Darke Blood 3 year ‘Book-iversaire’

It’s been three years since Darke Blood was released. The reason I acknowledge this milestone is because during the writing process of that book I firmly believe I hit the point of no return on the road to becoming a writer. And plus in life, you should celebrate the little things… image

Now I firmly believe a true writer isn’t just someone who puts together one story and a bunch of concepts to then throw into the world. A writer is someone who can fashion a story from very little to create a lot multiple times. One book isn’t enough to find yourself as a story teller, but two, means it was no fluke.

I could lather it up with this artistic talk but I’ll just admit ‘Darke Blood’ was a pain in my ass to write and put together. 2016 – the year I drafted it was a tough year, I had bad sciatica, I was getting used to working shifts (albeit badly) and all around the writing stuff didn’t seem to be flowing. A few times I almost dragged DB to the recycling bin but now I don’t regret persevering once. Digging deep in times of struggle comes with reward and that’s what I got with ‘DB’.

It has become my most successful and most critically acclaimed book. Yes there a few moments where the story is a bit ‘out there’ and trust me I know it’s not perfect, but it’s good enough to immerse a reader and that’s what story telling sometimes needs to be. As book it must have worked and this one fashioned and shaped my tenure as a pensmith while also shaping the Order of the Following Series which it is now a part of.

You can expect more from the ‘Darke’ series this September as the follow up and sequel ‘Darke Awakening’ arrives which is also a crossover to Open Evening and Cemetery House. Currently I am drafting the third and final ‘Darke’ book which will cap the pentalogy that is the Order of the Following.

Happy ‘Darke’ Day! 

Weekly Ramble #72

I’ve been watching the news less and writing more. Sometimes you just have to play the adult card and choose to not have certain things in your life, the news is one of them… 

We are 8 or so weeks into this whole deal. A deal where are all home more often and can appreciate our own patch alongside those we share it with. There are some who haven’t stopped working (from home or out there) and those who are on vacation right now (me, most of the time). Technology allows us to see relatives, friends and colleagues easily through a screen. In this big wide world of connectivity, none of us are truly alone anymore.

While I struggle more than ever to blog or at least find subjects to blog about – I’ve taken a break from indie reads right now . I’m still here, trying to be active in the arena and trying to contribute. Last week I ran a giveaway over on Facebook, where my page nearly has 500 likes, only it seems to be the most difficult thing in the world to achieve right now…

The numbers don’t lie and people are still coming to the Hall of information for just that; information. Whether it’s my post about a scammer book reviewer or the many many indie book rec’s you find here, to even my weekly ramblings, writer, blogger or reader, you’ll find something here. And so for as long as those numbers trickle in, so will these words, no matter what is happening out there – right now the sun is shining, guess I better grab my shades…

 

 

 

 

 

‘The Quest For The Sun God’s Tomb : The Willie Abrams Saga’ by C.J Evans – Review

A fun easy to read tale of action and adventure…

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Former WW1 soldier Willie Abrams is content with sitting in the Cuban sun while sipping a daiquiri, he co owns a bar and rum business with fellow war veteran Sergeant Banesfield. He even has a protege in the form of a young lady who will one day take the reigns and so life is good. That is until an old flame arrives on the scene and a shipment of rum goes missing along with this former lover, then the adventure begins.

From rival gangs and gang lords to the deep Mayan jungle where a legendary sought after artifact rests in an Indiana Jones style tomb and all the way to gun fights this story has everything for an immersive and fun read. This would make the perfect beach read or even on a flight as it isn’t too long but you’ll find the pages turn easily in well paced chapters.

There are moments of action and even laughs in what is an easy to read tale of action and adventure guaranteed to keep readers interested all the way to the end! This one will definitely whisk you away for a while!

4 Stars – a cracking adventure that’s perfect to take your mind off things for a while; something we all need right now! 

 

 

 

Awesome Indie Book Rec’s

And so comes another round of Awesome Indie Book Recommendations. From self help all the way to unique literature it’s been one hell of a ride recently, so let’s get into it…

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Break Them All !!: A Modern Era Awakening’ by DRTao is a read and a gift that keeps on giving not only because it’s one of the most read reviews this site has ever had (in recent times) but it’s also entirely unique for something in the self help genre.

Quoting from that review it ‘refers to the phenotypes of our existence that seem to rule us such as ego and ambition and this is guide to breaking away from them in a positive sense…’ 

For a shorter read it’s effective with a message that will open your eyes to our own consciousness. Check it out here

 My next rec’ comes in the form of sci-fi by South African author Christina Engela with ‘Static’ which is a fusing of chilling horror and so much more. Those who have been tuning in for a while here at the Hall of Information will know that I’ve read and reviewed her stuff before; last year I took on the wonderful ‘Quantum’ series. (Book 1 review here.) 

PHIS#1 Static by Christina Engela - Cover

‘Static’ is a part the ‘Panic! Horror Space’ series and combines elements of horror with comedy which I thoroughly enjoyed. You can expect a review for the next story in the series soon!

Recent review: 

Those who are fans of classic and recent horror stories will find this to be a read in somewhat familiar territory while much of the events come unexpectedly and on the fringes of laugh out loud comedy.’

Next up could possibly be the finest example of modern literature out there and I am not exaggerating when I say that ‘Nightjar’ by Paul Jameson is just that.

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It’s rare for me to finish a full length novel in a few days but this one was so immersive I couldn’t help but turn the pages. Both Fantasy and folklore are represented in force while it’s delivered with a crafted style of writing that reads much like a classic. Just what is this book about? I urge you all to check this one out but here’s a snippet of my glowing review:

‘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…’

We’ve covered self help, science fiction and even folk lore so this book rec post wouldn’t be complete without some poetry and so I bring forth my final rec of this post.

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Swinging Sanity by N.F. Mirza is a ‘brave expression of feeling through poetry that is both thought provoking and inspiring.’ 

This collection is indeed both brave and full of emotion while also managing to be ever so honest. For those who don’t know the author’s blog ‘Stoner on a Rollercoaster’ I urge you to follow it and check out this incredible collection.

‘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 so that wraps up my latest round of book rec’s.

What are you reading currently? 

Weekly Ramble #62

Sometimes it’s okay for authors to read more than they write.

That’s my deal right now and it’s kind of addictive and easier than creating. To sit back and immerse yourself into something where another has done the work is not only nice and easy but one of the top reasons I chose this path to begin with. Behind every tenured writer is an equally tenured reader; if you aren’t then you’re not doing this write – puns are the lowest form of humour hence why I exist… You must put in the equal amount of time for both reading and writing if you strive to get better at it. I remember fondly staying up after bedtime reading Roald Dahl and then later on Crichton with the greatest memories of being immersed. The only thing that has changed is that I’ve only read indie books in the past year and half with the quality mostly being equivalent. 

Not only does reading apparently make you smarter, it’s also been linked to reducing the chances of dementia plus its escapism in its finest form. The greatest gift authors give is their words and so readers get to reciprocate by leaving a review; the better ones do anyway but it’s also okay to read something and not publish your thoughts – try and explain that one to indie authors…

February has dragged and most of us know its January in disguise, especially with the whole leap year thing. Soon I shall delve back into editing of Darke Awakening and of course my book promotion efforts are soon going to be set to full force!

Watch this space. Until then tell me what are you reading? 

Awesome Indie Book Recommendations

It’s been quite a while since the Hall of Information showcased some awesome indie books. I need views, authors needs sales and you need reads. It’s the triangle of life so here goes…

mindLet’s talk about ‘MIND: Two Short Tales of Horror’ by E.H Night which I found to be a unique and imaginative reading experience. Even with it being a shorter book the descriptive style carried my interest throughout the two tales included.

To quote my review back in December;  ‘it’s almost like these stories simply suggest what is happening and our imagination’s fill in the rest – this is a form of story I hold in the highest regard…’  

This book is a great example of what creative writers can do with a smaller page count – something that authors don’t get enough credit for!

Next up came Indie read number 39 of 2019 which also happened to be an ARC from awesome fantasy author Jimena Novaro who reached out to see if I would be interested in reading her latest release ‘The Relic Spell’. Having read her previous book ‘Blue Rabbit’ I jumped at the opportunity to take on yet another great story.

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I found myself immersed in ‘The Relic Spell’ which is a real world fantasy story featuring sorcery and magic while also being full of originality. My lengthy review pays tribute to what is a wonderful addition to the genre and it’s book 1 of a series which I shall be reading more of!

Here’s just a snippet of my review;  It’s very clear to see Jimena Novaro has spent much time writing a story that feels personal and inviting at the same time. The book contains so much for a reader to enjoy, from a wealth of great characters to a story where something is always happening; if there isn’t action, there’s tension, intrigue or mystery…’

I’m pulling a sneaky one on ya for this next book rec but I’m doing it with the best of intentions…

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Those who tune in regularly will know this year I plan on releasing my 6th book which just happens to be the sequel to ‘Darke Blood’ (and the Open Evening books) so I thought maybe I should promote it in some way.

I could just say ‘hey go and read my vampire novel’ but what I will say is this:

Quite recently and for the first time in some years I have been reading Darke Blood and while slightly flinching I am going to admit it may be my best work. Now I’m not particularly entitled to say that but I will. Check it out and if you like the premise I will send you an e-copy…

My next book rec comes in the form of two stories which cap off one hell of an awesome science fiction series. ‘Prodigal Sun’ and ‘High Steaks’  are two reads I enjoyed over the festive season and make up the final books (so far) of the Quantum Series by Christina Engela. This collection I spent last year and the beginning of 2020 delving into. I am going to be brief because I plan on putting out a separate showcase for the series soon but I urge you to check them out!

Next up on my list is a chilling crime thriller called ‘Dead End’ which is the first of a series known as the ‘Clown Conspiracy’ book series by Mallory Kelly. Yet again this is the type of writing that champions shorter reads and for good reason because in the shorter amount of pages you get everything you want as a reader from a great book.

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To quote my recent review;

‘For a book that I read in just under an hour it sure packs one hell of a chilling punch. From the very beginning this story plays with the imagination while also delivering an ever so well written ride that will have readers turning the pages. The use of description by Mallory Kelly is atmospheric and suits the creepiness that comes with the cornerstones of horror to many, clowns and haunted houses…’ 

 

 

And last but certainly not least let me share with you my latest review ‘The Seller of Sins’ by Kristina Gallo which is An engaging immersive tale of relationships and what people will do for love…’

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There’s a lot happening in this story which is about many different things but mainly relationships. And yet again I have chosen to read a shorter book but it manages to contain a lot of back story and important character detail which carries the premise of a couple who are married but don’t seem to want to be anymore. Their individual paths eventually cross and culminate in a dramatic finish.

 

That wraps up my latest book reviewing endeavours. Do you have a recent book recommendation? 

Thanks for reading and catch you in the next one!

 

 

Weekly Ramble #56

Lots of things to do. Lot’s of writing things to do. 2020 is here and it’s going to be a busy one! Welcome back to my Hall of Information blog, things went a little quiet over the festive season – people were busy and  I got engaged but now I am back to my regularly irregularly scheduled blogging efforts!

I say irregular because as a blogger I’m not particularly organised, there are many bloggers who have more planned posts than appendages, I do not. I am quite simply an in the moment person and when inspiration strikes up so does my writing and the same goes for how I write books and plays. Unless I have a real rigid source material I tend to make things up as I go along for most of the part. In most projects I have a few outlining moments and probably a finish, the rest I just create. Some people call this being a ‘pantser’, personally I’ve never liked that definition, in story telling my style could be defined as being a ‘chancer’ much like many of the characters that are within. This style has indeed worked quite well for me so far, the stats for last year were through the damn roof – thanks for reading!

And what big plans do I have this year? Well it’s cliche to say it could be a big one, if not the biggest yet. My main writing endeavours are split 50/50 this year. Half of my time I will be spending putting together what will be my 6th independently published book! Those who do tune in to my social media efforts will know I announced ‘Darke Awakening’ quite close to Christmas day. Those who were really paying attention will know that I decided to green light this project earlier last year after 3000 plus people downloaded ‘Darke Blood’. You can check out my basic teaser here. 

The other 50% will be spent shaping and editing my dream project (the one that got me into writing) ‘Jack Thorn and the Maverick Prophecy’ a science fiction legacy story about robots in the future – think real world Star Wars in the future with hints of The Terminator, Buffy and Transformers… If all goes well I will be querying literary agents with Jack Thorn later in the year! You can read some here…

Of course in less than a month my third on stage play will premiere and I have already drafted the fourth one so look out for more stage stuff! For people who live locally to me you can buy tickets to see that show here.

Most probably my most important efforts I shall share with you last. Indie book reviews! Yes I am back and ready to review indie books. Last year I did 40 and this year I hope to do 41 – a moderate aspiration but realistic. Again if you tuned in I cast out my indie book bait and hook into the twittersphere last week and got an amazing response of book rec’s from some awesome authors. Watch out for reviews soon!

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So what have you got planned this year? Answers via the comments section but if you are shy, GOOD LUCK! and thanks for reading… 

Peace out. Happy New Year!  

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! 

Awesome Indie Books I have read this year: PT2

And I am back with more awesome indie book recommendations, fresh of my previous post which was quite well received! So let’s dive into a stack of more awesome indie books I have read this year….

 

 

The ‘Night Audit Series’ by Bruce Knapp is a group of short books that are a fun rollercoaster full of, well everything. The main character ‘Zach’ is someone we can all relate to and part one ‘So it begins’ opens with him having a rather bad day. He eventually moves onto a new job as a night auditor for a hotel and gets up to all sorts. The series covers his time at the hotel while he tries to make his way through life, from a night out partying to weird and even spooky goings on, these stories are fun, imaginative and intriguing.

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This next read grabs the prize for most original premise and concept. You can ‘account’ on me for that but all puns aside The Good Audit by C.P Aiden’ is a fun book about accounting and so much more. Predominantly it’s a comedy and written in a way that is accessible for anyone. It reads like a series of case studies focusing on the lament of accountancy. My review from earlier this year will probably describe it better so let me just rely on ‘control-c’ / ‘control-v’…

This book is so well written and concise you could argue it’s use as a teaching aid for the profession and I mean that in the highest regard even though I am layman to all things finance I found myself able to follow and enjoy everything that was happening.”

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We’re in more prize territory for this book as it may have been one of my best reads of 2019! The Four Before Me by E. H. Night’   is a gripping and eventually mind blowing story full of epic twists and turns. On the surface it appears to be an 80’s slasher but with so much more sophistication and depth in not only characters but the overall story. This is what I said in my review

With elements of crime, mystery, suspense and even some chilling horror you could compare this book with the early works of Stephen King although the voice in this story is fresh and new..”

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Continuing with the epic theme let me talk about my next read The Good Kill: A Killian Lebon Novel by Kurt Brindley and this one is high end fiction at it’s finest. I took my time with this one as it’s one of those stories you don’t want to finish even though you want to find out what happens! Trust me when I say ‘The Good Kill’ has everything, from a wonderful writing style to characters with depth that compliment a rollercoaster of a story that is sometimes brutal, action packed and even emotional. 

t’s modern Jason Bourne meets Taken but it feels fresher with a grittier story that is brutal, dark and sometimes violent and always entertaining. There’s revenge and redemption as well as a series of revelations that appear in many different pinnacle moments…”

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Loderunner by Christina Engela is the 4th book in the ‘Quantum’ series and this one is a tale of the unexpected. Here at the Hall of Information we like the unexpected, we embraced it for my debut novel but seriously this one is a great read about voyaging through the unknown of space while trying to earn an honest buck. There is also a very important inclusive message (like all of Engela’s works) but this one in particular carries a lot of meaning.

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With Halloween approaching I was looking for something of the spooky persuasion and while this book wasn’t frightening (I don’t scare easily anyway, I used to have a boss who would hide behind doors and jump out on me…) this book was certainly of the ghostly persuasion but in a fun and sometimes quirky way. Haunted Ends by Elizabeth Price is a ghost story ‘buddy’ story that is both intriguing and fun.

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I will happily admit that I quite like fairy tales and ‘Fated to Meet You by Despoina Kemeridou’ is just that and quite a bit more. For what appears to be a young adult story to begin with quickly unfolds into a modern fairy tale of castles, Kings and Queens. It’s a sort of rags to riches love story that makes for a great page turner. It’s a shorter read but does enough to tell a story that is a ‘roller coaster of drama, revelations and of course love and friendship.’ 

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Let’s talk about poetry, something which I must read more of in the future becauseLost in a Quatrain’: Poetry Anthology by Adiela Akoo hooked me from the very first page. While I was provided with a copy from the author to read and review it I honestly enjoyed this array of words about so many different subjects from “race, culture, political and faith with pretty much everything in between….”

For anyone looking to check out some awesome poetry I would highly reccomend this one!

And so that wraps up part 2. A tip of the cap to all of the awesome indie authors I have mentioned in part 1 and 2. Thanks to everyone who did the retweet/like thing on the tweet machine. I still have 3 more indie books to read and review by the end of the year and hopefully within the next week my 5th book ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ will be hitting the shelves! Expect to see a cover reveal between now and then.

Peace out!

 

Some more reasons why you should read indie books!

In between all of my efforts on what has been a journey this year I’ve still managed to continue reading and reviewing Independently published books. That is of course between attending weddings, trying to have a career, writing more books, publishing more books, promoting more books, trying to stay healthy/active, being present on social media, playing Red Dead Redemption 2, engaging on social media and doing my best to text back…

I guess you could say I’ve been busy, but not too busy, never too busy to help promote fellow wordsmiths so without talking about myself anymore here are some more reasons why you should read indie books! 

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It feels like a century ago that I read what is a true masterpiece of fiction but in fact it was only mid August I finally reached the summit of new release ‘The Good Kill: A Killian Lebon Novel’ by Kurt Brindley. The first thing I noticed about this book was the writing style which can be described by two words ‘proper sentences’. Of course that isn’t all because what unfolds in this book is a blockbuster journey or redemption.

So what is the Good Kill about you ask? Well to quote my review:

‘It’s modern Jason Bourne meets Taken but it feels fresher with a grittier story that is brutal, dark and sometimes violent and always entertaining. There’s revenge and redemption as well as a series of revelations that appear in many different pinnacle moments during the story which is split into 4 parts all of which culminate dramatically.’

‘The Good Kill represents independently published books in the finest possible way.’

And furthermore this book also represents the higher end of fiction and literature. You can grab a copy here.

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‘Suspense, drama and modern issues all of which are tackled in a fun but important way...’

Of course I am talking about the third book of the ‘Quantum series’ by South African Author Christina Engela. As I gradually make my way through the series this year each time I take on another instalment it is apparent that Engela can tell quirky fun stories while also building worlds which are all wrapped together with an important message. ‘Dead Man’s Hammer’ is science fiction at its best and it is highly readable. From my review here’s what I had to say

‘Someone is targeting my favourite characters; an assassin enigmatically named ‘Villainessa Tittel’ who is after one person in particular and series regular; Cindy Mei Winter. ‘Villainessa’ proves to be quite a force in her field of work and does everything in her power to draw in ‘Mei’ whom share an interesting history. It is in this history where readers will find the true message and meaning of the story.’  

You can find out more about the Quantum Series and much more here

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Seeing as October happened I had to find myself a spooky read or something at least representative of the season and ‘Haunted Ends’ by Elizabeth Price does just that but in a clever and original way. To quote my recent review:

‘…it’s part ghost story and part murder mystery which turned out to be an overall fun read. The story opens with ‘Sam’ who is short in stature but full of character. His journey makes for one of two main plot lines that eventually intertwine after the initial chapters; the other follows ‘Rocky’ a car fanatic and paranormal investigator that used to be able to see ghosts, this is an ability that returns to him and he decides to use it which makes the story.

Eventually we see ‘Sam’ and ‘Rocky’s’ paths cross in a ghost buddy story situation seeing them team up to solve a murder shrouded in mystery and deception’

You can grab yourself a copy here

fated to mee you

Fairy tales are something I hold in quite high regard, they feel like home territory for me considering I have adapted 2 for the stage (soon to be 3, I hope) and Despoina Kemeridou has my stamp of approval for what is ‘a feel good fun and imaginative modern fairy tale…’

‘Fated to Meet You’ begins like a typical YA story but quickly unravels into what is a world of Kings, Queens and Castles as M.C ‘Nora’ is seemingly transported away from the mundane of life and into that world. It’s a short but effective read (I took me about an hour to get through) and shorter books don’t get enough credit, especially one’s like this!

 You can grab a copy here.

That just about wraps up my latest book review efforts. So far I have read and reviewed 35 indie books this year, my hope is to get to 40 by the close of December. If I don’t see you through the week, I’ll see you through the window… rock and roll and reading man! 

*Bonus content for those who scrolled this far…

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Book 5 is coming this December. I will be reaching out to potential beta readers very soon. The reason I have left if rather last minute is because it’s not a long book, but I think it’s good-ish… Watch this space…