Indie books rock

I like reading new and unknown authors. If I like a book I'll review it.

Cards on the table

You're Getting Married Soon... Now What? (Now What? Series Book 1) - Eeva Lancaster

Not being any kind of expert on marriage, it’s hard to say whether the topics addressed in this guide are comprehensive. They strike me as a package of important and useful things to know about your partner. Through open communication, you get to know each other better. I like the notion put forward here, that when you and your partner encounter one of the typical issues in marriage, you will be better equipped to address it if you have built a foundation by having previously discussed it. Sitting down together and opening up about a defined list of difficult and possibly embarrassing topics is obviously a useful exercise in itself – learning to communicate. This makes perfect sense. This book makes perfect sense.

Authentic feel to this one

Children of Fury - Dash McCallen

The setting for this powerful adventure is 17th century on the high seas. Pirates and warring nations. Life and death. The idea of children being stolen and sold into slavery halfway around the world is shocking, and it is aptly portrayed here. The story is confronting in its brutality, in the pain of families torn apart, of innocent people murdered. Beneath an expertly detailed depiction of these atrocities is a sweeping tale of guts, courage and the triumph of human spirit. Set aside a full weekend to be transported to another time by this book.

Boundless imagination

The Dream Walker, Land of Mystica Series Volume 1 - Michelle Murray

What a wonderful, magical tale. Mystica is an amazing place of intrigue and imagination. Wizards trapped in stones and an overly curious boy setting off a war to threaten the entire kingdom… A girl with strange powers of dream and premonition… We traverse the lands in anticipation of who or what are we going to meet next. Evil or nice? Pleasant or grumpy? This terrific story for children and youths builds steadily to a powerful climax and wholesome resolution. The ending tantalises with the promise of more to come. More of these interesting and cleverly crafted tales would be most welcome!

Don't you just love a good quest?

The Darkness of Gold - K.R. Slifer, Claudia McKinney, Catie Crehan

The princess of good trekking across the kingdom to battle the darkness of evil. This is a well tried concept and is handled wonderfully right here in a fast moving tale. If you don’t spend a lot of reading time in fantasy, you can need just the right balance of description and action to hold your interest. It’s a completely foreign world, so you need to be informed of the surroundings. The characters are often creatures, so you need plenty of detail about who and what they are. I find it easy to get bogged down in all this description in fantasy stories, but that didn’t happen with The Darkness Of Gold. Not at all. I found the characters to be intriguing and the scenery vivid, yet the story moved quickly and kept me very much interested and in anticipation of what would come next. I ended up with an impression of a richly three dimensional kingdom, with a lot to the story remaining mysterious and untold. The different kinds of communities briefly encountered were fascinating and offered adventures for the imagination well beyond the scope of this quest. You find yourself wondering what was going on there as you’re passing by. I liked that. The action scenes were quite powerful and, again, vivid. I think the romantic element was sweet and in just the right proportion with the rest of the plot. I didn’t pick the ending. That was a good twist… To an occasional fantasy reader, this was quite a good Sunday’s entertainment.

The Hungry Fox

The Hungry Fox - Kitty Barry Ouch… Well, that’s what happens: A true to nature children’s story book and a once-upon-a-time satire for grown-ups. The tale told in pictures is great. We need to like Hungry Fox for this to work, and we do – starting with the cross-eyed picture on the front cover and all the way through the sadness and tears to the contented ZZZ’s at the end. The art-work works. The story works too. Simple and easy to grasp – good ‘uh oh’ conflict with the bunny – a swift and satisfactory resolution (satisfactory for our likeable fox that is). It’s an appropriately subtle climax, without any graphic… I’m no expert on kids' books, but I like this one. Two thumbs up!

Little Doll

Little Doll - Melissa Jane Agonizingly good… does not let up: The beautiful young heroine in this powerhouse of a book is dragged through shocking acts of violence, through deprivation, imprisonment, lust, domination, desperation, need, passion, betrayal… She is wonderfully drawn – authentic and endearing in her blend of fight and vulnerability. You’re going to want to personally get your hands on her captors. They are excruciating to read. Our hero is a bit of a mystery so far. The way the heroine is driven to (mistakenly?) hate and despise him is brilliant storytelling. Just how much she is now indebted to him is tantalising…. I’m so glad the next volume is already available. This story is too good to stop reading at this point. A cover-to-cover, edge-of-your-seat thriller.

Corpses Say the Darndest Things

Corpses Say the Darndest Things - Doug Lamoreux Non-stop wit: Tremendous imagery… in this book you are along for the ride inside the head of an irreverent, wise-cracking private eye on the trail of a murderer or two. It’s a solid who-done-it with a good twist in its tale. There’s a dash of the supernatural, which our down-to-earth, straight shooting (although gun-less) hero is completely unsuited to dealing with. There’s a whole lot of great stuff here: The depiction of his mother is brilliant. The clashes with an adversarial detective. Nod Blake’s assistant, our heroine, makes this book in the end… This is a terrific read – had me flicking pages, chuckling all the while, and powering on to find out what was going to happen next.

The Secrets of Julia Hawke

The Secrets of Julia Hawke - Brenda Cheers A tapestry: Julia's life is not extraordinary, but it is fascinating. She steps off a plane, returning from an unplanned trip away, and is faced with a whole bunch of problems that have sprung up in her absence. It's a scene easily related to - everything falling apart at the same time. Everyone who has lived a bit of a life has experienced this... What are the decisions and incidents that shaped your life and brought you to that point? Well, in this story, Julia is a flawed character. Reading through the chapters of her life, there were times I didn't particularly like her. But she is human - brilliantly depicted as such. And I found myself cheering for her in the end. The real heroine in this story, to me, is her best friend. Raz is mysterious... strong. We don't spend much time inside her head, but that adds to the story, lending a depth of dimension that exist in all of our lives... This is a captivating read. Authentic.

STOP the Bully

STOP the Bully - Karen Tyrrell Brilliantly told… an eye opener: Is this a children’s story… a parent’s how-to perhaps? I was unsure what to expect with this book, but it captivated me immediately and held me spellbound throughout. I’m giving a full 5 stars because this is a brilliant story – could make it as a classic. It’s a wonderful read for children, and it shows us all the bullying experience through a child’s eyes. The tale itself is clever and highly impactful (had my lip quivering once or twice – the shoes). Expertly detailed and written. Click on the buy link.

Frozen Below

Frozen Below - Ian R. Luke, Jim Thomsen Realistic future world: Action from start to finish… this story is a credible and intelligent take on what may happen should climate change continue to escalate and surge out of control. This violent, harsh, life or death drama drives the characters – Mother Nature in fury exposing elements of raw human nature and the will to live in all animals. The adventure in this story takes us on a dog-sledding journey of survival. The depiction of this is detailed, smart and fascinating. This is an exciting read.

Shadows of Light

Shadows of Light - A. Finlay Careful what you wish for: Our heroine in this one is dreading the beginning of another boring, uneventful year. Oops! Wonderful message in a smart, fearful yet fun fantasy adventure. Great characters with just the right amount of attitude are brought to life for us in a very well told story.

In Conversations with Strangers

In Conversations with Strangers - Brenda Cheers Expertly revealed: True to life characters and an outback Aussie road trip… this is a touching and shocking human drama, the telling of which begins in turmoil and takes us on two journeys. One is the road trip – onward into discovery and hurt. The other is a series of flashbacks that lead us to our starting point and an expertly crafted reveal. Wonderfully written – mesmerizing… this is a terrific novel.

Stone Warrior

Stone Warrior - Avril Sabine Fun & romantic: A seemingly impossible situation, too freaky and unbelievable to even attempt to explain. There’s a lot of fun in the clash of modern and ancient culture throughout this cute YA adventure/romance. I’m a bit mature for this kind of story but I remember when I wasn’t, and this is pretty good.

High Plains Promise (Love on the High Plains Book 2)

High Plains Promise (Love on the High Plains Book 2) - Simone Beaudelaire Authentic. Gripping: The American West. A story about people who lived back then. Not about the pioneering, horses and gun-slinging… this is a fascinating tale of the attitudes of the times – of marriage and life. It is wonderfully told, so much so that you forget your real surroundings and are there living the human drama with these people. Weakness and lust, duty and necessity, love and madness… this book is a whirlwind with a hard-hitting climax. Read it.

Quest for Knowledge (FirstWorld Saga)

Quest for Knowledge (FirstWorld Saga) - Christopher Jackson-Ash, Nat Turner Big action adventure with well-placed humour: A flawed hero with no idea who/what he is. The future of the universe at stake. The scene is set for action and adventure, which is delivered with just enough detail to evoke the imagery you need in an alternate world, without drowning you in description. The breadth and depth of this fantasy world is impressive – the depiction of multi-dimensions is smooth. This is a fast paced story that leads you on a fascinating quest while keeping you grounded and often amused through the thoughts and impressions of our hero Simon Redhead. The scene is set for an awful lot more to come.

The Deadly Caress

The Deadly Caress - O. N. Stefan Frigging hell: This doesn’t let up. Heart pounding, nail biting… if you’re looking for a relaxing read – this ain’t it! This is masterly suspense and a great thriller. You want to climb into the book and help out the goodies – save them from the relentless bad guys, whoever they are. It’s not clear exactly who to fear until the end. The who-done-it is brilliant. Get comfy because you won’t be putting this book down, although you’re likely going to be pacing the room while you read rather than relaxing in a chair… Excellent. Top marks.