Books we've read through our Indie Author Review System. If you're looking to give an independent author a chance, look no further.
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
The Life in Full Colors: Unlock Your Childlike Curosity to Uncover and Activate the Creative Intelligence is a clear, easy read to read book, the book is written in an informal friendly style, like a conversation with a close friend. It’s like a calming voice telling you what to do. There are 7 steps to creating a life in full colour and she talks about Creative Intelligence which we all have but just need to find and activate. I especially like that Corry has a refresh and review which is a bullet point summary of the main things talked about, at the end of each chapter. I find the book is like a gentle step by step guide with lots hugs and reassurances. Maisie Hoang, A LoveReading Ambassador
Available as part of Kindle Unlimited or for £1.99 I absolutely loved this book and the further into it I got, the harder it was to put it down. Sometimes it went into too much detail for me and there are some spelling and grammar mistakes, but if you can get past those, I think you will love it. I grew up in Guildford where Dark Corporation HQ are, so that was fun thinking about where the offices could be. The characters are all very believable. The story builds up gradually and then suddenly, it is all over. You are finished. I would have loved the suspense to continue a little longer. I am purposefully not wanting to give any spoilers. I am really looking forward to reading book 2 in the series now. Alison Bisping, A LoveReading Ambassador
Horatio’s Promise is a historical mystery with an omniscient narrator that hints at the mysteries to come from the first pages. The author does well to introduce you to the town of Horatio’s Promise and describe the quirks of the townsfolk. I didn’t find Alfred Spellmen particularly likeable to begin with, seeming either perhaps a little self-absorbed and entitled or naive in regards to his relationship with Leonora, his landlady. As the story progresses we see that he is a flawed character that I grew to appreciate a little bit more. In his eagerness to get everything back to how it was the last summer he’d spent in Horatio’s Promise, Alfred tries to discover what happens to his landlady’s husband. This mystery combined with a polio epidemic affecting a number of his music students, puts Alfred in greater danger, and his survival is under threat. This book handles a mystery while also covering the effect of loss on a community. There’s suspicion, plot twists and enigma that I think would be of interest to anyone who likes a classic-feeling mystery.
‘Maps Full of Borders’ is a literary take on the coming-of age theme. The reader is introduced to Molly, plagued by indecision at the start of a painting. This questioning is expanded to more than her work as Molly’s internal monologue is used as a space for exposition, focusing deeply on a variety of issues from growing old, legacy, gender roles and Molly’s own family history. Like the borders mentioned in the title, each of the early chapters are neatly categorized to focus on a specific part of Molly’s life, and you, the reader, are kept on the other side of your own border enforced by third-person narration. This distance made it quite difficult for me to get into the story initially and I found I wasn’t particularly endeared towards Molly as I read. The book is well-written, the concepts and arguments put across by Molly in the book are clear and passionate. From the analytical perspective throughout the book I would hesitate a guess that the author is an artist, or interested in art themselves. They have a keen eye for detail that appears to help them to critique the human condition and find symbols for interpretation in the world around them, and it’s a perspective that adds an extra layer of analysis in the writing. This is an interesting take on a coming-of-age story, and I think it would be enjoyable for fans of literary fiction.
The disguise is a high octane action adventure centring on Daniel Sawyer, a well trained and capable US spy working covertly on secret weapons and missions that have helped the US stay as a powerful world leader. That is until he is wanted for the murder of his own boss, then he needs to use all of his skills to evade and uncover what is happening to him as well as stop the enormous threat that approaches the country he has spent all of his career trying to protect, even though his enemies may have the upper hand. This is currently a standalone book but I’m sure there’s a lot of scope to create a series of stories. The mysteries build from the first page as we learn more about Dan’s work before everything begins to unravel. I was perhaps a little surprised that such a well-trained service man was relatively easy to shock and frame, but I read on with interest to see how the situation would be resolved. I think I would have liked to know more about Dan’s work with the army before the main action begins, as I think it could have made me more invested in the characters. This is a fast paced, reasonably short read that is full of action, twists and turns.
This book shares Peter’s journey through contracting Meningitis. Having experienced this awful illness through a close family member, I really wanted to read this book. Peter speaks of his illness, his hospital stay and recovery in a very insightful out way. He goes into very interesting detail, explaining how he felt, the terrible side effects of his Meningitis and his gradual recovery. The journey is interesting, heart-breaking, and funny in places too. Peter also includes many of the doctor’s notes, so you also follow his experience from another perspective. The notes are easy to read and are not peppered with lots of medical terminology, something which I have experienced in other such books. I am so glad that Peter felt the need to share his journey and I am even more glad that I read this book. Gail Phillips, A LoveReading Ambassador
Listen to the Colours by J.L.Dupont is a well researched WW2 story but like no other war story you will have ever read before. Seen through three very different pairs of eyes, a German soldier, a Polish prisoner of war and a young French boy, we read how the lottery of birth affects life experiences and how these can be made sense of and coped with, even manipulated, under very difficult circumstances. We first meet Heinrich and Hanusz, long time friends and now studying together at the technical college in their home town of Gdansk/Danzig, in 1939, when the city is seized by the Nazi regime and the Pole is forced to complete his studies elsewhere in Poland. Heinrich joins and rapidly rises through the ranks of the German army, whilst Hanusz is soon captured by this rapidly advancing force. The contrast between the privileges of the former and the privations of the latter are really well written and will take the reader right there. But what sets this book apart is the heart wrenching story of Remy, who is 12 years old at the start of the war and severely autistic. The author manages to take us right inside the boy's mind in a way that is quite remarkable and explains just what it means to live in a world that largely follows a different set of rules. A quirk of fate brings these three characters together in a forest in Northern France in 1945 and bonds, both old and new, prove stronger than ideologies but only one of the three will survive. The title of the book refers to the way Remy experiences music, amongst other things, and as another character says 'one French hand, one German hand, a Polish composer and together one performance...that's the Europe I hope will rise from the ruins', a sentiment that is in danger at the present time. This is definitely a must read for anyone interested in people and what makes them tick. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
'A Mistake Incomplete' is Lorenzo Petruzziello's second book and is a noir novel, something I had not come across before. Although not a genre I would necessarily seek out again, of it's type it seems to be a good example, well-written, exciting and suspenseful. The main characters, Stefano and Beatrice, are enigmatic, immoral and deceitful, in fact deeply flawed in all areas of social interaction. The darkness of their minds and their inability to escape the downward spiral caused by the lifestyle and decisions they have fallen into are explored in detail by the author. It is disturbing but by no means devoid of light relief. There is much humour and wonderful descriptions of the Milanese setting, the food and cocktails consumed between killing or avoiding being killed. At the end of the day, I was none the wiser about what was going on or who I should want to come out on top but the author succeeded in his goal of 'making doom fun'!. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
A collection of short stories, ‘Ekleipsis’ contains five different stories that all focus on what happens when the characters turn their back on their humanity. The tension builds through each story builds, with gaps in information intriguing and encouraging the reader to complete the story and discover what happens. There’s a moment of grim realisation in the stories, where you know the horrifying twist that’s coming, but you can’t tear your eyes away from the pages as the dramatic twists suddenly unfold. I found each of the stories were perfectly sized - long enough to immerse you in the scene and surroundings, developing the characters and the setting well while also being succinct enough for you to read the whole story in a short sitting. This is a book you can dip in and out of, or, as I did, read the book from cover to cover, eager to know what the author has in store for you next. Each story is self-contained and covers a number of different themes and topics, from affairs and PTSD to much darker themes that would be too much of a spoiler to mention. A great read for fans of darker themed books, tension building thrillers and horror. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador