Books we've read through our Indie Author Review System. If you're looking to give an independent author a chance, look no further.
Cycles of the Phoenix is a collection of shorter stories previously published separately by C. A Nicholas compiled together for one epic read. Within this book you will find ‘Sanity’s War’ ‘Strange’ and ‘Kaya: Where Have You Gone?’ of the Interlaced Souls series. Cycles of the Phoenix remains within the realm of fantasy while it explores a wide range of topics and themes from war, to Anxiety and PTSD. I thought that this book was very well written, there is a good degree of word-building and I enjoyed the imaginative ways that the author manages to turn both mental and physical struggles into fantastical demons for the characters to face. The most poignant to me are the events in the final pages, but I shan’t risk spoilers by sharing any more. As I’ve said this book does focus on a number of themes, with references to violence and sexual abuse throughout the different stories. I liked how the author used events in the stories to demonstrate that actions can have a long term emotional impact. I enjoyed the author’s style of writing. I found it quite traditional, it reminded me slightly of a style used to tell a story of old knights, which added to the fantasy atmosphere to me. Cycles of the Phoenix is mighty, but I think that it could be enjoyed as one epic tale or by enjoying each of the Interlaced Souls books in turn. This is a book for readers looking for something to think deeply about an analyse.
My. Oh, My! When I first saw the cover and after reading the summary I had some preconceptions, I was expecting a supernatural romance and this is exactly what I got. This is a story that I think flows well and I was very quickly absorbed. I have to say I was a little thrown when I first started reading, the book ploughs in straight away with talks of packs and pups and it did take me a moment to figure out the nature of the characters. I have had a quick look at the reviews of this book since reading and noticed it was called a “shifter book”, I am familiar with supernatural romances but not this exact sub-genre so it may be that my initial confusion was caused by this. It didn’t deter from my overall enjoyment of the story. I was hooked throughout, I enjoy stories that make me ask questions about the more mundane workings of that world and the characters' interactions. I am very eager to find out more about Cathwulf and her world and I will be tracking down the rest of the series to find out more. Cathwulf is a strong, independent werewolf that wants to make her own way in the world. Earning her position though her strength and not being submissive to a male partner. But when her pack must travel to assist another all that may change. Combining the animalistic natures of the characters’ wolves and more human mysteries and politics, this is a brilliant book for fans of supernatural romances. All of the characters are interesting and well-developed, but I know that there's more to find out in future books. I was absorbed in the story, much to the detriment of everything else I did that day and the ending came far too fast. I was left dying to know what happened next and I can't wait to check out the other books in the series. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReadnig Ambassador
I wouldn’t describe Consciousness and Perception as a conventional novel but it’s certainly a book that makes you think. Described as a part-fictionalised look at how human’s struggle to understand “true reality”, it is a book that includes spiritual and religious inspiration to focus on what is “truly real” or what is of true value in your life. This book is split into different parts and follows two brothers, Ninian and Paul from when they were children. Throughout the brothers’ story there are allegorical messages that challenge the reader to stop and think about what is important in their own lives. I feel this is a novel that offers something more, a level of perspective that encourages you to evaluate whether you’re happy with your life, and if not consider what can be done to change it for the better. The book starts with an incredibly interesting encounter, with a poverty stricken family doing what they can to survive. I was intrigued by this story instantly and wanted to know how it would develop and what would happen to Ninian and Paul as they grew older. I would describe Consciousness and Perception as a well considered and researched spiritual and philosophical narrative that makes use of a unique structure, original poetry and a literary style to explore and critique the human condition.
Concluding the ground breaking Nordic noir thriller trilogy set in 2068. Facing near impossible odds, Nero and his companions are forced to act outside the law. To protect the innocent, they will risk everything as they battle to defeat the ruthless and shadowy figures conspiring to take control of the city. The Eldísvík trilogy is riveting, rollercoaster ride. A story of survival, loyalty, betrayal and love that will appeal to fans of Jo Nesbo, Peter Hoeg and Lilja Sigurdardottir.
The author has done incredibly well to create scenes and atmosphere of the 18th century and to get the warnings out of the way, this attention to detail is also used to portray a number of sexual assaults, the writing is richly detailed but I would say it isn’t one for the faint hearted. A vague essence of the plot reminds me of Tess of the D’Urbervilles, with Finnbar characterised as hard-working and innocent hearted but in a position that leaves him vulnerable to those more powerful than he, which is ultimately his downfall. Martin is generally a selfish and unlikeable character, but in this the author has crafted him well. As I was reading, and arguably applying a modern thought process, I wondered at his ability to bring a young boy to a strange city and, while expressing his position as his master and guardian often, essentially leaving Finnbar to his own devices, allowing him to seek his own work and lodgings. I did also think that there was something of Lolita in this book. Although it states that Finnbar is 17/18 I have to admit his simple nature made me picture him as younger and made Martin, Maddox and others come across as even more predatory. I also praise the amount of research that has gone into this book, in order to include some historical figures who existed but also in the little details, the mention of padding in Forbes clothes to correct his frame as a small example I spotted. The world and writing throughout One Night in Finnbar is incredibly well-crafted. This isn’t a happy story by any means but for those who would be interested in dark, gritty, historical fiction, then they may find this an interesting read.
This is a must-read!!! I couldn't put it down. I felt like I was sitting in a room talking to Nadean the entire time I read this book. She was born in Canada and had to follow their laws which are very difficult when searching for your natural parents. As I was born in Toronto, I know many of the places she lived or visited in Ontario. I know how strict the laws are, but am hoping that they are less strict now. This is a story about a woman searching for her birth mother as well as dealing with life in general. She gets married and has a son, Andrew. Unfortunately, she struggles through a difficult, controlling marriage and even after the marriage ended and the divorce was finalised, her ex was still trying to control her. She meets her 2nd husband, who is her rock. During this time, she decided to find her birth mother. She needed answers and wanted to find out about her history. This is a woman who was given up for adoption. Her adopted Mom dies when she is very young, she lives with her Grandmother, who raises her, with so much love. She has a strength and courage that many don't have. It makes you laugh and cry and giggle at times, but such a fabulous read. I am so happy that you have been able to find out about your Mom and Dad. You can rest now and your Mom must be over the moon to have finally found her firstborn. Thank you. Diana Mason, A LoveReading Ambassador
This is the second travel guide by this author that I have had the pleasure of reading. The author loves the idea of experiencing new lands as a traveler instead of just a tourist. This volume takes us into the world of adventurous hikes, little-known festivals and Ancient Temples as well as Modern Metropolises. While most of these may not appear in anyone’s tops lists they are well worth your time and effort to discover. It also took me to countries where I have little knowledge i.e.: Bhutan, Myanmar, and Latvia. The author’s insider point of view takes you into the heart of the area and shares that view with the reader. I really enjoyed the chapter on Festivals and felt like I was sitting right there next to the author as she enjoyed little-known glimpses into various cultures. Tracey Thomas, A LoveReading Ambassador
Such a great read oh my goodness this authors first trip and to climb Kilimanjaro was certainly not for the faint hearted most of us would have packed up and gone home but not this determined author and all in the name of charity. Then years later the author and this time with his wife walking with lions, in search of Rhinos, beautiful scenery and the dreaded mountain to climb! and will they climb this? It is an interesting read, fascinating accounts of Africa (I've never been but just loved the descriptions, the wildlife and culture) I take my hat off to him not sure if I would follow in his footsteps but has given me a great read on my holiday. This author writes a good story and keeps the reader on their toes. This author has written a number of books of his adventures and I will certainly be following him and catching up on what I have been missing. Jane Brown, A LoveReading Ambassador
Wounded but not broken, Inspector Nero Cavallo teams up with his fellow telepatico, Bruno Mastriano, to track down the mass-murderer Ása. This ruthless rogue operative, her gang of disenchanted former decoy agents and her pack of genetically engineered killer foxes are rapidly bringing chaos to the city of Eldísvík. To safeguard the rule of law, Nero has to survive long enough to expose powerful figures who would ransom the city to the highest bidder and bring an end to its freedom. Continuing the riveting Nordic saga of survival, loyalty, betrayal and love. A fast-paced, future-world thriller that will appeal to fans of Jo Nesbo, Margaret Atwood, Ursula le Guin, and J.G. Ballard.
Firstly I’d like to say I love the play on words with this title. This Soul’d World is presented as a new interpretation on old practices, in terms of looking both outwards and inwards to answer philosophical/ spiritual questions about life with a sci-fi twist. A science fiction adventure that crosses dimensions and themes. I liked that this book uses science fiction tropes to explore philosophical questions. The chapters are short and easy to read, and you find yourself reading “just one more” to progress further in the story. Interestingly, the main character of this story is Callison Trebla, a man about to retire, not a character at the start of a career embarking on an adventure. I liked this characterisation, I think it adds a sense of honest reflection to the more spiritual themes in this book. I was drawn in to this story early on and Callison early on and I was interested to see how the story progressed and in which ways the science fiction elements would be incorporated. I think that this book has a bit of something for everyone, there’s science fiction, spirituality and exploration into people and behaviour with a family that has endured a tragedy. As well as an entertaining story with endearing characters, this is a thought-provoking read that I would recommend for anyone looking for a multi-dimensional book.
Poetry Inspired By Oliver Fantasy & Friendship is a collection of poems I’m sure a lot of us have felt we could have written at one point in our lives or another. Following the thread of an unrequited or, as it says in the synopsis, “perhaps unrecognised” love. This collection of poems cover meeting, getting to know and desiring a person, her muse, as well as including brief italicised comments about the feelings or events that inspired the poem above. These are written quite poetically themselves. This is an indulgent collection of poetry that explores both friendship and sensual/erotic desires for a person. I think that most people will be able to find something to relate to although there is certainly bravery and honesty here in publishing these poems for all to read. There is a part of me that wonders whether Oliver is a real person and how he feels about these poems and that fact that they have been published. The tone of the collection reminds me of Andrew Lincoln’s character in Love Actually. I think there’s an argument to be had for whether these poems are a romantic gesture or perhaps should remain as private thoughts, and I think it depends on whether these poems are inspired by one person, and what their reaction is. I’m undecided about where I fall on that spectrum of debate, but taking the poetry collection on its own, I admire the vulnerability required to share these private thoughts with us and I like how it creatively explores the themes of unrequited love. This is a poetry collection that is quick and easy to get through to form your own reaction.
Rich in romance and peril, this explores the intersection of art, gender and politics in the turbulent 1930s, from Germany, Austria and Italy, to the United States. Second in a trilogy, Roma Calatayud-Stocks’s A Symphony of Rivals is suffused in the author’s passion for music, and her belief in the powerful persistence of art. The novel traverses 1930’s Germany, Austria, Italy and the United States as it tells the tale of Alejandra Morrison, a woman who aspires to become a symphony conductor in a man’s world, at a time when culture is increasingly coming under the crippling, censoring grip of Nazism. With a keen eye for detail and spritely dialogue, the author is clearly immersed in her subject as we follow Alejandra’s determined journey, first training with celebrated conductors in Berlin, later attracting the unwelcome attention of a high-ranking German officer. At times, this has the page-turning pace and drama of a literary thriller, replete with terrifying peril as Alejandra must make agonising, life-changing decisions, and domestic strife playing out alongside tangled political troubles. Musicophiles will no doubt appreciate the appendix that details works to accompany each chapter, among them Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca, Hubfeld’s As Time Goes By, and Verdi’s Nabucco. Joanne Owen, A LoveReading Ambassador