‘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

Awesome Recommended Indie Reads 6

Its been a while since I last did one of these but I have been reading again, and most of which were indie books. Let us dive in and take a look at some recent awesome indie reads that I recommend!

Fee Simple Conditional by H.C. Helfand 

A gem of a read about life, love and land…

Full Review

Escaping First Contact by T.S. Beier

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

Full Review

The Art of Reading: How Reading Can Help You Become a Better, More Productive Writer by J.D. Cunegan

A relatable and open guide about reading to improve your writing…

Full Review

The Art & Business of Writing: A Practical Guide to the Writing Life by Chris Jones

A valuable easy-to-read resource for the modern writer

Full Review

A Twist in the Rift by Meg Radiant

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

Full Review

Summer of ’77 by Rebecca Amiss

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

Full Review

And so that wraps up another long-awaited edition of Awesome Recommended Indie Reads. Thanks for stopping by and peace out!

‘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

‘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

The Best Books I Have Read in 2021

As the year draws to a close I have saved the best until last. Although I appreciate every author and their wonderful works that got me through 2021 this post is dedicated to the books that stood out to me.

‘From Voiceless to Vocal’ by Danielle Larsen

Having read this memoir all the way back in February it has remained with me since for being a brave, candid and incredibly well written account by Danielle Larsen. Mental health and escaping abuse are the central themes while also being subjects that might not be talked about as much as they should – this book isn’t afraid to go there with the path it carves in order to get that point across. Its ultimately inspiring and gives hope even to those who seemingly have so much stacked against them.

Quote from my review:no matter how many chips are down you can always come back, there’s always hope and survival is probably the greatest gift we have.

‘Nocturnal Salvation’ by Villimey Mist 

Part 3 of the ‘Nocturnal’ vampire series is both the concluding pay off and a display of how far Villimey Mist has come as an author. Her craft unfolds throughout the series and much like the story peaks in this one. If you are looking for a modern and sometimes gory take on vampires, then this book and wider series is for you.

Quote from my review: ‘There are dramatic turns and even shocking moments that’ll keep those pages turning before a resolve that is both satisfying and even a little emotional.’

‘Josef The Writer’s Cat’ by Ellen Khodakivska

This story comes from a unique perspective and that being a writer’s cat. Its a brilliantly executed tale of one cat’s journey and how he see’s the world while also being a reminder of how important animals and pets are in the family. Ellen Khodakivska delivers a book that will appeal to many different ages and especially those who write.

Quote from my review: ‘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.’

‘Life of Maggot’ by Paul Jameson

Paul Jameson delivers another masterful vision of literature through a unique style that favours deep description and classic style language. This book is very much laid out like lyrics from a song in what is a story about the end of time and told through the eyes of ‘Maggot’ as chaos unfolds. This is escapism in its finest possible form.

Quote from my review: ‘No matter what bad is happening there is always hope and ultimately there is some light to be found somewhere.’

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

Charming, funny and full of variety, Maurice Perkins or Moz as he is known tells a wonderful life story of childhood antics and then joining the navy. In between there are some great moments that bring a lot of enjoyment to an awesome candid memoir.

Quote from my review: ‘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…’

‘Wonder Rush’ by Dan McKeon

Dan McKeon delivers an awesome tale of one teen assassin that has always followed orders and fulfilled her mission no matter what name she is given and then events make her think about the morality of everything she stands for. What follows is a coming of age morality check journey that is both enjoyable and easy to read.

Quote from my review: ‘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.’

‘Sleeping Beauty and The Cursed Code’ by Emma Jean

Emma Jean has combined two concepts that I have a lot of time and passion for, that being STEM and Fairy Tales. All Fairy Tales have a deeper important message and this one carries that while also encouraging younger readers to take an interest in STEM subjects. Sleeping Beauty is brought into the 21st century and this adaptation excellent.

Quote from my review: ‘With some fun moments along the way and plenty of awesome tech, magic, original concepts and a good old fashioned good versus evil story this one is guaranteed to bring enjoyment to younger and older readers.’

‘Everything, Except You’ by Emma Jordan

It can be hard to find a really good slow burning romance and while that’s just my taste in love stories Emma Jordan hits all the right notes in this one. With a little drama and plenty of feel-good vibes along with a little cosiness, I really enjoyed this tale.

Quote from my review: ‘A well-executed story about two people and their lives that are made better for finding each other and the way in which they discover a love for each other…’

‘We Watch You’ By N.S. Ford

With dark tones and missing person vibes, N.S. Ford tells a tale that takes readers down the rabbit hole of the unexpected as three friends try to decipher a mystery that consumes their lives. The journey is eventful and culminates after a multi-layered puzzle for a plot that pulled me in all the way to an unpredictable perhaps even haunting ending.

Quote from my review: ‘The darker moments carry impact and overall there is some real power in this story that continually goes to unexpected places and even strange places.’

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

Having enjoyed the first ‘Deceit’ book by Henry Cox I was intrigued to see where he would go next and with this story I was immersed into the world of rare earth metals and how they dictate the future of our technology while also being a bargaining chip in military politics. This thoughtful story takes readers back in time and fuses fact to fiction flawlessly. If you like Crichton or Dan Brown then you’ll enjoy this one.

Quote from my review: ‘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 Right Thing’ by Kelsey Kupitz

Kelsey Kupitz tells a page-turning easy-to-read story about a past trauma that finds itself returning for ‘Astrid’ who has struggled with it for most of her adult life. Now she must face that past and what follows are chilling mysterious tones with a little dose of the unexpected.

Quote from my review: ‘Atmosphere, originality and intrigue take the reader to the depths of the unexpected with some great twists at the end because ‘everyone has a secret’.’

Dust & Lightning by Rebecca Crunden

Futuristic world building combined with societal concepts that echo our own reality are two things that are right up my alley and so when I saw Rebecca Crunden had made this free to download I jumped at the opportunity. You may know Rebecca and the awesome support she shows authors via her Indie Book Spotlight account on Twitter and I really enjoyed this thrilling spy type story that takes readers across worlds.

Quote from my review: ‘There are plenty of messages and themes throughout with many pointing towards revolution and the nature of humanity.’

Awesome Recommended Indie Reads 4

The journey to reading and reviewing 43 indie books continues and again I am back to share with you what I’ve been reading. Let us dive in!

‘A Few of My Favourite Things’ by A.J. Ross-Etheridge

Fun, honest, thought-provoking poetry guaranteed to put a smile on your face…

5 Stars

Full Review Here

‘Sleeping Beauty and The Cursed Code’ by Emma Jean

Fairy tale and STEM combine for a fun story with an important message…

5 Stars

Full Review Here

‘Evil Eye: A Slasher Story’ by April A. Taylor

‘An unpredictable fast-paced slasher with plenty of twists and tension as the storm unfolds…

4 Stars

Full Review Here

‘Home’ by Thomas Overlook

Unique and intriguing. A page-turning tale that’ll take readers down the rabbit hole of what’s there and what isn’t…’

4 Stars

Full Review Here

‘The Genius’ Guide to Bad Writing’ by R.T. Slaywood and R.C. Martinez

A refreshing outlook on writing and publishing that’ll make you smile…

5,000 Stars

Full Review Here

Bonus Review:

‘Fee Simple Conditional’ by H. C. Helfand – Review by Erik Meyers

Full Review Here

If you have recently reviewed a book, this blog is always looking for guest content. Check out the Submit A Book Review/Article/Book Excerpt tab on the menu above for details

That wraps up another edition of Awesome Recommended Indie Reads. Remember folks, if you read a book, leave a review! Peace out, rock and roll and books man!  

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

A brief but deeply descriptive brush with the dark…

Deep description and pace take centre stage in these three interconnected tales that act like a brief encounter of the dark and enjoyable kind. Shorter stories and books don’t get nearly enough credit and this one certainly deserves it for the small amount of time you spend, you get the maximum experience.

Balance is the key word here as each story is atmospheric and vivid in equal parts where life, death, greed, crime and the many elements of human nature are represented in that unique noir style. There’s intrigue everywhere as these tales are set in the moment but stir the imagination for where the characters came from and where they will ultimately end up. For someone looking to be whisked away for a few hours this is the book for you. Having been recommended this from the vibrant and supportive writing community on Twitter I’m glad to have discovered ‘Nevada Noir’ and I’ll be sure to look out for more works by David Arrowsmith.

4 Stars – Thank you to the Twitter writing community for the recommendation.

Book Review: The Teleporter by Lee Hall

Hello everyone, today I would like to share this wonderful recent review of The Teleporter…

From Fan to Pro

The Superhero we need!

Drinking. Hangovers. Fist fights. A clingy ex. A sketchy corporate biggie. An annoying neighbor who just happens to be an investigative reporter (and where are all these reporters when I need one? Huh?) Add a posse of unlikely vigilantes and a soupcon of sudden but inevitable superpowers and you’ve got a heck of a story.

Kurt Wiseman isn’t some stale wide-eyed teen trying to romance the school hottie with his super suit. Or a scientist accidentally becoming a green rage monster. The Teleporter isn’t the sad tale of a down-on-his-luck ex-Army Ranger who is determined to help the little guy. Oh, no. If you’re looking for the same old origin story, turn away now.

Wiseman drinks too much and does as little as possible at work to get by. This guy literally falls into his destiny without a clue. He’s doesn’t have ninja moves or high…

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‘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

‘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.