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Set in the 80’s in the North-East of England, Miss Perfect is a reflective, sympathetic and engaging novel. The central character is earnest and concerned social worker Madge who is battling the change in culture and financial cuts while trying to protect the children in her care. Meanwhile, she is contemplating life as a single late middle-aged woman and what the future has in store, especially as it looks like the ‘powers that be’ want to ease her out of her job unless she can find a way to fight back, but will it mean too much of a compromise?
In 1975, decades before ‘The Gap Year’ was commonplace, 22-year-old student Devika A. Rosamund fulfilled a life long dream to take time away from her studies in England to travel by herself to India. And not by hopping on a plane rather by bus as far as Iran and then by local transport through Afghanistan and Pakistan, taking six weeks with a total budget of just £300!The Road to East India is an authentic diary account of this exciting and emotional journey of a lifetime where as well as seeing famous sites in India she discovers spirituality in an Ashram and her inner strength to overcome the challenges she faces.Devika says ‘I am publishing my diary with the hope that it will inspire others to go on a journey both inner and outer, and explore this beautiful world and also their own world within.’
The lives of five foreign nationals working in Luritania (in the north-western corner of Europe) who meet once a month at Lenfindi Airport passenger terminal to discuss ‘matters of levity and enterprises of great pith and moment’ are derailed by the chance discovery of a briefcase full of classified Secret Service documents. Their actions are the catalyst to a shattering sequence global and personal events that leaves none of them unaffected and shows that in our super-connected world normal rules of cause and effect cease to apply.With a contemporary setting and themes, The Milan Briefcase is a complex and multi-layered literary espionage thriller that takes a while to get going but is a rewarding read in the end.The Milan Briefcase is Graham Fulbright’s 4th book. He has written two other thrillers, The Man with the Charmed Life and The Khazar Codex and one satirical title, Driving Mad.
Get Rich or Get Lucky by Max Nowaz is a darkly comical fantasy thriller that will appeal to fans of Terry Pratchett. Adam has had plenty of plans to get rich but none are working and if anything are making him poorer and more stressed by the day. His latest was to get a bank loan, for a car, and use it as a deposit on a house to do up and sell but fate is conspiring against him until he discovers an old letter bound book of spells, written in German… and then things get really crazy.Max Nowaz is also the author of The Arbitrator and Timbi's Dream.
A fictional travelogue of Finn, a free-spirited American and budding travel writer, journeying around Europe and the Middle East in the 1970’s. Letters to Strabo is an evocative, candid and life-affirming coming of age story with a strong sense of place that will appeal to readers who enjoy literary travel writing.David Smith has also written Searching for Amber, Death in Leamington and Love in Lindfield.
Intelligent, funny and engaging rhymes along with bright and bold illustrations bring these poems for younger children alive.Andréa Prior says of her writing ‘I love the musicality of rhyme and my ideas come from anywhere and everywhere; people I love, people I don’t, friends I talk to, stories they tell, countries I visit, things I see, things I do, phrases I hear, dreams I dream.’ A Parcel of Pigs is perfect for reading out loud, the poems are written for those parents and children who love reading together. All of them also have helpful points you can use to discuss the poem in more detail. Why not discover more today by reading an opening extract of her book?
Following on from Silent Passage, Blood Ties is the second in a series of easy to read whodunits featuring the cases of rule-breaker DI Charlie Moon, set in Birmingham at the time of the millennium. The body of a small-time, city-based criminal found in a deserted country wood is the beginning of a frustrating investigation that looks to be going nowhere until DI Moon makes a surprising discovery. Full of twists and turns and well worth the time to discover more by reading the free Opening Extract.
Children love stories with elements of fantasy and magic and this heartwarming collection of short stories aimed at a 9+ reader is perfect for reading alone or with a parent. Each story in Snake Ring at Risk and Other Stories features a strong moral message and young characters, so it’s easy for 9+ readers to relate to them and understand actions and consequences - the stories are also the perfect length to read before bedtime!John Holroyd is also the author of a folk tale full of magic and danger called The Strange Tale of the Snake Ring.
Beyond All Doubt by Paige Elizabeth Turner opens with a murder - but will the murderer be caught? An absorbing and realistic crime ‘will they catch' whodunit with a juicy twisty plot and well-drawn characters with lots of issues adding colour and interest. A body is found in the River Avon, but the victim and her fiancé live in Bournemouth, so the police concentrate investigations locally and think they have their man who they match the evidence to fit. But, even as prosecution looks likely, Detective Sergeant Oliva Watts still has doubts and keeps digging.
The Polygamist by William Irvine is an interesting and thought-provoking, if one-sided, philosophical exploration of a polygamist’s life and male sexuality and desire style set in 1970’s Goa. When life as a playboy leaves the rich Saudi-born but Western-educated Omar unsatisfied, the death of his father leaves him in an unenviable position for him to step outside societal norms and create a new life with his four very different wives in Goa. But will this work and how will it affect Omar and his very different wives?
As genre-mixing goes political fantasy is a new one for us but this is an interesting, modern-day reworking of the The Pilgrim's Progress. Looking at the tumultuous period from 2010 to Summer 2015 and the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour’s new leader, it mirrors Bunyan’s idea but looks to educate the reader about how the political elite maintains an unfair system. With the support of Hope, Charity and the Interpreter the Pilgrim meets a panoply of fantasy characters, closely modelled on recognisable political figures, and the conversations they have are supported by 35 pages of references at the end of his book to ground it in the here and now.Unashamedly hostile to the ideology shaping the UK government in the 21st Century, this self-published novel will always be ‘Marmite’ but if you like Marmite…
Every week many of us go to regular activity groups, swimming, singing and the like and happily spend an hour or so in pleasant conversation. But what is really going on in the lives of the people in the group? Do you know and, more importantly, do you care? Set mainly over the course of a day we follow one such group, normally brought together for aqua-aerobics, as they come together outside the pool to celebrate the impending departure of their instructor. Who would have thought a single evening would be so revealing! In turns amusing and sad, The Water Babes is an easy to read human story that is a snapshot of a contemporary Britain with all its cultural, religious and social complications.
Set in turbulent times before and during WW1, The Silent Land is an interesting exploration of loss, grief, love and hidden family secrets. The death of Rebecca’s mother in 1903 triggers a total change of lifestyle from Fens village to London society, but sadly this is just the start of the tragedy that she must face as she also loses her father to a heart attack and her husband to the war.With strong, believable characters combined with good research to add depth and realism this historical novel, from a woman’s perspective, is sad but the novelist’s skill is to make you want to keep reading as you are invested in the characters and you care what happens to them.
Sci-fi, political intrigue and all-out action adventure combine in Max Nowaz’s novel The Arbitrator. Set more than 500 years in the future, when humankind has colonised multiple solar systems, Jim Brown is an ex-con who has been given one last shot at redemption and rejuvenation by being put in charge of a rebellious planet with the job of bringing it back under control. Mankind has a technological advantage but Earth is many many light years away and unfortunately for Jim Brown, the species occupying other planets in close by solar systems have plans of their own.Max Nowaz is also the author of Get Rich or Get Lucky and Timbi's Dream.
Much more than just a romance, this tale runs alongside enticing snippets from the life of stained glass master Charles Eamer Kempe who was born in 1837. Kempe lived in Lindfield and associated with some of the most noteworthy people from the Arts and Crafts Movement and Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. In ‘Love in Lindfield’ David Smith has updated the plot from ‘The Spoils of Poynton’ by Henry James, and two houses, Old Place (where Kempe lived) and the fictional Poynting’s sit centre stage in the story. While Ellie finds herself cataloguing the contents of Old Place, Harry researches locations for a BBC drama, at the same time information on Kempe and his contemporaries is discovered. With a mix of fact and fiction coiling and twisting around each other, this is an interesting and very readable tale. ~ Liz Robinson
Winner of the Book Excellence Award 2016 for Romance. An emotional historical romance set in Sardinia in the 1800’s. Two families, united over the years and truly at one with the Sardinian landscape and traditions, find themselves in the midst of a battle for survival. Raffaella and Antonio have loved each other since they were children, as they declare their love, members of Raffaella’s family have their eyes turned to a different suitor for her. With fascinating historical details flowing through the story, I really felt as though I was getting to know and understand the problems Sardina faced during this period. You can feel the love that Lexa Dudley has for this island, her descriptions of the countryside set you in the midst of this time and place. ‘Children of the Mists’ travels through some turbulent times, and is a lovely very readable tale. ~ Liz Robinson
A chance encounter, a case of mistaken identity and a seemingly innocent train journey all come together to place the lives of international leaders and family members of the central characters at risk. Night Train to Berlin by Margaret de Rohan is the author's first foray into the adult crime market from children's books. Cleverly she has transitioned some of the key characters and upped the pace, intensity by embroiling them in a gripping international terror plot. Highly readable, impeccably researched and even with some refreshing humour; especially the relationship of the police chief Maigret and his wife Megan, the book is at the cosy rather than gory end of the crime spectrum and will be enjoyed by fans of Agatha Raisin and Poirot novels.
This is a fascinating and inspiring memoir from a man who has faced life head on and lived it to the full. Liam Klenk was adopted, had an unconventional childhood and as he became an adult, his differences made him search for answers. Klenk describes himself as being born into a female body, yet this memoir explores many other avenues, as the title says - this novel is ‘Not Just Transgender’. Klenk writes with a raw honesty, he has a matter of fact way of describing the adversity he has lived with, which makes the story even more intensely powerful. Klenk has become a strong, independent, thoughtful man, who is very self aware. ‘Paralian: Not Just Transgender’ gives you the chance to hear a captivating story, I marvelled at Klenk's mental strength, willed him to overcome the difficulties he faced, and I appreciate very much indeed, that I’ve had the chance to read his story.
A charming friendly little tale about a group of dogs who unwittingly find themselves on an adventure. Misty the border collie and assorted friends attempt to do a good deed, but are in danger of being accused of dognapping an excitable puppy on board a canal boat. David J. Robertson ensures the group use teamwork and a lot of determination, to overcome the obstacles in their path, but can they save themselves from be washed out to sea? The text dominates the page, with the occasional illustrations by Ian R. Ward adding a bright splash of colour and visual amusement. ‘Dognapped!’ is a fun read, with dogs of all shapes, sizes and ages, all working together to save the day.
An epic relationship tale, spanning one of the most interesting periods in our history. Aubrette grows up as her half-sister Rowena’s companion, her life changes dramatically when Rowena marries. Rowena’s new husband is an illegitimate son of Henry II, Aubrette remains with Rowena throughout her marriage, travelling with her into France and on to the crusades with Richard I. Ann Turner doesn't shy away from the difficulties faced by women during this time, with violence spilling over the pages. Used and abused, Aubrette has a truly difficult life, as Kings come and go, Aubrette finds herself a pawn for the men in power. ‘A Sister’s Crusade’ is a fascinating sometimes uncomfortable, behind the scenes look at history. ~ Liz Robinson
A rather poignant, provocative and heart-warming memoir by a lady who could have hit rock bottom and stayed there, yet she fought her way back with attitude. The introduction announces the contents with gusto. From secretary to stripper, topless model to social worker, Janet Green experimented with sex, drugs and rock and roll in the sixties and seventies. She was sexually abused, manipulated and yet has maintained her integrity and learned to love herself. Janet Green has used her diaries to write her memoir and has included some of her poetry, which fixes eerily on her feelings at the time. ‘Rebel Without A Clue’ includes a number of atmospheric photos, where her character shines from the page and helps to colour in the background to the story. The early life story of Janet is on occasion an eyebrow raising one, yet is also emotional and inspirational. ~ Liz Robinson
An interesting, touching family drama focusing on two men in their sixties, their loves, their lives and their friendships. The first few pages provide a snapshot of Bob and Richard, of the twists and turns of fate as it walks alongside family history. Bob’s wife Jane left him for another man, Richard is still married, both men however are having difficulty manoeuvring around the obstacles that life puts in the way. John Uttley sends time, memories and thoughts zigzagging, and it took a little while for me to get used to the writing style. Yet as I warmed to Bob, Richard and the people in their lives, I sank into the story of ‘Where’s Sailor Jack?’ and by the end felt as though I really had travelled alongside them and observed their journey. ~ Liz Robinson
A thriller with so many twists and turns, you may just bump into yourself as you do a rapid about turn. This is the second novel featuring Adam White, set in the intriguing world of the British High Commission. This time Adam is in Singapore, the British High Commissioner has a wild child for a daughter and is actually in touch with his own wild side. Adam makes a mistake which could be deadly, and finds himself in a whole heap of trouble. The author Alan Hunt is a former British Diplomat and I felt as though I was in reliable hands. While the intense drama begins to ramp up, Hunt balances the pace by studying relationships and also delivers lighter moments as the receptionist practices her English. ‘A Game That Must be Lost’ is a thoroughly enjoyable and gripping read.
There is a saying that goes 'When life gives you lemons make lemonade' but in E. James Chapman's hilarious book, The Plane Now Standing at Platform 3, this keep positive in all situations attitude is stretched to beyond breaking point as we follow his family's journey from Spain to Canada and back again. Heaven knows what the Chapman family did in a past life, but 'bad karma' doesn't come close as they encounter mishap, mayhem and Murphy's Law and learn never to say the words 'well nothing else can go wrong now'.
A pointed, wryly amusing look at relationships in the modern world. Ray is a cold caller, he lives in London with his best friend Danny, and is still mourning the break up of his relationship five years on. Anya owns a coffee shop in Salisbury, her friend Eva is an author of children’s books, yet she dislikes children intensely. When Ray cold calls Anya, a friendship develops, each coming to rely on the other. We hear from Ray, Anya, Danny and Eva, often learning more about each person from their friend, rather than from the person themselves. Russell Mardell manages the four tales with aplomb. From speed-dating to tomato-gate this is an amusing tale that bites (with barbed fangs). ~ Liz Robinson
A gentle, warm story of friendship, love and making the most out of life. This is a slightly different offering by Jane L. Gibson to her previous fantasy romance ‘A Different Reflection’. ‘The Gessami Residence’ is a pleasant, occasionally cheeky and lighthearted story, where 43 year old widow Jenny and her three down to earth friends, find themselves on an extraordinary holiday. ‘The Gessami Residence’ is on the lengthy side, Jenny tells her own story, giving a blow by blow account of the events that occur. Friendship plays an important part, and the support that close girlfriends can offer in particular, while the romance element adds an almost fairytale quality to proceedings, helping to make this an easy sunny read.
An action-packed adventure where a young man gets dragged into the dangerous world of drug running. 16 year old Joe St Aubin has little regard for authority, he can be selfish and naive, but also loving and determined. His dad, a secret agent, has disappeared, Joe is in a pickle at school and finds escape through his love of driving. Joe heads down a slippery slope when he takes a job as a driver for wealthy business man, there were no checks made about his age or references taken, is this job too good to be true? J. Ryan allows Joe to tell his own story, the short snappy sentences bring Joe to headstrong life. There are a few parts which feel a little unfinished and unexplained, which is rather lifelike and leaves the door wide open, as this is the first in a new series. ‘Missing Dad - Wanted’, sets the scene for Joe to live a rather exciting life.
'Enchanted Realms' is a simply told tale, describing events following 1066, as the Normans bulldozed their way over England. I must confess to not being quite sure how to categorise this book because it feels like a historical fantasy novel, yet Valan Peters' Introduction quite clearly states that she had a psychic experience which led to her writing this “true story of long ago”. Warring and raping their way across Shropshire two Norman knights meet mystical figures who encourage them to follow a more peaceful path and fight “the prince of darkness”. Their two children marry and carry the battle into the Crusades before a very abrupt and surprising ending. Even with all the violence, there is an innocent naivety to be found in the pages, this actually feels like a recounting of events with moments of otherworldliness, and may appeal to people exploring a spiritual path.
A full on, action packed, easy reading novel about 46 year old (retired SAS) Jack Crane’s run in with a gang of car stealing crooks. This is the third Jack Crane novel, I happily read ‘The Stealers’ as a standalone story, as his background is explained. Crane, sometimes woefully unprepared, comes to the rescue of a damsel in distress. Basically, the bad guys are really nasty, and street wise Crane is happy to work outside the law and get handy when he needs to. Charles Hall certainly seems to know his cars, and his love for them shines through. The fight to gain the upper hand between the goody and the baddies does feel rather like a game of tennis on occasion, I almost felt the need for a score board. You may need to suspend a sense of reality as you read, but just put it to one side and enjoy the wild ride. ~ Liz Robinson
Poetry and prose blend together to create a different and highly original read. Taking place over a period of seven days, the three main characters are all a little lost in a corrupt world. There are many different directions in which you can travel through this book, so each reader is likely to have a very individual and personal journey. I found a deep, dark novel, with occasional shards of sunlight, there were parts that I absolutely loved and others where, to be honest, I felt a little lost and slightly bewildered. The poetry and prose occasionally seemed to meld together, with no clear definition between the two, creating a lyrical intensity. It took a while to settle in and to feel the story, as at times I felt overwhelmed by the sometimes overly descriptive writing. By the end I felt an understanding, but not necessarily a recognition, and I still have questions about this thought provoking and unusual novel. ~ Liz Robinson 'This is a world of strangenesses, set in a shadowy, nightmare atmosphere with a flavour of Grimm and whiffs of Gormenghast, laced with playfulness, unexpected humour and, eventually, hope.' - Maggie Butt, Poet and Associate Dean of Middlesex University.
A family mystery lies dormant, awaiting discovery in this sorrowful family drama. 29 year old Jess journeys to Northumberland after suffering a tragedy in her life, when she visits a house called Sea Music, past secrets and lies begin to unravel. Briege Brannigan slips backwards and forwards in time to tell this story, unveiling snapshots of new characters. It almost felt to me at times, as though there were a number of short stories being told, even though they are linked, each person’s individual story feels distinctive, consequently you feel the fractured nature of this family. Due to the number of characters, a distance is maintained, I felt as though I was listening in, watching from afar. This is a story that feels plausible, it feels as though a truth is being told, yet ’Sea Music’ sings a song of distortion and deception with compassion. ~ Liz Robinson
Poignant, touching and expressive, ‘Last Sardana’ is a family drama set in Spain when modern tourism was in its infancy. This is book one in a series and the story highlights Maria and Pedro, mother and son who suffer a tragedy when Pedro is 12 years old. As both attempt to adjust to life, they move from their fishing village home and discover a new world opening out to them. Ray Harwood writes with articulate clarity, a simple family tale is told, and it feels as though it could be real. Small things matter, descriptions of everyday life sit alongside life changing moments, creating a gentle yet dynamic tale. At times sorrowful and moving, at others amusing and light hearted, this is a convincing and engaging read. ~ Liz Robinson Click here to see Sardana Encore by the same author.
An intriguing thriller based in a shady hidden world of cyber-hackers. Bryn writes alternative histories and is perplexed when he discovers his bank account emptied and computer wiped, a research trip takes him down a very unexpected path. Bryn appears at times to be somewhat naive, however that is part of his charm and is a nice foil against the crusading hackers and business sharks. This is a fairly slow burner, with each scenario adding a piece to the jigsaw. Robin Duval ensures the technology side of things is explained well and although there are times when it all seems slightly fantastical, it does feel as though this could be a reality. ‘Not Single Spies’ is an entertaining and enjoyable slice of fiction. ~ Liz Robinson
A gorgeously evocative tale, ‘Vermilion Skies’ may be classed as a love story, however there is far more on offer here. Set mainly in Chile, where the scenery and society paint a vivid scene, 14 year old Milana has an understanding of humanity far beyond her years. As Milana struggles with tragedy and to find life beyond the shanty town where she lives, she explores life and love. Wendela Lumley writes with a beautiful empathy and tenderness yet she doesn't shy away from reality. The fragility and harshness of life provokes and prods at your awareness, while in the next moment, joy in the beauty that can be found in the smallest thing, shines through the pages. Travelling across years, searching for truth and understanding, this is an engaging and captivating love story. ~ Liz Robinson
An interesting little memoir by Don Snuggs who has had a varied career in medicine. As a child during the Second World War, the author spent some time in and around hospitals, the war features briefly in Part One, with the author giving an insight into his future calling. Part Two concentrates on the third part of the authors life when he leaves the RAF in 1977 and gradually turns to using alternative medicine. The reasoning behind the decisions made, can be felt clearly, the author is succinct, yet his empathy and consideration for his patients shines like a beacon. I felt as though I was reading a fascinating social history, and found ‘An Ever Rolling Stream’ to be a compelling and enjoyable read. ~ Liz Robinson
Sardana Encore welcomes the reader back like an old friend. The now thriving Martinez hotel reaches the end of its first season and Pedro - influenced by the family priest to see himself as 'Peter', the international traveller - prepares to begin studies in London and life with flatmates, who in time join the family circle. However, milestone events on his journey leave an indelible mark on his life. A balance is struck to no lesser extent than the fairytale romantic interlude in Malaysia, where Peter's emotional taste buds are discovered. In the UK, as he embarks on a successful career, his Catalan ties still bind and seeds there take root...and the bitter fruits of an ancient enmity are laid ready to be reaped...
A fantastical romance, with an interesting blend of history and present day. 29 year old Katharina works for a magazine, has a rather annoying fiance, and tells her own story as she meets the occupants of Northfield. Simply told, this is an easy reading romance, however the fantasy element means you need to throw reality aside for a few hours. I quite happily shouted at Katharina from the sidelines as I urged her to see what was in front of her. The dependable and rather lovely George was a breath of fresh air. I did feel that ‘A Different Reflection’ was an incy wincy bit longer than perhaps it needed to be. There is a fairytale feel to the story, of the ‘happily ever after’ rather than ‘Grimm’ variety, ensuring this is a sweet, charming story. ~ Liz Robinson
In his authoritatively written exploration of the critical roles Jesus’ disciples played in spreading the word of God, Micklem argues that current views of the history of Christianity (from Gospel texts) rely heavily on a truth that is in fact fabricated. In The Men who were Honest to Jesus and What they did he pushes the reader to challenge views created and still held today by the orthodox church and to reevaluate the companions of Jesus who in his view were the only ones truly honest and who after his death worked tirelessly and at great personal risk to spread his teachings. This short book will have appeal to anyone interested in controversy surrounding religion and Christianity.
This is an absolutely charming story, with occasional bites of reality, about life in rural Ireland during the early 1940’s. Newborn Teddy is evacuated from bomb ravaged London to Tipperary and bought up by his Grandmother and Uncle. This is, in effect a memoir, however Edward Forde Hickey explains that it is set in a fictional region of Ireland with characters blended together from actual people. It really does feel as though you've been transported to this time, you can look around and see the faces, feel the movement, hear the music, and that’s before you see the photos. The names of the characters feel like they have magical properties and almost give the story a fairytale ring. Teddy has to learn the mysteries of country life and I wandered with him as he discovered the delights and occasional shocks that life has to offer. ‘The Early Morning Light’ is an evocative, poetic story and it quite simply, touched my heart. ~ Liz Robinson
A darkly quirky and action packed fantasy adventure that proclaims it’s not only ok to be different, it can at times, actually be an advantage. 15 year old Napoleon, also known as Zam, lives in Newcastle, he has a walking disability, he’s best friends with a polecat called Rat and a girl called Ezzy, and he lives with his inventor grandfather Eli. When the dangerously frightening wyte Ackx threatens his whole existence, Zam travels beneath his city and finds a world he knew nothing about. It took a little while to get used to the style and creatures of this underworld, once I’d settled in, I rather enjoyed the chills and terrors that awaited. Zam is a boy of grit and determination, and his heart is full of love for his friends and family. Frank Lambert has created a new champion, and he's someone I’d want by my side if I ever ventured into the intimidating and creepy underworld that can be found inside ‘Napoleon Xylophone’.
About the books selected:
Self-publishing or Independent Publishing is getting more and more profile these days. But it’s wrong to think that anyone can make it if they have the wherewithal. Good independent novels only get off the ground if they’re worth it. Let us help you discover a small selection, published over the last year to suit a range of tastes.
Self Respect! - The Best of Self-Published Authors
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Matador has deliberately established itself at the quality end of the self-publishing market… quality of content, design, production and distribution. They work in partnership with their authors, most of whom publish with them as they are serious about their self-publishing, wanting a high quality book or a real chance at getting their work distributed and read. As a result, they are the UK’s most widely recommended quality self-publishing service.
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