Recent Indie Book Rec’s

In a world that is seemingly half closed things have never been busier for the Hall of Information, and I know, being busy is not only the fashion these days but time flies when your doing stuff! The realisation is, I haven’t done a book rec post in quite a while, so let’s dive in…

51940090. sx318 sy475

‘Moon- Sitting’ by E.M. Harding is a science fiction tale with plenty of originality and it’s different, which is hard to do these days especially with Hollywood churning out remake after remake but this book stood out and carved its own unique path.

I’ll admit, I went into it totally blind (I do that a lot these days) and was completely enveloped in a world of questions, revelations, twists and then finally answers. Shorter reads like this deserve way more spotlight because they do everything longer reads do and more. You can read my full review here

54193085. sx318

‘Mark of a Demon’ by Despoina Kemeridou has only been on the shelves for a handful of weeks and some of you may remember Despoina was kind enough to be the first ever Hall of Information Interviewee. Last year I reviewed her debut book and unique fairy tale ‘Fated to Meet You’ and yet again that unique style is carried into this new one but with a darker edge, something I very much enjoyed. You can read my review here.

Magpie by [Paul Jameson]

‘Magpie’ by Paul Jameson appeared on my sights after he agreed to be the second Hall of Information Interviewee and it was another fantastic insight into an author with a unique voice. The week following the interview he made this wonderfully written short available for free – of course I grabbed at the opportunity and much like his other work ‘Nightjar’ which I reviewed earlier this year I was immersed in that style which reads like a classic but feels modern. If you want just snippet of this authors style I recommend Magpie, followed by ‘Nightjar’. You can read my review here.

 

52852645. sy475

‘The Dreamophile’s Diary’ by Shazrina came to me through Reedsy Discovery; as some of you folks may know they approached me a while back and so I review books for their platform every month. This one was my latest Reedsy read and it’s surrealistically interesting to say the least. This collection of shorts that are based upon dreams and so you can imagine each one carries a certain quirkiness and what impressed me the most is that essence of dreams is very well captured through description and style. We’ve all had dreams where weird things happen and random events occur, the author manages to relay that perfectly. You can read my full review here (via Reedsy Discovery)   

53838641. sy475

‘The Player Without Luck’ by Kristina Gallo is a new release by an author who impresses me with each read she releases. Not only are her stories immersive and dramatic but English isn’t even her native language and so that tells me Kristina has worked exceptionally hard to create this story. This one will throw you into a world of sinister goings on full of twists and eventual revelations. You can read my review here. 

What’s next?

For the first time in a book recommendation post I have decided to look forward and reveal what reviews will be coming up on the horizon. Recently more and more authors have approached the Hall of Information for reviews and there are also books I have set my sights on for quite a while now, so here are some books you can expect me to review next…

My current read is ‘The Silent Betrayal’ by Momus Najmi and this one is quite unique in terms of writing style and voice. You can expect a review by the end of this week!

53998697. sy475

‘Senescence’ by Denver Scott is a Reedsy Discovery book that I took on back in early July and it’s an incredible deep dive vision into the future. That’s all I can say and you can expect the review in a few weeks!

53321004. sy475

Last week I was approached by an author with a very current book who is looking for reviews. ‘Deceit of the Soul’ has fully embraced the opportunity of recent times to tell what looks like a very interesting story. You can expect a review soon!

53449215. sy475

Keeping with the theme of science fiction, ‘Lords of Mars’ by Colin Yeoman has just been released and of course we grabbed ourselves a copy seeing as the book that preceded this one ‘Memories of Mars’ was so good. You can expect to see a review of it soon.

Lords of Mars by [Colin Yeoman]

And that wraps up my latest book rec’s. Followers old and new, thanks for stopping by. What are you reading? Answers in the comments, go!

 

 

Swimming in the sea of self published books…

With the emergence of self publishing or indie publishing the world isn’t short of books right now. Writers everywhere are all looking for the same thing and so the marketing techniques are quickly becoming tired.

The ‘Free to download’ promotion has a shelf life and if everyone is doing it then there’s no value to such a deal. Readers might even see more value in priced books and so the marketing situation spins.

The Boy On The Sea Of Books

Reviews don’t actually carry much value. I have a liberal amount and even with few reviews my books still sell as much as those with more reviews. Its all about reach.

I’ve been public with most of my marketing efforts but even major companies omit recipes or ingredients. So yes there are few cards I hold to my chest, this ain’t charity. you know…  Many writers come to me and my resource page. They use the info and move forward, sometimes rinsing and repeating. That’s fine for a time but everyone with content must find their own ways of reaching their own market eventually. Find your own tribe.

Much of my advice adopts a ‘help all’ style but this will only take one so far; trust me I’m the first to use this stuff so I know.

Finding new ways to create reach is called innovation. And in the social media world which is rammed full of writers all looking for the same thing it does feel like we are swimming in the sea of self published stuff. My marketing strategy has always remained for as long as I am an indie author and that is to focus on selling one book at a time to one person at at time.

Eventually some of those ones return for another book and another – my next pillar of marketing – create more content which is then galvanised by me being active in the writing arena by reviewing books and giving back. Those three marketing strategies may not sell large amounts of books but they sell a satisfying amount and the circle of books is complete in my eyes.

I read a lot because I want to be able to write well. Professional athletes probably watch their own sport as much as they play it -the ones who want to get better do anyway….

This is an eye of the beholder situation and always has been…. Don’t be disheartened for single figure sales, they all count.

Do you have any unique book selling ideas other than just making your book free to download? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indie April Book Recommendations

Blog Post 401 and no that isn’t an error code…

This entry is dedicated to the reads I took on this April, or if you are an active member of the Tweet machine writing community it’s known as #indieapril

Those that know me will know every month is Indie April. I’ve said no matter what is happening outside our windows, the Hall of Information will keep going and so here we go…

The first read I took on in April was part of the Clown Conspiracy series which is a series of short reads that see’s two Agents in pursuit of a killer clown which soon becomes killer clowns; hence the conspiracy part.

52845169. sx318 sy475

The Back Pew’ is the third entry in the series by author Mallory Kelly who never fails to deliver in what is a chilling race against time to stop these clowns. Just where will they strike next? Her descriptive style aligned with those chills makes for a great read and before you know it, it’s the end of another tale. You can read my review here and of course click on the cover for the book link…

Next up we have a debut novel by fellow British author Julia Cowan.

‘Cells’ is a story that will leave you questioning the morality of whether or not there can be any true justice? Can criminals really can be corrected?

The answers to those questions are presented by way of an experiment which aligns with vigilante justice that carries a dark edge. For anyone who enjoys thrillers with a slice of crime and mystery; this one is for you. I enjoyed it and the multiple switching of back and forth in time to bring together a story of intrigue was unique and clever.

To quote my review ‘from police corruption, blackmail and even a complicated love triangle this story ticks many of the boxes that fans of crime thrillers will enjoy…’

What came next is a true gem of a read about life, love and destiny in the American west.

43986341. sy475

The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley by Nina Romano was a book that I could not put down. Described as a ballad in my review – it really is and see’s two star-crossed lovers who are meant to be, but their plans and journeys think otherwise, hence the destiny part. There’s drama, mystery and some very well researched history of the time where the modern world was just emerging. Love stories and romance don’t frequently appear on my list here at the Hall but this one, I highly recommend and in these trying days where we all need an escape, put your money on love!

I normally struggle to get into another full length book after reading one so I chose to take on something on the shorter side and this is probably the most unique in this post. 

Memories of Mars: a Novella (Custodian Library Archives Book 1) by Colin Yeoman is something completely different and original when it comes to science fiction, you could even argue it’s a type of fiction that clings to real science and theory while also doing the fictional part very well.

38106336. sx318

For what starts like a potentially typical space fiction book becomes a rabbit hole of mystery and theory along with some deception.

To quote my recent review Colin Yeoman has cleverly fused real elements of biological transmission experimentation with the human memory which possibly fills in the gaps of our history in the universe and more specifically Mars which is wholeheartedly original…’

 

And so we are at my final and most recent read of April 2020. Again British crime is a theme as I took on ‘A Dish Best Served Cold: An ‘Archer’ Novel’ by Steve Lumsden after connecting with him on the tweet machine, and I was not disappointed.

50984710. sx318 sy475

To quote my still warm reviewPresented Over six parts A dish Best Served Cold is a revenge and criminal underworld story that see’s implications from the past shape the present day and the characters in it…’

Before I realised I was already 50% through this book which is written in a style where you’ll be turning pages quickly.

And so that wraps up another month of awesome indie books! A thank you to the authors for their excellent work and thanks to all for reading. 

Do you have any recent book recommendations???

 

 

 

 

The Band Director’s Lessons About Life: Volume 1 – 50 Parables on Life’s Performance Cycle by Donald Lee – Review

An inspiring array of modern life lessons told from experience with a spiritual outlook…  

50052263. sx318

From the opening pages its clear to see that Donald Lee is a tenured teacher and has used his many experiences to create what is a gem of a book about so much in life with music/performance teaching being the theme.

It consists of short parables that present readers with insightful lessons on many different subjects ranging from time management, knowledge, belief, having fun, performing, forgiveness, failure and so much more (50 in total) – all of which come from the authors time spent teaching band. Every parable begins with a quote from an inspirational figure and closes with a reflection that galvanizes the lesson and an overall insight on each subject. The main insight is spiritual growth and this book will help you look towards being happier, peaceful and successful in whatever you tackle.

There are a heap of self help and spiritual type books out there that cater to certain subjects but this one you’ll find has mass appeal across ages, beliefs and walks of life to provide spiritual insight on ourselves and others. It’s inclusive to anyone much like music and teaching. Everyone will find something to relate to in this book that has meaning and inspiration because we are all in the big band of life together!

‘What you seek is within you, not without you…’

5 Stars – I thoroughly enjoyed this. Thank you to the author for reaching out and providing a copy in exchange for a review – all thoughts are my own! Reviews left via amazon and Goodreads… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awesome Indie Book Rec’s

And so comes another round of Awesome Indie Book Recommendations. From self help all the way to unique literature it’s been one hell of a ride recently, so let’s get into it…

48720608. sy475

Break Them All !!: A Modern Era Awakening’ by DRTao is a read and a gift that keeps on giving not only because it’s one of the most read reviews this site has ever had (in recent times) but it’s also entirely unique for something in the self help genre.

Quoting from that review it ‘refers to the phenotypes of our existence that seem to rule us such as ego and ambition and this is guide to breaking away from them in a positive sense…’ 

For a shorter read it’s effective with a message that will open your eyes to our own consciousness. Check it out here

 My next rec’ comes in the form of sci-fi by South African author Christina Engela with ‘Static’ which is a fusing of chilling horror and so much more. Those who have been tuning in for a while here at the Hall of Information will know that I’ve read and reviewed her stuff before; last year I took on the wonderful ‘Quantum’ series. (Book 1 review here.) 

PHIS#1 Static by Christina Engela - Cover

‘Static’ is a part the ‘Panic! Horror Space’ series and combines elements of horror with comedy which I thoroughly enjoyed. You can expect a review for the next story in the series soon!

Recent review: 

Those who are fans of classic and recent horror stories will find this to be a read in somewhat familiar territory while much of the events come unexpectedly and on the fringes of laugh out loud comedy.’

Next up could possibly be the finest example of modern literature out there and I am not exaggerating when I say that ‘Nightjar’ by Paul Jameson is just that.

39991159. sy475

It’s rare for me to finish a full length novel in a few days but this one was so immersive I couldn’t help but turn the pages. Both Fantasy and folklore are represented in force while it’s delivered with a crafted style of writing that reads much like a classic. Just what is this book about? I urge you all to check this one out but here’s a snippet of my glowing review:

‘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…’

We’ve covered self help, science fiction and even folk lore so this book rec post wouldn’t be complete without some poetry and so I bring forth my final rec of this post.

44172434. sy475

Swinging Sanity by N.F. Mirza is a ‘brave expression of feeling through poetry that is both thought provoking and inspiring.’ 

This collection is indeed both brave and full of emotion while also managing to be ever so honest. For those who don’t know the author’s blog ‘Stoner on a Rollercoaster’ I urge you to follow it and check out this incredible collection.

‘From self harm, depression, anxiety, loneliness, love, individual suffering and pain to everything else that centres around our sanity, you’ll see it represented here without any reservations…’

 

And so that wraps up my latest round of book rec’s.

What are you reading currently? 

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!

 

Dead Man’s Hammer by Christina Engela – Review

Suspense, drama and modern issues all of which are tackled in a fun but important way…

dead mans hammer

As the Quantum series unfolds, it grows more and more impressive. Dead Man’s Hammer is proof that Christina Engela can build an established world and insert so many genres into it along with retaining a unique style of writing that not only tributes her influences but has a way of confiding in readers. We are back on the quirky planet of ‘Deanna’ home of the rather ominous sounding ‘Obsidian crows’ and more specifically ‘Atro city’ a place this time around we get to know a bit better while referencing the previous stories of the ‘Quantum series’.

Someone is targeting my favourite characters; an assassin enigmatically named ‘Villainessa Tittel’ who is after one person in particular and series regular; Cindy Mei Winter. ‘Villainessa’ proves to be quite a force in her field of work and does everything in her power to draw in ‘Mei’ whom share an interesting history. It is in this history where readers will find the true message and meaning of the story. While ‘Mei’ has moved forward in life she must face what is essentially a demon of her past and a life before she became ‘Cindy’ and it’s trying to torment her. This is a massive nod to modern issues that many people face in the transgender community and in life as a whole, sometimes it isn’t about who you were, but what you are now and what you truly feel. This concept is galvanised by another character ‘Danielle Grauffis’ who is in a process of transition in her young life compared to ‘Mei’. 

Of course other returning regulars such as ‘Beck the Badfella’ – who we get a name origins story from and special branch ‘Fred’ the arborian make appearances along with an extended appearance from ‘Sheriff Peggy Ann Muller’ who makes quite a team with ‘Mei’ and this is where a crime mystery element of the story truly shines.

Suspense, drama and even tragedy are ways that I would describe the journey this story represents not to mention that crime mystery theme along with some more important issues that these books are not afraid to tackle; as much as this sounds heavy, it’s a fun read. Throughout Engela’s writing style naturally flows and is fun to read. Revenge is a dish best served cold, you could even say as cold as ‘Winter’ but that’s only something ‘I heard through the grape vine…’ 

5 Stars

Indie Book Reviews available here!

As a wordsmith and independently published author I am a supporter of others like me. We are all in this sometimes turbulent but mostly lonely vessel of discovery together. And so I can officially announce that I have began a new venture of indie book reviews…

 

bookss

You can see via the menu a brand new section arrived very recently, and if you are an author in need of a review then of course reach out.

My hope is to first and foremost read more, I’m an author, we only get better by immersing ourselves in the craft of writing and reading. I’ve met and connected with some wonderful story tellers via social networking and plan to meet more who will hopefully whisk me away to the worlds they have created. Reading is something I have found myself doing a lot of recently so why not make it your book I am reading.

Check out the indie book reviews section and submission guidelines for more details.

Red Headed Book Lover: A warning to Authors

Unfortunately we live in a world that is rife with the dishonest, and this is especially so in the Uber Democracy known as the internet. A place without any real regulation. I intend for this blog entry to act as a service first and foremost to my fellow wordsmiths who have delved into the world of publishing, independent or not, it is with great importance I come to you with this.

warning

I don’t see other writers as competition but as fellows where we are all trying to convince the world our words exist. And it is our responsibility to look out for one another especially when our ultimate integrity is threatened. I use the word threat because what we do takes so much work and only a select will understand what that truly means, but for everyone concerned with writing books I have to do my duty for our industry. 

So here’s the story… and subsequent investigation… 

On the evening of April 19th 2018 I received an interesting email from someone called ‘Aimee Ann’ if that is ‘her’ real name is neither here or there. But what this person said is as follows… 

aimee

Sounds good right, I thought so, and initial ideas began to stir around my head in how I was to reply in order to sound as professional as possible, that is without sounding desperate for reviews. Because all writers need more reviews and the fact I overlooked where this person got my email from I was ready to bite her hand off for a review… 

I checked out the website, and initially I was impressed. This person is good, damn good. 

weird

You cant deny the About section appears to be innocent and worded in such a tactical way for nobody to call bullshit. It’s all positive and draws attention away from anyone with an ounce of suspicion, that includes me. 

Of course the whole deal is written in a way to draw a level of sympathy, truth or not, and who the hell has 4 kids and still has the time to read, review and keep a damn blog up to date? I have no kids and have barely enough time to brush my hair! 

weird 2

And so I scrolled further down her rather wordy and ever so  positively innocent bio, until the ultimate red flag destroyed all perception of me believing this whole deal was genuine… 

 

weird 3

 

Red flag uno… is highlighted in pink above. No pictures personally tells me there is a hell of a lot to hide but this paragraph is very clever in delivery, its almost dastardly, as in evil villain dastardly. And I should know a thing or two about such characters, I’m a writer…

Look how she addresses the red flag and then diverts by involving her family and then even sub diverts by making the reader forget completely about the fact there are no photos of her by mentioning the husband and even diverts that as well. 

Next comes more diversion…

diversion

And let me state here, there is no shame in supporting military charities, but this is just another diversion away from the real facts here. All of this is to give an author a sense of security and trust. 

And that is, red flag numero dos…

wres

At this point I knew the dream was over. ‘She’ charges for reviews… 

Any type of paid review service is quite simply unethical and viewed in the literary industry as morally wrong. Its cheating, its lying, its false. 

And so I used the google machine for a cold slap of reality to the face.

red

The Alliance of Independent Authors provided me with the above testimony.  

Yes folks that’s 75 big ones for a damn review! And so I poked around the interweb some more and found only a few people have lifted the lid on the Red Headed Book Lover’s blog. 

evide

As you can see this email I screen grabbed from Blank Pages Revealed is identical to the one I got! 

And so my whole premise is simply to lift the lid for future authors who type Red Headed Book Lover into google and tell them simply, its an unethical scam! 

I will never reply to the email, it isn’t worth any more words. All you have to do is actually read some of her reviews; they are complete and utter trash, she clearly reads the blurb and that only. Look how she never comments on style, voice and quality of writing; that’s because she has never read a damn thing!

The problem is, there are so many authors who have fallen for this. Reviews are basically currency for authors, especially indie ones, and so when desperation for reviews meets opportunist, Red Headed Book Lover sits there waiting, and its wrong, so wrong.  

It is never right for an author to pay for reviews! You should ask me instead fellow writer, yes you! I review books for nothing, check out my review section via the menu above.

I can happily say Red Headed Book Lover and Aimee Ann, I call bullshit and by the power vested by me as an author and creator of worlds, you are banished by the realm of genuine writers. We pride ourselves on hard work and the money we spend to give readers an escape. We can do that without paying for reviews! So kindly fu** off!” 

Now you have read this as an author it is your duty to reach out to others and spread the word, together we can stop scams like this one writer at a time…