‘The Man and The Crow’ by Rebecca Crunden – Review

A short sharp enjoyable tale of magic and the unexpected

Having just read this book in one sitting I found myself enthralled by page 4 where the story unexpectedly flips and takes the reader on a journey of folklore, witchcraft and murder.

With darker tones and a magical theme that merge together well, Rebecca Crunden delivers a well-written tale that might only be twenty four pages long, but it represents hundreds of years of history and lore for the title character. Throughout, the addictive writing style carries a humour that is both fun and perfect for the genre while the imagination is also given plenty of room to work alongside that history and lore suggested here – as the ending promises, that’s the start of the next story!

For anyone looking to be whisked away only for a short time but through some imaginative literature, this is the one for you.

‘Screaming would have been the sensible thing to do; it also proved impossible. Screaming would mean she’d be able to unlock her jaw and at the moment it felt like her jaw had rusted shut…’

5 Stars

‘Of Swans and Stars; Finding my own North Star, one poem at a time’ by E.M. McConnell – Review

A uniquely emotive and descriptive collection of poetry…

E.M. McConnell delivers a fantastic array of poetry that touches on so many subjects and across the four parts there is something that will resonate with anyone who takes on these words.

From the subject of being hopeful to even myth and magic which made for a great way to finish the collection, McConnel’s brand of poetry is strong, brave and consistent throughout. In particular ‘O, My Muse’ spoke to me along with ‘Music’ where the description really shines from the very start.

‘The beat skips and slithers down the cord Dodging errant quavers with amusing grace…’

This collection took me on a unique journey of language, rhyme and magic encapsulated by a British charm. There’s modern references and a power in these words along with the occasional mention of dragons all framed by an excellent looking cover and brilliant formatting.

For anyone looking to take on immersive poetry, I’d highly recommend this one!

5 Stars

‘The Watchmaker: A clock can talk’ by Ellen Khodakivska – Review

An enchanting tale of life, destiny and time…

Ellen Khodakivska tells a unique and enchanting story that follows five generations of watch makers who reside in Campobasso Italy. Their lives much like all of ours is ruled by time and how we manage it – there are a lot of fantastic messages and even some great symbolism throughout that really captures the concept of time. Even though there are many wonderful characters, it feels as if time is a character itself in this wonderful story.

Written with a style that reads like a sophisticated fairy tale, there’s a certain charm this book contains throughout as we meet the different generations of the ‘Donelli’ family and follow their lives. From heart warming moments to some that are sombre or even tragic, all of it is defined by the power of time and as watchmakers, they all follow the footsteps of their previous generation but that is after being told that there may be darkness if certain chains are broken.

On the fringes and always watching are the ‘Gift’ and the ‘Curse’ who are seemingly playing a game against one another and the pawns are those who have the initials ‘DD’. Told with heart and plenty of emotion this original tale has something for everyone and how you see time, may differ from others but the wise message within is universal.

‘Time always shares its wisdom with you if you are a good listener; Time can become your merciless enemy if you neglect it; Time can be your best friend if you manage it smartly; If you respect time, it respects you back…’

5 Stars

Exclusive Excerpt: ‘Soul of Light and Thunder’ by Arianne Nicks

Fellow author Arianne Nicks shares an exclusive promotional excerpt of her novel ‘Soul of Light and Thunder’

I should have done as I was told, but I was curious and kept my eyes open.

In the next moment, I wished I had listened. Kane was looking straight through me, frowning. His gorgeous smile disappeared, and his grip was stronger and steadier. His countenance was almost scary. Around us, huge white light circles were growing and spinning faster and faster. I got dizzy and felt like I was the one reeling. I knew what was happening—relocation spell. How did I not think of that? The dizziness got my mind all foggy, and I lost track of my surroundings. I was seeing multiple faces of Kane, all of them unclear and glimmering. Mercifully, in a few seconds, the circles disappeared. When I got my senses and balance back, I saw the landscape changed. The darkness of the night was gone, and so was the dense forest in Chicago and the shadow of my house.

A slow, warm wind ruffled my long hair from behind my shoulders. It brought a fresh, flowery smell, like a dewy garden in the early morning. Maybe because it was an early morning here, with a hidden, shy sun. We were surrounded by the most splendid and majestic trees I have ever seen in my life. Absolutely huge and thick trunks, with bright yellow leaves forming immense, round crowns, almost competing with the sun. I felt my mouth opening in awe of them. If I had to put an image to the word magic, this would be it. Ironic, wasn’t it?

“Ginkgo trees,” Kane said, smiling. His frown was gone, and he was himself again.

I unwrapped my arms from around him. He let me go but grabbed my hand.

“We’re here,” he added.

“We’re…where?”

“We’re in Japan. Come, my father is waiting for us.”

Oh, there. Yes, that’s where we were going. My thoughts were functioning again, so I could think about what happened. I didn’t know they could relocate with another person, especially with a commoner. It appeared to have taken more focus and more time to cast this on two people; I remembered the other ones disappearing almost instantly. That, or Kane tried to take it easy on me so I didn’t pass out. Still, the reeling sensation was more intense than I was prepared for.

This is an exclusive excerpt of ‘Soul of Light and Thunder’ by Arianne Nicks. You can find more information here.

‘House of Tigers’ by William Burton McCormick – Review

‘We’re innocent lambs in a house of hungry tigers…’

William Burton McCormick has constructed a cleverly plotted murder mystery where two unlikely characters band together quite literally to decipher the unexpected unfolding before them.

In the backdrop are swarms of mosquitos that threaten anyone outdoors and so immediately the locked in atmosphere presents itself from the very start as ‘Inspector Ilya Dudnyk’ arrives at Aristov Manor. His job is to oversee an Oligarch family inheritance dilemma but soon realises like most high stakes financial situations, blood has a tendency to be spilled. Even though he is seemingly on the side of the law, that thin blue line is blurred just a little giving readers a front row seat to the happenings that follow.

With plenty of tension and page-turning mystery vibes; the setting, characters and pace are all on point here and pull everything together well to make for a fun original reading experience. Of course there are unexpected twists and revelations in a who done it/who’s still doing it scenario as events unfold with the story.

5 Stars

Awesome Recommended Indie Reads #10

The road to reviewing indie books continues and so here are some of my recent reads, all of which I recommend!

‘The Perfect Athlete’ by Olivier Doleuze

The Perfect overview and resource for the fit and healthy conscious…

Full Review

‘SurReality’ by Matt Doyle

‘Everything that happens in SurReality is entirely real’

Full Review

‘The Mermaid From My Nightmare’ by Kristina Gallo

A thrilling and twisting tale with so much beneath the surface…

Full Review

‘Pearl Fields and the Oregon Meltdown’ by Drew Faraday

A unique and immersive vision of survival and life during apocalyptic times…

Full Review

‘The Liar, The Bitch and The Warmonger’ by Morton R Leader

A family affair with darker edges

Full Review

And so that wraps up another edition of Awesome Recommended Indie Reads. Keep reading and keep reviewing!

Feed My Reads Awards Nominations 2022

I’m proud to announce that I’ve been nominated by writing and reading community blogging outfit Feed My Reads for two awards!

This is both unexpected a humbling to be given any recognition for my efforts and so firstly I must thank Feed My Reads and anyone else who put me forward for these nominations. I tend to always be busy with something writing, reading or blogging based and that is without mentioning the social media rat race to contend with so knowing that my efforts have been noticed is fantastic and means a lot.

Above everything this kind gesture is proof that I am reaching the right people in the reading and writing community online and that is a dream come true.

To be thought of in such a way alongside some fantastic nominees is something I shall cherish for a long time.

The two awards I have been nominated for are:

Star of the Book Community 2022

Biggest Indie Supporter of the Year

Of course your vote and support would be appreciated.

You can vote for either by clicking here and you’ll find more information about all of the awards and nominations.

Thank you to Feed My Reads for the nominations!

‘The Liar, The Bitch and The Warmonger’ by Morton R Leader – Review

A family affair with darker edges

If there’s one thing that can divide a family, its money and that is just one of the many themes explored by Morton R Leader in this well-paced thriller.

From the start, our main players are laid out, all of which make up siblings from the ‘Wilde’ family and they all have their individual vices in life. From the brother who is down on his luck but persists with gambling to the ‘daddy’s girl’ with financial struggles and a mean edge. There is even a few family secrets that come to light in the wake of their rich father’s death. Of course with that an inheritance of a business and property looms.

I quite enjoyed the story and it is kind of unique in a sense as throughout there are no real feelings or indicators of who to back in terms of characters so it serves as a cautionary tale with darker edges. Money and greed can bring out desperation, calculation and take characters to places they wouldn’t normally go to – a concept well explored in this story.

4 Stars I grabbed this book while it was free, and it was well worth the read! Reviews via Goodreads and Amazon!

‘Pearl Fields and the Oregon Meltdown’ by Drew Faraday – Review

A unique and immersive vision of survival and life during apocalyptic times…

Pearl Fields and the Oregon Meltdown is a unique reading experience that plays out much like the transcript of a confession, life story and vision of one woman’s survival during the ‘Meltdown’. The wonderful thing is, its all three of those and more because the immersive conversational style adopted by Drew Faraday pulled me in from the very start and it isn’t one I’ve seen that frequently in fiction. Onthe surface it might appear as just ramblings but like all great books its what lies within those words that make it. Stories of childhood, love, struggle and life in apocalyptic times make up the experience that pulled me in from the start.

The ‘M’ virus and its fallout is where the majority of this story is set but we only get snippets of that from ‘Pearl’ and the focus is more on her many experiences during and then after. Its almost as if she is in the room telling you about the various trials and tribulations of her life and she’s a fun character to be around. Perhaps a little hardened by that life and her well fleshed out presence really puts you in the passenger seat of her ride. From her wealth of back stories to the various fun names she uses such as ‘Camp All She Wrote’ and even naming a suicide vest ‘Severance Package’ are just a few of humorous references peppered with a hint of darkness and there is a lot of emotion at the heart of this one.

‘I wouldn’t have gone through hell on earth on my own for nearly four years only to be pent-up in this rank jail cell pouring my heart out to a damn gizmo in hopes of not taking the long drop…’

Its part post-apocalyptic and part confessional-survival with ounces of humour and the question is, will this confession help her find acquittal? The answer is something I perhaps would have liked to have seen a little more from but that’s a minor critique at best.

Very enjoyable and original.

4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery