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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.

August 2021 Featured Books

The Timepiece and the Girl Who Went Astray

The Timepiece and the Girl Who Went Astray

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

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

Indie Books We Love
Clean Sweep  A Novel

Clean Sweep A Novel

Format: Ebook Release Date: 20/07/2021

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

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

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

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

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

Indie Books We Love
Madrigal A Closely Guarded Secret

Madrigal A Closely Guarded Secret

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

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

Indie Books We Love
Three: A Tale of Brave Women and the Eyam Plague

Three: A Tale of Brave Women and the Eyam Plague

Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/05/2021

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

Indie Books We Love

July 2021 Featured Books

The Darlings

The Darlings

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

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

Indie Books We Love
Mother of the Fire

Mother of the Fire

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

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

Indie Books We Love
The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories

The Old Men Who Row Boats and Other Stories

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

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

Indie Books We Love
Bent

Bent

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

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

Indie Books We Love
The Fifth: Indoctrinated City

The Fifth: Indoctrinated City

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

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

Indie Books We Love
I Escape Through You

I Escape Through You

Format: Paperback Release Date: 09/04/2021

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

Indie Books We Love
A Diary of England in the 1970s

A Diary of England in the 1970s

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

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

Indie Books We Love
The Road To My Horizon

The Road To My Horizon

Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/04/2021

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

Indie Books We Love
Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect

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

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

Indie Books We Love
Rewriting Our Stories:  Education, empowerment, and well-being

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

Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/02/2021

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

Indie Books We Love
Toy Soldiers

Toy Soldiers

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

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

Indie Books We Love
Rescuing General Patton

Rescuing General Patton

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

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

Indie Books We Love
Tales From The Gray Area

Tales From The Gray Area

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

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

Indie Books We Love
The Extraordinary Happenings of Peter Oddfellow: The Old Umbrella

The Extraordinary Happenings of Peter Oddfellow: The Old Umbrella

Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/04/2018

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

Indie Books We Love

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

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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    

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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 

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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