‘A Stranger From the Storm’ by William Burton McCormick – Review

Brilliant fun – a historical mystery with plenty of atmosphere

This is a very enjoyable historical tale that whisks the reader away to early 1900’s Odessa. Immediately the atmosphere drew me in as William Burton McCormick sets the scene during a storm and we meet two mischievous but very likeable twin sisters ‘Eleni’ and ‘Tasia’. A much-needed new guest arrives at their family boarding house where they suspect he may have something to do with a string of recent murders committed by someone only known as ‘The Specter’.

The behaviour of this new arrival arouses the sister’s suspicions and in a city with a known killer they begin to pry. Their results and antics which follow are both fun and chilling – their dialogue interaction with each other in particular is very well done and touches on so many elements of humour, perhaps a coping mechanism for the chilling events going on.

Of course like most mysteries the big reveal tends to make or break the story and after a few twists the ending was indeed unexpected and satisfying. With historic elements and fun witty dialogue that carries an intriguing story, this one is definitely for you if you enjoy those things – I certainly did!

5 Stars

Awesome Recommended Indie Reads #8

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

‘Sentinel: Galaxii Book 4’ by Christina Engela

Immersive and enjoyable space-sci fi…’

Full Review

‘A Still Life’ by Elliott Wink

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

Full Review

‘Dead of Winter’ by Antoinette McCormick 

‘It comes in the night…’

Full Review

Check out Lee Hall on Patreon

‘Fallout’ by Pat Griffith

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

Full Review

‘Where Darkness Meets Light’ by Sabrine Elouali

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

Full Review

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

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

Full Review

‘Pirate Sea’ by Kyler Kuehler 

A swashbuckling and sometimes brutal tale packed with action

Full Review

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

‘Pirate Sea’ by Kyler Kuehler – Review

A swashbuckling and sometimes brutal tale packed with action

Pirate Sea is a page-turning swashbuckling tale with a brutal edge that follows young ‘James Vane’ as he is captured by a band of pirates in the 1700’s. The writing style is both a befitting tribute to the famous pirate tales seen in classic literature whilst also having a modern feel.

Not long after readers are introduced to the story do we see events turn for the worst for young ‘James’ as his father’s ship is intercepted by the infamous pirate vessel known as the ‘Blood Revenge’ and helmed by Captain ‘Scar Eye’ – I enjoyed the naming here, it felt both original and familiar which hit the right tones for a pirate themed story. Soon enough those events turn brutal which is something that rings true from real history, this isn’t just the glamour of swords and sails, its gritty and violent. This is also a sign of things to come.

“He was pure pirate and reasoning with pure pirate was impossible”

A quote that sums up the journey James would have to take in this story to find any kind of redemption or escape and there is a heap of character development as he adjusts to these new pirate surroundings. It is during this journey that he discovers a history that is very close and personal and with it comes a tale I very much enjoyed.

4 Stars

Self-Help Book Rec’s

If in doubt there’s probably a self-help book out there for it and so this post is dedicated to some of the self-help books I highly recommend. From writing craft to the finer details of marketing to even changing the way we think, let us dive in.

‘Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing’ By Catherine Ryan Howard

If there was one book that paved the way for this blog’s very existence, it would be this guide by Catherine Ryan Howard who has since gone on to have massive success with her writing – I’m talking six figure publishing deal kind of success, and my journey was inspired by Self-Printed which is a guide for both authors and bloggers. The writing style is fun and its a great insight into what it takes to self publish.

‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’ – Stephen King

Say what you like about probably the greatest American story-teller of a generation and seemingly it appears to be the fashion to not like him in some circles but Stephen King has put together a fantastic guide that is both craft and practical based. I’d say that anyone who is looking to get more from their writing should invest in this one, its not even that long for a King book, so win win.

Break Them All!!: A Modern Era Awakening! by DRTao

Keeping to the theme of shorter guides, ‘Break Them All’ refers to unlocking the potential of your own mind by overcoming things such as ego and ambition in a positive sense to be a better person. Easy to read and also intelligent, this different but great guide is well worth a look.

‘Lazy Creativity: The Art of Owning Your Creativity’ by Kyle Bernier

I discovered this guide via Reedsy Discovery and ‘Lazy Creativity’ kind of normalises the fact that its okay to be lazy in your creative endeavours. Its detailed and covers many different types of creativity from the view of an artist who is also therapist. It certainly opened my eyes.

‘Amazon Keywords for Books: How to Use Keywords for Better Discovery on Amazon’ by Dale L. Roberts

Another Reedsy Discovery find and it’s an incredible eye opening resource for those published via Amazon – most reading this are and this book focuses on the power of Amazon’s search bar/key word optimization. This is just the tip of a big iceberg that deep dives into how the world’s biggest book retailer functions. Highly recommended.

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

Chris Jones lays out his tenured journey in the writing industry while generously passing on his wisdom in an easy-to-read guide full of resources that will either help or reassure the modern writer or both. Many other guides suffer from over informing or throwing way too much at once to the reader but here we get a fine balance between just the right amount of information and a tone that is friendly and consistent.

And so that wraps up my self-help book rec’s. Thank you for reading!

‘Fallout’ by Pat Griffith – Review

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

Pat Griffith takes readers on an original and unexpected journey that begins in one place and then takes a direction I did not see coming. A group of high school aged friends spend an evening camped out in the woods for some stargazing and experience something none of them could have possibly expected. And then there’s first contact as the real story kicks in.

The light around them dimmed, eliminating the shadows. The sun grew cold and the wind blew harder. As they looked up, gravitating toward each other, there was a mutual, unspoken question between them: What in the world was that?’

The pace suddenly quickens as its apparent this fallen meteorite contains life that has a unique invisible ability to spilt and take over a human mind. This life even has a conscience and thought process even if it does find the human anatomy seemingly foreign. After hitching a ride on their nearest hosts the chase begins as the authorities are informed – the FBI who usually turn up to these things are on the case and then comes the realisation that some of these beings were already here, hiding amongst us. The focus is on the human mind and how it can be altered or even intercepted to the point where they (the humans) are no longer in control.

Through the vessel of some wonderful description and heaps of originality we are taken on this ride of chase and hide adventure as these beings intercept and try to run. There are even those in authority who have succumbed to the effects of them. What they want is never really known but does it matter? Perhaps not because like all life, that’s probably what they want, to live. There are brief shades of Invasion of the Body Snatchers but with a less horror-esque tone and more of a focus on that corporeal life that silently takes on a human host.

For anyone looking to read an original sci-fi adventure about life from another planet that intercepts life on this one, this is definitely one for you!

4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

‘Dead of Winter’ by Antoinette McCormick – Review

‘It comes in the night…’

Antoinette McCormick delivers an atmospheric and descriptive story of ‘Amara’ who is on a quest to solve her twin sister’s murder and the circumstances that have seemingly followed her since childhood. Just what exactly is this mysterious force stalking her? It seems to have always been there and the mystery keeps the reading experience intriguing.

As the events unfold, reader’s are left guessing with a writing style that can best be described as textbook horror where not too much is given away whilst leaving readers wanting to know more. In near enough every chapter something unexpected unfolds keeping everything on edge with a certain urgency. To find out what exactly happened ‘Amara’ must explore memories of her sister through a unique procedure giving the story a sci-fi futuristic edge. The ending although satisfying to me will definitely be the course of some division but like all good stories, they always are. For anyone looking for an atmospheric and thrilling tale with mystery, this is the one for you!

5 Stars

‘Sentinel: Galaxii Book 4’ by Christina Engela – Review

Immersive and enjoyable space-sci fi

Christina Engela returns with her immersive and enjoyable brand of space sci-fi in the latest instalment of the Galaxii series.

Captain ‘Sonia La Belle’ is tasked with an uphill struggle of bringing the starship I.S.S. Munray back up to better standards. With mostly disorganised personnel and the ways of a former disgraced captain leaving the ship in disarray, not to mention an old flame on the crew, this new skipper has her work cut out and then come the space pirates.

In the wake of these ‘Corsairs’ being a near enough wiped out, two particular outlaws find themselves in possession of a dooms day-esque technology that threatens not just ‘La Belle’s’ reputation but much more. A pirate resurgence begins along with a matter-of-time chase that ensues with drama and deception at the forefront of a great story delivered by way of Engela’s best writing to date. For anyone looking to for some fun space sci-fi immersion then ‘Sentinel’ is the book for you!

5 Stars – thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Awesome Recommended Indie Reads 7

I’ve been reading and reviewing indie books again so its time to take a look at some recent titles that I thought were awesome…

‘Powerless’ by Vicky Ball

A well-written twisting thriller with darker themes…

Full Review

‘Lazy Creativity: The Art of Owning Your Creativity’ by Kyle Bernier

A detailed, modern and refreshing take on creativity that covers so many applications for success!

Full Review

‘An English Teacher in Mexico: Memories of a Midlife Career Change’ by Irene Pylypec

A fun and insightful well-written account of adventure and culture…

Full Review

Join Lee Hall on Patreon

Those who do join my Patreon will get regular shout-outs on my Twitter for you and your work in front of my near 30,000 followers. Plus you’ll get exclusive access to my growing series of Twitter Coaching Sessions, future guides and fiction.

‘SKINNER: Thirty-five years. Four killers. One city’ by Nathan Jones 

Immersive near future sci-fi meets the macabre…

Full Review

‘The Tolworth Beacon’ by Huw Langridge

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

Full Review

‘Recovering Alice’ by Catherine Morrison

A gripping uplifting tale of romance and relapse…

Full Review

And so that wraps up another edition of Awesome Recommended Indie Reads! Thanks for stopping by!

‘The Tolworth Beacon’ by Huw Langridge – Review

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

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

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

4 Stars – Reviews left via Goodreads and Amazon

Free and Discounted Books Today Only!

Book Promotion Activated! Hello kind readers and followers, I have decided to take the plunge into some book promotion to celebrate reaching 27,000 Twitter followers and you’ll be able to grab my debut horror novel Open Evening for free today but that’s not all! You can also grab the three other books in the same series for a discounted price for today only. Details are below!

Today Only Open Evening is Free!

Open Evening was my first foray into indie/self publishing and serves not just as my debut but a tribute to horror films from the early 2000’s. If you enjoyed ‘Jeepers Creepers’ and ‘The Faculty’ you’ll most likely enjoy this one. Fans of ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ and ‘Alien’ will also find something to enjoy about this book which is also a partly semi-autobiographical tribute to my own school days.

“As soon as you open this book, it will grab your attention!”

Recent Review by Ellen Khodakivska

This book is also just the beginning of my wider occult Order of the Following Series with the 5th book planned for release soon. The three titles from that series are exclusively discounted today in digital format.

Head on over to Amazon and give one of the above titles a search to grab yourself some discounted or free goodness and if you do, remember to leave a review! Peace out!