One of my goals during my time away from blogging was to catch up on my Kindle’s TBR list. Although I still haven’t gotten through the list here are a few books I did read that I’d like to share with you.


Islamic terrorists have managed to shut down an American submarine’s computer system while Kalian Delamagente (a PHd student at Columbia University) and the protagonist of this well researched novel, has invented a robot which is able to detect subs thus leading  multiple attempts by the terrorists to get their hands on Delamagente’s research.

This political thriller plays on both robotics and paleontology – an interesting and unique mixture. Aside from the plot, I was impressed by the number of characters in the novel and how the author was able to characterize all of them. I was also impressed by the descriptions offered in the book: She absorbed the cacophony of African life – the trill of insects, the distant hoots and hollers, and the rustle of wind. It was hard to accept that this overpowering beauty hid such danger.

Although the terrorists’ attempts to steal America’s most potent nuclear weapon is at the heart of this novel there are cultural gems interwoven throughout. For example, through one of the characters,  Laslo Hamar from Iran – we learn about the Islamic toiletry etiquette before prayer.

It has been a long time since I read a novel of such complexity (submarines, computer hacking, kidnapping). Although I did not find it an easy read – perhaps because of the author’s skilled technical knowledge incorporated in the novel – it was a stimulating and informative read.

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If you’ve ever wondered why relationships are so difficult, Ana Linden’s book Parallel Lives offers ample reasons for this diversity and complexity between a man and a woman.

Amalia, the main character in the book, provides contemplative insights into finding someone she can like, accept and respect for who he is, from the very beginning. The book reads like a psychological treatise on such subjects as cheating, the death of feelings, suffocation familiarity, compromises, high school love, jealousy and intense sensations.

As a character, Amalia is strong and in control of her life.  She has a take me or leave me attitude and offers no apologies for her feelings or lack of them towards the men she becomes involved in, challenging some of them about their own infidelities and double lives – thus the title Parallel Lives.

Every woman who has ever questioned why she doesn’t have any physical desire for a kind man who worships her, will find she is not alone here:  you just can’t fake chemistry.

What I liked and admired the most about Amalia was that she remains true to herself and her value system. In her affair with the married man, Robert, I couldn’t help but think of Fifty Shades of Grey with a feminist twist and without the dominant/submissive contract. Submission is not at all part of Amalia’s make-up. She is much too strong willed and independent. Parallel lives is a refreshing, insightful and encouraging look at what happens when women take charge with confidence of their own desires.

The book also offers some tender and sensual moments and a clear look at how differently men and women view relationships, especially sexual ones.

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ConneXions: A dating site where lonely women have become prey

Mariano’s novel illustrates that the world of online dating can be a dangerous trap for women seeking sexual excitement and escape from a loveless life. It becomes especially risky when the man they meet is Kyle whose modus operandi consists of smooth talking, seductiveness and a “getting to know” each other attitude.

Mariano keeps up interest by first focusing on Kyle who preys after married women. Interest is later upheld as the author introduces a second serial killer and the reader understand that Kyle is a copy cat killer. My suspense was maintained as I wondered who among the men that these married women were dating could be the original killer.

Although the author places much attention on the copy cat killer, his violent past and his life style, it is her concentration on the victims – along with failed marriages, disappointing careers, lonely lives – that add to the novel. These women could be your next door neighbor or even yourself. They are believable in their pursuit of meaningfulness in their lives and their vulnerability makes them easy prey for a charming, handsome man like Kyle.

As a sub-plot, Dana, a PH student in Psychology, is doing her thesis on the relationship between low self-esteem and married women’s affairs. She goes online in search of married women seeking intimate relationships. When Elaine, one of the women in her study is found strangled and another has disappeared she decides to take matters in her hands. The suspense is then upped as Dana goes online in search of the serial killer.

The characters in this novel were well developed and the story line flowed smoothly. Mariano is best known as a romance writer and her skills in this genre are reflected in this easy to read novel.

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 A series of misunderstandings is at the heart of this romantic suspense novel.  What is interesting in this novel is not so much finding out whodunit but rather how the protagonist will get out of the mess she finds herself in.

Sandra Eastman has finally got her life on track after the tragic deaths of bother parents. But then she finds herself being accused of planting a bomb in her boss’s office. Motivation for her doing so is not lacking and to add to the intrigue Lieutenant Harris is on the case – the same officer who remembers her as a teenager when he was the duty officer assigned to tell her that her father had died. There are many twists and turns to the plot, some having to do directly with Sandra and others like murder and fraud add parallel suspense and interest to the story.

And then there’s the romance. The ending is so very romantic.

The novel is written by two authors and I would be very curious to know how they worked together to create such a seamless novel in terms of characterization, tone, voice and style. As a bonus the novel is set in San Francisco.

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If you’re looking for a good whodunit book consider reading Margot Kinberg’s B-Very Flat. The setting takes place on a university campus where Serena Brinkman, an up-and- coming violinist is found dead. The motives for her murder are many: money, career advancement, obsession, jealousy and Kinberg makes sure through her swift pacing to keep us on our toes.

The characters are well-drawn and the dialogue moves the plot forward. Although the novel is light and entertaining it does not lack in describing the foibles of human nature and the lengths people will go to maintain their status quo. As a sub-plot is a beautiful love relationship between Serena and her partner. If you like mystery puzzles you’ll love this book.

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The Golden Age of Charli

Charli and her husband Stewart (Pud) are on a mission to get healthy again and bring zest back into their 30 year marriage by bonding with their younger relatives and growing more mindful about their food uptake in spite of their love of wine and gourmet food.

This is an entertaining novel about retirement, being a golf widower and trying to shed the pounds. It is also a warming novel about a close knit family going through the transitional stage that comes with retirement.

What I most enjoyed about the book was Charli’s optimistic outlook on life. Although much of the book is about the health issues associated with being overweight, the author shows us, through Charli, that being healthy also consists of having a right attitude.

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The two  short crime stories in this book read like hard boiled fiction. Like any good short story both stories in Murder with a Twist are tightly written and we jump into the action right away.

Both stories were written from a woman’s point of view and whether in the first person view point (Salt Free) or the third person point of view (The Green Light) John Greco accurately portrayed the mindset of, in one case, a woman cheated by her husband and in the other a women using sex to get what she wants. I found the twists at the end of both stories to be surprising and satisfying. I’m hoping that these two stories are the beginning of a larger collection of stories by this author.

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Product Details

This story took me down memory lane to my own childhood filled with penny candy, candied apples, two cent empty Orange Crush bottles. Will (5) and Shawn (9) are brothers out to enjoy a great day together.

The author gives us a play by play of this day along with background on the young boys’ home situation of a dad’s drinking and parents fighting over money. It is a sweet story that made me feel good inside.

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 Versions of the SelfChristy Birmingham’s latest collection of poems takes off where her book Pathways to Illumination left off. In Versions of Self Christy Birmingham offers hope, inspiration and celebrates the strength of healing.In her own words her objective in writing this collection is “…(to) long for words I can to heal someone else.” This is what good poetry does and Birmingham succeeds on many levels.

I have always found reading poetry a catalyst for my own writing, particularly in its ability to fill my mind with inimitable images. Here’s an example:

Take off the uniform that smothers

Your hopes for a stable embrace, and

Listen for the words you are sure to hear,

When you dance one day, when

You tilt your lips into a smile.If you’ve followed Christy Birmingham’s blog, you know that she is a feminist and her poem Equality and Vision is a tribute to Women’s Equality Day, August 26.

Honor and represent the women who

Have brought us to the path we travel today.

Like a good wine, this collection is to be savored; unlike a good wine, her metaphorical bottle is always full ready for you to return to, each time enlightening you in a different way.

Do not add despair to your breath today sums up the optimism in this collection.

Follow Christy at: and



48 thoughts on “SOME INDIE BOOKS I READ

    • Thanks for dropping by, Janet. I always appreciate it. There are so many books to read (especially by fellow bloggers) that it’s hard to keep up. Have a great weekend. Carol ❤


  1. Thank you so much, Carol, for the kind words *blush*. It means so much to me that you took the time to read B-Very Flat, and that you included it here. I appreciate it very much, and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Jill…I wish I could have read more and I still have quite a few on my Kindle aside from books I take out of the library.
      I hope that amidst my suggestions, you find a few that will inspire and entertain you.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I so appreciate it! ❤


  2. So great to have you back Carol! And I’m envious that you took the time out and got to catch up on reading. This is something I’ve been dying to do. Just read! I’m going to keep on plugging until the winter and then when I go on winter vacation, I think for the first time ever since I began writing books I may must take a time out from the computer and enjoy my holiday fully and read lots of books. I love your reviews, and not surprisingly I’ve read some of them and most others are on my reader awaiting! I always bookmark books you recommend. I think we have similar tastes. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do agree that we have similar tastes, especially when it comes to issues particular to women.
      There’s reading. There’s writing. our stories. And there’s managing our blog. All three take up good chunks of time and often there’s not enough time to focus on all three.
      That’s really why I took some time off blogging to put more energy on the other two although most of my time was on reading. I was having a difficult time with my writing and am slowly getting back to it.
      All the best, Debby, with your new book! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s a nice, diverse selection you put together, there are a couple of titles that piqued my interest. Thank you for including “Parallel Lives” as well, it’s an honor!
    Last, but not least, welcome back, Carol 🙂 .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sure can!
      I was having difficulty with WordPress and so this post didn’t come out as clean as I would have liked it to.
      The “read more” wasn’t working nor was I able to put “click here” links on the book covers to link to Amazon, in spite of chatting with WordPress people.
      Anyway, I hope that my post will incite people to go to your blog and order your book from there.
      All the best. 🙂


  4. Pingback: Charli Featured on Carol Balawyder’s Blog! « The Golden Age of Charli

  5. Hi Carol, glad to see you didn’t hang about this summer! 😀😃 I love the reviews and some of these I’ve got on my kindle but haven’t had a chance to read yet – your comments make me eager to start reading them. I haven’t heard of Ana Linden’s book but want to check that out closer. Interesting you mention of the technical language in Jacqui’s book – I heard that from someone else, but they said as the story was so intense it didn’t dominate too much. Always lovely to see a poetry book featured as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Annika, for stopping by. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you. I had Christy Birmingham’s poetry book on my Kindle for awhile. I tend to read poetry is small doses and so it took me awhile to finish her book. Also, I find poetry is the kind of book that I go back to again and again for inspiration. Version of the Self is a lovely book. I’m happy to make you discover new books by fellow bloggers. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh Carol!! I am beaming at your words about “Versions of the Self” ~thank you! I am so glad you enjoyed the read and even found inspiration in the words. I love the excerpts you chose and it’s wonderful to have the book in such good company with these other authors. I also appreciate the links to my blogs and mention of my vision for female equality. Many hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Christy. I mentioned to Annika Perry that I’ve had your book on my Kindle for some time and tended to read a poem or two at a time. That’s just the way I read a poetry book. In fact, poetry is the one genre that I go back to and re-read. I’m glad that you appreciated the excepts I chose. I could have chosen a lot more. As for the female equality that is one thing I can always count on in your books and your blog. One of the reasons (though certainly not the only one) why I so like your blog. 🙂 I hope that my post draws more readers to your books and your blog. ❤


  7. Pingback: Book Reviews and Other Updates from the Writer’s Desk | Poetic Parfait

  8. Carol, thanks so much for mentioning my novel ConneXions. You’ve certainly done a lot of reading this summer. I finally finished Outlander (all 800+ pages) and loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Carol, welcome back. You have certainly read some interesting books. Pure Trash is on of my favorites. I understand about that TBR. Reading for a solid month of Sunday’s wouldn’t make a dent a mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My gosh, you’ve got through a lot of reading. I’m not one for thrillers or suspense, but the Whodunnits look good. I was intrigued by your review of To Hunt a Sub; where does the paleontology come into it? I have recently read a wonderful book on the subject.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Carol ~ you’re back! And I just got here to read your post and celebrate your return, and I find your review of my book Twin Desires!! Whoa, my heart went flip flop. THANK YOU – and my book is in such good company of other Indie authors. To answer your question, my co-author, Ashley Brandt, had been a student in my creative writing class for several years. We realized we had similar writing styles and both enjoyed reading romantic suspense. So we sat down and organized a plot together, then each of us took different chapters. Then we passed the chapters to each other and edited the other’s work. No egos, no arguments, and we were so pleased with how our writing melded into this romance and suspense. So, sorry for the long comment, but I’m sitting here so excited and glad you enjoyed the book. Welcome back!

    Liked by 1 person

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