No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
Not all great books come through big publishers. Check out some of our favourite indie books on the market.
Wow, what a story! Roses down the Barrel of a Gun is an incredible memoir of one British woman’s experience working and living in a tumultuous Georgia. I have learned so much about this country, its culture and its history by reading this wonderful book and the author’s love of Georgia really shined through as I read. This book manages to convey the warmth and welcoming nature of the people Jo met as well as more difficult living and working conditions as Jo arrived at the British Council in Tbilisi. As well as giving insight into life before, during and after the Rose Revolution in 2003, which I found incredibly interesting in itself, the author manages to include a more personal narrative filled with the difficulties of transferring to an overseas role, the culture and warmth of the new country and the development of new friendships and relationships. I like the descriptions of the meals, and the toasting and felt as though I had a seat at the table as I read. In addition to not knowing much about Georgia, I’m also unfamiliar with the work carried out by foreign embassies and initiatives like the British Council. I enjoyed finding out about the exhibitions and performances and I think that this book highlights the vital importance of the arts to society. Roses Down the Barrel of a Gun is a fascinating insight into a country that I knew little about and I highly recommend this book.
'Operation Sustainable Human' by Chris Macdonald is a frightening, frank and forceful description of the state of our planet but the author does offer hope if only we would all take action now. The book examines in turn the four main culprits which have caused our present dire predicament, namely our methods of food production, our penchant for travel, our throwaway society and the unholy alliance between politics and big business. It then goes on to recommend four actions we can all take to counteract each of these. We should adopt a much more plant-based diet, avoid fossil fuel powered modes of travel whenever possible, buy less 'stuff' and vote more responsibly. None of these is easy but we have to stop thinking that it makes no difference what any single person does...if enough people do it, it does make a difference. This book comes at a time when it seems that our young people are growing increasingly disillusioned with the progress towards halting climate change being made by their elders. The recent global climate strike will hopefully make more people in positions of power sit up and take notice and do something as time is rapidly running out. Chris Macdonald's book is cogent, concise and compelling. It should be compulsory reading for every person in every country, especially a certain president I don't need to name. I would urge anyone who loves Planet Earth to buy a copy and spread the ideas it contains because, to quote the author, there is no Planet B. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador Available on Amazon
‘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
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.
Available on Kindle I love reading about ‘off the beaten track’ places that are not on the main tourist trails. This fascinating book did not disappoint. The author’s style of writing so vividly depicts the places he visits that you really do feel immersed in West Africa. I particularly liked the accounts of interactions with the locals. It must have taken a lot of courage to do such a trip solo but the author clearly has the ability to interact positively with all sorts of people. I knew very little about these countries and now that I know more I would like to visit them, thanks to this fascinating book. Susan Wallace, A LoveReading Ambassador
Ashmole Foxe is a bookseller in 18th century Norwich. He also does a bit of amateur sleuthing as a side hustle, and if he has any spare time left after those two pursuits, he is also something of a womaniser. When Foxe finds himself trying to solve three murders at once, one of them apparently linked to a book he has been asked to source for a client, there is little time for his other interests, and he is led through a tangled web of privilege, poverty, deceit and crime. A very readable and enjoyable book which successfully highlighted the vast differences in living standards, expectations, rights and morals of the different classes in 1760s society. Foxe himself comes across as a charming and likeable man who does his best to straddle the “uncrossable” class boundaries making him popular with men and women, rich and poor. The book ends with his love life about to enter a very unconventional (for the era) phase, which already threatens to have added complications, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series to see how he handles it. Jane Willis, A LoveReading Ambassador
'Death of a Lie' by Peter Harper is an exciting and thought-provoking story of a young woman's quest to find the truth about her family's history. The story begins during WW2, when a Lend-Lease B-25 crashes in a Romanian field and two young children find a battered folder containing encoded pages in the wreckage. Fast forward 50 years and the children have grown up, married and adopted a Romanian boy, Lucian, and a West African girl, Zinsa, the sole survivor of the ruling Dangbo family after a bloody coup in Seroule. These two also grow up, marry and are expecting twins. Lucian rediscovers the folder, forgotten all this time, and, along with his old school friend, Serghei, takes it to their mutual friend, Mario, to see if he can crack the code. Thus begins a tale of murder, intrigue and conspiracy, as we are brought up to the present day when Lucian and Zinsa's daughter, Shani, returns to Romania to meet Serghei and Mario and find out about the parents she never knew. This is a well-crafted thriller, chillingly plausible, putting forward the idea of a worldwide mafia, 'Deep State' operating the most basic of strategies...divide and rule at every level, until a 'New World Order' can be established. I guarantee this book will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish! Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
1952. Seven years since the end of World War II yet the country is still deeply affected by what happened and the after-effects. Frank is an itinerant casual worker, and stories about his war experiences vary. Reserved occupation? Conscientious objector? Deserter? Nobody seems sure, but one thing is clear – Frank is always looking over his shoulder and moving on at the first sign of trouble. A move to London finds him working in a bar where he falls for Grace, the unhappily married wife of the landlord, Dennis. So when Dennis is murdered, the police naturally assume it is a crime of passion. Maybe it is time for Frank to move on again? The book is described as a thriller, but to me, it didn’t have the fast-paced, edgy feel I would normally associate with the genre. Instead, it moves at an unhurried pace, allowing the reader to savour all the subtleties of the story. I thought the book was so beautifully written and the characters so rounded and well developed that trying to slot it into a genre mould like “thriller” really doesn’t do justice to it. A great story, a great read, a well-planned plot and a clever ending all add up to a very memorable book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Jane Willis, A LoveReading Ambassador
Berlin in 1960 is a city that is very much still trying to cope with the after-effects of World War II and the subsequent division between East and West. Among those trying to pick up the pieces are Angelika and Christian, a brother and sister whose childhood was torn apart by Russian soldiers, and Max, Bastian and Ottilie, police officers who are investigating a series of brutal murders. I found this book to be really gripping and moving on many levels. The murder scenes were very gruesome, which is not always to my taste, but as the story unfolds and the reason behind the vicious way the victims are treated becomes clear, I began to understand why the murderers felt it important for the victims to die that way. Although it was clear from the outset who the murderers were, this didn’t detract from the enjoyment at all – the story was a great interplay between hunter and hunted and brought to light the fact that there is both good and bad in everyone and that sometimes very good people do very bad things that they perceive to be fully justified. The characters were well developed; people who I came to like and to want to know more about, so I hope there will be more books in this series. Issues such as the everyday sexism faced by Ottilie, the ethics of co-workers forming relationships, vagrancy, and the moral issues involved when a crime is committed but even the prosecution sympathises with the actions of the criminal are all sensitively dealt with. Finally, one small touch that I really liked was the technique of giving each chapter a title that was a brief but relevant quotation from Shakespeare. Jane Willis, A LoveReading Ambassador
The Leaves of Fate follows on immediately from The Dragons of the Storm. Focusing more on John Smith's concentrated effort to get back to America, and news of Jamestown and it's inhabitants sent in letters. I did find that Drake's presence still lingered throughout this book as a spectre and ideal figure for voyaging and exploration despite his stories being completed in the earlier book. Again, as this is an audiobook the audio quality was very good and Nigel Gore's reading is as clear and brilliant as before. The tone and language are the same as The Dragons of the Storm so I won't comment on them again. If you are looking for an epic about the Elizabethan and Jacobite explorations of the Americas and the war with Spain then this is the book for you. It's a good read for anyone who enjoys "the classics" (Shakespeare, Dickens, Homer) and it's also a great book for anyone who is discovering the real (although I haven't checked how accurate this account is) story of John Smith, as I was. A brilliant end to what I would describe as an epic mariner's tale.
This is a really superb book, the type of book that you can sit comfortably in a chair in a winter's night and just totally relax with. The Author has written the story in a smooth continuous flow of writing which allows the Reader to follow the story easily without having to backtrack to previously read material to keep the theme of the story in mind. The book itself satisfies many genres and thus will appeal to a wide range of readers. The work includes love, classical background, fear, battles, friendship and so many other areas. The main characters are with the story from beginning to end with a few twists along the way which brings surprise to the reader and also draws the readers attention to a deeper understanding of the story. A classical themed story but not all romance and god's. A good read guaranteed. Catherine Bryce, A LoveReading Ambassador
This is an unusual take on Christmas but so very good with hints of the future. Children no longer want the traditional toys and it seems video games are all they ask for so Santa and his elves have no work and then Santa finds a way to keep the workshop alive but it definitely isn't for the children. Back in the 'normal' world Dallas Stone a cop who 'did things his own way' has been allocated a partner much to his disdain but Joel is new out of university and is very much a rules guy, saying they would clash is an understatement but when they get information about Santa's little operation they have to investigate. What follows is such a great ride that I was rushing to see how it would end and in between, it held some funny parts and some poignant parts but all in all it was a good book. Well worth a read. I love David Blake's Space Police books and this reminded me of them. Carol Peace, A LoveReading Ambassador