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Indie Books We Love

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

June 2021 Featured Books

The Die Is Cast

The Die Is Cast

Author: Heights & Woodhouse Format: Ebook Release Date: 30/06/2021

‘The Die is Cast’ is an adventurous story about the supposed identity and whereabouts of the Dish of Christ. This is the first book in the Lady Jane and the Last Supper Dish Series that sets the wheels in motion for four different stories to collide, each centred around revealing the truth about the Christ’s Last Supper Dish. This quest is filled with mystery and intrigue, using history, myth and imagination. I found the plot very well written, the book, in the prologue the atmosphere of panic and loss of hope during the fall of Constantinople is well conveyed, and also sets up the mystery to be investigated in the modern narratives. I liked this layout, letting the reader in on parts of what really happened before being introduced to the characters that will be involved in investigating.   Each storyline comes with it’s own motive, with the Dish of Christ meaning something different to each of the characters. Ray Cozart and Natalie Ashbrook, are looking for a way to revitalise their careers and their relationship. Jane Whitaker loves adventure and in her search must face her family’s problems. Professor Adam Burke looks for academic acclaim and a way to get ahead of a rival. The Order of Andronicus, the descendent of the original Keepers must overcome their centuries of resent and work quickly to protect their secrets from others, as some within their own ranks seek to sabotage their efforts. A grand quest filled with adventure, twists and humour travels alongside multiple storylines about people. This is a story about traditions, relationships, families and how private resentments can hold you back as much as it is about the hunt for a sacred relic. I liked the multi-faceted nature of the narrative and getting to know all of the characters. This is a well written story to sink into and enjoy and I look forward to seeing what’s to come in the rest of the series. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
In the Beast's Cage

In the Beast's Cage

Author: Mac Altgelt Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/06/2021

Mac Altagelt’s ‘In The Beast’s Cage’ combines the story of a sleepy American town, where everyone knows everyone and one girl’s father rather eccentrically wants to refurbish and reopen the local zoo, with mystery and gothic themes as a stranger with a dark past lands in the port, and exotic game smugglers set off from Africa when they hear of a potentially lucrative opportunity.  I thought that this book was very well written and it flows nicely. There are flashbacks scattered throughout during the quieter points of the plot in order to offer more character backstory. In the prologue we are first introduced to smugglers in the Amazon and it is some time before we hear from them again. Although I enjoyed the storyline based in Georgia, I think it would have been nice to build the tension and the threat they pose by including more chapters from them in the lead up to merging of the storylines.  There’s something quite familiar about certain aspects of the plot, an immortal man docking in a foreign land in a boat where he is the only person on board has echoes of ‘Dracula’, the ancient house lost in melancholy, to be brightened and revived by the arrival of a beautiful young girl has the essence of a fairy-tale. While crafting a plotline that in itself is quite unique, ‘In The Beast’s Cage’ manages to evoke a comforting familiarity that made me even more eager to read on. I flew through this story in a single day, the supernatural aspects of the book aren’t overly emphasised and I think would appeal to readers who prefer more literary fiction. Yet for those who enjoy fantasy books, you will be left intrigued, wondering and guessing throughout, keen to discover more as the main action around the Georgia zoo unfolds. A great book that comes highly recommended from me. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador 

Indie Books We Love
Becoming: The Greatest You

Becoming: The Greatest You

Author: Krahtay Gaylah Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/06/2021

‘BECOMING: The Greatest You’ by Krahtay Gaylah is a book created in order to help you become the best version of yourself you can be.  Developed from the author’s own experiences this book contains Krahtay’s journey as well as exercises, examples and affirmations that you can use in order to discover your own path to become your best self. This book has been created to offer inspiration and guidance and is the kind of book that you can return to at any time and re-read with new eyes and a greater understanding. Each chapter is self-contained, with an introductory scenario, from the author's life or more allegorical as well as more detail about the lessons that can be found in each lived experience. This book also includes affirmations and questions that can help the reader to gain greater self-awareness and put each of the lessons held within this book into action. I found ‘BECOMING’ was really well laid out, and liked that you can jump between the topics that are of the most interest to you at the time. I liked that the author included their own experiences and introduced ideas with clear scenarios as opposed to only featuring more abstract “lessons”. I feel this helped to give context and also offer examples of how to incorporate these new ways of thinking into your life. I appreciated the opportunity to read this book and I think that 'BECOMING' is a really informative read for anyone looking to understand themselves more, perhaps heal from past trauma and make sure that life is lived to the fullest. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador 

Indie Books We Love
Becoming: The Greatest You

Becoming: The Greatest You

Author: Krahtay Gaylah Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/06/2021

‘BECOMING: The Greatest You’ by Krahtay Gaylah is a book created in order to help you become the best version of yourself you can be.  Developed from the author’s own experiences this book contains Krahtay’s journey as well as exercises, examples and affirmations that you can use in order to discover your own path to become your best self. This book has been created to offer inspiration and guidance and is the kind of book that you can return to at any time and re-read with new eyes and a greater understanding. Each chapter is self-contained, with an introductory scenario, from the author's life or more allegorical as well as more detail about the lessons that can be found in each lived experience. This book also includes affirmations and questions that can help the reader to gain greater self-awareness and put each of the lessons held within this book into action. I found ‘BECOMING’ was really well laid out, and liked that you can jump between the topics that are of the most interest to you at the time. I liked that the author included their own experiences and introduced ideas with clear scenarios as opposed to only featuring more abstract “lessons”. I feel this helped to give context and also offer examples of how to incorporate these new ways of thinking into your life. I appreciated the opportunity to read this book and I think that 'BECOMING' is a really informative read for anyone looking to understand themselves more, perhaps heal from past trauma and make sure that life is lived to the fullest. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador 

Indie Books We Love
Ever Rest

Ever Rest

Author: Roz Morris Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/06/2021

‘Ever Rest’ by Roz Morris is a beautifully well-written story that focuses on the after effects of the loss of a larger than life character. Rock musician Ashten dies on a mountain climbing expedition and his fiancée, bandmates and bodyguard have been left with a hole in their lives that has never been healed as twenty years on as the past is continually dragged back up each time a body is recovered.  We learn more about Elza, Hugo, Steve and Robert, their history and connection to The Ashbirds and the paths their lives have taken since the band’s abrupt end. We see them struggle to get their lives back together while the spectre of Ash, and renown in general prevents them from finding complete normalcy.  The thing that struck me the most in this narrative is how it handles the theme of fame. Someone, or a group of people can be very famous, known around the world even for a single thing or for the briefest time, and yet that single accomplishment can both haunt and define every other aspect of their lives. And if that period of fame ended in tragedy, then feelings of loss and grief seem destined to be ever present. In some ways it reminded me of documentaries and stories prevalent at the moment in recent celebrity history -  breakdowns or struggles of reinvention, unsympathetic media portrayal and fans wanting to relive the single highest moment. I think the author did a great job in emphasising that there’s more to people than that. And each character in the book is filled out and made three dimensional flawlessly. I really enjoyed learning about each character, and while I found myself drawn to Elza’s story the most, I found it easy to settle into learning more about Robert, Hugo and Steve when it was their time to share their story. I think that ‘Ever Rest’ is an endearing story of loss, grief and acceptance in a unique setting of rock-star fame. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
Inner Alchemy

Inner Alchemy

Author: Zulma Reyo Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/05/2021

‘Inner Alchemy’ by Zulma Reyo is a book that helps its readers on a path of personal growth and universal understanding. Written by Psychotherapist Zulma Reyo, who also has in depth knowledge and understanding of a variety of alternative therapies and practices, ‘Inner Alchemy’ mixes theoretical based teaching with practical opportunities for understanding.  This is a book to ponder over and to return to in future, potentially with new eyes and from a further enlightened perspective. Constant change, reflection and learning is encouraged throughout the book. As we get older, experience new things, challenge ourselves in new ways, 'Inner Alchemy’ will offer even more rewards, as its teachings take on a new meaning, or become clearer.  This spiritually enlightening read is well-laid out and easy to follow. The images used throughout are beautiful. Rich, bright and colourful but meditative graphics featuring mandalas and landscapes evoke our connection to the world around us, but the brightest light connects to the centre of the subject, reiterating that all change in the world starts from within. I liked the glossary of key terms at the beginning, this is a useful tool as you work your way through the lessons in this book and ideal for any beginner. I also liked the ‘review’ subheadings at the end of each section, I feel these allow you to take an extra moment to pause and reflect on key points as well as taking the time to put in to practice the questions and affirmations As stated, ‘Inner Alchemy’ is a revised and updated edition of ‘Mastery: The Path of Inner Alchemy’ a book that was originally published in 1989. Changes have been made in order to reflect the world around us, amid a pandemic and the economic instability and cultural changes taking place currently.  This is an intriguing and informative read that I would recommend for those looking for spiritually and meditatively focused change.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
The Mezzotint Man

The Mezzotint Man

Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/05/2021

‘The Mezzotint Man’ by Michael Brewer uses an accessible and informative writing style that shines a light on the history of art and the art world that, for those like myself who don’t have an Art History background, may not have really given much thought about. We live in a world today where reproductions of great artworks are easily accessible and readily available for most budgets. Brewer uses ‘The Mezzotint Man’ to take us back to Victorian London, where the lines between art, culture and commerce were only just starting to blur; where a demand started for reproductions of popular paintings to be displayed in homes throughout the country. The thing that struck me initially, and something that I am assuming differs from today’s reprint market is the implication of collaboration between painter and engraver. It is stated early on that John Constable would only accept the purest form of mezzotint, which allowed for the most rich and detailed reproductions. This dictation of quality by the painter implies to me the teamwork between the craft of the artist in delivering the initial painting and the skill of the artist to create the mezzotint. Despite this teamwork, the mezzotint engravers feel to me to be hidden figures of the art world that Michel Brewer is helping to shine a light on. The focus of this biography, David Lucas, is a 19th century mezzotint engraver, described as ‘a quiet man’ by John Constable and, mostly known today for his engravings of Constable’s English Landscapes series. In a very readable style, with a timeline, index and details for further reading, ‘The Mezzotint Man’ follows the life of this artist, who lived in relative obscurity within Victorian London, creating art in order to earn a living and support his family. I found this book to be an enjoyable and educational look at how Victorian mass production impacted the world of Art, and the life of those working in this new industry. I feel this book is a valuable and intriguing read for those interested in Art History or the Victorian era more widely. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador    

Indie Books We Love
Queentide

Queentide

Author: Donna Fisher Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/04/2021

A tense and concerningly believable read, ‘Queentide’ by Donna Fisher is a dystopian fiction about women. Set in 2026 Australia (in the near future but not futuristic-feeling), authoritarianism is rife and women are fast losing their voice in the maelstrom of patriarchal outrage. In a sort of exacerbated truth, 2020 pandemic lockdowns led to an increase of domestic abuse reports, and a society that, instead of resolving these cases, turned the blame on women, leading to an escalation in harassment and prejudice. As I read I saw the modern world we live in now but twisted, as though perceived in a carnival mirror. The writing in this book is brilliant. The radio broadcast with Kathleen Rae had my blood boiling and the characterisation of slippery, manipulative politicians and media outlets were all so well crafted and believable. I enjoyed reading as Lillith grows in strength and confidence, and I was intrigued and daunted by Insley’s more aggressive path. There are plenty of strong female characters, with their own backstories, flaws and views that helped to demonstrate a realistic variety of feminist perspectives. Amongst the agenda of Queentide, and as with any brilliant story focusing on people, individual beliefs cause conflicts about what the end goal is, and the means to achieve it. Will Queentide be able to remain united? Will their plans make a positive difference or lead to a direct role reversal? An evocative merging of political thriller and dystopian fiction, ‘Queentide’ has claws. It is a gripping read with grit, heart and good intentions and I’d highly recommend it. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador 

Indie Books We Love
Line

Line

Author: Niall Bourke Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/04/2021

With bleak and evocative imagery, ‘Line’ by Niall Bourke, is a short yet intriguing read that I think would be perfect for fans of ‘1984’ and books that fall into the literary/dystopian fiction genre. The eponymous Line is everything to Willard and his girlfriend Nyla, with generations and generations of families being born, living and dying waiting to reach some unknown and possible better destination. There are strict rules that must be obeyed with brutal almost  ritualistic punishments for anyone who breaks the rules or that attempts to skip the line. In the beginning I found it easy to draw parallels and see a commentary on immigration, that with this more dystopian setting reminded me of ‘The Wall’ by John Lanchester. As the story progressed I saw similarities between Willard and Nyla’s path and Julia and Winston’s storyline in ‘1984’. As the plot develops ‘Line’ also includes a commentary on corporations and their power.  I liked the way that ‘Line’ develops. Avoiding spoilers as much as possible, I started to read thinking that the book was one thing, and as more details were revealed I understood that the scope of the book was much larger than I would have predicted. I found the writing succinct, with enough detail to expose the harsh realities of the line and the journeys beyond while encouraging you to get to know the characters. I liked the excerpts throughout the book that helped to explain the wider world and add exposition and context, this reminded me of the book in ‘1984’ and I feel it benefitted the overall story, allowing ‘Line’ to be the short and powerful read it is and removing the need for Willard and Nyla (and by default the reader) to spend time and pages searching for information. A brilliant read for fans of literary, speculative and dystopian fiction, one that I would highly recommend. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Amabssador

Indie Books We Love
A Lawyer's Story

A Lawyer's Story

Author: Paul Carlin Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/03/2021

Paul Carlin’s ‘A Lawyer’s Story’ is a twisting and thrilling mystery filled with deceit and corruption. John Farrelly is a naïve young lawyer, forever in the shadow of his twin brother James and obsessed with a young single mother, Ava. Drawn into a web of secrets, where old patients are poisoned for their wealth, John has to choose between the object of his obsession and his family.  'A Lawyer’s Story’ focuses on John's reflections on his life, the actions he took early in his career as a young property lawyer in his father’s firm and the consequences of his actions. This is a thrilling read, rich in detail and infused with character. This is one of those books that has imagery that makes you pause and appreciate the writing “like a missing tooth in a punched mouth.” being the first of such instances for me. Taking us from 1947 to 2012, we see the landscape and the characters change from post war to the modern era, we see the characters develop and there’s time for the shadows of the past to slowly creep up and envelop the main characters. I found this novel a tense and gripping read. The flipping of perspectives between John and James allows you to witness events from both brothers, frame your opinions and sometimes have your theories on what happened unravelled. A great read for any crime thriller fans and one I’d recommend. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
The Spectacular

The Spectacular

Author: Billy Flynn Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/03/2021

‘The Spectacular’ by Billy Flynn, is a complex political thriller where three stories intertwine. Focusing on two modern conflicts involving the UK, Flynn’s action packed story is incredibly detailed and shows either his thorough understanding of Ireland and Afghanistan or a great deal of research. I was engrossed in the tense moment and educated on the nuances of both conflicts as I read.  Although filled with action and twists, this book is more than a more superficial “all guns blazing” action story. The Author takes the time to introduce you to each storyline, letting you acclimate to each character and their perspective, all the while weaving threads of the storyline together. I was drawn even more into the story as key moments are re-lived from different perspectives, drip feeding extra detail. I felt each story is told objectively, there’s no “good guy vs bad guy” phrasing, as with most real-life conflicts, the perspective and knowledge you have when entering a situation is key.  This is an immersive story, with plenty of action and grim gritty reality of warzones. A gripping and tense read from start to finish and a hint of potentially more stories to come. I think ‘The Spectacular’ will appear to anyone with an interest in political/military stories and those looking for a complex and twisting action read.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
For Brito!

For Brito!

Author: RD Morris Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/01/2021

I saw this as a modern take on 1984, ‘For Brito’ by RD Morris follows Everley, a dedicated Brito operative, savagely opposed to the unworking ‘InOps’ in society and dedicated to giving his time, energy and life for his country. In a world following Brexit and multiple waves of a pandemic, the country formerly known as Great Britain turns spectacularly insular, with it’s loyal and patriotic workforce now named operatives and living strictly rationed and regimented lives in service to Brito. As with any brilliant dystopian fiction, there’s enough fact here to make this future country plausible. With Brito’s history including WWII, Brexit as well as anti-immigration feeling and apathy towards the homeless and those receiving state support. ‘For Brito’ muses on the possibility of these nationalist, unforgiving and intolerant values and ideas becoming the british consensus in a way that leads us to an isolated country, where those who don’t work are expendable, and sometimes violently killed.  As with 1984 or The Handmaid's Tale, and other great dystopian fiction, the status quo soon receives a shake-up. Initially, I was eager to read to find out which aspects of society the author had escalated and warped in order to create the very believable Brito I saw before me on the page. As I continued to read I was immersed and intrigued by Everley’s story, wondering what would happen to him at the end. The characters are interesting and well-rounded and I thought the plot was well-paced, detailed and immersive. This is a brilliant and gripping dystopian fiction with lots of tension and moments for understanding to dawn. I think this would be a great recommendation for fans of 1984 specifically and dystopian fiction more widely. I am interested in seeing what the author writes next. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
A Spy In Quarantine

A Spy In Quarantine

Author: Thomas Eglise Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/01/2021

 ‘A Spy In Quarantine’ is a brilliant and unique take on fiction using the recent pandemic as a plot device. When an academic study into coronavirus track and tracing stumbles across a U.S. spy, the named researchers and the ghost-writer who conducted and wrote the thesis, are at risk from more than just the virus. I think this plotline is really inventive and a twist on the “coronavirus fiction” I’ve seen appear that takes on a science fiction or almost dystopian twist. The concept of track and trace and what secrets each individual, each contact could be revealing is really excellent. I found it a really innovative plot choice and couldn’t wait to see where the story took me. We mainly follow Takis, a ghostwriter who is employed by university faculty and students alike to conduct research or write papers. A flawed but likeable character, as the plot starts to escalate this apparent ‘know-it-all’ quickly gets out of his depth, unsure of who to trust and what to do next. Along with Rachel, the girlfriend of one of the murdered grad students, Takis needs to work out whether he can be linked to the published paper and how to stay alive. I liked the characters and the developing relationship between Rachel and Takis as they slowly begin to trust one another as they try to work out what’s going on and why the grad students credited for writing the paper have been murdered. A brilliant concept executed well, with a great cast of characters and twists and turns that kept me immersed in the storyline until the very last page. I would recommend this book for all mystery fans. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
In A Town Called Paradox

In A Town Called Paradox

Author: Miriam Murcutt and Richard Starks Format: Ebook Release Date: 19/10/2020

Miriam Murcutt and Richard Starks have aptly titled their fictitious town in the U.S. because the central theme of the book set 'In a Town Called Paradox' is one of conflict. The authors have explored the humanity of their main characters in depth, against the breath-taking but unforgiving background of the Utah landscape, and taken their readers right along with them. The story is about the relationship between two young people, Corin and Ark, who are both torn between love and resentment towards their respective parents for what they see as their betrayal and abandonment at an early age. But this is not simply a story in which a couple find redemption in their love for each other, it touches upon so many other conflicts that were rife in the 50s, when the book is set, and are still present today. We, the readers, are invited to consider the paradox of one person's 'truth' being another's 'fiction', just as in the movies, which feature prominently. Important issues are raised and examined...religious faith and the possibility of an afterlife, race discrimination, protection of the environment, sexual harassment and rape, homophobia, police corruption and euthanasia to name but several. This book will grab your attention from page one and will possibly have you re-thinking your stance on some of these issues but as the authors say, through one of their characters, 'We live in a non-deterministic world - one in which there are no certainties, only probabilities' but I hope that the probability here will be that you will read and thoroughly enjoy this book, as I did.  Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
22 Stories Falling Up: A Novel

22 Stories Falling Up: A Novel

Author: David Lawrence Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/09/2019

‘22 Stories Falling Up: A Novel’ by David Lawrence is a mystery steeped in technology and science fiction. In a world where technology is now able to merge with human consciousness, Emily and co-worker Phillip are on a quest to discover what happened in a secret project they were involved in. Left with few memories and feelings of distance and concern with no cause, the pair are eager to learn what happened in the Virtual Design project they signed up for, and why it was stopped. There’s lots of science fiction themes throughout this book. The advancement of technology, the AIs and interactions between people and technology are incredibly inventive and detailed, but not so detailed as to go over my head as I read. I like the idea of the party and Phillips and Emily’s journey taking place in a tower block, and their progression through the building almost like layers of encryption, requiring passing through before the truth and their memories are revealed.  Aside from the technical aspects of Virtual Design, and the secret project, there’s other subtle science-fiction nods such as Emily’s apparent psychic abilities. These are referenced at the start and towards the end but I wonder whether these could be utilised a little more.  The plot gets into full swing fairly quickly and the reader learns more about Phillip and Emily, their work, their relationship and the project as the story progresses. I did find at the start however that I would have liked a little bit more exposition, or something to help me form more of a connection with the main characters before the part got underway. I understand that more is meant to be revealed as the plot opens up but I personally feel I was missing an initial connection that made me care about finding the information out. I also still have questions about Phillip and Emily’s perspective. I felt I needed a bit more of an explanation about why they each perceived certain characters as different sexes, for example.  This is a surreal story, which plays on the flaws we have as humans while presenting a technologically advanced quest for truth. Even though I was left with questions, it is a story I enjoyed and pondered over while I wasn’t reading.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love

May 2021 Featured Books

Anna

Anna

Author: Sammy H.K. Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/05/2021

I think the synopsis of ‘Anna’ describes this book perfectly. It is a “chilling” dystopian story. Many times throughout the story I felt chills and shudders of revulsion. Set in a near future where women can be captured, branded chained up and led around like an animal we meet Anna. Captured as she makes her way through the unlands we see her disturbing treatment at the hands of her captor. This is a dark and gritty story focused on domestic abuse, survival and a road to healing and recovery. It’s by no means a comfortable read and at times it reminded me of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. I always think there’s something expressly sinister about dystopian fiction in which characters remember “before”. There’s an initial atmosphere of loss that can be found in ‘Anna’; then not only have her loved ones been taken away, but to have her dignity and humanity stripped from her too is heartbreaking and painful at times to witness. As with ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, what Anna experiences is at times traumatic, and it’s not fun for the reader to watch it unfold, but we do. I carried on reading in the hopes that there would be revenge, redemption or freedom of some form at the end. This is a brutal story about a woman’s survival. This is an immersive read about finding hope in a dreary landscape, and that even idylls have dark corners. There are tempo changes and moments of hope, twists, reveals and times of real darkness too. The characters in this book are well-written and complex. The style of narration is interesting, we learn as Anna does and I was compelled to keep reading to discover what happens to her. The first part of the story made me uncomfortable but, although it sounds daft, I didn’t want to leave her there. A gritty, intense and powerful read. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
The Other Times of Caroline Tangent

The Other Times of Caroline Tangent

Author: Ivan D Wainewright Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/05/2021

An enchanting, nostalgic tale of music, friendships, betrayal and determination. The author writes with a beautiful flowing style that carries the reader with them on short journeys back in time whilst combining present day life. Jon a university lecturer and Caroline, an artist, live in London. Jon has discovered a passion for inventing and after a day's work loves nothing more than going downstairs in the basement of their home which he has converted into an inventing room. It’s during these retreats that his plans and ideas take shape. And it’s from this very workshop that Jon and Caroline’s magical mystery tours begin. Jon’s timepen invention means the world is their oyster when it comes to what concerts to go back in time to see. They decide they prefer the ones just before the artist hits the big time as it gives a better atmosphere and smaller club setting. There’s just one problem; they can’t tell anyone about this unusual ability, not even their closest group of friends. After many successful trips using the timepen, disaster strikes following one concert in the past. A life-changing event, a new life and attempts to heal old wounds, but will a visitor offer an opportunity for everything to go back to how it was? A wonderful read and the subject would appeal to a wide scope of readers. Highly recommended! Caroline Highy, A LoveReadig Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
Presence, the Play

Presence, the Play

Author: William Jefferson Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/05/2021

‘Presence, the Play’ is a lyrical story of the stage interwoven with a tale of spirituality. Script, An Estillyen monk and brother in their Sacred Order of Storytellers has an accident on the opening night of his play, ‘Presence’, leaving him in a coma, and working his way through mystical adventures in a dream-like world. I found this novel highly descriptive and it is clear through the references to many famous literary works that the author is either very well read or conducted extensive research for this novel. There are references throughout and a list at the back of the book with all of the literary titles quoted. I understand and can agree with the connection made between ‘Presence’ and C.S Lewis in the synopsis, as we travel with Script through a strange and mystical other world that, much like Narnia, has religious connotations at its heart. ‘Presence’ is an interesting story with plenty of drama throughout that encourages the reader to celebrate the power of stories, as well as take the time to be “present” in the world around us, a pertinent theme and lesson in today’s ever increasing social media age. An entertaining and well-written novel with a cast of brilliant characters that focuses on the importance of the arts Leading by example with brilliant storytelling, adventure and plenty to ponder over. I think that this book would have a wide appeal and I would definitely recommend it. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
NOISE: A Manifesto Modernising Motherhood

NOISE: A Manifesto Modernising Motherhood

Author: Danusia Malina-Derben Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/03/2021

‘Noise: A Manifesto Modernising Motherhood’ is a fresh look at how mothers can raise children while still maintaining their own identity outside of this role. Informed and inspired by the author’s experiences of being a single parent, teenage mum, mum to triplets and a successful academic and working parent, ‘Noise’ has been created, not as a book that holds the answers, but as a book that asks pertinent questions so you can find your own answers.  As stated constantly throughout, every mother experiences motherhood differently and the author is very clear in acknowledging this manifesto has grown from her experiences. I like the clear boundaries of how Danusia introduces a topic, an obstacle to maintaining a clear sense of identity and her own experience of the ‘caught between a rock and a hard place’ positioning of being a mother and expected by society to give everything to her children and a human, who need space time and their own desires met in order to flourish. Then the author steps back to ask more abstract questions, allowing any mother or mother-to-be reading this to work out how the “Mother Stoppers” and internalised idealised rigid structures and “noise” of motherhood has had an impact on them.  I liked the concept of this book as an opportunity for discussion. This book is a chance, not to eradicate the “noise” of internalised societal roles and structures, but to alter the noise that exists in order to make it more realistic, supportive and beneficial for future generations of mothers. I think that this is an insightful and educational book for anyone who would like to be a mother.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReadng Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
The Memory Project

The Memory Project

Author: Andrew C. Youngson Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/03/2021

‘The Memory Project’ is a really interesting science fiction. Based around a cast of lead characters who were brought up in The Mnemosyne Project, a secret collective of people with telepathic abilities. Dougie, or ‘Angel’ has been broken by his experiences working as a therapist, helping his patients overcome their trauma, and fracturing his own psyche in the process. This is a book that’s as much about a person working to find out who they are and overcome their own childhood traumas as it is about the hidden intriguing supernatural world of Weavers. I feel that even those who wouldn’t pick up a science fiction book as their first choice would enjoy the story of kinship, family and self discovery within these pages.    The story flows really well and I was engrossed from the opening pages. I was interested in all of the characters and their stories and I thought each one was really well-developed. The way each Weaver’s abilities work in a different way, the way each character channels the memories that they read, Nina with her art for example. Without giving away spoilers there are revelations and twists that I didn’t quite expect as Angel learns more and more about his rather foggy past. I liked the ending and , although cathartic there’s plenty of space for Angel’s story to continue and I hope it does. An enjoyable read. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
Appreciation and Meaning Journal

Appreciation and Meaning Journal

Author: Andrew Eltes Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/03/2021

Written by an experienced practitioner, the principle aim of the journal is to encourage the user to appreciate the value of living in the present rather than constantly searching for happiness in future - possibly hypothetical - events. It is written in a clear, non-jargonistic way, using language that is accessible to its readers. The author reminds us that just as following a daily morning routine is known to be beneficial to our well-being, completing a journal can be a valuable and positive tool in our journey of self-development and improvement. Links with other positive roots in yoga, meditation and slow, controlled breathing is also encouraged. The first part of the book consists of ways which help the reader to understand how best to make use of the ten daily, reflective questions which form the body of the journal. The author employs his own experiences in order to convince us of the real benefits to be had in responding each morning to these ten empowering questions. The examples given are easy to understand and fall within most people's range of everyday thinking. In order to extend the impact, we are also encouraged to answer mentally or speak aloud thoughts and ideas that will not fit into the space given. Every seven days, three new questions are included. Each daily journal begins with a quotation and is arranged over two pages. The back of the journal consists of a short meaningful conclusion and lined pages for note making. This is the type of book that I would purchase for myself and would give to like-minded friends as a gift. I would however choose a hardback copy. I especially like the unpretentious approach and its simplicity of format. Often when quotations are used, they are there for effect but the ones included here are varied in provenance and I personally found them extremely reflective. There are a lot of similarly themed books on the market at the moment so competition for marketing feels tough. Many are 'pretty' and seem to have no real foundation to them whereas this feels genuine and as if the author really cares for his readers. However, I feel that a little more focus upon its aesthetics might encourage its appeal and I would have welcomed the inclusion of some simple illustrations and variety of text formats to enable this. Val Rowe, A LoveReading Ambassador

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The Letter

The Letter

Author: Barry Cole Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/02/2021

A heart-breaking tale of family and loss, set against the backdrop of a WWII and a war torn Germany. The author’s knowledge of the war shines through in this novel, from the horrifying details of the frontline as experienced by Franz, to the heart-aching wait for families left behind hoping to see their loved ones again.  ‘The Letter’ by Barry Cole follows Franz Mayer, a sergeant in the German army struggling to survive on the Eastern Front and on the way home to his family before braving the threat of war once more. Throughout the novel there’s great characterisation, even for the characters we meet for a brief time, the author makes sure they are rounded out. It’s subtle enough to not detract from the plot, but clear enough to hammer home that despite the broad descriptions of war - the country vs country commentary - the reality involves countless unique and complex individuals. This style of writing made ‘The Letter’ feel even more poignant and emotive to me. Combined with the detailed descriptions of the horrors witnessed and the poverty endured, ‘The Letter’ is a powerful story, that emphasises the loss and pain experienced on all sides. There are moments of hope scattered throughout, and I found Wolfgang in particular helped to bring some levity to the story during the times we spend with Hannah.   This was a fascinating historical war drama. There’s twists and changes that keep you turning the pages, hoping for a positive outcome, but never certain. I think that the author has succeeded in delivering an emotional and immersive story. ‘The Letter’ is a compelling and brilliant look at loss, at family and at the personal costs of war. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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His Name was Wren

His Name was Wren

Author: Rob Winters Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/02/2021

‘His Name was Wren’ is a coming of age story aimed at young adults, but one I feel could be enjoyed by a much wider audience. The plot takes in a small English Town called Hurstwick in WWII and modern day. In 1944 during a WWII blackout the church spire and nearby woods are destroyed and damaged, but was it a Nazi attack or something else? The answer is uncovered by one young resident and tries to keep it a secret. Years later, in 2018, Max Cannon moves to Hurstwick and learns about the town’s mysterious past. I liked both the historic and the modern timelines, and I found that they fit together well.  I found ‘His Name Was Wren’ to be very well written and I related easily into this story. “Max could count the number of friends he had on one hand, and that hand was a fist” Was a particular line that I found quite interesting, the author has a way of cleverly conveying information to the reader without needing to be explicit or getting bogged down in exposition.  The story allows the reader to follow Max landing in a strange new land and finding new friends almost as a parallel to the first contact and meeting of Wren. There are twists and turns in the plot and lots of action to keep the reader engaged. An interesting story that can be enjoyed in a day or so.

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A rose should be red: Part 1 - Secrets

A rose should be red: Part 1 - Secrets

Author: Akaku Red Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/07/2020

An unpredictable storyline and a positive, refreshing change of subject to find on the young adult bookshelves. Imagine having your life turned upside down when one day you're told to pack all your belongings and are moving to a large city there and then. You're still with your familiar adoptive mother but your adoptive father has passed away. But there's a problem, Jenny hates London-the city which is her new home. The family are helped to settle in by Tyler, who appears to be a godsend and a good ally. But it's not all good news. Secrets are uncovered, another name won't leave Jenny alone and unsettles her even though she can't recall him. Just who can she trust? The author writes so descriptively taking the reader on a twisty, well-thought out journey. An excellent read and not just for young adults.  Luckily the second title in the series has just been published! Caroline Highy, A LoveReading Ambassador

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April 2021 Featured Books

Twilight of Innocence

Twilight of Innocence

Author: I R Craig Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/12/2021

‘Twilight of Innocence’ is a mystery that follows a resourceful vigilante grandfather a hero-figure pilot and fiery investigative journalist looking to uncover and derail a child sex traffic ring.  The mystery around Andreas in the opening made me intrigued. I was eager to learn more about this mysterious man working to capture and interrogate members of the sex trafficking ring using highly specialised methods in order to release and rescue the victims. The subtle hints and brief descriptions were a brilliant introduction to this character, conveying his age and experience briefly, while keeping the quest front and center. As I read I wanted to learn more about this shadow-y figure’s mission as well as more about his past and what he’s had to do in the past in order to acquire his interrogation skills.  I was less enamoured with Rebecca and Jon as we are introduced to them, I think the repartee between them, at the end of the contentious flight from Scotland as an example, could have been a bit snappier in my opinion, but I was interested in learning more about both characters and their motives as well as their inevitable connection. Their story and relationship within this dark mystery reminded me a little bit of Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher, and so I was keen to learn more about how they would merge with the Taken style storyline set up with Andreas.  This is an interesting and entertaining read that feels like it will have widespread appeal to fans of mysteries, thrillers and action books. There is a dark subject matter at its core but there’s plenty of twists, turns and details throughout that keep you entertained. Action packed and thrilling this is a book I would definitely recommend. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador 

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Kid A History of The Future

Kid A History of The Future

Author: Sebastian de Souza Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/03/2021

Wow. I actually lost sleep with this one. It’s just brilliant. Lots of pop references which I enjoyed, love the fact that Sir David is viewed as highly as he should be. There are references from most of the past decades. The characters are just wonderful, so full of depth. I adore the way it is written in the past and the present, in letter form, book form and even text format. It will really capture the imagination of anyone who reads it, while also giving a stark warning - be wary of too much tech! Kid, Eliza and Pas are such a tight bunch having been through so much together, to have that kind of friendship is a blessing.  I really hope this is the first of many books by this author, because they clearly have a flair for writing and drawing the reader in.  Absolutely loved it!!  Amanda O'Dwyer, A LoveReading Amabassador

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Running Behind Time

Running Behind Time

Author: Jan Turk Petrie Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/03/2021

WOW! What a fabulous and enjoyable read - read it in one sitting as needed to know what happened next. A tale of time travel from 2020 to 1982 - and back again. Following the story of Tom when he meets Beth - such detail in lives during the pandemic of 2020 and lives in 1982. Don't want to give too much of the story away - can't recommended it highly enough. I have just ordered one of her other books I am so impressed.  Jayne Burton, A LoveReading Ambassador 

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Love Stories for Hectic People

Love Stories for Hectic People

Author: Catherine McNamara Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/03/2021

‘Love Stories for Hectic People’ is a collection of short stories exploring aspects of love that aren’t necessarily the ones that are focused on most often, the sides that aren’t “happy ever after”.  Each flash fiction piece is distinct and the collection can be read from cover to cover or picked up and enjoyed in whichever order takes your fancy. The author’s writing helps to create an entire world in a few deceptively simple stories, each one felt thought through and complete to me, with the reader left at the end pondering about next steps and unspoken meaning. The perfect way to be left after a flash fiction piece in my opinion. Covering a number of aspects of relationships and sex, from the joy of it to deeper and darker issues of affairs, abortions and miscarriage. I highlight this to demonstrate the variety within these stories (as I’ve said, each have their own unique tale, setting and atmosphere) and also to mention in case any potential reader is sensitive to a particular topic.  Quick to read through with plenty to come back to and contemplate, I think that this is a great collection of flash fiction.

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Bucky Flea Burger and the End of the World

Bucky Flea Burger and the End of the World

Author: Dale Green Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/01/2021

I wanted to read this novel as even as a grown up I like reading a variety of reading genres including junior and young adult fiction. And what an experience meeting Bucky and the hierarchy of felines turned out to be. A thrilling escapade through physical & far away places combined with touches of fantasy and science fiction. An exhilarating read for confident readers of any age including adults! The author has a vivid and descriptive writing style with which this novel grows and grows holding the readers attention all the way. I found it very well written with creatively-worded sentences and chapters. I also loved the actions of the cats; some powerful, some enigmatic, but even if you're not a cat lover give this story a go-you wont regret it!    I was engrossed from the very beginning where the action is centered on strange goings on at London's Natural History Museum. But that's just the start of a great adventure. Add in some episodes of tele-porting, tunnels, caves, jets and even pyramids then you're all set for a rocketing ride. If you're a Londoner or familiar with the layout of the city then even better as you'll be able to picture where the action happens. Caroline Highy, A LoveReading Ambassador 

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Ekleipsis

Ekleipsis

Author: Tamel Wino Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/12/2020

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

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Late, Late in the Evening

Late, Late in the Evening

Author: Stephen Grant Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/11/2020

Late, Late in the Evening sits as a fairly classic feeling dystopian fiction. In the opening pages we are introduced to police who are quick to violence, and as we read on we learn more about politicians who proclaim they’re working towards making their country great “again”, harking back to an idealised version of history that’s never truly existed. An idea I saw replicated in the quote from The Handmaid’s Tale at the start of the book. The concept of using easily identifiable characters, situations and events is to me the foundation of a dystopian novel and I think the author integrates these features well as he weaves his own story.  From the start I was eager to learn more about our lead character Gabriel Dorfman. We are introduced to him in the middle of the action we are gradually told more about his past and how he came to be brought to Arlingham Hall. I was curious to read more about how Gabriel would use his chance for freedom and how his growing relationship with Caroline would affect that. This book is short enough to read in a day, but filled with detail from start to finish. For me this is a brilliant example of dystopian fiction and one I would happily recommend. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

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The Bodies That Move

The Bodies That Move

Author: Bunye Ngene Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/11/2020

Also Available as an eBook. If you thought that crossing the Mediterranean Sea or the English Channel was the most dangerous part of a refugee's journey to freedom, then you need to read this book, 'The Bodies That Move' by Bunye Ngene. The author spares no-one's feelings in chronicling the systematically inhumane treatment of the displaced by unscrupulous people traffickers and presents a powerful argument to wealthier and more stable regimes to deal with this shameful and destabilising practice with far more rigour and compassion than at present.   The story follows Nosa, a young, presentable and university-educated Nigerian, who, because of the corruption in his home country, is persuaded by a former classmate to make the journey to Europe, a better life and earning power to keep his mother and younger siblings from poverty. Though far from cheap, he borrows the money necessary to fund his passage and sets out in high hopes of reaching Italy in three weeks. His optimism however is short-lived and hunger, lack of sleep and hygiene facilities and cramped travelling conditions soon become the norm. But this is just the start of what Nosa will experience before he has even left Nigeria. The gradual wearing away of all civilised standards is shocking to read. The rape of the female travellers, the beatings, enforced work (slavery in other words), starvation and the callous abandonment of all whose 'agents' have not paved the way across the Sahara Desert or war-torn Libya become everyday occurrences, not even raising an eyebrow in the end. But Nosa is one of the 'lucky' ones, reaching the coast after three months of hell, eventually boarding an inflatable with no life jacket and being picked up by European coastguards. He has achieved his aim and gained what? Europe's record of the  treatment of refugees is nothing to write home about, quite literally. To say I enjoyed reading this book would be untrue but I'm very glad I did and I would encourage you to as well.  Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador

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An English Doctor in Japan

An English Doctor in Japan

Author: Gabriel Symonds Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/10/2020

It is clear that the three month stint of paediatric training which Dr. Gabriel Symonds undertook in Tokyo during his student days, laid the foundation for his lifelong love for Japan, where he still lives since his retirement in 2014. Following five years of medical studies at Bart's Hospital, the author became a junior doctor at another London hospital then decided to specialise in general practice which involved further training. Working as an NHS GP in London for 14 years provided much material for the book, not all of which is wholesome or pleasant reading. Critical of some of his fellow practitioners mainly for the over-prescribing of antibiotics and simply not listening to their patients, some of the case studies raise disturbing issues. In 1984, Dr. Symonds was offered a post in a large private clinic in Tokyo serving the ex-pat community but finding the standards there left much to be desired, he applied for and was subsequently, in 1992, granted permission to open his own practice, the Tokyo British Clinic. Many more case studies fill the second half of the book, highlighting some good practice but mainly the failings in the Japanese health system, as perceived by the author. His particular beefs include circumcision, neo-natal and end of life care. Although judgemental, this work is a fascinating insight into the workings of both the NHS and the health provision in Japan and the very many case studies are sometimes amusing, sometimes shocking but always interesting and thought-provoking. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador

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The People of Ostrich Mountain

The People of Ostrich Mountain

Author: Ndirangu Githaiga Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/05/2020

‘The People of Ostrich Mountain’ is a story that spans generations. We first follow Wambũi as she goes to school in the backdrop of the 1950s Mau Mau war, her impressive mathematics skills and intelligence earning her a place in a prestigious boarding school and nurtured by her teacher, Eileen Atwood. The years progress and we follow Wambũi and Eileen’s lives as well as the lives of Wambũi’s children. This is the story of how an intelligent young girl and a compassionate teacher pave the way for generations of success.  I loved reading this well crafted story, each character was brought vibrantly to life and I relished spending time with each character. ‘The People of Ostrich Mountain’ is beautifully written and introduced me to Mau Mau history, a history I was unaware of until now. While navigating the serious issues such as race, gender and immigration, with each character having their own struggles and experiences, I feel the main emphasis throughout the story is on community, goodwill and humanity. This is a book you can relax into, a family and friendship story that I thoroughly enjoyed reading and would highly recommend.

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The Scoop

The Scoop

Author: Cat Walker Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/03/2020

This was a wonderful read but also a difficult title to categorise as it covers many subjects throughout its pages.The author writes with humour and realism whilst conjuring up a magical experience to take readers on. I was drawn in from the prologue and being of a similar age to the author found myself nodding in agreement at various reminiscences. The pairing of Casey and Danny as childhood friends was brilliantly observed with the way they spoke, argued, joked and cried together as they overcame often insurmountable obstacles during the journey. Like Casey I, too, was unsure how the trip would work-if it could work-with the third traveller but it added a positive poignant dimension to the story. I was in admiration of the historical paragraphs relating to each country the trio passed through but it ultimately was a way that helped break the ice between Casey and Ari. It also made for interesting reading and I felt I learned a lot! Alice was a great addition to the storyline and I was sad to see her go before the trip ended. She had been through so much for a second hand ice cream van! However by using other modes of transport other characters could then be brought in subtlety to continue the rich pattern of different cultures and languages. If you are looking for a thought-provoking read covering friendships, relationships and travel tips then look no further. An absolutely fantastic debut novel. Caroline Highy, A LoveReading Ambassador

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The Free World War

The Free World War

Author: Matthew William Frend Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/08/2019

The Free World War is an interesting story that uses science fiction to explore Butterfly Effect themes, and how one person’s thoughts and plans could be all it takes for the perfect world to exist. In the futuristic world of 2265 which is very well built by the author, we see their ability to use technology that the reader will recognise to dive into history, and simulations that give insight into a parallel world that the reader may find familiar. I liked the creativity involved in the creation of this plot and I think it would be a good read for anyone interested in science fiction or alternate history. The concept did remind me of the iconic The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick, and I was thoroughly intrigued and entertained as the story developed. There’s also plenty of action to be enjoyed and a host of characters across the different timelines that we get to know along the way.  A vibrant story that skillfully builds on the simple idea that one man’s actions could have consequences that could change the world. 

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Absence: Whispers and Shadow

Absence: Whispers and Shadow

Author: J.B.Forsyth Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/04/2016

I LOVED this story!! It really took me away to another world. I loved the characters. We were told enough about them to empathise and picture them in our minds, but not too much detail that it was excessive. There are some great creatures described here. I loved the writing style and I think that it flowed beautifully. The vocabulary was incredibly descriptive and extensive, introducing me to a few new words along the way. Although ‘Absence: Whispers and Shadow’ is set in an alternate world, it had shades of the middle-ages and middle-age life, which I found interesting. I liked the details around what kind of work people did, how villages worked etc. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I really can’t wait for the next instalment! I would highly recommend this to others.  Amanda O'Dwyer, A LoveReading Ambassador

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