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                                                           BOOKS WE'VE READ AND LOVED BY INDIE AUTHORS

5 Stars - Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite


In Miscarriage of Justice by Bruce A. Borders, Ethan Rafferty clashes with Marianna Clark. Ethan has been imprisoned for fifteen years for a murder he didn't commit. District Attorney, Marianna, keen for victory in her first major case, found evidence that he was innocent but still pressed for a conviction. Ethan, working as carpenter and spending little, has squirreled away a modest fortune, and he intends to spend it pursuing revenge on DA Clark, who caused him to lose not just his liberty but his wife and two young sons. Marianna receives one of hundreds of notifications that a prisoner she prosecuted has been released but, for once, she doesn't toss it in the trash: Ethan Rafferty is a name she remembers vividly. Ethan dismisses the obvious forms of vengeance, such as killing her, burning down her house or targeting her family; he has no intention of being caught. Marianna relaxes as the weeks pass, but Ethan has learned patience the hard way. 

 Bruce A. Borders has excelled as a writer with Miscarriage of Justice, even more than he did with Over My Dead Body and Inside Room 913. I expected a thriller from this talented author and I couldn't believe my luck when I saw the book waiting for review, and thrilling suspense is exactly what I got. Ethan Rafferty, released after serving a sentence for a crime he didn't commit, learned to drive and bought a car, surfed the internet... I waited, while DA Marianna Clark relaxed, her gravest worry a neighbour's yowling cat. I could hear that cat making her feel murderous, and all the time I knew Ethan was determined to...  Beg, borrow or steal it, but read Miscarriage of Justice.

   5 Stars - Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite

The Convict and The Rose by Jan Sikes tells the story of two very different people with a common bond; a deep, passionate, everlasting love. The early chapters introduce Luke Stone, a country singer and musician from Texas, convicted of bank robberies in which he had been only a minor accessory but refused to grass on the perpetrators. As a result of his non-cooperation, at thirty-five, he is jailed for fifty years. Darlina Flowers is the woman who met Luke when she was a club dancer. As a teenager she travelled from gig to gig with him and The Rebel Rousers. Luke has made her promise to forget him, but can she find another man to replace him in her mind and heart? 

The opening of The Convict and The Rose is shocking, revealing conditions in a state penitentiary and the brutally humiliating treatment of prisoners. Defiant, wrongly-convicted, Luke Stone spends much of his time in solitary confinement: it seems unlikely that his wild, rebellious spirit will allow him to survive incarceration. Darlina, attracted to Will Brocker by the thrill of riding with him on his Harley Davidson, opts for a new relationship. She has done the passionate love-you-forever scenario and cannot face the agony of losing out again. Will is not what he seems, into drugs, gang warfare, and careless of her safety. Comparisons with Luke multiply. Both Luke and Darlina dream, waking and sleeping, of each other, and Luke writes love songs alone in his cell. "You cuddle me into slumber tight to return tomorrow, my angel of the night." The Convict and The Rose rides high on dreams and plunges to the depths of misery; challenging, gripping, and superbly written.

Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite

5 stars

Some Way Home - A Memoir in a Myth by David J. Kenney is the moving story of a five-month-old baby, Dylan, malnourished and neglected by a drug-addicted mother. For a while he is taken in by his Aunt Cassie but her relationship reaches breaking point and Dylan is tortured by her alcoholic partner. Dylan, now a Ward of State, becomes the responsibility of case worker, Adam. When it comes to a choice between his career and Dylanâ€ââ€Å¾¢s welfare Adam makes a decision that haunts him for a decade. Jacob and his wife, Martha, are a childless couple, enchanted by the delightful child they are chosen to adopt, but the road to hell truly is paved with good intentions. David J. Kenneyâ€ââ€Å¾¢s book is not a comfortable read. It is compelling, moving me to fury, joy, and tears, in no particular order: a book full of insights into childhood behaviour that I recommend to parents wherever they live in the world, and all those entrusted with the care of children.

My five star review of Sword of Shadows - C.N. Lesley

Not sure what I can add to my review of Shadow over Avalon. Sword of Shadows is the second in the series and continues the epic story of Arthur, a legend reborn and taken into the far future. It is just as engaging and exciting as the first novel. I love the Keys to the Kingdom thread that weaves through both, and  I am really looking forward to reading the next instalment: this one leaves the reader on a knife-edge! To sum up: original, epic plot, well-written narrative, great complex and flawed characters, well-drawn, immersing world. Up there with the best.

Rebecca's five-star review of Shadow Over Avalon - C.N. Lesley

Oh Wow! An Arthurian legend that spans the ages, taking the Once and Future King to a whole new level with a truly original twist. Hard to find words to adequately describe this book. It's a beautifully written, brilliantly conceived and intricately woven epic of breathtaking imagination. It's gripping, enthralling, emotional, mind-blowing - I am seriously in awe of this author's talent for constructing a whole new reality that draws you in and drags you deeper: she is up there with the very best of sci-fi/fantasy writers. I've just bought the sequel. If you love sci-fi and fantasy, don't miss this series.

Rebecca's review of Bertrayal - Sharon Brownlie

Five stars

I have always been interested in what make people do the things they do. In Betrayal, the author explores the mind of Helen, a young woman driven to murder. It is a story of guilt, blame and lost innocence: a downward spiral from physical abuse into drug abuse, and anger at the betrayal of those who should have protected her in childhood. Fascinating insights into both the investigative psyche and those on the wrong side of the law. I enjoyed the writing and the journey and look forward to the sequel, Betrayal, the Consequences.

Rebecca's review of Things fall Apart - Tracy Black

Five stars

The heartrending story of a single mother fighting to stop her teenage children abusing drugs. Having been a single mother of teenage boys, the story reeks authenticity, though thankfully I was spared this particular horror. My heart goes out to all parents who are going through this; the denial and guilt, the hope and despair, the fear and the heartbreak - the waste of young lives. Beautifully written, it's a harsh reality compellingly told, and a story perhaps all parents of pre-teen children should read.

Rebecca's review of Music from Standing Waves - Johanna Craven

Five stars

A beautifully-written account of a young girl's ascent into womanhood, her passion for music, and her determination to fulfil her dream and escape the constrictions of her childhood - but life and love often get in the way and dreams can trickle through your fingers like dry sand. I particularly liked the small details: frogs croaking, the kitchen tap dripping, rain barrelling, and the insights into music that gave the writing authenticity and a sense of place. I enjoyed it very much.

Rebecca's review of The Luck of the Weissensteiners - Christoph Fischer
Set in the years leading up to, during, and immediately after World War Two, this is an epic tale of the forgotten victims of the turmoil that was Europe during the war years: the ordinary families, Jewish and non-Jewish, struggling for survival and caught between Nazi hate-propaganda, anti-German feeling, and Soviet antisemitism.

The story revolves around Greta Weissensteiner, a young Jewess, and her extended family, who are constantly trying to stay one jump ahead of the ever-changing politics of the time. Trying to stay together, keep their heads down and away from potential betrayers, being torn apart as political boundaries change and desperate to find each other again. As the war progresses they have to bend with the wind, assume new identities and allegiancies to stay alive. The story is told with compassion, and without rhetoric or undue sentimentality, and what shines through is the courage when there is little hope, and constant fear and grief, and the ability to carry on when all hope and courage fails. It's a very moving and insightful account that is resonant of today's refugee crisis in Europe: something we hoped never to see again and perhaps should view with more compassion. Highly recommended read.

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Rebecca's review of Odin's Shadow - Erin S Riley

Five stars

I've always loved Celtic art: the beautiful, twisting, interlocking designs. Odin's Shadow, is one such piece of art. The characters are beautifully drawn, the plot well-constructed, finely-spun and intricately woven. The story of Selia, a young Irish girl taken by Viking raiders, resonates on a deep level: her trials, fear, courage and love stir your heart. The character of her berserker captor is wonderfully descriptive and compassionately evoked. I really enjoyed the journey. Thank you. Highly recommended.

Five Stars - A hundred-carat brilliant sparkler. A definite must-read.

This isn't a little gem: if you don't mind the odd bum-fluff and crack-waxing, it's a hundred-carat brilliant sparkler. I love Abigail's refreshingly spontaneous and honest style. Written in the first person, ballsy brilliance flows from her guilt-ridden character, Bo Simpson. The story is deceptively simple, an impossible romance, but the way it's told, the tension created, the twists, and the way the characters jump from the page make it a joy to read. The things that happen to the hapless Bo are unbelievable, and yet they are so true to life, in a 'if there's one single dog poo in this square mile, I'll step in it and tread it into my new boyfriend's mother's freshly-laid, sixty pounds per square metre, white shag-pile carpet' kind of way. It has a tragic undertow, but is overlaid with the sort of self-defacing humour we can all empathise with, as well as perfectly-aimed vitriol. I can't remember the last time a book entertained me so much. This is better than Bridget Jones, but don't take my word for it, READ IT.

Rebecca's five star review of â€ËÅâ€Åâ€Åâ€Åâ€Åâ€Åâ€Åâ€Åâ€Å“In Search of a Revolutionâ€ââ€Å¾¢ by Christoph Fischer

This is an interesting exploration into the ideologies surrounding the First and Second World Wars, something I knew little about. Set mainly in Denmark and Finland, two young friends trying to change the world for the better find their communist and conservative ideologies on different sides of the great divide. The story reminded me of my grandmother, who lived through both wars, sitting unravelling an old jumper and winding the wool into balls, only to reknit it into something new. Such was the slow unravelling of these two young menâ€ââ€Å¾¢s lives and ideological views of the future, and itâ€ââ€Å¾¢s reknitting, as they matured, into something less ideological and more practical. The patterns stitched into their relationship involve an independent young nurse, an eternal triangle that changes shape and colour but repeats endlessly as each of the characters come home from war and leave again, always missed by the others. To say I enjoyed this novel barely does it credit. It took me on a very moving journey I shanâ€ââ€Å¾¢t soon forget.

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Five star review by Rebecca
A Bucket Full of Lies â€â€Åâ€Åâ€Åâ€Åâ€Åâ€Åâ€Åâ€Åâ€Åâ€Å“ Robert K Swisher

When Roosevelt is contacted by Sam, an old hippie friend, he and his guardian angel are dumped into the middle of a guns and drug-running ring. Sam is murdered, his kids kidnapped and everyone seems to be lying through their teeth. Can Rooseveltâ€ââ€Å¾¢s guardian angel keep him alive long enough to solve the crime and rescue the children?

The authorâ€ââ€Å¾¢s easy style and quirky humour grabbed me from page one, and kept me interested and guessing until the end. Nice twists, great characters: a thoroughly entertaining read.

Rebecca's 5 star review of NANO MAN by Dean C Moore.

Wow - I'd love to see this as an action movie: the special effects men would have a ball. I'm a sci-fi fan, but I could never write in this genre because I feel a writer needs a certain amount of scientific knowledge to pull it off. Dean C Moore has pulled it off triumphantly. The plot is complex and convoluted, the politics a tangled web, and the characters are... how do you describe robots who are almost human and humans who are almost robots with loyalties that bend with the breeze? Dean's vision of the future is horrific, violent, gory, corrupt, backstabbing, Utopian, dystopian, ironic, prophetic and full of dark humour all bound together with unlikely love stories. How does he do all that while keeping the plot straight in his head? Recommended read. - Rebecca.

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Nano Man: Jane Macelvey is a genius bioengineer. Her first human guinea pig is also the one person who has any chance of keeping her alive against all the secret government agencies and private corporations that are after her.

Rebecca's five star review of A Field Beyond Time by Lesley Hayes.

I'm not sure I have the language to do this book justice. I could say it's about emotional and physical relationships between three women, or the mother/daughter and father/son relationships, or the anguish a parent feels on losing a child, or the gullibility of youth. I could say it's an intricate, meticulous and introspective dissection of the human psyche. It's all these things, and much more. It's so beautifully written, the language and descriptions so fabulously evocative and so deeply moving that it touched me, resonated within me on many levels - guilt, regret, blame, despair, hope, the needing to love and be loved... forgiveness and the act of forgiving oneself. The story is deceptively simple - the feelings the language evoke are deep, sometimes dark, and always insightful and thought-provoking, while the prose is, in places, at once both achingly beautiful and exquisitely painful. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more of Lesley Hayes' work. - Rebecca

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Sarah's 5 star review of: Tom Benson's BEYOND THE LAW

This is character-driven story from the start with an intriguing plot to go with it, and a love interest with enough sexual tension to hold both male and female readers. It opens with explosive, and rigged, action against an authentic African background. Before it is over Phil McKenzie' captivatingly different character is established: it also provides a believable reason why an SAS officer finds himself summarily dismissed and back in the UK, without charges if he agrees to working as an advisor to the Met.

London isn't home and Phil has a death of a teenage friend to avenge:  his ruthless passion for justice begins with his murder of a hit man paid to kill a policeman and his daughter. The pace steps up still further when Phil is recruited, as an unofficial vigilante, to unearth corruption at a high level and hunt down gangsters lurking in Glasgow's underworld that lies, unsuspected, beneath the city's stylish, cosmopolitan front.

Beyond the Law is fast-paced thriller that could be shelved with books by Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy and Robert Harris without appearing inappropriate. Highly recommended.

Fast-paced vigilante justice makes this a very different thriller


Sarah's 5 star review of Home At Last by Jan Sikes

Beautifully-written, complex, and utterly captivating

Darlina Flowers drives into Coleman, a small, dirty, Texan town, with Mama's parting words echoing in her head: Luke Stone broke your heart once, he'll do it again. Darlina has given up her home and her job, and uprooted her daughters, Lily and Nicole, from the only life they've ever known. Ahead of her is marriage to the man she has loved since she was a teenager.

After 15 years in jail for a crime he didn't commit, Luke Stone is freed on parole. Carrying only the bare necessities in a cardboard case, and a few dollars, he travels by Greyhound bus back to Mom, and the town where he must live and report to the parole officer. His one hope is Darlina, and her promise of marriage. With her beside him, nothing is impossible.

Homeless, until Mom makes it possible for them to buy a dilapidated trailer, Darlina and Luke struggle with extreme poverty. Jobs are few: Darlina strives to find work and has to accept the few hours on offer. Luke is an unemployable ex-convict, forced into doing anything he can to raise money. Unknown to Darlina, he sells his guitar. She loved life on the road, travelling from one honky-tonk bar to the next, where the charismatic rocker first won her heart.

Passionate abiding love is all Darlina and Luke have: one couple against an unforgiving world, with two youngsters to clothe, when buying food is almost beyond them. Luke has children from his first marriage Darlina hopes to welcome, if they would agree to see him.

Can they find the way to acceptance in the close-knit community? Will their innovative money-making ideas succeed? How much must they ask of Lily and Nicole? What is the cause of Luke's breathless exhaustion? Can Luke's first family, now young adults, forgive him in the face of their mother's hatred for the man who deserted her? Most of all, will talented Luke ever sing and play in public again when he blames the lifestyle for drinking and drug abuse?

This is the third of Jan Sikes' powerful autobiographical fiction novels featuring Darlina and Luke and, like the others, is a moving mixture of erotic love, successes and heartbreak.


Sarah's 5 star review of Dangerous Perceptions: Unintended Consequences by Stuart Murray

Steve Tait and Jeff McCrae revisit the scene of their dangerous confrontation with the Jackson family, intent on paying for the canoe they borrowed and wrecked. Old Joe Carter, its owner,  who has struck a deal with Wayne Jackson and is repairing his old truck to head out to Florida, accepts $100 towards fuel he'll need: all that is delaying him are signatures on a document. Jeff, and both men's wives, see this as duty done and want out, but Steve conceives an audacious plan.


In his office way above New York's Wall Street, wealthy, power-mad, Richard Tyler worships money and counts his own in billions. Financing a project on the Jackson land will add to his fortune and massage his ego. For him, "money is the bottom line" and he doesn't care who he manipulates to get it, or the price they may pay in crippling mortgages, back-breaking work, or even death.


Steve, desperate to live, not just exist in poverty, puts his marriage to Karen on the line by gambling on buying out the lease from Joe and holding Wayne Jackson to ransom for the return of this last section of his land. He figures he will pay him a huge profit to avoid the project being scuppered. The plan runs into trouble the instant Steve invests every cent of his savings. Jackson refuses to pay what he asks, and reminds him the terms of the lease demand he lives on the property and works the land.


Battle lines are drawn, and the journey to the solution will keep you on the edge of your seat. I bought this book to read on holiday, and made the mistake of taking a peep. I was too gripped by the opening chapters, and the vivid, flawed, believable characters, not to finish it in two sittings.


Well-written and thought-provokingYou shouldn't judge a book by its cover is a well-known phrase that travels with us through this story. First impressions of people and situations aren't always as they seem. I've always been fascinated by what makes people the way they are and this is explored in this novel. When friends take a road-trip they find themselves in a dangerous predicament, because nothing and no-one is as it first appears. Echoes of Deliverance, the movie, come to mind as they get entangled deeper and deeper. Well-written and entertaining.

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Rebecca's review of Salby Damned by Ian D Moore *****Great writing, great subject, great story. This is a lesson to mankind about arrogance and trying your luck with nature. Be warned: nature will always win! I really enjoyed this well-constructed tale about the effects and response to a country-wide disaster caused by corporate greed and the best intentions, however wrong, of the scientific community. When fracking, and in my humble opinion fracking is a disaster waiting to happen, damages a secret underground facility of equally dubious value, the effects are catastrophic to guilty and innocent alike. At first, I thought this was going to be a zombie story, not my favourite genre, but it's so much more than that, and totally believable. It's down to Evie, the facility head, and Nathan, ex-military, to try to contain the outbreak and find some way to reverse its effects. The twists at the end are superb and very satisfying. I highly recommend this tale.

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