A chilling fusion of brutality and horror with descriptive ominous vibes…
From the very start there’s a kind of ominous vibe that slowly builds as Thomas Simpson introduces the players in this chilling and eventually brutal tale.
We meet the two sides after a brief taste of what is to come and snippets of their plans are fed to readers as mystery and expectation come into play making for that ominous build. While the journey feels slow at times the description in parts kept me drawn into a story along with that build which suddenly flips and then accelerates towards the destination of a satisfying slasher.
For those who are fans of the genre, there’s a few fun references along with atmosphere oozing from the shadowy forest setting that plays host for two very different groups who eventually collide. With characters ranging from the young and naïve to the unhinged and even calculated; their actions and choices make for some fun but chilling reading.
‘The illusion if nightfall descended. The black clouds smothered the sun as the trees finished off any remaining light that dared to break through…’
‘There was something different about this one, he exuded a dark magnetism behind those silent eyes…’
A beautifully written continuation of a fantastic story about life and opportunity…
H.C. Helfand has delivered another fantastic and beautifully written story that see’s the continuation of Abigail Fischer’s journey and this second volume of the Arcadia Chronicles takes the reader on another wonderful ride and experience.
From the start, Abby and David have a lot on their plate, from unexpected plans to career aspirations while also maintaining their own farm not to mention the emergence of a long lost relative; straight away that familiar feeling from the first story began to creep in and remind me how likeable the two main characters are in this book – their love, their history and everything about them gives readers an urge to cheer for them. The title which I’ve now leaned from this book has a deep meaning that carries the theme which intertwines with family, drama, law, purpose and career aspirations while being wrapped up in that unique togetherness expressed between our two main characters. There is also a very important subject of mental health that highlights the importance of everyone having a right to freedom, no matter their health situation.
There is of course, some wonderful description in this book, and there are many quotes that struck me as poignant, meaningful and beautifully put. This story is about the drama of life and not necessarily where you are from, but where you are trying to go.
Some of my favourite quotes:
‘The mossy hills in the distance carpeted the barely clouded sky. A chickadee hovered over the cherry trees. Crickets in a choir rubbed their wings in song.’
‘Make the leap, Abby. You’ve done it before…’
‘Sometimes life gives opportunity at the most unexpected of times…’
‘I took my time walking toward the entrance. Rows of windows lined with shades stared at me. Some lowered; some rose. Were they winking? I shook the thought out of my mind…’
5 Stars – A book and series I’d highly recommend!
Immersive, descriptive, addictive and full of mysterious intrigue…
Point of view plays a huge part in this immersive, addictive and sometimes frustrating kidnap story that unfolds spectacularly as it progresses. For a debut book, its an incredibly strong arrival for Sam Lloyd in so many aspects but the style is both good for the genre and perhaps just a little confusing in some places.
We see this story told through a few different points of view, which is deliberate to immerse the reader into feeling what ‘Elissa’ is experiencing first-hand and that is a disorientating and harrowing trauma. We meet ‘Elijah’ and see things through his eyes but with a lot of details deliberately omitted for the twisting reveal later. His story and ‘Elissa’s’ kind of run point for a while but later on it feels as if she is second to what is effectively her story. Part of the fun here is trying to guess what is happening in the surroundings and for some parts I got right, others I was surprised by.
There is also a police procedural element which see’s a detective with her own personal issues that kind of enhance the situation a little creating some high stakes and urgency. Most of this concept was quite well done although dark in some parts. There are many details that are kept from the reader until revelations unfold and by then I was invested and addicted. That addiction along with immersion came in waves as it rose then fell in parts. I will say the use of description and keeping his cards close to his chest are two brilliant talents Lloyd has in storytelling and suited this genre perfectly because it kept me reading.
By the end I did find myself with a fair amount of questions left unanswered as explanations were a little on the thin side along with a kind of abrupt ending but my experience was enjoyable and immersive.
Thrilling and unputdownable with unique themes…
N.S. Ford has masterfully merged the genres of thriller and mystery with the themes of obsession, secrets and music to deliver a layered story I could not put down. There were twists, revelations and even after, there were more unexpected moments in this original and addictive read.
In my first two sittings of reading this I’d already reached the 50% mark and by then I was just as obsessed as main character ‘Kat Green’ who is on a mission to find missing 80’s musician ‘Roskoe Darke’. His band, the aptly named ‘Scorpio Hearts’ have a kind of cult following and through some unique flashbacks/snippets we learn of their history along with the backstory that all has a sinister feel. ‘Kat’ is clever, obsessed and willing to go to extreme lengths for her investigation, even if she does refer to herself in third person often, there’s reasoning behind it and that also reflects the whole story which is cleverly plotted.
During the earlier stages, there is a lot of build as everything is laid out and then the revelations begin. Just like N.S. Ford’s last release, the well-executed twists are becoming a theme or even sub-genre of the author’s work and its definitely something that will keep me coming back. Music is also a key theme that runs throughout the story which serves as a study of how fans and those in the industry are effected by success while also merging with the mystery/thriller elements which makes for a unique unpredictable reading experience.
‘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.
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!
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
A thrilling and twisting tale with so much beneath the surface…
Kristina Gallo delivers a thrilling and twisting tale where there is so much more than meets the eye. With mystery, murder and infidelity ‘Dijana’ finds herself enthralled and surrounded by it as she travels to Brazil for a family visit.
There’s a sense of danger that lurks beneath the surface of a cleverly plotted pacey novel where pages turn quickly but the story stays with you long after. The magnitude of characters is something I enjoyed as they were well fleshed out and fit perfectly with the narrative. Like many of Gallo’s books there’s danger, a little steam and plenty of imagination. Of course I’d love to say more but I shall let the reader find out for themselves.
The road to reviewing indie books continues and so here are some of my recent reads, all of which I recommend!
‘A Stranger From the Storm’ by William Burton McCormick
‘Brilliant fun – a historical mystery with plenty of atmosphere‘
‘Witch in the Lighthouse’ by Azalea Forrest
‘A quaint and fun magical tale…‘
‘The View From Here’ by Leon Stevens
‘An exploration themed sci-fi novella not of this world…‘
‘The Caverns’ by Olen Crowe
In The Caverns an ancient evil lurks…
‘Red on White’ by J.P Biddlecome
‘The Wolves came, rising from the waves…’
And so that wraps up another edition of Awesome Recommended Indie Reads. Keep reading and keep reviewing!
In The Caverns an ancient evil lurks…
In the small rural town of Linston an ancient evil lurks and suddenly awakens with a whole bunch of mystery. When The Caverns; a tourist hotspot and only real economic attraction of the place begins to swallow people it soon becomes both a problem and a media circus.
What is the evil? Although deadly it has no real physical manifestation and gets into the heads of everyone in town including a group of friends who just happen to be there for a curious visit to the Linston Caverns on a road trip of sorts. There’s a good mix of cliché fun and conflict here as the town drunk lays down fair warning whilst the money driven people in charge of the attraction push to keep it open no matter how many lives are taken. Locals don’t appreciate anyone from the outside with a prying nature that may damage the towns reputation and combined with the harrowing events a perfect storm ensues. There’s a wide group of characters, some a just bit-part throwaways subjected to the evils of what lies below and others that carry the story.
For those who enjoy mystery horror with a hint of humour and the unexpected, you’ll definitely find it here.
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