‘The Skeleton in Gelatin’ by Johan Michaels – Mini Review

A short and twisting tale of the unexpected that stirs the mind… 

 

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‘The Skeleton in Gelatin’ manages to entertain and stir the imagination of readers even if it is quite a short story. For what begins in one place slowly and gradually twists into something completely different and unexpected. This could easily be the premise of a Black Mirror episode with it’s sci-fi edge that uses intrigue as the vessel to carry the story.

For anyone looking to be briefly immersed and distracted from the real world then I highly recommend this book!

5 Stars – A different one for the Hall of information, but different is good even if I was unsure about what to say in a review for such a short book. 

‘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! 

 

 

 

Scarred by Damien Linnane – Review

A brutal tale of justice blinded by revenge…

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Scarred is exactly what the title suggests and Damien Linnane has carved a unique story telling path by bravely going to some violent and graphic places. It isn’t for the faint of heart but the places readers are taken make for a great story.

You have the historically abused and damaged vigilante in the form of Jason Ennis who leads the story while residing on the fringes of society. He’s the quiet type who could be Batman one day and then in the same breath a cold blooded killer, even though his motives could possibly be justified – the conflict which is genius in this story and that being whether or not Jason’s motives are the right thing to do? He’s complex and haunted by a childhood of abuse, his back story like all of the other principal characters is explored and told through the eyes of whoever is leading the scene. The view even switches in some scenes which is a credit to the author’s execution and work to achieve.

We also follow Howard who is at the other extreme end of life’s scale. He too is haunted by a dark past and uses it as a fuel on others sometimes brutally and graphically. In between the violence and sometimes depravity is a reason to go there, not for the shock factor but for the the greater good of a story which I eventually couldn’t put down.

There are so many messages within the story such as revenge not always being the answer and the true morality of justice. My only real critique comes from the writing style which chooses more often to show as opposed to tell – a rather cliche critique in book reviews and for this book the ‘showing’ works most of the time to immerse one in the depth of backstory and to get into the thoughts of characters.

For those who don’t mind some violence and graphic content, you’ll appreciate a story that goes to places of darkness and scarring to tell it while a few ‘bad guys’ get taken down in the process.

 

5 Stars – I enjoyed this immersive and sometimes brutal tale. Thank you to the author for reaching out! Reviews left on Goodreads and Amazon (UK) 

Exclusive Darke Awakening Excerpt – because we all need a distraction…

As an author and creator with material to give and seeing what we are all currently facing around the world I have decided to share some reading material with you.

This is the opening of Darke Awakening, the 4th book in the Order of the Following Series. I have chosen to share this part because anyone can pick it up and I have something to give (not corona)…

Enjoy and love to you all!

 

 

Darke Awakening

(The Order of the Following Series)

By Lee Hall

Copyright 2020

 

 

 

Prologue: The Skeleton man

Darkness. The blackest of the black. Not being able to see and all that. Yeah some of you have heard that speech before and this isn’t my first venture into the lightless void of the unknown. All of us look to the dark differently but we always see one of two things. Nothing, and everything. Fear fills the gap between what isn’t there and what could be and you’re thinking, how artsy and self-reflective, we all know this story isn’t. Drown someone in shadows and eventually they make their own light to find a way out. That’s what I did, Blake Malone; the name personally adopted as a reminder of what I have fought for and who I stood alongside. Luckily for you, that fight isn’t over.

My journey continues right where I left it and now there are others whose stories intertwine with mine. These folks and their past may not fully matter but it’s why they ended up crossing my path and so they matter to me.

I wanted to be clever in how I kicked this tale off, instead of being corny and obvious, like saying ‘strap in, things are about to get wild’. Where we are going will need more than a seat-belt and if you excuse the segway, a seat-belt is something Mitch Hawkins wasn’t wearing as he drove his battered old Ford towards Darke Heath on a cold still night. And let’s face it, around these parts they are all cold still nights but this one has some significance.

the road

Tall old pines straddled both sides of the main forest road, hence the name, but Mitch wasn’t focusing on the lackluster view of mainly black. He had one hand on a peeling steering wheel and the other on a nearly finished cigarette. Something loud and grungy blared out of his speaker system, the most valuable part of the vehicle, the L.E.D display danced to the base. Just as the next song was about to kick in, he heard a dull vibration from behind.

Instinctively he stubbed out the cherry and slipped a hand into his front pocket, except the vibration didn’t come from there, he felt nothing but denim.

“Aww, shit,” he said. The shuddering cell phone sat in his biker style jacket that was laid across the back seat.

He did that thing where you try to turn one-eighty and crush the soft part of your abdomen under the ribs whilst driving. Without buckling up an easy feat, so Mitch grabbed the jacket and pulled out his glowing cell phone without realising the old Ford had veered out of its single lane prompting him to glance up. He corrected the steering with a mind on the caller and failed to focus fully on the dim headlights that shone on an outline in the road.

“Oh, crap,” Mitch shouted in that elongated way where you know you’ve screwed up.

He frantically veered the wheel right and looked to a thin tall figure stood dead in the middle of the road. The image of two hollow eyes and not a lot else burned into Mitch’s head before his car left the asphalt. Rubber skated over loose gravel and to much softer ground. The suspension strained and dipped the shuddering car which crashed at speed into ferns eventually scraping to a stop.

Our driver had blacked out upon impact, and if you were to drive past that uphill spot five minutes later, you would be none the wiser an old Ford left the road.

Mitch came to in a spaced-out daze, the car, dead. Light came from a now full moon revealed itself behind thick clouds. The headlights, smashed along with his side window. Something pinned the sleepy driver into his seat, a strong lifeless type of force that also burned.

Just how long was he out for? The internal compass of awareness inside Mitch wanted to say not long. With a gasp he looked down to see a sizeable branch embedded into his shoulder, there was blood and the wood extended beyond a shattered front windscreen.

“Jesus,” he gasped with a pained breath.

You see Mitch should have worn a seat-belt, let that be lesson one. Then he wouldn’t have found himself restrained out in the Darke Forest at night and alone, another big no around here.

His shaking hand gripped the blood covered branch, the lightest of touches and he was in hurt city. It made him nauseous and kind of panicked at the same time. From the foot well came that familiar vibrating of cell phone. It was frustrating and painful all at once because for the life of him Mitch just couldn’t move to answer it.

“Goddamn it,” he blurted and rested a forearm on the permanently open driver’s side window which must have dropped in the crash; something he didn’t remember happening.

In his mind that image flashed into view of someone stood in the road. He’s heard the stories of the ‘Heath’ and so right then in that helpless state his mind began to wander. Those hollow skeleton-like eyes staring right through him. The Skeleton Man, he named him, perhaps a hitcher who walked from that Glenwood travel interchange place, or just a guy on a night-time walk.

For some strange reason Mitch had a feeling he was no longer alone.

Floating out of the cold air came a presence along with the frightening image of this ghostly face. Those hollow eyes stared down into the car. With a certain fluidity this Skeleton Man dressed in rags lowered to Mitch’s overturned forearm which hung just out of the car. Bony mud encrusted fingers coldly squeezed him.

“Could you lend a hand bro?” Mitch asked. The ghostly figure seemed to just hang there before moving in closer.

A sudden sharp burning sunk into his arm, Mitch desperately tried to scream but something hypnotic stopped anything emerging from his mouth. He could feel his existence floating away as the sound of gulping filled both ears. Soon enough Mitch slipped away into a deep sleep.

 

Part 1: ‘DB’ Continued

1

“Well damn Blake, it’s like you said, you suck at pool,” the man called Twister said. I guess he had the right to say that, especially after potting the black around my partially embarrassing array of red’s. They sat stranded in that after game type of way which just reeked of ‘you suck’.

“I’m more of a social pool player,” I said.

And there we were, in the corner of a busy bar called ‘the Cure’ while the Eagles did their Hotel California guitar riff thing. My grip loosened on a now pointless pool cue and Caitlyn Turner stepped in.

“I guess it’s my turn.” She took the varnished wood and stood ready to challenge this newcomer.

“Well it looks like the lady is up next. You’re giving me those eyes like you’ve kicked the ass of every damn hustler whose come though those doors,” Twister said and gulped down his whisky.

“Yep, and twice on Sundays.” Caitlyn moved to set the next game up.

“It’s wise not to play for anything more than pride I’ll tell you that much Twister,” I said looking at my girl Caitlyn grin from a fond memory.

“That’s code for she wears the pants in their relationship,” a voice said from behind the bar.

“Is that so? Well it is the twenty-first century,” Twister said. He leant on the bar and presented an empty glass as I turned to see the stand-in bar keep, Susie. She shot me that look all siblings give each other when they are in chop busting mode.

“Twenty first century? I’ve been around a lot longer than that,” Caitlyn said and broke.

“Although, a lady should never reveal her true age.” She stood proud of the scattered and still spinning pool balls.

“Ha, lady,” Susie said.

“Watch it biker chick Barbie,” I said to her, but she had another distraction, Twister. Susie did that thing girls do when they know they’ve got a guy interested. Her fingers brushed back smoky blond hair and she poured him another whisky.

“Keep the change.” Twister pushed a twenty her way and headed back to the pool table. Susie winked at me and took it.

“Smooth huh? Considering I’m not employed here. Well smoother than Splint anyway,” she said.

“Yeah, I suppose so, for a vam…”

Her cold hand gripped mine and stopped me from saying any more. For a moment I had forgot we were in the company of a newcomer. Twister wasn’t smartened up to this town’s ‘affliction’ which my sister just happened to have.

“I mean right about now Splint would be frowning at this newcomer bigtime,” I said and looked to see my Caitlyn continue an intrigued stare towards this stranger.

“So, been in town long?” she asked.

“Got in tonight.” Twister took his shot.

“On a dark desert highway…” the sound system blared.

“Now I like this song just as much as the next cat in here, but I’m pretty certain that’s the fourth consecutive time it’s played,” he added.

the bar

Yep, Twister was right and like that we were back as that damn song began playing again. Things never turn out like you expect and our story starts just a little later than expected or unexpected. Some of you know how I got to be standing at a bar in the middle of Darke Heath whilst I watched my girlfriend exchanging small talk with just a little hint of interrogation towards an intriguing character known as Twister.

She stood in that usual garb of strappy midriff revealing top and ‘pain in the ass’ to take off tight jeans of the red persuasion. Her boots finished at knee height and the heels were just enough to bring her height equal to the man she stood opposite.

This guy took the rugged look to new heights with a wealth of scars up either sleeveless arm. The flannel shirt on him had probably never seen an iron along with the cargo trousers. Twister’s face showed the signs of man who probably saw some shit in his lifetime, especially with the map of scars to go with it.

The two of them could probably have a decent fight. Caitlyn, a former vampire; long story, could still handle herself even if she represented a petite brunette lady. Twister didn’t exactly tower over her, but he carried himself in a ‘don’t mess with me’ kind of way. The visible muscles on both his arms weren’t huge but they were more than what I had.

I took a bar stool while the pool game represented a metaphorical sizing up of two considerable forces. Their exchange of words tested everything they wanted to know about one another. As far as I knew then, Caitlyn, vampirism cured and all, still packed one hell of a feisty punch. But this wouldn’t get to that point, either of them had too much tact.

“So, what’s with this place?” Twister asked. He never let the whisky leave his grasp.

“Well the bar’s owner, Splint, he just felt like a change. Hence the remodel,” Caitlyn said with a game face smile knowing he wasn’t asking about the decor.

He too cracked a ‘game on’ type of grin and probed some more,

“I’m talkin’ about the town. As I rolled in, I saw a stack of places under repair. Looked like fire damage mostly. That apartment block on the main drag in here looked pretty much levelled. I’m just sayin’, this place don’t look like a trouble type of town, on the surface,” he said.

“Then again most small towns aren’t what they seem.” And again, he was right. And again it’s a long story.

“Yep. Small towns, aren’t all their cracked up to be, am I right?” I said to them with nothing more than a ‘let the adults speak’ glare from Caitlyn.

“Swing and a miss,” Susie teased next to me.

“I’ve seen some places in my day, but every time I come through here, there ain’t much going down. Now I thought that was strange until it looked like hell went down here recently.” This time Twister paused and glanced up to Caitlyn before taking another shot. He sunk a red followed by the white.

“And when it comes to strange, I’m used to that rap. You seen the car I drive?” Twister nodded to the yellow classic style taxi parked in the street outside.

“So, let me ask again. What’s the deal with this place?” He asked with a tone that matched his serious look.

Caitlyn placed the white down and kept her equally strong stare on him while she lowered to aim.

“I’m a straight shooter Twister, so here’s the deal.” She drove the cue forward with a harder than usual shot.

“How about you tell me a little bit more about yourself before I answer that question. I think we both know in this world that knowledge is power, but only for the right person,” Caitlyn added.

The tension between them began to simmer a little, but she had this way. Must have been something to with being a creature of the night for the lengthy time she was. Like my sister, Caitlyn could ‘tame’ any alpha male type, she relied less on body language and more on honest words alone.

“Fair enough, Mrs Blake Malone. What do you wanna know?”

“It’s Caitlyn and what’s a fella like you doing in a town like this?”

“I’m just passing through like I do every now and then. I travel around most of the time,” Twister said.

“What do you work in sales or something?” Susie asked from the bar.

“Not exactly, I’m more of an exterminator,” Twister said, he kept both eyes on Susie for a little too long. Being the older brother made me notice that kind of stuff no matter how flirty she acted.

“We’ve had somewhat of a vermin problem around here recently,” Caitlyn said stepping into Twister’s view.

“Is that so? Well I don’t think you’ve seen the type of infestations I’ve dealt with,” he said.

“Try me,” Caitlyn added.

Another conversation trailed towards the bar and I did that thing where you try and tune into both sets of dialogue.

“Jeff, let me introduce you to my kids,” my Father Angus Greene said with his signature country accent. He shuffled a tall flannel shirt wearing frame my way and beside him walked a smaller Korean man. I swivelled on my stool to see Angus take a large hand off this man’s shoulder and stretch it towards me.

“Jeff, meet my son Blake. Son, this is Pam’s father Jeff,” he said.

“Nice to meet you,” I said and held out a hand for Jeff to shake.

“Mr Malone. Pam has spoken highly of you. Very nice to meet you,” Jeff said with a warm grip.

“Now the young lady behind the bar is my youngest Susie.” Angus adjusted the one arm he had in a sling, a partially painful reminder of recent proceedings. He signalled to Susie who leant over the bar.

“Hello Miss Malone,” Jeff said, he nodded, and this time kept the hand to himself. We could see his apparent discomfort.

“Please call me Susie, that whole Malone deal is Blake’s thing.” Susie extended her pale hand.

“And please don’t worry sir, I don’t bite, the good guys,” she whispered as Jeff half-heartedly shook her hand.

“Now, do you fellas want a drink? Splint left me to work the bar.”

“Well honey, he did ask if you could skip to another song on his new sound system,” Angus said.

“Uh, I already tried. Maybe I’m not doing it right.” Susie placed a remote control on the counter.

I looked past the several occupied seats to a booth near the back. The man known as Splint sat with his shaven head back facing and beside him, Pam, his girlfriend. He sharply turned to see Angus and Susie trying to work out the remote control.

“That’s for the TV that I no longer have. You gotta push the button on the player,” Splint called from his seated position.

“Okay. Great, thanks Splint,” Susie said back through the several people sat around.

“Where is the button?” She turned three-sixty on her feet and looked down under the counter.

“Bottom left,” Splint shouted. I could see him then turn to Pam as they appeared to argue about something.

“I’m not seeing it Splint,” Susie said over everyone.

“He probably means his left,” Twister said from the pool table.

“My left Susie-Q!” Splint began to get up. He started to climb over the table as his girlfriend sat in the way. She pulled his hand down.

“Let me just go and show her,” he said.

You see Splint and the Korean girl known as Pam were the ultimate odd couple. She turned out to be strong in the ways of witchcraft, Earth-witchcraft to be specific. Pam was also into geek stuff like D and D amongst other quest style games. Splint was pretty much the opposite, he was a jump first, deal later guy who listened to loud music like the Offspring and had a ‘loose’ kind of thinking in life. I didn’t want to say Splint was crazy, but he stood somewhere near it, and he couldn’t defend himself in a fight either.

Anyway, these two got together in the final act of our last story, Pam got sired by a vampire over lord type known as Alexis and his Death-witch partner called the Mistress who also turned out to be my mother. In that final battle Splint marched right up to her with a syringe full of vampire curing goodness and put in the save. They’ve been together since.

I watched them have one of those mini arguments couples have when they are still trying to figure one another out. Splint hopped over the table and Pam, leaving her with who I presumed was her mother.

“He probably means your right, or stage right,” Twister said, again from the pool table.

Splint rushed to the bar and nodded,

“Yeah see, the new guy gets the drift. It’s down there,” he pointed as Susie lowered.

“On a dark desert highway…” the sound system blared, again.

“Did you push skip?” Splint asked.

“I’m pushing it Splint. New sound system my ass,” Susie said.

Splint hopped over the bar and disappeared along with my sister.

“On a dark desert highway…”

“Damn it, it’s just the same song over and over again,” Susie said.

“Maybe it’s the cd?” Twister said, he leant over the bar whilst Caitlyn sunk another ball.

“Yeah, maybe it’s the cd Splint. If you get his drift?” Susie added and appeared again. Her eyes met Twister’s in that flirty kind of way that I wasn’t sure about.

“Your shot Stretch, save the flirting for after I win,” Caitlyn said.

My eyes kept their focus on Susie who turned. Something in her stance changed just then, like an animalistic sense that kicked in. Two ‘shifty’ looking types, shifted themselves in through the doors and over to me. The first guy, unshaven and walking with purpose reached into a jacket pocket.

I double took between him and Susie, then her face began to frown. The muscles around her eyes firmed and from her lipstick covered lips came two white fangs. Her pupils dilated and became something which represented more of a predator than my annoying younger sister. They stared into another set of similar eyes and I saw fangs coming from this approaching intruder.

“Alexis may be gone, but we still own this town,” the other guy said.

Everything moved too damn fast and I sat with a dumb looking face on a bar stool. My Father Angus swivelled to the side and held up his only available hand to defend himself against a glinting blade. Even in his recovering condition he had the strength to swipe the threat away only for the intruding vamp to follow through and drive the weapon into Pam’s father, Jeff.

Susie vaulted over the bar with a growl, she collided into the knifeman and down they went. The other guy smiled and backed toward the doors. I stepped in to protect my father who he tried to catch Jeff from falling. I lowered to see a river of red.

“Dad!” Pam screamed.

She coursed from her seated position and past several onlookers. Her outstretched hands clenched, and an aura of purple began to surround her body.

Susie laid in a punch and her target let go of the blood covered knife. Before she could do anymore the other intruder threw out a kick and pulled his companion to. They stumbled away and rushed out the doors.

Caitlyn watched with a front row view. She sharply raised a knee and snapped her pool cue in two, then her eyes met Susie’s and they charged for the doors.

“Dad, no!” Pam cried.

She dropped to the struggling Jeff with her purple aura fading, and she tried to help.

“Somebody call for a damn ambulance!” Angus shouted, and I saw Splint appearing from behind the bar.

“Blake, get out there son. Make sure those girls are alright,” Angus commanded as his hand gripped my open shirt.

They could handle themselves, but I breezed out of the double doors anyway. Out into the cold night air I went to the partial darkness of main street had where Caitlyn and Susie stood with their backs facing me. Opposite, the two intruders both in full vampire mode.

“It’s a shame you won’t be able to tell your friends there are new Slayer Sisters in town,” Caitlyn barked, she handed half a pool cue to Susie.

“That’s funny because last time we checked both the Slayer Sisters are now mortal,” vampire enemy one said.

“The original line up has changed.” Susie stepped into her target.

In my peripheral to the left I saw movement. The metallic sound of creaking echoed out into the mostly desolate street.

Vampire enemy two swiped out and struck Susie, she shook it off and retaliated. Caitlyn swung out her pool cue stake, the target stepped aside, and sucker punched her. She yelped in her now mortal pain.

“Aint what you used to be are you?”

She angrily threw out a connecting elbow.

This time I looked when that metallic creaking came again. It was the taxi, Twister’s yellow taxi, and a figure closed the trunk, Twister. He stepped out into the street with something long and curved in hand, not once did he look up.

“Now now, gentlemen, is that anyway to treat a lady?” He said while Caitlyn’s foe broke away and dove forward.

Twister had no time to react as the vamp pounced and they went down. A feeling I knew all too well. He held that curved weapon in defence to stop salivating teeth getting any closer.

“What, the shit, are you?” He casually asked and impressively hauled the attacking vamp over and away.

Twister jumped up, he stepped into street light and I got a better look at what looked like a sabre blade. Attached to the handle in his grip appeared to be a canister of some sort. Before he could step in the other vampire breezed past Susie. This time Twister lived to his namesake and manoeuvred out of pursuit.

He swung the curved blade up and down and then stepped in with a lightning quick swipe of the weapon’s handle. It cracked into the nearest vamp, but he wasn’t done.

Before I could step off the sidewalk my instincts told me to stay put and saved me from a mass of black which abruptly trotted past me. The cold breeze of a black horse in full gallop stepped out into the street between Twister and the ‘new’ Slayer Sisters Caitlyn and Susie.

Riding this silky coated steed was a hooded figure, I saw the outline of what looked like a bow with an arrow primed. The two vamps looked up in terror toward this horseback arrival. They began to bumble away when the hooded shadow let the arrow fly.

A brief whistle careened toward the pair. It entered vamp one at chest level and into the other close by. A brilliant flash of glowing orange filled the street and the two of them were nothing but dust in the wind.

“Uh, thanks, I guess…” Twister spun and we all watched the horse rear and bolt away.

horse

“Who is that?” I asked stepping out to Caitlyn and Susie.

“Let’s find out.” Caitlyn had already begun to jog in pursuit.

“Guess we’ll race ya,” Susie said and after a few strides caught up with Caitlyn. They ran toward this shadowy horseback slayer.

I began to stride after them when I heard the turning of old motor. Wheels spun, and soft headlights flashed in the street.

“You wanna ride Blake?” Twister asked from inside the taxi. He was already at the wheel and had turned the car around.

I pulled open a yellow door and got in…

 

End of Part 1 – To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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? 

Nightjar by Paul Jameson – Review

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

The Seller of Sins by Kristina Gallo – Review

An engaging immersive tale of relationships and what people will do for love…

seller of sins

Although this is a short read it doesn’t feel like one and I found myself taking my time slowly becoming immersed into a character driven story intertwined with adult themes and at the very core of that relationships.

The writing and delivery adopts a showing as opposed to telling style but it works very well for the story being told and is a good choice for the length that it is – we get a lot of detailed back story making characters Karolina and Filip likable in their own ways even though they are introduced in a rather negative light due to their marriage problems. Their journey throughout this tale carries a deeper moral story about love and what really matters and we realize this at the end.

It’s dramatic and sometimes erotic in places with multiple genres being represented but overall I enjoyed it.

4 – Stars – Reviews left via Amazon UK and Goodreads

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.

good audit

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!

 

Awesome Indie Books I have read this year: PT1

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

 

last driver

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

undertown

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

sitch

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

alien diraries

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

Nocturnal blood

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

51

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

blue rabbit

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

kali

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

Quantum Series #1 - Black Sunrise 2019 - front

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

kau d'varza

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

squatter in ldn

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

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

HERE’S PART 2!