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Books we've read through our Indie Author Review System. If you're looking to give an independent author a chance, look no further.
‘Twilight of Innocence’ is a mystery that follows a resourceful vigilante grandfather a hero-figure pilot and fiery investigative journalist looking to uncover and derail a child sex traffic ring. The mystery around Andreas in the opening made me intrigued. I was eager to learn more about this mysterious man working to capture and interrogate members of the sex trafficking ring using highly specialised methods in order to release and rescue the victims. The subtle hints and brief descriptions were a brilliant introduction to this character, conveying his age and experience briefly, while keeping the quest front and center. As I read I wanted to learn more about this shadow-y figure’s mission as well as more about his past and what he’s had to do in the past in order to acquire his interrogation skills. I was less enamoured with Rebecca and Jon as we are introduced to them, I think the repartee between them, at the end of the contentious flight from Scotland as an example, could have been a bit snappier in my opinion, but I was interested in learning more about both characters and their motives as well as their inevitable connection. Their story and relationship within this dark mystery reminded me a little bit of Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher, and so I was keen to learn more about how they would merge with the Taken style storyline set up with Andreas. This is an interesting and entertaining read that feels like it will have widespread appeal to fans of mysteries, thrillers and action books. There is a dark subject matter at its core but there’s plenty of twists, turns and details throughout that keep you entertained. Action packed and thrilling this is a book I would definitely recommend. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
‘Shakey’s Madness’ is a well-researched and well rounded argument around the “real” author of ‘The First Folio’. Using academic resources including The Folger Shakespeare Library, The author sets out his hypothesis that the real author of the work currently attributed to William Shakespeare may have experienced bipolar, and this information may help us to uncover the true author of these Elizabethan plays and sonnets. I can’t say I’ve ever particularly doubted that Shakespeare’s work was written by William Shakespeare; that is I was familiar with the theory that they were written by someone else, it had just never interested me enough to look into it. I was curious about ‘Shakey’s Madness’ as a neutral observer, and I found that the author formed his arguments in a way that was entertaining and interesting. It reminded me of a university essay, with references to academics and further sources but I found it easy to follow along with. I feel this would be an interesting read regardless of which side of this particular argument you fall. Perhaps slightly conspiratorial in nature, and in the end left for the reader to decide if we agree with the argument put in front of us. I think that this book is an interesting one to ponder for those looking to learn more about the Oxfordian arguments as well as those looking for more evidence to support that theory. You might also learn something about the nuanced disorder of bipolar along the way.
‘Beyond Oblivion’ is a collection of science fiction short stories. Each story looks at an aspect of life that we may recognise, with a futuristic twist. In ‘The Mortgage’ I liked that nostalgia and romanticisation of the past doesn’t change even in the author’s futuristic world, It made me smile although I did quite see the twists of this story coming. The emotions of ‘The Year of the Pig’ resonate strongly with me considering our pandemic present. The themes of vaccinations and the health risks connected with low immunity and immune systems, although given an environmental and sci-fi twist, appeared pertinent. There’s also the subtle inclusion of social media posts replacing “real” news. Each of the seven stories vary in length and there’s plenty of elements from our present-day world critiqued within each I found ‘Beyond Oblivion’ an interesting collection and I can see how it could pave the way for different discussions about how we live now. As I read I was eager to see what happened within each mini-universe while also wanting to know which part of our world would be the focus next.
I found it difficult to get my head round why someone who was personally acquainted with the members of a world renowned rock band would fictionalise their experience but in 'Lost Souls. A fictional journey through 50 years of Pink Floyd' this is exactly what Dutch music journalist, Edwin Ammerlaan has done. In the foreword to the book the author sets out his reasons for it, which seem to be mainly his need to find a new slant on the history after all the many biographies and autobiographies which had gone before but I still find it a disturbing and slightly dangerous concept. Made up events and dialogues and imaginary characters are surely out of place in a book celebrating a larger than life group and their music. However, that said, the book is a fascinating and moving read. Obviously written with love and passion for the subject matter, the author conveys this to the reader in spades. It left me eager to find out more,(especially just how much of it was actually true), to listen to their music and, above all, it left me wondering how I could have lived through those times and remained largely unmoved by their influence. My loss I guess but maybe one it's not too late to redress. I would recommend this book to anyone with any degree of interest in the music scene, whether they're Floyd fans or not. The author doesn't gloss over the cut-throat nature of the business, the difficulties caused by the group's personal dynamics nor the slow nature of the maturing of the creative process to a successful sound but these are all described with honesty and empathy. It's 'another brick in the wall' of Pink Floyd knowledge. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
I wanted to read this novel as even as a grown up I like reading a variety of reading genres including junior and young adult fiction. And what an experience meeting Bucky and the hierarchy of felines turned out to be. A thrilling escapade through physical & far away places combined with touches of fantasy and science fiction. An exhilarating read for confident readers of any age including adults! The author has a vivid and descriptive writing style with which this novel grows and grows holding the readers attention all the way. I found it very well written with creatively-worded sentences and chapters. I also loved the actions of the cats; some powerful, some enigmatic, but even if you're not a cat lover give this story a go-you wont regret it! I was engrossed from the very beginning where the action is centered on strange goings on at London's Natural History Museum. But that's just the start of a great adventure. Add in some episodes of tele-porting, tunnels, caves, jets and even pyramids then you're all set for a rocketing ride. If you're a Londoner or familiar with the layout of the city then even better as you'll be able to picture where the action happens. Caroline Highy, A LoveReading Ambassador
Also Available as an eBook. If you thought that crossing the Mediterranean Sea or the English Channel was the most dangerous part of a refugee's journey to freedom, then you need to read this book, 'The Bodies That Move' by Bunye Ngene. The author spares no-one's feelings in chronicling the systematically inhumane treatment of the displaced by unscrupulous people traffickers and presents a powerful argument to wealthier and more stable regimes to deal with this shameful and destabilising practice with far more rigour and compassion than at present. The story follows Nosa, a young, presentable and university-educated Nigerian, who, because of the corruption in his home country, is persuaded by a former classmate to make the journey to Europe, a better life and earning power to keep his mother and younger siblings from poverty. Though far from cheap, he borrows the money necessary to fund his passage and sets out in high hopes of reaching Italy in three weeks. His optimism however is short-lived and hunger, lack of sleep and hygiene facilities and cramped travelling conditions soon become the norm. But this is just the start of what Nosa will experience before he has even left Nigeria. The gradual wearing away of all civilised standards is shocking to read. The rape of the female travellers, the beatings, enforced work (slavery in other words), starvation and the callous abandonment of all whose 'agents' have not paved the way across the Sahara Desert or war-torn Libya become everyday occurrences, not even raising an eyebrow in the end. But Nosa is one of the 'lucky' ones, reaching the coast after three months of hell, eventually boarding an inflatable with no life jacket and being picked up by European coastguards. He has achieved his aim and gained what? Europe's record of the treatment of refugees is nothing to write home about, quite literally. To say I enjoyed reading this book would be untrue but I'm very glad I did and I would encourage you to as well. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
The Free World War is an interesting story that uses science fiction to explore Butterfly Effect themes, and how one person’s thoughts and plans could be all it takes for the perfect world to exist. In the futuristic world of 2265 which is very well built by the author, we see their ability to use technology that the reader will recognise to dive into history, and simulations that give insight into a parallel world that the reader may find familiar. I liked the creativity involved in the creation of this plot and I think it would be a good read for anyone interested in science fiction or alternate history. The concept did remind me of the iconic The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick, and I was thoroughly intrigued and entertained as the story developed. There’s also plenty of action to be enjoyed and a host of characters across the different timelines that we get to know along the way. A vibrant story that skillfully builds on the simple idea that one man’s actions could have consequences that could change the world.
I LOVED this story!! It really took me away to another world. I loved the characters. We were told enough about them to empathise and picture them in our minds, but not too much detail that it was excessive. There are some great creatures described here. I loved the writing style and I think that it flowed beautifully. The vocabulary was incredibly descriptive and extensive, introducing me to a few new words along the way. Although ‘Absence: Whispers and Shadow’ is set in an alternate world, it had shades of the middle-ages and middle-age life, which I found interesting. I liked the details around what kind of work people did, how villages worked etc. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I really can’t wait for the next instalment! I would highly recommend this to others. Amanda O'Dwyer, A LoveReading Ambassador
I rather enjoyed this book. A romance with a difference. Not your usual light romance, which I much prefer, something with a touch of the dark side about it. Grey finally leaves New York and a whole load of baggage behind her and heads to Berry Springs to rebuild her life. After a setback or two, she meets Declan, someone with his own history. Having said that he only appears in the book a third of the way through. The first part deals with Grey’s life challenges and how she takes them on. Ultimately, they both want to turn their lives around. I liked this book, it was refreshing and had honesty in it. Well written and plenty going on to keep my interest. Thanks for the opportunity to read this. Helen Lowry, A LoveReading Ambassador
‘Presence, the Play’ is a lyrical story of the stage interwoven with a tale of spirituality. Script, An Estillyen monk and brother in their Sacred Order of Storytellers has an accident on the opening night of his play, ‘Presence’, leaving him in a coma, and working his way through mystical adventures in a dream-like world. I found this novel highly descriptive and it is clear through the references to many famous literary works that the author is either very well read or conducted extensive research for this novel. There are references throughout and a list at the back of the book with all of the literary titles quoted. I understand and can agree with the connection made between ‘Presence’ and C.S Lewis in the synopsis, as we travel with Script through a strange and mystical other world that, much like Narnia, has religious connotations at its heart. ‘Presence’ is an interesting story with plenty of drama throughout that encourages the reader to celebrate the power of stories, as well as take the time to be “present” in the world around us, a pertinent theme and lesson in today’s ever increasing social media age. An entertaining and well-written novel with a cast of brilliant characters that focuses on the importance of the arts Leading by example with brilliant storytelling, adventure and plenty to ponder over. I think that this book would have a wide appeal and I would definitely recommend it. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
Not in my Name by Michael Coolwood is an interesting mix of political fantasy and murder mystery. It is earnest and passionate but quite straightforwardly written, which makes it also suitable for younger adult readers. The plot revolves around a group of activists living in a commune in an imaginary version of 2003. Each of the group has their own reasons for being there and their own personal problems that they have brought with them. The trust and camaraderie that the group feel towards each other is suddenly put in jeopardy, however, when they discover that they have been infiltrated and then...the murders begin. The writer has cleverly used authentic but edited contemporary quotes from public figures, applying them to a different situation, thus underlining his premise that politicians will say, do, promise almost anything in order to gain or remain in power, a very high profile scenario happening right now in the U.S. The book is also timely in the descriptions of the way the activists are treated at the hands of the police, very reminiscent of the BLM protests. The ending is slightly unexpected but perfectly reasoned and inevitable, going a long way to restore the reader's faith in human nature and family ties. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
I was intrigued by Cold Wallet from the very start. We begin the story from Henry’s perspective and enough detail is shared to tell us about the relationship between Henry Andrew and Jess while simultaneously raising questions that keep you intrigued to read on. We then follow Jess on her tragic honeymoon and as she scrambles to get to grips with the company she has inherited. Her relationship with Henry is strained but when he offers to help manage the cryptocurrency business Vaultange is it because he’s changing or because he has something more sinister planned. I liked the basis of this storyline, although some of the more in depth conversations went over my head to begin with it came across as very well researched and I slowly became immersed in Andrew, Jess and Henry’s complex world. I liked the depth of each of the characters, all multifaceted and in their own way unreliable, with each development sending me in a spin as I read. The author takes the time to set the scene, with flashbacks that show how relationships develop as the plotline moves forward. With revelations and resolutions that left me spinning I think that this is a really good thriller and I would recommend it. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
The Briarmen is a fantasy story that has quite a traditional feel about it. First we meet Hamish’s daughter as she travels to meet enny in order to scatter her father’s ashes. During this meeting we are taken back in time to the evacuation of children to the countryside during WWII, when Hamish is first sent to live in Brombury with the Platts and he and Penny first discover the Briarmen. This story did remind me in it’s essence of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, where evacuated children discover something magical in their new home. I loved the imagination used to construct the Woods Beyond The Railway and how the Briarmen are interwoven with reality as the plotline develops. I enjoyed discovering more about Hamish and Penny and watching as their friendship developed. I think that this is a classic story filled with magic and escapism which will remind readers of the books they read when they were little. I also thought the black and white illustrations at the top of each chapter was a nice extra touch.
Last Star Standing follows protagonist Aiden on a sci-fi adventure. A world left ravaged and vulnerable after WWIII is invaded and overpowered by aliens. A small rebel group remains and works to overthrow their intergalactic rulers. Part science fiction - but mostly action-adventure - ‘Last Star Standing’ is an entertaining read that has a lot of detailed and cohesive world-building that makes the plotline believable from the start. I liked that this book is futuristic but also focuses on issues that we see in our society today - the impact of our actions on the environment and the spread of disinformation. Aiden is a wry and entertaining character to read about, and I really enjoyed his tone and humour as I read. There are some more adult moments so this is definitely not a story for younger readers but I do think that this is a brilliant choice for any sci-fi fan. I feel there’s an opportunity for the story to continue into other books and so I eagerly wait to see if any sequels appear. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
Humangee 101 is a self-help book with a novel twist, in which the author, Frank Sharkey, compares the reader to a technological device and encourages us to see ourselves in this new light to get to know ourselves better. When we buy a new device, it comes with a fully formulated set of instructions to get the very best out of it. But we, the human race, are infinitely more complex than any technology thus far invented and yet we have no such luxury. Much wisdom has been handed down through generations which we can use to point us in the right direction through life but it's vital that we examine this wisdom carefully and take a long hard look at our life choices, resetting those that no longer work for us. The ever increasing number of challenges that modern life throws at us makes this not only advisable but imperative. This book is hard hitting and addresses some very difficult subject matter but the way in which it's written goes a long way to keep it readable and entertaining. The illustrations of 'Humangee' are amusing and helpful in keeping the tone of the book light too. This is a book to take your time over in order to get the most from it and, hopefully, have your eyes opened to the way to a more satisfying and fulfilling existence. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
Operation Bluebird follows DC Carrie Hart as she heads undercover in order to infiltrate the world of the Paradise Casino and one of London’s largest crime families. But will she be able to maintain her cover without succumbing to the tempation of the world around her? It starts at the end, drawing you in with questions and blanks in Carrie’s memory that pull you back in time and show you what unfolded during Operation Bluebird. I liked this opening, I had questions about the plot but I was reassured that they were about to be answered. We get to know Carrie gradually, with flashbacks to her relationship with Lucy, demonstrating her motivation to infiltrate the Casino and the Park family. As time goes on, Cara gets more deeply involved with the Park family, could an unadvisable romance be her downfall? This is a short but attention grabbing crime drama with twists, temptation, addiction and a forbidden romance. Crafted with interesting and well created characters and I would be interested in reading more about Carrie Hart.
The prologue starts unassumingly enough, but blink and you’ll miss it as a dramatic turn of events plunges you into this thrilling Science Fiction story. The Last Children of Montauk has an interesting plot line full of mystery and tension, as perilous situations arise for the characters, I was hooked and eager to read on until the final page. I liked the world building involved in the start of the book, the detail in describing the setting of the Montauk facility really drew me into the story and I was intrigued to find out who was there and what was happening. In this underground top-secret facility we are introduced to Arvee who, like other children, has been taken away from his family in order to have his gifts exploited. Arvee’s visions are used to find other gifted children, but also allow him to see the world outside the facility, but will the arrival of a more rebellious inmate, Mia, help them escape? I personally think it would be beneficial to include some indication of which character we’re focusing on at the start of each chapter, however it didn’t prevent me enjoying the book and I enjoyed the switching storylines that follow action in the facility and in the outside world. There are articles about The Montauk Project conspiracy theories online and these theories apparently inspired 'Stranger Things', fans of the TV show may find an enjoyable storyline here. I found The Last Children of Montauk to be an entertaining and thrilling science-fiction story with strong characters and was filled with tension. I was intrigued from the first chapter and, as this is Book One, I would be interested in seeing what happens in the rest of the series.
You've Got Some Nerve is Derryen’s autobiographical account of a traumatic brian injury and her recovery. Dealing openly and honestly about the traumatic events as well as the impact that they have had on her life and outlook, this book is frank without being too intimidating. Shedding much needed light on the impact of brain injuries as well as allowing the reader in to her struggle with PTSD and depression, You’ve Got Some Nerve is an interesting book that offers first hand insight into how to support someone suffering from the long-term effects of an invisible injury. The writing is detailed, evocative and gripped me from the introduction. The intention of this book is to offer some insight into the effects of trauma, and as an account to help those experiencing something similar or know someone who is, feel less alone. There’s sections in the book that include ways that you can offer help and support to someone suffering from the effects of a brain injury, PTSD or depression as well as a ‘wish list for medical providers’ of behaviours that the Derryen found most helpful. I think that this is an interesting read not only for the intended audience of those who have experienced similar trauma to Derryen, but anyone who feels that their life has been taken of course. This book is an honest insight into how drastic life changes can impact you, but also how you can begin to work through them to forge a new path.
The End of Everything is a fantasy that uses Norse mythology to develop a dystopian world where Alira, the prophesied new end of everything following Ragnarok, must find a way to survive long enough to work out who she is. I enjoy reading fantasy novels and Norse Mythology, with faint echoes of storylines like Game of Thrones and Horizon: Zero Dawn, this book is right up my alley. I liked the flawed characterisation of Maya as she struggles to understand her importance and her purpose. I immediately liked her and jeyed watching her character arc develop. This is a brilliant fantasy storyline and the start of what will no doubt be an action-packed series. The plotline is full of twists and turns. The descriptions of the setting and the different peoples were vivid. I was hooked from the first page and I am eager to read more of this story in future books. With truly evil villains, complex and entertaining characters, twists, turns, companionship and love I think that this is a brilliant recommendation for anyone who enjoys YA fantasy and is looking for a little more grit, or simply looking for their next epic fantasy read. I am eager to read the next books in the series.
Infinity Shift is the second book in Robert Holding's Sci-Fi trilogy set in the 29th century, the sequel to 'Downtime Shift', which came out last year. The story picks up eight years after the end of the first when things on Earth have moved on dramatically towards total schism. The major cities on the planet are still under the iron rule of the Eye, a highly sophisticated Artificial Intelligence. The 'Spacers', those who lived outside the Eye's reach above the planet, are increasingly aware of the need to make a complete break with the planet, despite still being dependent on some of it's resources. They're loosely in league with the 'Outsiders', the Infinity Corps, renegade Earth dwellers, also outside the Eye's reach in the countryside. The Corps had been mobilised by Evelyn Marcin, who has become a folk hero in her eight year absence. The Eye's great advance in the meantime has been the development of Artificial Biology, bio-machines embedded in human followers, who are then able to subliminally control others emotions and behaviour. This dangerous step, however, looks like it might be about to backfire as Gaudynya, who has undergone the procedure, plots to use her power to her own advantage. Will Evelyn be able to live up to her name and legend in the fight for the stability of Earth. She knows she must take on Gaudynya and make great sacrifices for her vision, so the book ends on another cliffhanger, to be resolved in part three. If you found Downtime Shift intriguing, complex and thought-provoking, you will certainly want to read how the main characters have moved on and cope with this new twist in their fates. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Amabassador