Not all great books come through big publishers. Check out some of our favourite indie books on the market.
‘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
‘Reflection’ by John Righten is the third in The Lenka Trilogy, a story set in the 1990s across Ireland, Romania and Bosnia. The narrative follows Lenka and a motley crew of ‘loveable rogues’ as they travel through war zones to deliver aid and offer support to innocent families and children caught up in conflicts. I haven’t read parts 1 and 2 of the trilogy, but a detailed summary of the action has been helpfully supplied in the prologue of this final installment. I would recommend starting with ‘Heartbreak’, the first book in the series, as it would appear a lot has already happened and this will allow you to appreciate the storyline as a whole. ‘Reflection’ takes us from 1995 in Bosnia onwards as Lenka leaves the orphanage that she manages in Ireland for one last aid run, delivering vital medical supplies to hospitals. But the Wolves, a team of deadly mercenaries, are still on Lenka’s trail and they want the incriminating photo album she has in her possession detailing their atrocities. I think that this is a fitting end to what seems to be an action-packed and thrilling trilogy. There’s plenty of exposition throughout so I didn’t feel lost reading ‘Reflection’ first and would serve as a helpful reminder for those who've been waiting for this third instalment to be released. I thought the plotline was complex and well-thought out with no loose strings as it flips from Lenka’s journey to the orphanage in Ireland. In all, an entertaining climax to a trilogy filled with action and thrills. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
‘The Spy who Sank the Armada’ by David West is an exciting historical tale of espionage in a tumultuous time in European History. The start of a series that introduces us to Anthony Standen, whose interest in languages leads him to a career as a spy. After Anthony is trained he travels throughout the world to earn his fortune and prove to his parents that he can find success outside of a career in Law and return to provide for Francesca, a beautiful Italian girl he’s fallen for. An incredibly detailed and well-thought out book, the research into the historical events and characters throughout pays dividends as the reader is immersed in a fully fleshed out and authentic setting. Aside from the settings, it is clear that a great deal of research has gone into all aspects of this book including the languages that Anthony learns and the mathematics required for the ciphers. I enjoyed the plot, it has plenty of action and twists and turns as Anthony experiences both successes and hardships. A solid historical fiction, with plenty of intrigue I think that any fans of historical fiction would find this book entertaining. It’s been enjoyable getting to know all of the characters and the book sets up nicely for the instalment of the series, ‘Fire and Earth’. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
Available in paperback or on Kindle via Amazon The year is 1607. The first permanent English colony in North America has been established at Jamestown. Venice has railed against the papal prerogative and has been excommunicated by Pope Paul V. Sir Anthony Standen has just begun gathering the grape harvest at his vineyard in Frascati, when he receives two visitors. The first is Hugh O’Neill, the exiled Earl of Tyrone, whose rebel army Anthony attempted to infiltrate when he was serving the Earl of Essex in Ireland. The second visitor is Cardinal Aldobrandini, Pope Paul’s right-hand man. Anthony and Hugh are recruited to investigate the mysterious murders of priests, burnt in their churches on saint’s feast days. Their investigation takes them across northern Italy and threatens not only Anthony’s life, but his core beliefs, his conscience, and his family.
Set in a future where Kilgarney in Ireland is a Mediterranean style holiday destination for those fleeing the brutal, global warming induced summer heat across Europe, ‘Sixty Positions with Pleasure’ by Sahlan Diver spans genres, offering mystery, relationships and political drama. The story flowed well, with humour and comic characters throughout to give this book a light-hearted feel despite a murder mystery being at its heart. IT worker Charlie Gibbs finds himself co-opted into a police investigation when his boss is killed under mysterious circumstances. Charlie’s experience working in The Netherlands and fluent Dutch seems to make him indispensable to a lot of key characters, and he may be able to uncover what’s going on. Running alongside this mystery narrative is one that is slightly more risqué. Replacing Charlie’s now deceased boss is a woman who has an interesting hobby, looking to rewrite the Karma Sutra for mature women and needs Charlie for the practical research for her book. Although these scenes are detailed throughout the book, the couple's escapades aren’t too graphic and sometimes lead to the odd humorous close call. I found that the writing flowed well and I found all of the characters interesting and entertaining. This book is set in the future and references the increasing impacts on climate change and the more commonplace introduction of robots, but other than that seems to remain fairly recognisable. I’m not sure I understood the connection between the mystery and the almost farcical political sub plot of the Gallagher cousins, although it provided an interesting change of pace on occasion. ‘Sixty Positions with Pleasure’ is an entertaining, satirical story, with mystery, intrigue and plenty of steam. Not a story for anyone looking for a darker, more serious crime fiction, nor those who dislike bedroom scenes, but an entertaining story for anyone looking for something a bit quirky and different. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
‘Fred Karno - The Legend Behind the Laughter’ by David Crump looks back into the comedy archives to give us insight on a pioneer of physical sketch comedy. If you’re familiar with Stan Laurel, Laurel and Hardy or Charlie Chaplin then you’re familiar with just some of the students of Fred Karno. A complex but somewhat unknown man who was at the forefront of a whole new type of comedy in the early twentieth century, the king of slapstick and the initial creator of some of the finest comic silent film, ‘Fred Karno - The Legend Behind the Laughter’ highlights and celebrates the contribution that Karno made to comedy and popular culture, the ripples of which we still see today. This book is very well-structured, with extant sources and photographs throughout to tell us about Fred Karno’s career highlights and downfalls of one of the most famous men you’ve maybe never heard of. A tale of British and comedy history, one with plenty of ups and downs and lots of contrasting opinions and perspectives. I think the author has done well to collate all of these differing sources in order to tell the story of Fred Karno in the most authentic way possible. A great read for any history fan, silent film buff, and Karno fan. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
Combining science and religion with history and politics and more, ‘God 4.0: On the Nature of Higher Consciousness and the Experience Called 'God'’ by Robert Ornstein looks to explore why humans are still fixated on our higher purpose, the meaning of life, and our wider consciousness. This book is well written and although dealing with multiple sources and sometimes technical ideas, I think that it will be easily accessible to a wide range of readers. Written by award-winning psychologist and brain researcher Robert Ornstein with his wife Sally Ornstein, you’d expect nothing less. Each part of the book is clearly defined, with chapters and sections that develop their ideas in a way that is clear and enlightening. This book is aimed at those who want to think critically about our world and consciousness; not just the day-to-day life we see before us but the higher consciousness we experience that some people connect to religion or spirituality. This book sets out that it is neither an argument for science or religion, but looks to explore the connections between the two, and many other topics besides. The recognition that this transcendence would take us beyond faith and to a level of consciousness which could provide the answers for a lot of our world's problems. I found ‘God 4.0’ to be an enlightening and inspiring read, and one that can fit among the self-help (or should I say self-understanding?) genres alongside those of science and spirituality. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
Two modern Sci-fi enthusiasts are whisked away on an adventure to other worlds. ‘Black Table’ by Anttimatti Pennanen introduces us to Jon and Gus, friends since school with a love of all things sci-fi. When a trip to Portland Comic-con to see their hero speak ends dramatically, their convention getaway becomes a road trip that transports them further than expected. This is a great story for readers of Young Adult fiction and beyond that are fans of sci-fi and adventure. Although you learn a lot about Jon and his past in the military, I would have liked to learn more about Gus and hope to learn more about how his life on earth provided him with the skills he needs, in later books. This is a great start to a series, there’s lots of action, new characters and worlds that are sufficiently detailed to be immersive and peril that requires our wandering friends with a love of fist bumping to provide answers. There’s plenty of modern cultural references as well as lots of unique science-fiction features to keep all sci-fi fans entertained. There’s a fast-flowing and enjoyable plot that I think would appeal to fans of the genre. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
Part of my job involves marketing and it’s a new skill that I am constantly looking to improve on. I thought that ‘The Client Stampede’ by Julie Guest was a great resource offering detailed insight into a simple seven step process called “The Client Stampede Formula”. In this book the author explains how the formula was created, and really helpful case studies of the formula in action so that you can see how to implement similar techniques in your own campaigns to hopefully yield results. This is a comprehensive guide with links throughout the book to further resources and services that are offered by the author and their company. ‘The Client Stampede’ is written in a way that I think would be widely accessible, with any technical language explained quickly and extra troubleshooting at the end of the book. I also liked the cliff notes that appear at the end of the book that I’m certain will serve as a reminder when looking to implement this formula. A book that is targeted at transforming any sales and marketing strategy, I think that there is really valuable advice in here for everyone from experienced marketing professionals looking to try a new approach to those with their own business and looking for new and effective ways to get the word out about their products. I’m eager to implement some of the techniques in this book in my own work to test their impact. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
The synopsis of ‘1414º’ by Paul Bradley Carr gripped me as soon as I read it. I was really curious and wanted to know more about this thriller that sees Journalist Lou McCarthy track down the person responsible for the deaths of two powerful Silicon Valley predators but then potentially turn her efforts to aiding them sent my expectations for this storyline off kilter. Lou works tirelessly at her job as a Journalist for the Herald to uncover and expose scandal and criminal behaviour committed by some of the most powerful people in San Francisco’s tech giants. But people that are powerful have a way of failing upwards. When her latest expose goes terribly wrong, her career is in disgrace and when events spiral even more drastically and dangerously out of control, Lou works with an unlikely ally to find out who is behind the deaths. I liked this storyline and that there’s a cast of strong female characters that take the lead. This thriller takes a lot of modern societal issues in order to develop a chillingly believable basis for ‘1414º’ and I was gripped by every twist and turn of the plot. The characters are all well developed, each with their own secrets and flaws, and Lou’s investigative skills as a journalist fit well into the storyline. An entertaining thriller that I enjoyed in a day and would recommend. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
‘Behind Closed Doors’ by Dean Marlo is an extensive and detailed family memoir taking us almost day by day through several years of emotional abuse and frustrations in the family court system. Written almost as diary entries, from letters and notes saved at the time, the reader feels as though they are enduring the trauma and court hearings with Dean and his three children. At almost 1000 pages this is a deep dive into the issues and problems experienced by a family as they seek to overcome family separation, domestic abuse and mental health problems and as it states at the end, this is only part 1. I admire Dean’s resilience throughout this memoir. To be able to continue to fight for his family and then, after all that, to share his story in order to give people insight and perhaps help others and make a difference is commendable. This is a real family's life, with real challenges and trauma faced within it which I would not want to make light of in any way. As a reader the memoir is intensively immersive due to the present tense writing, and compelling as you wonder what the resolution will be for this family. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
Eve is married to a rich and famous rock star, they live in a beautiful house with an idyllic lifestyle and possible bright and happy future with a family as the couple begin the process of adoption. But this picture-perfect life all begins to fall apart when serious accusations are levelled at Nick and his band. Eve is certain of her husband's innocence, in this matter at least. But as time passes she begins to have her doubts. ‘Still Life with a Vengeance’ by Jan Turk Petrie is a brilliant story. Part relationship story, part family drama, with the mystery of the allegations and Eve’s personal history enticing the reader to keep turning the page until they reach a resolution. Eve seemed nice, down to earth and relatable throughout the story and although the lavish lifestyle is highlighted in places there’s a human aspect to this story that is central throughout: one focusing on trust and how well you know your loved ones. I enjoyed this story and the subtle parallels between Eve’s certainty about terrible events in her own past and her doubt in her current circumstances - perhaps hinting at the truth? I found this book very easy to read and I think that it could appeal to a wide contemporary fiction audience. Overall a thoroughly entertaining read. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador