Every Book I have read in 2021 Pt2

And we’re back for the second part of every book I have read in 2021 and this time I have 22 books to share and recommend! What a ride this year has been and made all the better for the wonderful reads you shall find below…

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

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

4 Stars Full Review

‘Wonder Rush’ by Dan McKeon

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

5 Stars Full Review

‘Fear Farm No Trespassers’ by S.J. Krandall

‘Immersive page-turning horror stories full of thrills and chills…’

5 Stars Full Review

‘Nevada Noir : A Trilogy of Short Stories’ by David Arrowsmith

A brief but deeply descriptive brush with the dark…

4 Stars Full Review

‘A Few of My Favourite Things’ by A.J. Ross-Etheridge

Fun, honest, thought-provoking poetry guaranteed to put a smile on your face…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Sleeping Beauty and The Cursed Code’ by Emma Jean

Fairy tale and STEM combine for a fun story with an important message…

5 Stars Full Review

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

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

4 Stars Full Review

‘Home’ by Thomas Overlook 

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

4 Stars Full Review

‘The Genius’ Guide to Bad Writing’ by R.T. Slaywood and R.C. Martinez

A refreshing outlook on writing and publishing that’ll make you smile…

5,000 Stars Full Review

‘Everything, Except You’ by Emma Jordan

A feel-good cosy romance story about two passionate souls

5 Stars Full Review

‘We Watch You’ By N.S. Ford 

Cleverly plotted British mystery thriller with darker psychological tones and twists…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Deceit of the Earth – Heavy Metal’ by Henry Cox

A thrilling jet-setting tale of deception stretching further than anyone can imagine…

5 Stars Full Review

‘The Right Thing’ by Kelsey Kupitz

‘An easy-to-read mystery full of intrigue, atmosphere and chills…’

5 Stars Full Review

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

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

3 Stars Full Review

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

A comprehensive and valuable guide for any author looking to make a career out of their writing…

5 Stars Full Review

‘Beginner’s Luck’ by M.J. Furtek

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

4 Stars Full Review

‘Fear and Fury’ by Jamie Jackson 

An unconventional and enjoyable superhero tale told with buckets of unique personality…

4 Stars Full Review

‘Dust & Lightning’ by Rebecca Crunden

Page-turning sci-fi action with a revolutionary theme…

5 Stars Full Review

‘The Bad Part of Time’ By Joshua Ingle

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

5 Stars Full Review

Star Child by D.K. Johnson – Review

The truth is out there among the stars and so is the journey to thought-provoking enlightenment

4 Stars Full Review

‘Body In The Waves’ by Kristina Gallo

Heavy themes and issues make for a dark but thrilling tale…

4 Stars Full Review

‘No Rest For The Wicked : Detective Stories’ by Megan Hinde

A collection of intriguing short noir crime stories

4 Stars Full Review

And so that wraps up an incredible year of indie and self published books. Thanks for reading and thank you to these awesome authors for their wonderful words! You can expect another post very soon highlighting my favorite books of 2021. Stay tuned!

‘Body In The Waves’ by Kristina Gallo – Review

Heavy themes and issues make for a dark but thrilling tale…

Natalija has a dark and secretive past that comes back to haunt her in a twisted and somewhat unexpected way. Being a victim of a graphic attack some years previous her trauma is resurrected as the one who inflicted it upon her returns and he is back for more.

“Ask him what he did ten years ago on the beach, how he spent his vacation…”

A game of cat and mouse along with discovery ensues as old wounds are opened with a story that has no limits. It’s brutal and violent in places – not for someone who would possibly be triggered by such but still I found myself gripped and turning pages. Kristina Gallo has succeeded in telling an original, dark and sometimes triggering tale that will take readers down the rabbit hole of the unexpected. These are themes that are uncomfortable and in your face but the execution here is what makes the story vivid, dramatic and page-turning.

Will there be justice for those who have committed such violent and brutal acts? You’ll have to read it and decide for yourself.

4 Stars

Book Review: The Ghost Beside Me (2019)

Thank you to fellow author and blogger Rebecca Crunden for this awesome review of The Ghost Beside Me

a writer's blog.

The Ghost Beside Me by Lee Hall

If I could just break away from the shackles of that internal torment I have created that imprisons my confidence. Just the idea and thought of tackling this enigma of feelings spirals my own self into a deep sadness, hence my lack of entries in the past days.

I’ve been meaning to try one of Lee Hall’s books for a while now, and I don’t have the attention span for a long book right now, so this novella was just the right size! And I do love a good ghost story. Further, I kind of love the kismet of picking this one up now, because the writing style actually really reminds me of the start ofFrankenstein, and I’ve been discussing Mary Shelley all week. ’Twas meant to be! Not that I would liken the story lines, that is, just the stylistic…

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‘Fear and Fury’ by Jamie Jackson – Review

An unconventional and enjoyable superhero tale told with buckets of unique personality…

There are heroes and there are villains and then there’s’ Meg’ who tries her best to survive between the fringes of those forces and life in general. Her job is not so great and her outlook on life leans towards just wanting to be left alone. We find this out through an unconventional and sometimes comedic fourth-wall-breaking narration style that has literally buckets of personality and snark. Of course this flavor and comedy in general is a challenge to get right especially in this day and age where some readers refuse to receive it but me, I very much enjoyed that element which was executed very well by Jamie Jackson while only being part of a complex story because ‘Meg’ has a unique super power with a darker edge.

That power is rather a hot commodity to some, we see all around Superman type ‘Greg’ persistently trying to recruit our main character while on the other side of proceedings a sinister collector of powers known as ‘Red Eye’ is also pursuing her. In between being told to ‘shut up’ by ‘Meg’ we see her trying to juggle options she is constantly caught between and her deadly power is always whispering. Her control over those voices can sometimes have consequences that not even she is able to control.

‘I told the whispers to watch over me. And they agreed, because they wanted more blood…’

Its easy to read and full of some wonderful description along with great dialogue which I sometimes felt was broken up by narration that confides in the reader pulling me out for only a moment or two – my only real critique because everything else left me wanting to turn pages, know more about this world and where this story could possibly go.

4 Stars – A different take on the tired superhero genre and done rather well.

‘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

‘Deceit of the Earth – Heavy Metal’ by Henry Cox – Review

A thrilling jet-setting tale of deception stretching further than anyone can imagine…

Henry Cox returns with his thrilling brand of reality style storytelling for Deceit of the Earth which pairs a satisfying personal tale to modern fiction diving deep into the subject of our planet’s resources and those trying to control them.

Kansas Attorney Benjamin Oliver finds himself tasked by US intelligence or so he believes to find a unique treasure that dates back to WW2 and carries a power and influence nobody could possibly imagine. Why him? Well, that’s what readers will spend the story finding out and it is delivered with depth as technology, military and government secrets all combine for an excellent reading experience that is along with a good old fashioned slice of romance and even some feel-good family moments. Cox does a great job of merging real-life concepts from his wealth of knowledge to those of his own imagination – a style that is both original and immersive. From military aircraft to world geography, the delivery of his knowledge and imagination merging makes everything believable and the final verdict may even be out of this world.  

The several twists in the latter stages will creep up on readers as the culmination will provoke your own thoughts on this planet’s mineral resources and how we handle them. Just who really is in control? Readers will certainly feel like they are no longer in Kansas after reading this one and that’s a good thing.  

5 Stars – A cracking read with a modern Crichton meets Dan Brown feel.

‘We Watch You’ By N.S. Ford – Review

Cleverly plotted British mystery thriller with darker psychological tones and twists…

N.S. Ford has cleverly put together a mystery thriller that feels like a multi-layered puzzle which twists and turns as the story unfolds. We are firstly introduced to three friends who all have their own secrets while they try to deal another friend being missing – the circumstances and how it effects them slowly unfolds with a story told mainly from ‘Lauren’s’ point of view but there is some good variety here in the execution of how its delivered. We get snippets of the missing ‘Tina’ by way of her blog entries which map out potential clues and really engulf the reader into this mystery although only by so much as everyone appears to give key information at key unfolding moments adding to the layers of this puzzle. It’s modern and gritty in places while much deeper in the background something is watching – a revelation that comes much later.

These three friends all succumb to different events of misfortune and we get this sense that perhaps a greater power is controlling things from afar, as I said watching. Just what did they do and how does it effect the missing person? Who is this mysterious man seemingly following ‘Lauren’ around? Questions of course lead to revelations and answers which you’ll eventually find here with a plot that unfolds throughout.

The essence of small town England is captured well along with the underworld crime element that you could easily imagine being the next modern crime-thriller show one could binge in a weekend. The darker moments carry impact and overall there is some real power in this story that continually goes to unexpected places and even strange places. As the title suggests, there is a speculative twist that some will probably use as a point of contention but for how the story unfolds it makes sense and I enjoyed it. For anyone looking to read a dark psychological mystery with unpredictable elements this is definitely the read for you. Although there were dark moments there were never any dull moments and I found myself turning pages quickly.

5 Stars – An interesting end to a great read.

You can read an exclusive excerpt of ‘We Watch You’ here.

‘A Few of My Favourite Things’ by A.J. Ross-Etheridge – Review

Fun, honest, thought-provoking poetry guaranteed to put a smile on your face…

A.J. Ross-Etheridge shares a colourful collection of rhyming poetry that covers a range of subject matter that’s consistently uplifting, honest and fun. From her best friend to nature and from regret to reminiscing about days gone by there were some moments that brought a smile to my face – ‘Growing up in the eighties’ comes to mind. While I don’t read much poetry this collection serves as a great advert for personal stories that embodies human feeling through rhyme and something the world needs more of because sharing emotion and thoughts is brave.

“It doesn’t make you weak to fall…”

Many of the verses are accompanied by some wonderful art-work although I read this one in digital format it still didn’t hold back the awesome drawings and colour much like what we see on the front cover. For anyone looking to escape through some verse for a while that tells heart felt stories about life then this is the one for you.

5 Stars

Guest Post: Review of ‘Gangsters, Geezers and Mods’ a novel by Stephen Pennell

Introducing author Stephen Pennell who shares a review of his novel ‘Gangsters, Geezers and Mods’.

Book review by Richard Whitehead, formerly of The Times.

I first came across Stephen Pennell’s writing years ago in the Aston Villa fanzine Heroes and Villains and admired his work then – now he has truly delivered on that potential. Gangsters, Geezers and Mods is a slice of tough working-class Brummie life rooted in a love of the Villa, but also with a devotion to Mod culture and a great deal of crime – some shockingly violent and murderous, some reminiscent of Dickens’ Artful Dodger. It is a gritty account of friendship, love, betrayal and revenge, but among those sweeping themes there is an attention to minute detail that engages and absorbs the reader. Starting with a touching tribute to his parents, the protagonist tells the story of his life and loves with wit and honesty, dwelling on his various obsessions with a tinge of nostalgia that will resonate with many. As the narrative evolves into a pacy and suspenseful crime thriller, relationships between the characters are explained in such a way that the consequences seem perfectly natural – inevitable even – and unlikely alliances make just as much sense. In a moral vacuum of inner-city depravity, one fable battles against the odds to triumph – true friendship will overcome football rivalry and racial differences and transcend them all. This book is a remarkable alliance of fiction and memoir, done so skillfully that you are left wondering exactly what is true and what isn’t. Having checked with Steve, I have discovered that much of it is true – he’s certainly had a livelier life than me!


Gangsters, Geezers and Mods is highly recommended for lovers of the second city, the Villa, Paul Weller – and anyone who just likes a really well-written book. The best thing to come out of Birmingham since Jack Grealish.

You can find more information about ‘Gangsters, Geezers and Mods’ here

Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age by Lee Hall

Thank you to fellow awesome blogger Clemence for this wonderful review of Consistent Creative Content…

Dreamed Worlds

Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age

Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age by Lee Hall

Genre:Writing, Non-Fiction.
Pages: 135
Publisher:Lee Hall
Rating:4.50 stars (Goodreads)

Summary:

Best-selling indie author and blogger Lee Hall shares his journey of experience in this part-memoir part-guidebook that aims to inspire and inform budding wordsmiths at any level. From the basics of blogging and authoring all the way to advanced social media methods and marketing; this book is filled with good practical advice, top tips and effective strategies. You’ll even find some never before shared resources to help navigate your way to authoring and blogging success in the social media age. Subjects include:

Basic and advanced blogging;
Basic authoring and a publishing overview;
Social media for authors and bloggers;
Book marketing and the art of indirect selling;
Book promotion strategies. Including worked examples;
Book reviews;
Building your own turning…

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