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

Brilliant fun – a historical mystery with plenty of atmosphere

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

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

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

5 Stars

‘Pirate Sea’ by Kyler Kuehler – Review

A swashbuckling and sometimes brutal tale packed with action

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

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

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

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

4 Stars

‘Where Darkness Meets Light’ by Sabrine Elouali – Review

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

This is a rich collection of poetry that serves as a reflection of many themes that mainly surround dark and light. Some verses rhyme whilst others don’t but all of them have their own power whether it be poignant or even brief, poetry is a creative reflection of one’s inner thoughts and it can be impromptu or planned, I kind of gathered the vibes of both through the many poems by Sabrine Elouali which I enjoyed.

In particular, ‘Questions’ resonated with me and ‘Illusion’ which merely suggested some of the deeper thoughts that followed after reading them and that is the sign of any good writing, laying something out that evokes feeling, but the readers imagination is given freedom to do the rest. Having grabbed a digital copy of this collection for free, I’d say that’s more than a bargain for some great poetry.

5 Stars

‘Fallout’ by Pat Griffith – Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 Stars – This review first premiered via Reedsy Discovery

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

Immersive near future sci-fi meets the macabre…

Dayne Mitchell has a fascination for the macabre and the wider subject of serial killers who have plagued the British city of Bristol for many years. As a sufferer of bipolar he almost looks to the dark subject of killing as a coping mechanism to get through life in a near future world that is intriguing and imaginative – these two words are what I would use to describe a story that takes readers to dark and sometimes graphic violent places.

There are a wealth of modern subjects and heavy themes in this book that are executed very well by Nathan Jones who merges near future science fiction to thrilling murder mystery with a lot of depth. The vessel being Dayne who endures a journey of discovery, twists and then horrifying revelations as his research into Bristol’s murderous past eventually comes to him. Fans of darker crime drama will certainly appreciate this one along with those looking to learn about the geography and history of a great city.

5 Stars

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