of a western sci fi horror I am currently querying. The first part will be Free to read and then Patrons will have exclusive access to the further instalments planned this month and next. Of course this new venture has started slowly but I am hopeful it will eventually be a success not only for me but for other authors who decide to support me. As I said there will be rewards, incentives and plenty of guides coming so watch this space like a hawk!