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.

the relic spell

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…’

seller of sins

 

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!

prodigal

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.”

the 4

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..”

goodk

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…”

Quantum Series #4 - Loderunner 2019 - front

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.

haunted ends

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.

fated to mee you

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.’ 

lost in a quatrian

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! 

goodk

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.

dead mans hammer

‘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

haunted ends

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! 

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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…

 

Weekly Ramble #48

This has been probably the most important year of my life, in both writing and everything else and even now there are several plays to be made before the final bell is rung. 

Everything that I have achieved hasn’t been easy but it never is. This blog is approaching 400 followers, this year we started south of 200. Incredible things happen when decent people back you and that’s probably my real secret to all of this; good people trusting my words which are also good and honest.

Story telling as a whole is just a collection of good ideas fashioned into some kind of order and then put on the page. Convincing people to take on those pages is the hardest part of all of this, but we’re getting there. This always was and always will be a one person at a time kind of deal. To all 398 of you who one by one made the effort to follow this Hall of Information – thank you, when it reaches 400 there will be something of a reward…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chilling Book Recommendations for Halloween… Part 2

As we crawl closer to all Hallows eve the leaves are turning and the weather is drawing colder. Shadows begin to cast over what was once light and in that darkness you’ll find the unknown. To compliment the season here are some more chilling book recommendations…

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What more could want other than a chilling story that contains some truth? Of course I am talking about ‘Building 51’ by Jennifer L. Place. 

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Building 51 follows the events of seven friends as they embark on an exploration excursion of an abandoned former hospital for the insane. In terms of specific genre this one is literally right up my ‘alley’ and I loved every word. This is while being on the edge of terrified throughout.

Fusing elements of real history and the paranormal make this story and the characters in it feel like something is lurking and watching them. Something is and this gradually becomes apparent manifesting itself in a range of unique and creepy ways. Without giving any further spoilers I urge you to check it out, trust me you won’t regret reading this one!

 

‘While some monsters are born, others are created..’

the 4

It’s the late 80’s in small town america where some young women have gone missing, one of them happens to look like the main character. What unfolds is a premise that fuses a guess who concept with a sophisticated slasher that delivers.

The Four Before Me by E.H. Night is book I found hard to put down with the many twists and turns along with elements of crime, mystery, suspense and of course 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 trust me.

 

‘Sometimes you don’t get to choose where you are placed in the collective ecosystem of a High School…’

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Every reader collectively rolls their eyes as I plug my own work… Let’s face it without Open Evening and it’s ‘success’ I would have shut up shop a long time ago and yes it’s my debut novel, yes my writing has moved on a lot since and yes it might be ‘tween’ level lame – but I still like it and what it has become.

‘OE’ is a high school horror with a twist that points towards the ‘Body Snatchers’ meets ‘Blade’ which then meets ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and the truth is, I poured a lot of my own high school experiences into this book, so the stuff without the blood thirsty monsters of holy hell contains mostly truth. It’s going to be free to download on the 21st of this month along with it’s sequel ‘Cemetery House’. Both of these books share the same universe as Darke Blood also! 

There’s something lurking in the shadows of Druid Wood and it’s terrifying…

within dark places

Without taking anything away from any of the other books mentioned I have possibly left the most terrifying to last because ‘Within the Dark Places’ by Duncan Thompson sacred the shit out of me! And I mean that in the most sincere of senses because not only was I scared but I enjoyed this book, a lot!

This story follows a small group who decide to spend their weekend in a woods with chilling results. From the very beginning there’s a stack of mystery and intrigue as to what exactly is lurking in the shadows which starts to play on the readers imagination more than anything; something which is text book horror and also very effective in a book like this.

 That wraps up part two of my chilling book recommendations for Halloween. Have you got any? Hit me up and I’ll check them out, my list is always looking for new reads! 

 

Pilot

It has been 5 years since the Hall of Information opened it’s doors. Here’s a look back at the first ever blog entry. A nod and a thank you to everyone who has supported this; old or new!

Lee's Hall of information

It’s that moment, much like when you watch the first ever episode of a TV show you come to love years later.

Where it all begins, a wild eye medical intern called JD passes through the walls of a daunting hospital known as sacred heart. Or that moment a cartoon layabout and accidental time traveler meets a well-known robot bending unit, unaware he has just stepped into a suicide booth.. Yes I am referencing TV pop culture because apparently it’s appealing. I pity the fool who doesn’t use pop culture to entertain, ok I’ll stop now.

Many of us have those favorite shows we watch over the years but never see the pilot. We will have that eureka moment when we realise why something is the way it is. That is of course if you are lucky enough to be around for the first episode. For you this is that…

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How I landed a deal with Bookbub!

As an author you probably don’t have to go far from the Google to find out what Bookbub is. For those not in the know, Bookbub is referred to as the ‘holy grail’ of book promotion sites and even more so for readers because it’s probably the most prestigious book connector site out there. And what’s even better is that they near enough guran-damn-tee returns on their investments…

From very early in my indie author career I tried and tried to land a promotion deal with them. Those lucky enough to land a deal report of crazy amounts of sales and even huge returns on the investment of a Bookbub promo. Just looking at some of the ‘requirements’ for acceptance is pretty damn intimidating, with some even boasting you need 50 plus reviews, but…

Its all about looking the part and persistence…

None of my books have anywhere near the dizzy heights of what is perceived as a requirement amount of reviews BUT the reduced amount of reviews in comparison I do have are mainly positive and diversely ranged from bloggers, readers and even people I do not know. There are reviews on Amazon UK, US, Canada and even AUS which reflects my initial efforts in getting The Teleporter read and out there. Many of them even put their reviews up on Goodreads. There even a few reviews that are probably better than the book!

The cover artwork is second to none, like all of my stuff I invested in a great cover from some awesome folks called Design for Writers who have made all of my books look as good as any other author, pro or indie out there.

It’s also well edited and formatted by my awesome publisher. It simply looks the part from all angles and this is proof even small time indies like me can be taken seriously.

Above all I also never stopped applying. Every month or so I would submit a new deal to Bookbub and eventually they agreed to promote The Teleporter!

Standing out from the crowd…

There aren’t many super hero comedy books out there right now and there aren’t any called the The Teleporter. Like all of my books I have tried to title them in a way that is unique or sticks out from the crowd. So by submitting to Bookbub in the ‘humor’ category I think I set myself out from the crowd. In this world different is good, not the try hard to be different sort, just the naturally occurring different and that’s what the Teleporter is! Find a niche category and if everything else is aligned you may get chosen.

Combination of stuff…

There isn’t one sole reason why I got chosen by Bookbub. All of the above as a combination have led to this.

Reviewers have helped this book in a huge way along with the awesome writing community who helped promote it over the past year.

For anyone who did that, THANK YOU, this feels like our book and it’s going to the big dance and hopefully to a more mainstream audience. You folks can boast, if all goes well, that you read it before it was huge! 

You can expect to see The Teleporter available to download at a discounted price on the 1st of July 2019 across the following amazon territories: 

UK, CANADA, INDIA AND AUSTRALIA – It will be discounted elsewhere but the bookbub ad is for these places. I guess we have to wait for the US… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dirty Lawyers (A Night Audit Series Book 5) by Bruce Knapp – Review

Fun gross out comedy…

Dirty Lawyers is the gross out comedy of the ‘Night Audit’ Series. Here we see Zach move into a new place while also finally pursuing his schooling. There’s a hint of 90’s nostalgia in this story and paired with new room mate Jake they host a party in their new apartment which ends with mixing drinks, truth or dare and then an embarrassing attempt in courting the impossibly out of reach Ashley for Zach; all of which is slightly cringe worthy but also fun.

Back at the hotel a group of Lawyers have taken up residency in true ‘animal house’ form making Zach’s hangover ten times worse as these ‘lawyers’ appear to take over. This of course results in more cringe and laugh moments which all ends with an even funnier twist.

4 Stars