More Indie Book Reviews

A few more fabulous reads from my travels!

Simple

by Anita Dawes

This story was a riveting page-turner that I was unable to put down and couldn’t wait to get back to when I did. The tale takes place in the backwoods hill country of the Eastern US where life unfolds according to different rules than it does in town. The law has no influence, relationships are frequently brutal, and survival requires living by one’s instincts.

The main character, Leanne, grows up in a cabin with her grandmother and extended family where a “meanness” comes out in violence and cruelty. She and her mentally disabled uncle, Simple, are burdened with kind hearts and eventually, their defiant choices put them in mortal danger from their own family.

Part of what makes the book so engrossing is its utter unpredictability. The tension sits on a knife’s edge at all times. The family is explosive, and Leanne, though only fourteen, survives by her wits, knowing full well the nature of her adversaries. All of the characters are thoroughly believable and so real that I’m staying far away from any place where I might run into their like. Honestly, it’s a bit chilling.

Dawe’s prose reflects the colloquial dialog and lack of education among the hill-folk, and yet it flows smoothly and is effortless to read. Each character’s voice is distinct and consistent. There is no gratuitous sex or violence, although these elements are frequently present as ways in which the family’s goals, anger, and revenge are carried out. The details regarding hill-life lend credibility to the story and increase immersion.

Despite the brutality, ultimately this is a read about the power of kindness and love, and finding one’s way home. This book is one of my favorites this year. Definitely high on my recommendation list.

 

Mahoney

by Andrew Joyce

Mahoney is a family saga that follows the lives of three generations of fathers and sons. Part I chronicles the immigration of Devin Mahoney from Ireland to the US in the mid-1850s to escape the potato famine. Despite rampant discrimination, he contributes to the growing nation as a brick-layer and railroad man. Part II extends into the American West with Devin’s son, Dillon, who becomes a US Marshal and California oilman. Part III transitions to the story of David Mahoney as he rediscovers the country his forefathers helped build and finds himself in the process.

Joyce tells the story in an omniscient point of view, sprinkling third-person and first-person narratives with historical details about the time and place, the men’s vocations, living conditions, war, justice, and injustice. These details are well researched and add a fascinating backdrop to the human story. Descriptions are vivid, and the pace is leisurely.

The characters are richly developed. The dialog is exceptional, and relationships feel authentic. I felt connected to each of the three men and their stories and was moved at the end as David Mahoney embraces the legacy left by his father and grandfather. An excellent read that will appeal to anyone who enjoys stories about multi-generational families, historical fiction, or the making of a nation.

 

Life in a Flash

by Geoff Le Pard

This generous collection of flash fiction is full of quirky humor. Le Pard has a way of exaggerating recognizable human interactions and bringing to light their inherent nonsense in a fresh and delightful way. I kept opening my Kindle during the night to read one or two more.

But humor isn’t the only offering on the book’s pages. Sprinkled among the laughs are some poignant stories that strum the heartstrings, and some social commentary that points to the human condition and the current struggles faced by many. I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy flash fiction and a clever and imaginative take on life.

138 thoughts on “More Indie Book Reviews

  1. Great reviews, Diana! My TBR list is threatening to bury me 😀 And I’m still looking for the stop-time-so-I-can-read machine, so if you find it, I wanna borrow it 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Teri Polen says:

    Wonderful reviews, Diana! I’ve seen some other positive reviews of Mahoney around the blogosphere.

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  3. Simple sounds like a good one

    Liked by 1 person

  4. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Oh good! More good books to read!! Thank you, Diana!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. areilly88 says:

    You have such a beautiful way of describing the best of what others have to offer. This review makes me want to read each of your recommendations.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re back on-line! And doing your generous giving with Indie book reviews again. I’ll have to tell you, I don’t think I can read the first one because I have so many nightmares when I read about mean people and brutality. But I loved your review and the fact that you enjoyed this novel so much. Yay to you and to Anita Dawes. I find it fascinating that the second book – Mahoney – was written in the omniscient POV – don’t see that often these days. Sounds well done. And great for Le Pard and his humor. We NEED that these days.
    I’m so impressed with the talent that is out there from Indie authors. I read Calmer Girls by Jennifer Kelland Perry over vacation and was riveted with her YA novel. Then I read Roy McCarthy’s Supply and Demand novel about human trafficking. Not my normal “feel good” reads, but they were excellent. I learned a lot from both of them, and wrote reviews of course on Amazon and Goodreads. I recommend both if you haven’t gotten to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the recommendations, Pam. I’m nearly through my Kindle backlog, would you believe??!! Time for more books. I move my parents one more time this coming week, and then YES, back to blogging and writing – not quite like before, but with less chaos in my life. Thanks so much for the visit and Happy September!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wonder if you’ll blog sometime about your dilemmas/drama/difficulties with helping your parents find the right place/space for them. It’s an ordeal many of us have gone through. I cut short my vacation week to visit my mom, and we had an amazing miracle together, where she knew who I was and said I LOVE YOU while kissing my hand, Diana – filled me to the core. We must glorify in these tiny moments of family love. ❤

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        • I’ve thought about it, Pam, but am still unsure. It isn’t a pretty picture at all, despite the love underlying all that’s going on. Perhaps in fictional form or a poem. 🙂 And how wonderful for those moments of lucidity. I’m so glad you had that touch of remembrance and love with your mom. ❤ ❤ ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          • The opposite of a pretty picture, for sure. Another blogger’s book I read recently was the cozy mystery Dead, White and Blue by Amy Reade (not sure if you follow her). She included a mom/grandmother who is showing signs of dementia. I met Amy while on vacation (she lives nearby ‘my’ beach) and we talked about her being brave enough to add this subject to a cozy which is yes a murder mystery, but lighter than most mysteries. She’s wondering how far she should go with it. But SO many of our generation (and there are a lot of us) are going through this hardship. Personally, I liked her cozy because of the real issues in it.

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            • I do follow Amy but I haven’t read her book. I should pick it up! I worry about posting details that maybe should be private while my parents are living. They aren’t suffering from dementia, but are determined to live independently when they can’t. I’m hoping for a lull in care-taking, but honestly, the next emergency could happen any day. It’s really bad, Pam. At least they’ll be closer so I can respond quicker. 😦

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  7. I’m amazed you get so much time to read when you also want to write!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t written since May, Betsy. It’s been way too hectic and I need big chunks of quiet time to write. But I’m hoping to take up the laptop again in November and finally finish my year-long first draft! Until then, I’m charging through my TBR list! Happy September!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Mahoney looks REALLY cool!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. will look up Simple by Anita Dawes at the library ASAP Thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve come to realize that I’m definitely a “list” person and a list of possible new books/authors to read is hard to resist…I hope autumn sends you some lazy, warm days for more reading, Diana!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sounds like a great end of summer read! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s good to see you post, Diana. The books look interesting but I’m especially intrigued by Life in a Flash. I hope you’re well. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Solitaire says:

    Thanks for sharing them Diana, on my list of future books 🎐

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Congrats to the authors on the fabulous reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a collection! Simple sounds heart-rending but strengthening too. Thanks for sharing these, Diana. RT.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Jan Sikes says:

    These look like fantastic reads! I have Mahoney on my Kindle, but I’m headed over to pick up Simple right now! Thanks for sharing, Diana!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. There’s a part of me that wants to read Simple, but there’s another part of me that finds the premise a bit too unnerving.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. jenanita01 says:

    Thank you so much for such a wonderful review, Diana. Anita is thrilled that you enjoyed her book!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Excellent reviews, Diana and the books sound very interesting. Thanks for the beautiful share.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. arlene says:

    Nice review Diana. I wish I could get hold of these books too.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Annika Perry says:

    Diana, always know I’m in for a treat reading your reviews … your thoughts about the books and writing styles are presented with flair and insight. Although I know Anita from blogging, I hadn’t come across this book. I’m hooked from your review and can’t wait to read this one.

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  22. Three excellent reviews Diana. Grest share. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Sounds like you’ve enjoyed a few good books in your off time. Glad you’ve had something to help you chill during your difficult few months 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Hi Diana. It’s good to see you back. I enjoyed Geoff’s book enormously, and the cover is perfect for it. The other two sound very exciting as well. I enjoyed hearing your reaction to all three. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 2 people

  25. petespringerauthor says:

    Thank you, Diana, for your concise reviews. It’s always great to find some exciting new reads.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for stopping by, Pete. I actually enjoy reviewing and hope they entice a few readers. The problem, for me, is usually about finding time to read. Have a great end to your summer and Happy Reading!

      Like

  26. dgkaye says:

    I love your reviews Diana, you make them sound like stories in themselves. 🙂 And lucky me who holds all 3 of those books awaiting me on my big fat Kindle. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Ocean Bream says:

    Great reviews, Diana. So concise and just enough detail to get you interested in the contents 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Excellent reviews, Diana! Mahoney is on my kindle. Hope all is well with you and your family. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Steven Baird says:

    Great suggestions, great reviews. Thanks, Diana!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Always good to read reviews by you, Diana – as for fiction you couldn’t make up what’s happening in the UK right now!

    Liked by 2 people

  31. D.L. Finn, Author says:

    Great reviews, Diana. I will be adding a couple to my TBR list.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Mae Clair says:

    You made me want to read all three of these with your excellent reviews, Diana. Congratulations to the authors and thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Thanks for the reviews, Diana. I love the cover of Simple! I hope you and your parents are well.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. These are all lovely reviews, Diana. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. C.E.Robinson says:

    Great reviews, Diana. As always your take on a book reveals the heart of the story, and makes me want to read it. Happy rest of the week! 📚🎶 Christine

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Mahony reminds me of my family stories. Great reviews, Mae! Thank you for sharing such wonderful finds. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  37. kevin cooper says:

    I haven’t read any of these, Diana. I will probably pick up Anita’s at some point as I enjoyed reading The Scarlet Ribbon. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Wonderful reviews Diana, I specifically like the sound of Anita Dawes book, Simple. Looking into that.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. balroop2013 says:

    How do you always stumble upon such good books Diana! All the three reviews are beckoning me to read, read and read…that’s what I have been doing these days with the least motivation to write. 🙂 Thanks for the recommendations.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I seem to collect books, Balroop. And then my TBR pile gets so big that I have to stop and read for a while before giving myself permission to buy more. These are all quite different and worthy reads. I hope you find one to try. 🙂 Thanks for much for stopping by, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  40. Thanks for these reviews, Diana. These books sound like they want reading!

    Liked by 2 people

  41. […] via More Indie Book Reviews — Myths of the Mirror […]

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