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March Reads 2020

This month I've been focusing on novels by self-published authors. This is partly for research for myself as I am considering moving into publishing my own books.

Each one of these novels is worth reading. They have great storylines, believable characters and I appreciate the extra work that the authors have been through to publish them. It's no easy task...and it costs money, editing and cover design are not cheap.

Through my research I've realised self-publishing is not a process that authors should take lightly. It's a big investment and if corners are cut it results in a disappointing final product.

Typos and grammatical errors are so distracting. Anything that takes the reader out of the moment should be avoided but often proofreading is just that extra cost that writers can not afford.

All the following novels, with the exception of 'This Much Huxley Knows' could have been 5 star books, but sadly through lack of editing missed the mark. It's a lesson that has certainly made me more cautious about self-publishing.

'This Much Huxley Knows' by Gail Aldwin IS a 5 star book and sets the benchmark!

Finding You by Elizabeth Holland

Published March 1st 2021

Official Blurb

27th October 2019. A date Laura Harper would never forget.

What would you do if you returned home one night to find your boyfriend missing and blood covering your floor?


Childhood sweethearts, Laura Harper and Sean Scott were a match made in heaven. That was until the night Laura returned home to find their living room ransacked, a pool of blood on the floor, and Sean missing.


Laura always knew this was a possibility with Sean’s undercover police work. However, she never imagined that her life would also be in danger. As Laura fears for her life and her family’s safety, she finds herself on the streets of London trying to uncover answers about Sean’s disappearance. Is he dead or did he make it out alive?


Whilst hunting for answers Laura meets Luke, a kind and helpful doctor who wants to protect her and help her find out the truth. When Laura finds herself in danger, she doesn’t know who to trust. Will she ever find out what happened to Sean?

My Review

You are immediately pulled in to Laura Harper's story. The plot is nicely structured with a mix of flashbacks and different points of view. There are sections that had me totally gripped and it all unfolded in a well-paced and well-planned way.

The only thing that took me out of the story was the writing style which was a little repetitive at times and some aspects of the plot seemed a bit far fetched. If it had been set in the US I would probably have believed it more.

Overall a good story, with romance at its heart.

Thank you to the author for an advanced reading copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

My rating

3 stars

Welcome to Denver Falls by Sim Alec Sansford

Published August 28th 2020

Official Blurb

Plagued by strange dreams and questions about her past, Harper Andrews is leaving the comfort of her college campus behind to go in search of answers.

Answers she believes are hidden in the town of Denver Falls.

What will she find?

What will she lose?

And who is the mysterious shadow that haunts her dreams?

My Review

From the blurb I had no idea that this has a paranormal/fantasy element and so was expecting a 'The Pines' type plot to unfold. However, my expectations made no difference to my enjoyment as it's very well written and Harper is a nicely developed and likeable character.

It's a very short novel, fast paced but with a lot of information/elements at the end which could have been drawn out a little but I suspect is needed to set you up for the next instalment.

A little whirlwind of escapism...I enjoyed it immensely.

4 stars

Cold From the North: An Onyxborn Chronicle by D W Ross

Published November 14th 2020

Official Blurb

Driven by the promise of an ancient prophecy which will bring the dark ways of an old god back to power and prominence, an army of invaders swarms Ogulf Harlsbane’s homeland slaughtering all those who oppose them.

Along with his people, Ogulf must seek refuge from this savage force. In his search of sanctuary, he is tasked with finding the one person who can put a stop to the onslaught.

Doing so will send him across lands and seas, have him and his closest friend navigate the intricacies of a civil war, and try to win the help of the princess fighting for her throne.

If he fails, darkness will prevail and the reign of the Onyxborn will begin.

My Review

This is a large scale fantasy, with a huge amount of information to take on from the outset. It's an ambitious and detailed new world. I loved the premise, a 'The Last Kingdom' style hero, mixed with magic and epic quests.

I tried very hard to enjoy it but had trouble staying focussed as the writing style veers between very ornate to simplistic and there were just so many errors it was hard to stay invested.

If you love complex new worlds with large than life heroes then this is for you.

3 stars

This Much Huxley Knows by Gail Aldwin

Published July 8th 2021

Official Blurb

I’m seven years old and I’ve never had a best mate. Trouble is, no one gets my jokes. And Breaks-it isn’t helping. Ha! You get it, don’t you? Brexit means everyone’s falling out and breaking up.

Huxley is growing up in the suburbs of London at a time of community tensions. To make matters worse, a gang of youths is targeting isolated residents. When Leonard, an elderly newcomer chats with Huxley, his parents are suspicious. But Huxley is lonely and thinks Leonard is too. Can they become friends?

Funny and compassionate, This Much Huxley Knows explores issues of belonging, friendship and what it means to trust.

My Review

Clever, funny, poignant and so well observed, this is a fantastic book. Huxley took me back to my childhood, as although I had older brothers (18 and 20 years older) I felt like a lonely only at times.

As well as the words on the page there is also much between the lines, for we see events unfold through Huxley's eyes and those are the clever much is inferred or left for us to interpret through dialogue. I don't want to say too much but there are big and topical issues explored with Huxley's own humour and unique viewpoint.

This is my book of the month. Make sure you pre-order as the author deserves every success!

Thank you to the author for an advanced reading copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

5 stars

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