‘Deceit of the Soul: Saving the World from COVID-19: Before the Pandemic’ By Henry Cox – Review

A thrilling and interesting page turner that looks to seek out the truth…

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Henry Cox has used the concept of the global coronavirus pandemic to explore it’s potential origins while also telling a thrilling story. Upon the surface it would appear exploitative but from quite early on in the book its obvious to see that isn’t the case, in fact the pandemic seems to lurk on the fringes and in the background while we meet those who appear to have involvement in it’s origins.

The story focuses on two characters and their links to the interior workings of China’s secretive operations. It’s both detailed and informed. We see how the potential beginnings of the virus play out along with the effects it has on these individuals and where it could lead. This moves toward the deeper exploration that highlights how the people’s republic deals with the outbreak paired with the public relations cover up and who it intends to put the blame on – all of this is seen through the eyes of these two character’s who’s journey’s are separate, polarizing and similar all at once. Above all the execution of this story is where you’ll find the real strength with mystery, thrills and deception throughout the journey.

Even though this is a work of fiction, it’s delivered in a way that will provoke thought towards everything that is suggested, in particular the sinister surveillance culture where everyone is either watching or feeding information to a higher power or the theoretical mapping of the implications this virus will have. Has this pandemic been manufactured intentionally to assert world economic dominance? Is ‘bat soup’ really where this outbreak came from.

“…modern war is fought with our surrogate allies, artificial intelligence, social media modification, tariffs and sanctions…”

With an ultra modern subject matter and the feel of a spy/espionage thriller that carries a highly political venom, readers will find this story to be about a lot more that just the beginnings of an outbreak with a real moral conflict at the very center of it all.

4 Stars – A surprising read that hooked me from the very start. Thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for a review left on both Amazon and Goodreads. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

‘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! 

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!

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

A thought provokingly original novella that will leave you wanting more…

 

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There aren’t many stories that successfully combine real science with imaginative fiction which is not only clever but also thought provokingly original, Memories of Mars is both of those and so much more.

From what is a relatively slow but curious start moves towards an imaginative theory about the origins of man and the history of the red planet known as Mars. That is after main character ‘Josiah Lamples’ discovers evidence of life on the barren surface and is soon ‘let go’ by his employers. This is where the story becomes engaging and interesting with just a hint of deception, we see ‘Josiah’ come face to face with the rabbit hole of theory and that life long question of what happened to Mars?

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.

Readers of both science fiction and literary fiction will enjoy this brand of ‘Fringe Fiction’ that gives answers and leaves you wanting more..

4 Stars – A very interesting and original read. Novellas like this don’t get enough credit. Reviews left via Goodreads and Amazon UK

 

 

Swinging Sanity by N.F. Mirza – Review

A brave expression of feeling through poetry that is both thought provoking and inspiring… 

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To convey deep personal thoughts and feelings through poetry and then release it into the world is an incredibly brave thing to do. That’s exactly what this collection is. It starts with a poignant and deep quote from Edgar Allen Poe about the subject of insanity which immediately sets the tone of embracing anything but the ordinary with pride. Throughout readers will be treated to meaningful and quite inspirational quotes from the likes of Charles Bukowski and Sylvia Plath.

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. The many poems and verses that make them up are full of emotion and can be related to.

‘Just Like a Drop of Water’ stood out and I found ‘A Long Wordless Day’ spoke to me along with ‘Those Enchanting Nights’ amongst many others.

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.

5 Stars – I really enjoyed this one! Reviews left via Goodreads and Amazon. Be sure to follow the author’s Stoner on a rollercoaster blog here

Nightjar by Paul Jameson – Review

Pure immersive and original literature that reads much like a classic…

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This is a truly unique read that will whisk you away to a world that sits somewhere between fantasy and folklore. Paul Jameson has crafted and constructed a story that is written in the style of a classic while being highly readable and enjoyable.

Set in a ‘Feudal Future’ where not many will stray from home because of superstition or perhaps because their clan elders say so; two boys ‘Cord’ and ‘Tuppance’ do just that and embark on a journey of adventure. Early in their travels meet a figure of mystery known as ‘Nightjar’. This somewhat magical character goes by many different descriptions, just who he really is will keep readers turning pages but this ‘man in motley’ carries a magical type of presence letting the imagination run wild. He acts as their guide through a world they have never seen, from crossing ford’s to huge old oak trees all the way to abandoned settlements sunken in time. Those back at home whether they are common types and later on the somewhat sinister ‘Brotherhood’ eventually embark on a search for the missing boys which makes for the story. While some believe he is of ‘Daemon’ origin or even a pagan God, the chase is on for what they perceive to be a rescue effort full of page turning drama.

Although the author describes ‘Nightjar’ as a simple tale it has everything from surprises, drama, mystery and even some tragedy all of which is enveloped in a wonderful writing style I haven’t seen in a modern book before. The use of language and description stirs readers imaginations while also giving it room to flow freely much like the story. This is a book I would highly recommend.

5 Stars –  A fantastic read and entirely unique! Glad to have read it!  

 

 

 

‘Wild Embers’ by Dalia and Sam – Review

A brief but intriguing premise complemented by great art work and a story full of mystery…

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You’ll be wanting more by the time you reach the end of quite a short read but ‘Wild Embers’ makes for an intriguing experience that I imagine will get better as more issues arrive. We are introduced to a world that doesn’t contain a lot of story based detail other than a short passage explaining an organisation that posts cryptic messages online. Who are they and what are their intentions? Are they ‘good’ or ‘bad’?

The story then comes to life with some fast pace chasing in the form of parkour followed by introductions of our heroes who are looking to decipher the latest message. Much of the artwork does the talking which is easy to follow, fun and very well done. I particularly enjoyed the ending which suggests this story could literally go anywhere afterwards. This may be a first in the genre of ‘Googleable fiction’ but I do hope there is more soon!

Having never read a comic book via an e-reader before I was surprised how well this concept works – this is especially so for those who own the more sophisticated devices but I imagine this comic could be read via any device with a screen.

4 Stars – The first ever comic book review for the Hall of Information! Looking forward to reading more. Reviews left via Goodreads and Amazon UK. 

A thank you to the artists who reached out to me via twitter with their recommendation! 

Prodigal Sun by Christina Engela – Review

Fun, quirky and most probably the strongest of the Quantum series!

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Christina Engela has a unique way of telling a story that has lots going on without making it seem confusing or cluttered. Having read all of the previous books in her ‘Quantum’ series this one carves a unique but powerful path that faces many issues without any fear.

Characters who have established themselves in this colourful and fun universe are taken somewhat by surprise much like the reader as a political supremacist group looks to overthrow the current regime on Deanna. In fact everything about the ‘Deannan Service league’ reeks of revolt but some revolutions aren’t for the greater good – a strong and relevant political message that many can relate to today.

We see Danielle Ferris; a student and transgender character who becomes directly caught up in the political overthrowing and subsequent storm. You cannot help but sympathise for her story which is one that is just of a person looking to be included and positive inclusion is a huge theme in this book much like all of Engela’s works they directly and sometimes indirectly set an example that champions everyone and anyone including the minorities.

As the story unfolded it became more and more gripping as events turn for the worse. Sheriff Peggy Ann-Muller may well be in over her head even if she does express exactly what is going on through a powerful quote ‘Anyone else want to be on the wrong side of history?’ Powerful is probably the one word which sums up the plot of ‘Prodigal Sun’ but as usual there is way much more happening. I have only just realized ‘Atro City’ is in fact meant to be pronounced as ‘Atrocity’ which is just one of the many fun quirks you’ll find in this great read! Left very much open and on a cliff hanger, I shall be diving right into the next story!

5 Stars – Great read, review left via Goodreads over the holidays but now I am back to review more indie books! You can expect a review of the next book in the Quantum series soon!

Happy new year readers! 

The best reviews I’ve received this year…

Alright, I know. This may just sound like an empty opportunity to lick one’s posterior and it is partially, but 2019 has been a big time year for reviews of my stuff. In this year alone I’ve got more reviews than I have ever had for any other previous year.

It feels as if my arrival to the indie publishing scene actually happened but only with the help of what I regard as a truly important group known as the writing community, this is of course without discounting anyone else’s efforts to review my books, friends, family, bloggers and plenty of other folks I have connected with along this journey.

While it would be nice to celebrate all of the ‘positive’ or ‘good reviews’ we’re going to start with honoring a not so great review of my super hero comedy The Teleporter. I know for a fact my work isn’t for everyone and the reason I am celebrating this 1 star review is because of the response that happened afterwards!

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Before I delve into the most heroic of reactions from some fellow authors let me quote what this particular reviewer had a gripe about…

“While Hall did a good job doing this his way of treating the side characters Casey really saddened me. I don’t know how many times I marked the word “bitch” associated with her name (I marked it 32 times and the word was used 48). Why? Sure in the beginning Kurt (the main character) called her that because it was kind of her nickname in the building but why did he keep thinking of her as “the bitch” for most of the rest of the book?” 

Now this review dropped back April and right now I’m pretty much over it however my point is simple when it comes to the whole gripe about a character being called ‘bitch’. The reviewer totally and completely missed the inner meaning of it. This wasn’t just a blind attempt at bullying or name calling. I did put together a response of sorts via my weekly ramble post which you can read here  but let me just say that sometimes we get reviews that hurt, and it’s so damn important not to directly respond, do it on your blog instead… like me. 

And so why did I class this 1 star review as one of the best I’ve got this year? Quite simply because of the response that followed. If you are a part of the writing community or any type of group that supports your efforts they will be there when the chips are down. I found this out after this review dropped. For every 1 star review a well supported author will have another 5 writers jump to their defense. 

Just a week or two later an awesome author by the name of Elysia Lumen Strife restored all reservations and doubts I had with the Teleporter. Her review which is probably better than the damn book (and that seems to be a running theme) is probably too long to slap onto this post but you can read an excerpt below or the whole thing here.

“It was entertaining to find a book about a realistic man that had something supernatural happen to him. We all want to feel like there is this possibility, this hope, that some miracle will pull us out of the muck of everyday life, and we’ll be able to finally change the world. All too often superheroes are from rich families or royalty or gods. Kurt is an unlikely option in our stereotypical world. But here, we get to see him in action. Hope and humor thrive together in The Teleporter…”

The month of April continued to be huge for The Teleporter with reviews from some other wonderful wordsmiths:

Shiulie Ghosh author of the ‘Daugther of Kali trilogy’ had this to say… 

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Irene Pylypec  author of ‘A Squatter in London’over in Canada had these thoughts…

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And the reviews continued… an instant response for an author in need!

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Like I said for every 1 star review a well supported author will have another 5 writers jump to their defense. 

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The love for the Teleporter continued with reviews coming from bloggers Mullen Crafts and Feed the Crime  

To quote another review from top author Kurt Brindley ‘Mission Accomplished!”

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So that next 1 star review you get may be a blessing in disguise, trust me! 

The best reviews I got this year weren’t all from the Teleporter, even though it is probably my most successful book ‘Darke Blood’ literally came out the shadows  after not having a review for quite some time. 

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‘DB’ was downloaded over 3000 this year!

Blogging royalty and big time supporter of my work Jaycee Lynch from Thinking Moon Blog had this to say about ‘DB’. Take into account she is huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan much like me so of course her standards are going to be high… 

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‘DB’ also happened to be the first book I asked Blair from Feed the Crime to review, here’s what he said: 

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You can read the rest of Blair’s review here and remember to give all of these awesome bloggers I’ve mentioned some love by following them! 

Nicole from Mullen Crafts put together a review that championed probably one of my favorite characters in anything I have ever written, Caitlyn Turner and yes you will see a lot more of her in the planned Darke Blood sequel which should arrive in September 2020!

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We haven’t had a review for my debut ‘Open Evening’ in what feels like an eternity. Luckily Nicole had my back and so in November the story of the unexpected got some more good words…

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You can read the rest of the review here

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The stats are looking gooood!

And so the Goodreads statistics pretty much speak for themselves! But If I wasn’t constantly up selling then I wouldn’t be an indie author because you may have heard, I’ve got another book out! And what’s incredible is that good folks have already been reviewing it!

‘The Ghost Beside Me’ is literally a week old and already you can see from the stats above it’s doing quite well!

Here’s what author of ‘The Four Before Me’ E H Night said about it: 

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And it hasn’t stopped there. In one weekend both Mullen Crafts and Feed the Crime put together some awesome words…

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You can find their full reviews via their blogs which I urge you to follow and support! 

Final Thought

It’s been a journey this year. Much of the success and reviews have come from people who are genuine supporters. The writing community is an important pillar in all of this and no matter what people think of my stuff, reviews good and bad help sell books. Remember if you are published your stuff is out there in the public domain. One star reviews happen, embrace them, learn from them and don’t let them dishearten you! 

Shout out to everyone who has reviewed my work this year! Peace out! Rock and roll man! 

Awesome Indie Books I have read this year: PT1

Yes I know this is an end of the year review type post and we are in late November but… I’ve read a stack of awesome books in the past twelve months and by that I am talking from the end of last November all the way up to the end of this November so that’s a year right? Anyway I’ve got a lot to get through because I’ve read a lot of good books and all of them are independently published. This is part 1 of hopefully 2 posts; we’ll see how many I can cram into one entry… so here goes!

 

last driver

On this day exactly a year ago I posted a review of ‘The Last Driver’ – Episode 1 – Old Dogs by Bookshelf Q. Battler a fellow blogger who has put together a story of the future which is realistic in a kind of sinister but fun way… for what is a shorter book it’s an enjoyable story about one man who is looking to relive his glory days of when you could actually drive a car instead of having a computer do it for you. The ending was left open for a potential sequel which I would be interested in reading. 

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For this next book I was taken back in time to the prohibition /crime wave era of Chicago in what is a clever fusing of history and horror/ the paranormal. To quote my review of Undertown: A novella by K.Noel Moore  it’s a ‘perfectly paced, easily readable and well written history novella with just the right amount of chills and atmosphere to make it stand out.’  

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Blood of the Sixth By K. R. Rowe is about a lot of different things. This well structured story is both brutally graphic in some parts while also managing to make the reader genuinely laugh during other portions. It’s an easy to read story which sits within the realms of gritty urban horror, mystery and witchcraft’ that I couldn’t put down in the latter stages!

alien diraries

I thoroughly enjoyed The Alien Diaries by Glenn J. Devlin – a clever and original story with a rather unique premise. The book unfolds with a back and forth style via diary entries from 1700’s which are then complimented by the main narrative which is set in present day. To quote my review it’s a ‘gripping original tale that nods to some important history as well as taking the reader on a journey through time. I even found there to be some great references to writing and reading in general all of which tells me the author has spent a great amount of time and effort constructing a story that everyone will find enjoyable.’

Nocturnal blood

Let’s talk about Nocturnal Blood by Villimey Mist which isn’t just a vampire story, it’s so much more. The main character suffers from anxiety and OCD which is not only brave for the author to include but very important also – issues like this must be talked about more. To quote my review Nocturnal Blood is a ‘highly readable tale of bravery, friendship, character development and vampires; a genre in modern times that doesn’t get nearly enough credit especially when stories like this exist.’  * This is part of a series with part 2 coming soon! 

51

Now if I could choose a genre to call home it would be horror and Building 51 By Jennifer L. Place is right up my alley… so let me tell you why. This book is a cross between urban exploration, tension filled horror and just a dusting of truth because it is set in a real place. Building 51 see’s a group of friends who go to check out an old mostly abandoned hospital and things start to get just a tad harrowing. It’s cinematic and immersive so I recommend it to anyone who likes this sort of story!

blue rabbit

“I’m going to save the world. Who’s with me?” of course I am quoting Blue Rabbit by Jimena Novaro which is the first real fantasy book I have read. With a multitude of great characters this story unique and later on becomes pretty epic. A group of friends have discovered a gateway to another world where someone follows and goes missing. It’s fun, colourful and immersive. After reading it I would happily say that this is my type of fantasy! * This author has a new release coming in December which I am currently reading an advanced copy of, it’s just as enjoyable… 

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Daughter of Kali: Awakening by Shiulie Ghosh may appear to be just another fantasy/teen novel but it is so much more! This is a story of warriors, heritage and demons with plenty of action. What starts out as in introduction to just an ordinary world follows into the rabbit hole of magic and mythology which is also cleverly linked to the Hindu faith. *  Part one of a series, having already read part two I shall be looking to read the final part next year! 

Quantum Series #1 - Black Sunrise 2019 - front

Black Sunrise by Christina Engela is not only a fun, quirky and imaginative foray into science fiction, it’s also part 1 of the ‘Quantum’ series which I have delved into over the past 6 or so months – I still have 2 left to read hopefully before the end of this year. All of Christina Engela’s books promote positive and modern messages about being inclusive while also being fun. Black Sunrise is just the beginning of that and if you like sci fi you will love this!

kau d'varza

Keeping with the sci-fi theme this next book I was given an advanced review copy of which certainly didn’t dissapoint. Kau D’varza: A story in the ChaosNova universe by David Noë is high-end space travel sci-fi of the finest persuasion. It’s one of the longer stories I have read this year but don’t let that put you off, longer reads mean more immersion and this one certainly draws you in. The story centres around a space station in the very depths of the stars where something is always happening. There is a multitude of characters, drama and mystery in what is a well thought out story set in a detailed world.

squatter in ldn

Last and by no means least is a book that is probably one of the most unique reads I have ever experienced. I say this because A Squatter in London by Irene Pylypec is an autobiographical diary style account of one young lady’s time spent in London after travelling from Canada during the 1970’s. To quote my review ‘the sights, the sounds, the tastes and the people are captured perfectly in what is a fantastic story of highs and lows for a young person trying to survive and figure out life.’ 

So that wraps up Part 1 of Awesome Indie Books I have read this year. Shout out to the awesome authors of these titles which I recommend highly! If you do buy one, remember to leave a review!

HERE’S PART 2!