Indie Books We Love

Not all great books come through big publishers. Check out some of our favourite indie books on the market.

September 2021 Featured Books

The Bridge to Rembrandt

The Bridge to Rembrandt

Author: Nelson K. Foley Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/07/2021

 ‘The Bridge to Rembrandt’ by Nelson K. Foley is a story that follows soul mates through time, culminating in a meeting with the famous eponymous artist. We start in modern day Amsterdam, Robert does appear to have enough going on - he has a wife and two growing children, a secret affair with Saskia who is looking for more from him, and a business selling reproduction art that’s got itself into legal trouble. One day when everything gets a bit too much but as Robert drives across a bridge in the city he is transported back in time. Each time this happens, Robert goes further and further into the past. I like how the author sets the scene, the book doesn’t seem to rush to get to all the time-twisting and we have a good understanding of the characters ready for when the time periods change. I liked the descriptions of Amsterdam, and how its history is used throughout the story. I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting the person but the author did a good job of making it feel familiar, and the historical events throughout the book were entertaining and educational. The time travelling aspect isn’t explored in that much technical detail and, even though there is a time travel element, I wouldn’t describe this as a science fiction story. I’d say this is more ‘About Time’ and ‘Time Traveller’s Wife’ than ‘Doctor Who’ in terms of atmosphere and what a reader could expect. I liked the additional complication of Robert’s diabetes as he ends up further and further in the past, I feel this adds a subtle layer of urgency to the narrative. In all I thought that this was a well-written and entertaining book, great for historical fiction as well as contemporary fiction fans.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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The Tenets in the Tattoos

The Tenets in the Tattoos

Author: Becky James Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/07/2021

‘The Tenets in the Tattoos’ by Becky James is the first in an ambitious YA Fantasy series. In a world where everyone has a soulmate, another person who compliments and completes them, though not necessarily in a romantic sense. Thorrn has lived for a lot longer than most without finding his. When he does, he must not only learn to accept her but then work together with a collection of unlikely allies to save the kingdom. With secrets, revelations and plot twists along the way, ‘The Tenets in the Tattoos’ is certainly an action-packed adventure. I enjoyed this book, I liked the characters and found the unfamiliar descriptions of familiar things and places (trying to be vague to avoid spoilers) laugh out loud funny. The storyline is ambitious in its scope and really is one for fans of fantasy and science fiction, with multiple tropes all utilised to great effect as Thorrn and Evyn’s path unfolds. I liked Thorrn as a character, he’s arrogant enough in the beginning to not be particularly likeable, but not too arrogant that his work to earn forgiveness for his behaviour rings false. Each character is multi-dimensional and have their own skills that are utilised in the more tense parts of the plot. I think this is a strong new fantasy title and would be interested in reading the rest of the series.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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The Tests

The Tests

Author: Robert W Kirby Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/06/2021

‘The Tests’ by Robert W. Kirby is a tense psychological thriller. When Alex Clayton loses his mother he is adrift and looking to find himself some new friends and escape a school life of bullying. But the interesting group he chooses has an initiation in order to be a part of the gang. Years later, the initiation and his time with this group come back to haunt him and Alex’s only solution to end his insomnia and nightmares is to gather the gang and work out what happened. Flipping between each group member, the present and the past the reader is taken on a twisting and turning ride that doesn’t give you much time to find your feet, let alone work out what secrets are going to be revealed. Each flash to the past entices you to read on, to work out which event exactly is at the source of Alex’s search for the truth. Each change of character allows you to know more about the whole group of friends, allowing them to have their own developed story and dimension. Gripping and brutal this is a story that I couldn't put down, a rollercoaster ride for anyone looking for a thrill. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
Live a Life to Die For

Live a Life to Die For

Author: Roger Davies Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/06/2021

Starting off by recounting his incredible journey to the North Pole, ‘Live a Life to Die For’ by Roger Davies is a really interesting autobiography. Roger’s life story and what a varied life he has led. Some of the achievements included in this book, as well as coming 5th in a race to the North Pole include: being a part of the highest rugby game, played on Everest, climbing Kilimanjaro, rowing the North Atlantic and being a charity worker in Africa. These adventures, challenges and life experiences would be sufficient to fill an autobiography in themselves. However, intertwined within these epic tales is the more human story of a life turned around, addictions and adversities overcome. Through this combination, and the order in which each part of the author’s story is revealed to the reader, you learn where the author developed the true grit, strength of character and determination to achieve what he has in later life. Because of this unique structure and the honest and open writing style you’re able to enjoy these highs of the adventures even more. An inspirational and entertaining autobiography. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
Echoes of Light

Echoes of Light

Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/06/2021

‘Echoes of Light’ by Jani Viswanath is a collection of poetry and lyrical short stories that focus on kindness, hope and an appreciation for what is around you. Introductions before each poem and story display the title and a paragraph that sets the tone, I liked this as it helps you decide which piece to read, if you were reading the book out of order, or works as a literary palate cleanser, giving you a time to come out of the previous narrative and prepare for the next. All of the poems and the short stories are well written and well-structured. ‘Requiem’ was a poetry highlight to me, I liked the slow subtle revealing of the scene before me. The short stories all hold lessons about humanity and kindness being displayed in different forms and the tolerance and patience shown in ‘The Brahmin’s Karma-Sundra’ made it stand out to me. This is a very peaceful anthology of work. Each piece is separate but they all coexist perfectly in this collection. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for an uplifting and pleasant read. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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What About the Girl?

What About the Girl?

Author: K.T. Cavan Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/05/2021

The cold war and espionage in the 60s is the backdrop of ‘What About the Girl? Clemency White Takes Over’ by K.T. Cavan. The first in a spy series following Clemency White as she jumps at an opportunity to get involved in an undercover operation with agent Peter Aspinall. A different side of life from her work at the British Embassy in Bern, Clemency has to use strength, skills and courage she didn’t know she had as the KGB move in. I like Clemency, she seems a little amateur and makes rash decisions in the beginning and I enjoyed watching her character slowly develop as the book unfolds and I’m sure there’s more development to come as the series progresses. This is a fast paced book, full of interest and excitement and it is one that I found myself “one more chapter-ing” waiting to see what would happen next. Even though most of the focus is on Clemency and Peter, their relationship and the job in hand, the author still manages to add some dimension into the outside world, the setting and the cities the characters visit. I liked the tension building throughout the plot, the “will they won’t they” of Clemency and Peter as well as the constant risk of agents and eyes everywhere in the plot. The narrative flips perspectives during one especially dire situation and I found this further increased the tension, drawing the narrative out and left me eagerly wanting to read more. I’d recommend this book to those who love readers who love 60s espionage tales (think Man from U.N.C.L.E, or early Bond films) but want to try something with an interesting twist in perspective.

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Volta

Volta

Author: Nikki Dudley Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/05/2021

As soon as I opened the book and the title ‘Volta’ and its definition was revealed I knew this was going to be a book full of twists and turns and I looked forward to finding out exactly how this was going to be related to the plot. ‘Volta’ by Nikki Dudley throws the reader in at the deep end, when someone we later find out to be Briony wakes up covered in blood, apparently with no recollection of how she came to be in such a situation. We then pan out, taking the opportunity to meet Mari (Briony’s therapist) Aris (Mari’s detective brother) and SJ (Briony’s new lawyer with a history with Mari and a friendship with Aris). This interconnected foursome carry the plotline, each having their own turn with the narrative which I found added more dimension to the characters and the storyline. In this twisting and tense thriller there are multiple conundrums to figure out: what happened between Briony and Ed and is it connected to Briony’s past? What happened in SJ’s Past? And the ‘will they, won’t they’ of SJ and Mari which I found to be a more light-hearted aspect of the narrative that provided some much needed respite from the grittier topics although brought a different tension to the book. Having already won the Virginia Prize for Fiction, I know I will be adding my voice to a sea of others when I say that I really enjoyed this well-crafted and gripping thriller. The characters all have so much dimension and there’s a great deal of detail to the plot, this is a book I was mulling over when I wasn’t reading and will linger with me for a while now I’ve finished. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
Running Coyote and Fallen Star

Running Coyote and Fallen Star

Author: Gavin Boyter Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/04/2021

‘Running Coyote and Fallen Star’ by Gavin Boyter is a collection of short stories created through an interesting concept. Looking for inspiration the author started to write short stories to a strict word count using three randomly generated words as prompts. ‘Running Coyote and Fallen Star’ not only contains some of these works (that have received further editing from the initial strict requirements) but other stories of a variety of length for readers to disappear into. I found all of these stories very well-written and I liked the variety of genres within the collection. Some stories address life during the pandemic, others are set in the future with a science fiction twist. There’s tales of ghosts and old friendships and without going through and describing every single one, there’s something for everyone. If you’d like a recommendation to start with, I found ‘Duet’ to be the most powerful. A great short story collection to suit any mood or available reading time. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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THAT SUMMER IN NAUTILUS COVE

THAT SUMMER IN NAUTILUS COVE

Author: Julie Holland Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/04/2021

What a transportive read ‘That Summer on Nautilus Cove’ by Julie Holland is. Mixing summer and festive vibes, I think that this is a relationship story to be enjoyed in all seasons. Marnie Fawkner heads from Melbourne to Queensland to house sit for her sister, divorced and unemployed Marnie is at a crossroads and the time in Nautilus Cove will give her the seaside break she needs. Once there, Marnie becomes involved with the community and her sister’s business, but with her stay there only supposed to be temporary and plenty of troubles still waiting for her in Melbourne, will there be an opportunity for a fresh start? This is a really sweet and entertaining relationship story that reminded me of Carole Matthews. Marnie is lovable although frustrating in her attempts at self-sabotage and I was invested in seeing what would happen to her throughout the book. Interweaving family dynamics of a divorce, grown up children and new relationships, I feel that this is a nice and romantic story that will have broad appeal across the age ranges. A slice of sunshine with a side of feel-good that I thoroughly enjoyed reading and would highly recommend. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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Any Porth in a Storm The Long-Distance Walk that Goes South

Any Porth in a Storm The Long-Distance Walk that Goes South

Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/03/2021

‘Any Porth In A Storm’ is an entertaining piece of travel writing that follows Oscar Burton as he walks the South West Coastal Path. The journey covers 1015km and goes from Somerset to Dorset. With wit and deep insight, the author takes us on this gruelling journey filled with ups and downs, opportunities to meet new people and terrible weather conditions. This is a story of endurance. I was captivated by Oscar’s perseverance and needed to read on to see if he reached the end, although I was sad at the moment he lost his companion Zippy. I loved the literary references throughout, and although this book does not inspire me to walk the Path it does inspire me to learn about and see more of the South West Coast. Set against the backdrop of political and economic uncertainty experienced in the UK in modern times with fallouts from Brexit etc. and ending with the lockdowns of 2020, this is an enlightening read that will not only potentially put you off walking the Path in one go, but also give you the space to explore themes of resilience and hope amidst dire circumstances. An enthralling read that I would wholeheartedly recommend.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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When I Think of My Body as a Horse

When I Think of My Body as a Horse

Author: Wendy Pratt Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/03/2021

When I first read the title of this book, I was unsure what to expect. To my delight I discovered a collection of quite beautiful and extremely emotive poems. To analyse any would be to completely spoil the intense feeling that I had when I read them. Frequently I find poetry collections from a single poet rather disappointing as I will only engage with a few of them. Here, however, I found myself drawn in by the subject matter and beautifully evocative language of each individual poem. This is a book that I should like to own and to read and reread. I welcome the experience of discovering it. Val Rowe, A LoveReading Ambassador

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Rone Isa

Rone Isa

Author: Robin Murarka Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/08/2020

Being a fan of Philip K. Dick, I was interested as soon as I saw a comparison to ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ in the synopsis of ‘Rone Isa’ by Robin Murarka. This book sees the creation of an AI which calls themselves Enoya by the engineer Dargaud. It is dystopian, with the odd jarring reference but ultimately uses Enoya and their position as “other” to really delve into and analyse the human condition. As Dargaud questions Enoya, exploring the workings of this new AI that’s able to self-monitor and evolve, it becomes clear to the reader that Enoya is also watching and learning more about Dargaud. As the book develops we learn more about the engineer, he is a flawed, and not particularly likeable character who is rather self-absorbed, only really paying attention to his own desires and needs. Because of this as the reader follows his story we brush by key information that hints at this story’s dramatic end. ‘Rone Isa’ is a very well-crafted narrative that will demand your complete attention. The literary style flows well and adds some complexity, but also draws you into the story and encourages you to explore and dissect human nature as Enoya questions and grows. An intriguing storyline that leaves you pondering even as you reach the final page, I would recommend this book to readers of literary fiction that are looking for something with a science fiction twist. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador 

Indie Books We Love

August 2021 Featured Books

The Timepiece and the Girl Who Went Astray

The Timepiece and the Girl Who Went Astray

Author: O.R. Simmonds Format: Ebook Release Date: 30/07/2021

William is just an unassuming American who ends up in the wrong place and definitely the wrong time! He lives an unexciting life in London, but when he goes to buy a watch for his girlfriend his life take a very dramatic turn. He ends up being accused of murder,  and being chased through history by a secret organisation who will stop at nothing to get their “timepiece” back. Travel with William through his exciting journey and enjoy a thrilling and riveting read. Maureen Gourlay, A LoveReading Ambassador

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Clean Sweep  A Novel

Clean Sweep A Novel

Format: Ebook Release Date: 20/07/2021

‘Clean Sweep: A Novel’ by E. B. Lee is a modern fiction story focused on family and community set amongst the homeless in New York. The story develops gradually, we learn more about Carli Morris, her desire to give back now she's retired and her loss-filled past. The plotline develops gradually, as Carli’s time helping those on the streets leads to her own gut-wrenching revelations. As you read, you get to know and learn to love each of the characters in ‘Clean Sweep’. We’re walking side by side with Carli as she works to make a connection with each person in order to try and get them inside and any support they need. I enjoyed the pace of the plot as it gives you time with a fully formed cast of characters. There are questions that need to be answered in this book, but it does so at it’s own pace as opposed to being a frantic mystery to be solved. As with the outreach work in the book, things take time. A serious book that focuses on the very important topic of homelessness in a way that is engaging and compassionate. This is a very worthwhile read and I would recommend it.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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Marathon Man: My Life, My Father's Stroke and Running 35 Marathons in 35 Days

Marathon Man: My Life, My Father's Stroke and Running 35 Marathons in 35 Days

Author: Alan Corcoran Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/06/2021

I was really interested to read this book, as I enjoy running myself. However, the thought of even one marathon is alarming let alone 35 in 35 days! However, that is what Alan Corcoran did in the summer of 2012. Following his father’s sudden stroke, Alan decided he needed to do something to channel his energy and raise money for the charities that helped his father. He thought up this idea of running around Ireland, which broke down to a total of 35 marathons. This book details his journey from thinking up the challenge, to setting it in motion, to each marathon at a time. He encountered huge challenges along the way even before he started, especially with the sheer amount of logistics involved from accommodation, to food, to a support team. He details each of the marathons that he completes and the highs and lows. I really felt for him along his journey and was willing him on as he encountered injury, after injury. The amount of determination this man has is incredible and I whole heartedly admire him for what he did – a fantastic read.  Nicola Coen, A LoveReading Ambassador

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The Tiergarten Tales

The Tiergarten Tales

Author: Paolo G. Grossi Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/06/2021

‘The Tiergarten Tales’ by Paolo G. Grossi is a collection of short Historical fiction relationship stories set in Berlin. Each story is self contained, well-written and I feel they each flow nicely. I found this collection of short stories quite escapist, which is no bad thing. Each narrative seems to explore and take place in, if not directly the setting of wealth and status, most definitely one of comfort. Focusing mainly on the connection formed between people, I found the emphasis on affection and connection in the stories enjoyable to read. I like the tone and the style of the writing and I found the atmospheres created through the stories quite soothing. As ‘The Tiergarten Tales’ are historical fiction, I did read them feeling that they were somewhat classical in nature. This collection of short stories isn’t like Jane Austen but I got the same feeling of “not everything is positive all the time but it will turn out well” when I read this collection. I found the descriptions of Germany transportative and enlightening, it made me realise how much German history I wasn’t aware of. The collection of stories that make up ‘The Tiergarten Tales’ are pleasant reads and I would recommend it to fans of classical stories that have an emphasis on human connection. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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Madrigal A Closely Guarded Secret

Madrigal A Closely Guarded Secret

Author: Christophe Medler Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/05/2021

'Madrigal’ by Christophe Medler is a great book for history buffs and fans of historical fiction. Set in a period of civil unrest in England and against the backdrop of true events, the author takes us through the English Civil War on the quest to uncover details of a secret plot, code-named the Madrigal. The first thing that is apparent when reading this is how well-researched ‘Madrigal’ is. You have to have an in-depth knowledge of the period in order to make it your own with embellishments and not only has the author managed to create an interesting historical mystery that feels plausible, there’s links to historical research and a list of fictional and historical characters at the end of the book. Set in the 1600s, there’s a great deal of attention to detail in ‘Madrigal’ to help you feel immersed in the time and setting. With references to Shakespeare and even illustrations throughout to help the modern reader feel like they’re in familiar surroundings. I found the third person, omniscient in places narrative style to be slightly detached which isn’t a bad thing, it allowed for a more enjoyable read for me to feel as though I was following the twists and turns of the plot at a distance. With the fictional characters as well rounded as the historical figures, I think that this book would be a good recommendation for fans of mysteries and historical fiction. I’d recommend it to fans of ‘Wolf Hall’. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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Three: A Tale of Brave Women and the Eyam Plague

Three: A Tale of Brave Women and the Eyam Plague

Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/05/2021

What a brilliant book, beautifully and sensitively written. Oddly I was about a third of the way in before I remembered that Eyam was a real village and the happenings, although fictionalised, were also true, which gave the story so much more depth. Although the book was set in the 17th century, the characters of the three women, Catherine, Elizabeth and Emmett, seem somehow quite modern. It could be that the plague and our current pandemic make the story line that much more poignant, but I think it is more that the writer is able to write about emotion, grief and hope with such conviction. When reading historical fiction, so much is said about infant mortality that you tend to gloss over it as the norm, but the way it is written about in this book, is so contemporary and real. How the mother watches over her children as they sleep and how each one is so precious, is not an emotion that changes with the centuries. The links to our present situation runs through the whole book, with phrases such as 'every day seemed to have no bounds and flowed in endless sameness' and 'the invisible threat' being particularly memorable. Also the way William carefully records the deaths each month reminds me of radio news reports! The book develops so well in both characterisation but also in plot - how the village isolates itself, but also how it learns from the deaths and ways to cope with the disease and the solitary existence forced upon the village. It was definitely a memorable and thought provoking read. It made me appreciate how much people gave up for the safety of others. I shall be buying a hard copy of this to keep.  Rosie Watch, A LoveReading Ambassador

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A Ghost for a Clue (Immortology, Book 1)

A Ghost for a Clue (Immortology, Book 1)

Author: C.L.R. Draeco Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/03/2021

‘A Ghost for a Clue’ by C.L.R. Draeco is the first book in a science fiction and fantasy series that incorporates scientific fact and supernatural lore in order to create a plotline that feels authentic and believable. Bram’s workmate dies and Torula thinks she’s been able to gather the data that proves her greenhouse is haunted. With these two incidents possibly connected, Bram and Torula combine fields, expertise and resources in order to conduct scientific research into the afterlife. Grounding the story with scientific facts and supernatural lore makes this book a detailed, intriguing and entertaining read. If you like science and the paranormal, you will love this book. It has an abundance of both. Some great plotting and very likeable characters, in particular the main character. On the whole I enjoyed this book and would recommend you reading it. I do like to read books that are a bit different for me, and this did the trick. Thank you for the opportunity to read this.  Helen Lowry, A LoveReading Ambassador

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July 2021 Featured Books

The Darlings

The Darlings

Author: Angela Jackson Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/06/2021

When Mark is 15 a freak accident changes his life forever. He was the golden boy. He was admired by all who knew him. The accident casts Mark adrift for a decade, until he meets Sadie, someone who could put his life back together again. But a chance meeting with someone from his past is set to unmoor Mark again, driven by his need to heal the wounds from his past once and for all. I found the characterisation in this book to be very descriptive. I liked that ‘The Darlings’ showed how a traumatic incident during Mark’s childhood had a huge impact on his adult life and future relationships. I loved this book, in fact I couldn’t put it down. I felt like I had become a part of the character’s lives and I found myself getting quite attached to them as the story went on.  I recommend ‘The Darlings’ highly and I will definitely be looking out for more of Angela’s books.

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Mother of the Fire

Mother of the Fire

Author: Nicole van Niekerk Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/06/2021

A vivid historical fiction, ‘Mother of the Fire’ by Nicole van Niekerk has a strong female lead, Louisa Auguste Béjart – Charles II’s illegitimate daughter. With great descriptions that really help set the scene of London and France in 1666, and vibrant characterisation that helps to further bring the narrative to life. This is a book full of adventure, drama and intrigue, Louisa is caught between her own independence, her place in society and her fathers crown. There was plenty of drama and the book flowed at a fast pace that kept me immersed in the storyline. I think that this is a brilliant book for fans of historical fiction, for those who are interested in narratives that focus on English royal court life. I enjoyed reading from the female perspective, with the mention of it being frowned upon for Louisa to be a playwright and other restrictions she faces being included was a nice additional detail. I feel the author did her research when writing this book and created a wholly believable historical fiction story that I enjoyed time travelling within. A book that I felt immersed in from the start and was able to enjoy in one sitting I would recommend ‘Mother of Fire’ and look out for similar books by this author in the future. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories

The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories

Author: David Joseph Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/05/2021

'The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories' is a collection of 14 thoughtful and thought-provoking short stories by David Joseph. Previously published as a poet, the author's lyrical prose flows effortlessly throughout the book. Set in a series of Spanish and Portuguese cities, characters of differing ages, gender and origins reveal their joy, grief, regret or sadness through extraordinary events in their otherwise ordinary lives. Many of these stories are outstanding but, for me, particularly so is 'The Cleanest Alimentación in Spain'. It tells of 18 year old Jorge, a second generation Chinese immigrant, who works in the family convenience store at weekends to give his mother a break. One quiet Sunday afternoon, four yobs enter the shop intent on making trouble. Although powerfully built, Jorge keeps his cool as they sweep tins from the stacked shelves, laughing and jeering all the while. Thinking of the long and proud histories of their two countries, he stands firm as the louts walk off with their loot, which he pays for from his own money to prevent his mother finding out. We learn of his love for a Spanish student in his class, the dream of being with her, the burden of prejudice but the hope she gives him for Spain, for the future, for himself. This moving collection is a must-read...compelling, sincere, incisive and keenly observed. The backdrop of the Iberian peninsula is magnificently evocative, so much so that the reader is transported to the sun and sites there, which is just what is needed when, at the moment, it's so difficult to actually travel in person.   Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador

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Bent

Bent

Author: J. Adams Format: Ebook Release Date: 16/05/2021

Part memoir, part dismantling of the perceived fixed ideas on identity and sexuality, ‘Bent’ is based on the author's own experiences of sexuality and manhood. I really enjoyed the author’s honest and witty writing style, and found it very easy to become immersed in tales.  Using lived experience to explore issues around labels and preconceptions. I think that this book brilliantly gets across the message that the connection to another person is the important part of any relationship. I also loved that he takes the opportunity to discuss consent and how to work through this topic with a teenager.  I read this book in one sitting. Vibrant, educational and thought provoking, this is a brilliant book for expanding your horizons and perhaps reframing how you look at the world. I would heartily recommend this book to nonfiction and fiction fans alike, if you are looking for a deeply personal narrative with moments to pause and reflect.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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The Fifth: Indoctrinated City

The Fifth: Indoctrinated City

Author: Chris Sykes Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/04/2021

When a fascist majority has control of Parliament, certain groups of people are considered illegal, from there we follow a family looking to escape the patrols, finding others in underground hideaways, where they can work to fight back. 'The Fifth’ by Chris Sykes  is a split narrative, focussing on siblings Jenny and Jack, separated early in the book, and their paths as part of rebel forces. The story is set in York, and as a northerner I liked to be able to follow the characters down recognisable streets made unfamiliar in the author’s world. I found that this book is well-written and, although it begins as a dystopian thriller, soon develops strong sci-fi elements that aren’t to be missed by science fiction fans. Dealing with a host of delicate subjects (with a trigger warning that also includes a message of hope at the start of the book which I appreciated) I feel that the author navigates this story well. It is very well-written and I was immersed in the character development of both Jenny and Jack, following on with Jenny’s missions and hoping for improvements for Jack. This story is action packed, with twists that I could never have predicted and I would recommend for readers in the older YA market. I was eager to find out exactly what was happening and wanted to read the book in one sitting. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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I Escape Through You

I Escape Through You

Format: Paperback Release Date: 09/04/2021

When I first heard of ‘I Escape Through You’ by Mike Arnold it sounded like a story of the right person at the wrong time. However this book is more than that. Taking a more intimate look at mental health, and how people leap into relationships in order to try to fix themselves as opposed to working to fix themselves before entering a happy and healthy relationship. Told in just over 100 pages, the author manages to draw us into the intimate lives of Megan and Lucas in relatively few words. This a very well-written book, with an eloquent and fluid writing style that flows from reflections to setting the scene to Lucas’ inner thoughts. It’s interesting to hear this style of story from a male perspective, and I was interested in what he had to say from the very first page. Looking at modern challenges for relationships, from meeting online to long-distance and family pressures to more challenging issues of mental health breakdowns and self harm. This book is a brilliant story about people, how they connect, how they love and how that love and connection changes over time. I wanted to read this in one sitting and I would highly recommend this title. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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A Diary of England in the 1970s

A Diary of England in the 1970s

Author: Ian Palmer Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/04/2021

‘A Diary of England in the 1970s’ by Ian Palmer is a brilliant nostalgia piece filled with pop culture, news, sports and more, logged in chronological order guaranteed to spark memories for those who were 60s and 70s children. The book starts with ‘Once upon a time, a happy time, long before Covid-19’, firmly setting it’s stall out as a book to escape into, a book filled with opportunities to reminisce, or even an opportunity to learn about our more recent history. A running commentary taking us from 1970 to 1979, ‘A Diary of England in the 1970s’ whizzes through memories like a video tape on fast forward, each touchstone a flash then on to the next. This book is very well-written although in a bit of an unusual style, a stream of consciousness, succinct but so densely packed with information. Split into seasons as opposed to months, the author takes us through many 70s highlights, from George Lazenby as James Bond, number ones and football scores. Along with the more nostalgic features like the price of a pint of Carling, the author includes key political events such as the Troubles in Ireland and Margaret Thatcher. I would have liked the text to be a bit more broken up, with the inclusion of images where possible to truly make this a delight for anyone looking to reminisce about the 70s. As is, I can see this being a series, and something that would be a great gift for family or friends. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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The Road To My Horizon

The Road To My Horizon

Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/04/2021

‘The Road To My Horizon’ by Timothy Parker is a detailed account of one man’s life. An autobiography initially created for his family and friends, anecdotal in nature as opposed to an in depth account of every stage in Tim’s life. The result is a vibrant story of a family and a man with a great deal of life experience and advice to offer based on those experiences. Dating from WWII to present day, this book is also a personal look through modern history and would be great for those with an interest in history. With appendices with additional detail pertaining to the events in the book, I can see this book having a wide appeal. ‘The Road To My Horizon’ is well-written, providing detail and in depth description in a conversational and engaging tone. I read this book with great interest, although not an upbringing I can relate to as such, I found this an entertaining story. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in people’s stories, as well as those wanting to read a personal recollection of modern history. I’m sure the anecdotes in this book will spark memories for many readers about their own childhoods and I think that this is a great way to catalogue your personal history for future generations to treasure.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect

Author: G D Harrison Format: Ebook Release Date: 03/03/2021

‘Past Imperfect’ by GD Harrison is a short story that focuses on the family relationships between social worker Colin and his mother and one of Colin’s patients Samuel, and his family Josie and Steve. This book is interesting from the start, as we are introduced from Samuel’s perspective, with more information gradually incorporated. I was interested to find out who the characters were and what was happening from the start and keen to read the story to the end. As this is a rather short book the characterisation happens quickly and easily, you immediately get to grips with the nuances of each character and their personal struggles while the main plot progresses. A tale of family secrets, strain and loss with a brilliant ending, this book can be read in a single sitting and I think would be enjoyed by people who like family drama and modern and contemporary fiction. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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Rewriting Our Stories:  Education, empowerment, and well-being

Rewriting Our Stories: Education, empowerment, and well-being

Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/02/2021

I came across ‘Rewriting Our Stories’ by Dr Derek Gladwin at the perfect time. This is a well-written and clearly structured book that forms a part of the MindYourSelf book series - a series created with the intention of providing clear, peer reviewed information from frontline professionals that, although not a replacement for personalised medical advice from your doctors, can help us to take better care of ourselves. Very clear and broken up into easy to follow chapters, ‘Rewriting Our Stories’ focuses on how we use storytelling in our everyday lives to form narratives about ourselves and the world around us. These narratives are formed by our experiences and shape the way we feel and think. Taking us gradually through why we tell stories to how to change the negative things we say and think about ourselves, Dr Derek Gladwin provides information and practical advice on how to reframe these negative narratives into positive affirmations as well as changing our perceptions of the world around us. I personally found the ‘Thinking Too Much’, ‘Living Moment by Moment’ sections to be most helpful. I really enjoyed the layout of this book, the summarising bullet points and the reflection questions throughout let you ponder over recent topics, allowing you the time for greater insight of how internalised narratives affect your thinking before moving through the chapters to more practical tips on how to change the stories we tell ourselves. I also liked the concept, as a bookworm I felt at home with the analogy of internalised beliefs are stories we tell ourselves, and how to practice editing and rewriting these narratives. I personally struggle to remember to implement the advice in self help books but I feel that the author has hit on a really clear to understand perspective with ‘Rewriting Our Stories’, and one that I know I will remember and be able to reflect on and utilise in the future. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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Toy Soldiers

Toy Soldiers

Author: Amy Tollyfield Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/11/2020

‘Toy Soldiers’ is a short collection of 28 poems by Amy Tollyfield. There’s a wide variety of themes focused on in this collection and any poetry fan is bound to find a new piece to suit their mood.  I enjoyed how each poem flowed, had its own pace but there is a notable lyricism in the author’s writing that I found stayed consistently throughout. Throughout the collection I found that Tollyfield was able to craft poems that were immediately immersive and evocative. Each one left me pausing for a moment, contemplating the scene that had just been brought to life, before moving on to the next.  My favourite poem in the collection is ‘Gentle Rain’, there’s a cosiness and a comfort to it that sat very well with me, although I also found ‘Boudicca’ to have some powerful imagery too. I think that this is a great collection for fans of poetry. One that entices you back. I read this cover to cover then when skipping back to ponder over my favourites. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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Rescuing General Patton

Rescuing General Patton

Author: Curtis Stephen Burdick Format: Ebook Release Date: 06/11/2020

‘Rescuing General Patton’ by Curtis Stephen Burdick is a historical fiction with mystery at it’s heart. As stated in the prologue, General George S. Patton, renowned for his strategy during the course of the second world war, is reassigned without post, a cover-up for other action, but whether it is for an undercover command or something else? This plot reveals everything. I liked the concept of the novel, akin in nature but not necessarily in topic to 'A Room Made of Leaves' by Kate Grenville, this book takes a historical figure and embellishes history in order to create an enticing and engrossing read with a believable feel. At 197 pages, I enjoyed this book in a single sitting, immersed in the storyline and eager to learn whether General Patton would be successfully rescued. I feel ‘Rescuing General Patton’ would appeal to historical fiction fans broadly, and fans of WW2 fiction specifically. A very well-written and well researched book, as you need to know your history to adapt it in this way, I found that this book was an engrossing read full of twists, thrills, tension and action. Highly entertaining for those who are familiar with General Patton, or those who, like myself, were introduced to him for the first time here.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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Tales From The Gray Area

Tales From The Gray Area

Author: Curtis Stephen Burdick Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/01/2020

A collection of seven novellas ‘Tales from the Gray Area’ is an anthology of imaginative stories that set my mind ablaze. From mysterious creatures, strange occurrences, Angels and UFOs, I think there’s a story for everyone in this anthology and after each, I wanted to know more, I pondered wider implications and wanted to know what else could happen after the events of the novella ends. Each unique storyline was completely immersive, with varying characters and settings to keep them distinct and interest the reader anew. I think that ‘Tales from a Gray Area’ could be read from cover to cover, and I could also see myself returning to my favourites in the future, ‘Reincarnated’ being one of them for inspiring remembrances of Cloud Atlas. Blending science fiction with fantasy and reality, these varying stories entice you in with mysteries and questions and leave you wanting to read more after they end. ‘Tales from the Gray Area’ is well-written, crafted like any good short story or novella, by using the minimum number of words to their maximum effect. I feel that each story was long enough to become fully immersed in the storyline and the questions within, but short enough to flash through in one sitting. I see this book on the bookshelves of many science fiction fans. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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The Extraordinary Happenings of Peter Oddfellow: The Old Umbrella

The Extraordinary Happenings of Peter Oddfellow: The Old Umbrella

Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/04/2018

The Extraordinary Happenings of Peter Oddfellow: The Old Umbrella by Mark Dorey is part of the wider Extraordinary Happening of Peter Oddfellow series. In this first book, ‘The Old Umbrella’ we are introduced to Peter Oddfellow and join him on his adventure into a strange new world with the help of a rather useless looking umbrella. This is a very imaginative fantasy novel that I think will be a great read for teens and adults alike. 14-year old Peter doesn’t feel like he fits in, and after waking up in hospital with two broken legs and amnesia he doesn’t expect to be transported on an adventure with a motley crew of friends. I really enjoyed this book. I found all of the characters, their clashing personalities that still managed to come together when needed, entertaining and funny. I particularly liked Mulg and found his disgust at his feline form quite funny. The events of the novel, while Peter is in a world we would all find familiar, is set in the 1980s, which I found to be an interesting element and made the story feel more traditional to me. A little bit Narnia-esque, ‘The Old Umbrella’ leaves everything perfectly ready for the next book in the series ‘The Red Leaf’, and I think that readers enchanted by this book will have found a great new series to follow. I would recommend this book to fans of teen and YA fantasy adventures.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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