‘The Bad Part of Time’ By Joshua Ingle – Review

A thought provoking time travel caper exploring the themes of life, age and politics…

Just what would you do if given the opportunity to meet your younger self? A younger self who is determined to change the culture of an ageist world through angry activism. That’s exactly what this intriguing and wonderfully original book explores as we meet ‘Variel’ who has lived life knowing eventually she is going to face her younger self and that day has arrived.

“…there was no stopping the inevitable, so she swallowed her dread, observed her morning routine, and accepted today was going to be a very bad day…”

Based in a future where time travel is possible and is a type of tourist or even business activity, ‘Variel’ faces her younger self ‘V’ and their journey begins. The dialogue between them is well executed much like where this story takes you. Social themes of ageism, privilege and politics are centre stage here as ‘V’ is angrily determined to change society for the better and for the young. ‘Variel’ does her best to guide her younger self through the vacuum of youthful rebellion and the morality of the world. Their back and forth interactions act as a metaphor for what is happening in that wider world and being angry is okay but fixing things is perhaps better.

“Stop Blaming. Start Fixing.”

Youth and age clash constantly in a story that carries intricate and meaningful messages throughout where you are viewed as the sledgehammer, the bomb or the paintbrush which serves as great symbolism for the world and life. A great read.

5 Stars – This review first premiered on Reedsy Discovery

‘Beginner’s Luck’ by M.J. Furtek – Review

A breezy action-packed and unpredictable page-turning spy thriller that could go anywhere next…

After assassin and super killing machine ‘Hildur’ is befallen to a somewhat freak accident the circumstances after place her in danger and ultimately onto a journey of trying to escape a net closing in around her. Danger and deception are following and around near enough every corner there are challenges and mystery.

M.J. Furtek does a great job of keeping the reader on the edge while only really revealing information as the characters find it out. There’s a heap of mystery and intrigue here, intrigue to know who exactly is leading the chase and it keeps you turning pages albeit quickly. Based in Iceland there are some nice descriptive visuals paired with a remote Island feel which is perfect for a chase story accompanied by some clever spy-esque sequences – perhaps a perfect combination. This could easily be Jason Bourne with the whole mystery element along with the tones that are on point while being paired with that European landscape/feel.

With short but breezy chapters and a modern writing style that hooks you in from the very start, this is a spy chase thriller that will guarantee to entertain, immerse and leave readers wanting more by the end – I know I did.

4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

‘Stars Never Die: A Movie To Die For’ by Walrus – Review

Quick, fun and easy to read race against time story with murder mystery vibes…

This is my second Walrus experience and yet again I found it to be an easy-to- read enjoyable take on the film industry with a few unexpected original spins.

The story starts out with a symbolic and cinematic murder which then unfolds into a mystery/high stakes situation where it is believed ‘Stars Never Die’ is a movie that seemingly carries a curse as bad things seem to unfold around it. ‘Jessica’ who is part inventor and part investigator must race against time to stop this film premiering and of course solving a murder with some deep rooted family history. She soon realises someone is following her and so the chase is on.

There are mystery and tech vibes along with some fun moments that kept me turning pages and wanting to find out what was going to happen next.

‘I’m a star. And stars never die…’

Ironically and funnily this quote is played while a strangulation and violent struggle takes place which then erupts into a much bigger brawl – just one of the fun quirks this story and writing style has. For anyone looking for an escape even just for a few hours then this one is for you.

3 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

‘Home’ by Thomas Overlook – Review

Unique and intriguing. A page-turning tale that’ll take readers down the rabbit hole of what’s there and what isn’t…

Its quite difficult to pin point what this story is really about and how deep it goes, but for the majority I was addicted and kept reading to see where it went. To me, that’s a job done well and driven by that immersive intrigue, Thomas Overlook tells the story of a young couple who decide to start again away from the hustle and bustle of city life with their infant child. Then events start to turn strange.

There’s a multitude of different themes and things going on here, some are more obvious and on the surface while others go deeper. Much of the book is taken up by the inner workings of ‘Joel’ and ‘Aubrey’ or their memories but we are only shown and told so much to the point where everything seems to have a kind of surreal feel – this is a complex but imaginative set up for a book because the events that do happen gradually unfold while we find out only limited information about these two characters. The concept of what’s on the surface and what’s beneath starts to blend and uniquely the organisation which ‘Joel’ works for is deliberately omitted, something some readers may frown upon but an original concept and there is a heap of originality here. ‘Aubrey’ seems to have this kind of lustful subconsciousness while also perhaps hiding something. These characters aren’t fully revealed to the reader which only increases that intrigue.

Soon after moving into their new and remote house weird things begin to unfold. Is this an elaborate prankster or perhaps even a haunting? this is after ‘Joel’ may have unleashed something or at least stirred it. What ‘it’ is, we never really get an answer but it points towards something that lurks beneath the surface literally and psychologically. Is what ‘Joel’ appears to be seeing actually there or not? Could we actually be in the company of something that has always been there but is only awakened if disturbed? Rational thought begins to blend with the irrational as he tries to investigate what really is going on. Has ‘Joel’ really unleashed something that feels like its hunting him and his family?

“He was terrified but not mortally. It was a queer feeling, deep fear tinged with a silken sadness…”

Cause and effect comes into play here as these events put a strain on the couple. This has all the makings to suggest there is another lifeform amongst us but that is only really suggested – that’s what this book made me feel anyway and I am intrigued to see where it goes as this appears to only be part 1 of a wider series. You might not get any answers this time but the reading experience was entertaining overall and full of enough mysterious intrigue to at least entertain more of this immersive deep writing style and story. For those looking to have a lighter reading escape or even those who don’t enjoy deep thought this might not be the one for you, but those who enjoy complex stories that are open to wider interpretation then this is the one for you. It’s definitely one of the most unique reads I have come across in recent times.

4 Stars – An encapsulating and page turning read. This review first premiered on Reedsy Discovery.

‘Evil Eye: A Slasher Story’ by April A. Taylor – Review

An unpredictable fast-paced slasher with plenty of twists and tension as the storm unfolds…

The looming threat of worsening weather combined with a killer on the loose makes for some fun and thrilling reading in a story that could easily be an evening spent at the cinema or at home via Netflix. Here we see a diverse group stranded and united by their will to survive a double whammy of hurricane and deranged killer.

From the very start there’s pace to a story that unfolds just like the hurricane that engulfs those left behind on an island. Soon enough they realise someone is hunting them down and so the real slasher story begins but it’s more than that. Each character has their own complexities and we see things from each of their unique perspectives which then interact with one another – most of the time in these stories it’s easy to pick out who will be taken down first but there’s an unpredictability here making it all the more enjoyable and page turning.

While we are used to our masked but faceless killers being without any dialogue the author carves an original path with her version of evil walking because for some of it he is also talking. As he slowly stalks his prey and throughout it feels as if there is no escape with the hurricane situation heightening that terror. And in this particular situation there is nowhere to run. To some that’s uncomfortable, but to me that’s the perfect storm of horror quite literally.

Although titled as a slasher I’ll happily admit it’s a lot more than that with some nods to modern issues in society and the wider world. Much of the time there’s seems to be a lack of ideas with the ending but for this one, there were a few final twists that capped of a fun read. So come for the slashing but stay for everything else this story is about, you’ll be pleasantly surprised while also being on edge.

4 Stars – This review first premiered on Reedsy Discovery

A Year of Reedsy Discovery Reads

Time flies when you’re reading books and I’ve been reading a lot of them in recent times. Last year Reedsy Discovery; a platform for reviewing indie books approached me to be a reviewer. Of course I jumped at the opportunity and it that time I have discovered some gems, and so here they are…

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‘American Blasphemer’ by By John Gillen

4 Stars

A masterful labour of modern honesty, told through the lens of a lonesome soul trying to figure out this world and life…’ 

Full Review

‘The Sawyer Shepherd Chronicles: Rites of Passage’ by Chad Lehrmann

3 Stars

A twisting unpredictable creature feature set in a small town with a big secret…

Full Review

‘The Dreamophile’s Diary’ by Shazrina

4 Stars

A descriptive collection of tales that capture the very essence of dreams from surrealism to their deeper metaphoric meaning…

Full Review

‘Senescence’ by Denver Scott

5 Stars

One giant leap into the future of humankind via the cosmos through the vessel of science that makes for a fascinating read!

Full Review

‘Noxious’ by Bruce Knapp

4 Stars

An enjoyable yet sinister tale of the macabre that’ll keep you turning pages…

Full Review

‘Fly Fearless & Fear Less: Eliminate your Fear of Flying with Knowledge!’ By Peter Brandt

4 Stars

A concise, insightful and reassuring read that’ll help you cope with the irrational fear of flying…

Full Review

‘Big Noise’ by J.P. Biddlecome

3 Stars

A tale that walks the fine line between survival and madness through solitude

Full Review

‘A Diary in the Age of Water’ by Nina Munteanu

5 Stars

A truly important once in a generation read that flows like a wild river right through your imagination and heart...’

Full Review

‘Awake’ by Andrew Palmer

4 Stars

An original techno-psychological thriller that captures the essence and surrealism of dreams with a sinister edge…

Full Review

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

5 Stars

Essential reading for marketing books effectively while gaining a better understanding of Amazon key words and beyond..

Full Review

‘Deadly Odds’ by Allen Wyler

4 Stars

He’s in deep with the big fishes and the odds are hardly in his favour…

Full Review

‘Raven Woman’s Tavern’ by Laura Koerber

4 Stars

There were many things the people of Warrentown didn’t know about Raven…

Full Review

‘Sex, Violence, Mars’ by Walrus

4 Stars

A short but fun sci-fi story with great world building, action and some laughs…

Full Review

‘Operation: Palmetto’ by R.T. Breach

3 Stars

‘The chase is on for one man on a mission to prove his worth and the stakes are high…’

Full Review

‘Spook City, U.S.A.: A Shadybrook Community Patrol Novella’ by Drew Purcell

4 Stars

‘un, unconventional easy-to-read comedy that never takes itself too seriously while delivering a good story with plenty of laughs…

Full Review

‘Wonder Rush’ by Dan McKeon 

5 Stars

An immersive and suspenseful teen spy thriller with some darker edges, a positive message, originality and depth…

Full Review

There are some fantastic indie books on this list that were indeed awesome discoveries. Reviewing books has become the central pillar to my blogging and authoring brand and without it I would never have connected with so many awesome creators. Some of these books made me laugh, made me think, informed and inspired while most importantly they got me through the past year. You can find me over on Reedsy Discovery here.

Thanks for reading!

‘Wonder Rush’ by Dan McKeon – Review

An immersive and suspenseful teen spy thriller with some darker edges, a positive message, originality and depth…

Dan McKeon delivers an immersive and suspenseful tale of one teen assassin who has always followed orders and never questioned those giving them. When things don’t go to plan ‘Wendy’ finds herself facing a rabbit hole of questions as she deciphers what’s good and bad while coming to her own conclusion. It’s part- coming-of-age part-morality check as the ‘agency’ giving the orders begin to reveal themselves as not so reputable.

Through the multiple missions and names she takes ‘Wendy’ begins to realise even if you eliminate bad people, there will always be someone else innocent effected by it. That is without mentioning if the target even is bad in the first place.

“Even those who do bad things have people who care about them, and their loss effects them…”

There’s a certain depth to that morality where choice and accountability of one’s actions make you as a reader question everything. It’s immersive and dark sometimes – death always is but our main character keeps things light hearted and you find yourself rooting for her because she is a force for good. You can give a person all the assassin training in the world and try to engineer out all human elements but they are still human and perhaps that message is at the centre of a great story that I took my time reading.

While there are plenty of concepts that are original and they merge with others that we’ve seen before in spy thrillers; it’s always the abandoned warehouse for a meeting point but the bubble gum idea is genius and of course fun. Although there is some violence there isn’t anything too graphic so I’d recommend this book to older teens and above and to anyone who enjoys a spy thriller with a difference. Highly enjoyable.

5 Stars – This Review First Premiered via Reedsy Discovery

‘Spook City, U.S.A.: A Shadybrook Community Patrol Novella’ by Drew Purcell – Review

Fun, unconventional easy-to-read comedy that never takes itself too seriously while delivering a good story with plenty of laughs…

Drew Purcell steps out of conformity and bravely delivers a book that many ‘literary’ snooty types will look down on through their noses but not me because this was an awesome and fun read! Comedy in the present day is hard to find, good comedy is even rarer and while this book has all the feels of a mid 2000’s gross-out comedy it is so much more.

Welcome to Shadybrook; a Californian town that has seen better days and where there is always a mystery to be solved, from the legendary ‘Route 66 Apeman’ to the whereabouts of a Native American Relic.

‘I don’t think anyone consciously chooses to live here, but it has its way of sucking people in…’

Of course there are Scooby Doo vibes as the narration even comes from the eyes of a dog. Our two main characters ‘Mickey’ and ‘Charlie’ have resided here all their lives and decide to join citizen driven police patrol effort with a view to pick up women. Their efforts seem to succeed albeit comedically and so the makings of a crime fighting group is formed.

There are cool and fun references left, right and centre which take a jab at so many different things from tropes seen in story telling to modern entrepreneur business types and there is even a wealth of awesome music that is laid out after the story. Comedy is a hard thing to get right and Purcell succeeds most of the time by putting in as much as he can throughout – the stuff that didn’t land for me was the few references I didn’t know of but most of the time I found the book to be a fun and sometimes metaphorical look at the world with even some forth wall breaking. For some unconventional and unique fun I’d happily recommend this to anyone looking for that. This is comedy done right.

4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

‘Operation: Palmetto’ by R.T. Breach – Review

The chase is on for one man on a mission to prove his worth and the stakes are high…

The chase is on after an Iranian scientist escapes to the USA and from the clutches of Israeli rivals in what is a lightly political, espionage-heavy tale about the Mossad agent dealt the mission to track this target down.

The story spends a lot of time in the head of main character Karl Gruben who has his own doubts and conflicts as he embarks on a journey and joins a group of other agents who are undercover; some are experienced where others like Karl aren’t. We see the trials and tribulations of this group as they track down their target using a wealth of tech which they test to sometimes not so great results. Some of the gadgetry used was interesting and original while others were little on the fun/humorous side; a robotic cat comes to mind here.

Every so often I did find the writing style to tell as opposed to show and after what was a fast paced introduction much of the action didn’t really unfold until much later – saying that the final quarter of the story definitely made up for that. Karl’s inner thoughts are expressed throughout and carries the story. He’s a man on a mission to prove his worth and fight for a cause. Will he succeed in his mission and will it be worthwhile in the end? These personal stakes did seem to outweigh much of the political themes putting you in the head and in the moments of this chase story. For those who enjoy an espionage tale with a few twists this is definitely the one for you.

3 Stars – this review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

Awesome Recommended Indie Reads

Ah, the reading, reviewing and recommending of books. The truth is I haven’t done one of these posts in quite a while and considering it’s Indie April, now would be an awesome time to share some awesome indie books. Let’s dive in…

‘From Voiceless to Vocal’ by Danielle Larsen

The first awesome book on our list is a bravely told memoir that highlights the journey of Danielle Larsen while focusing on mental health and her relationship with an abusive partner. These are sometimes difficult subjects to talk about but in this book they handled with grace and the story is ultimately inspirational. To quote my recent reviewThis book acts as guide in some senses to spread awareness while also informing others. The narration style feels natural and relays every moment with dignity and there are some moments when you cannot help but feel for a person who has been through so much…’

‘How to Market a Book: Overperform in a Crowded Market’ by Ricardo Fayet

We’re moving into book marketing territory now with what stands as a pretty extensive and awesome guide for authors. Anyone looking to seriously make a career out of their words can benefit from this guide which is basically a bunch of Reedsy blog posts packaged together in one place and a whole lot more. I came across this one via Reedsy Discovery as I have been a reviewer for their platform for nearly a year now. This one is definitely worth a look! You can read my full review here.

‘Deification’ by Brooklynn Dean

The newest release from Brooklynn Dean did not disappoint and according to twitter she is already working on the sequel. Using intimate description and a unique style this tale of apocalyptic proportions will take you places, they might be violent and brutal places but I could not look away. From the obvious symbolism to the lesser visible deeper meanings in this book, ‘Deification’ is an awesome encapsulating read. Here’s my full review.

‘Raven Woman’s Tavern’ by Laura Koerber

From the first line of the blurb I was already hooked and this book was right up my alley as they say. Set in a dystopian type future the story focuses on a small forest town as an aging and sparse population try to get by. They are disturbed when a group of younger Militia turn up and well, the Raven woman works her magic so to speak. I thought it was an awesome read and you can check out my review here.

‘Pestilence’ by Susie Kearley

Now the past year might have felt like the apocalypse to some but this book lays out in detail what could happen if a fungus could really bring the end of days. From the emergence of a new wonder drug to this fungus brought into existence by a warmer climate, Pestilence is a charmingly British but very well thought out read. Susie Kearley had this novel in the pipeline for thirty years and you can tell she has worked incredibly hard to bring it to publication. Although it is a longer book it doesn’t feel that way as the pages fly by. An awesome read and you can find my full review here.

That wraps things up for now. You can expect a new indie book review hopefully by the weekend. Thanks for stopping by!