Book Gift Guide

Books just make the best presents, you are giving someone an escape to another world, the past or the future, to humour or deepest feelings…  and that’s a wonderful gift! Below are some suggestions for books that are mostly by indie authors, or just ones you may have missed…

I am not currently part of any affiliated schemes, this post has been put together to support wonderful authors that I have met and wanted to encourage others to read. I am gaining no personal benefit from these links.

Most of the books here are by members or our Readers and Writers Facebook Group – feel free to join us if you are either or both!


Trading Darkness by Lisa Hofmann – A fairytale for adults. See our book review here x

Vision by Elizabeth Rose Best – the first book in the Naiad Chronicles, great for fantasy lovers.

The Damsel and the Dragon by Mae McKinnon – another great fantasy series to get your teeth into. The author recommends snacks while reading as all the food in the story might make you hungry! 

The Scribe’s Daughter by Stephanie Churchill – you can see our review here. The sequel is also now available – The King’s Daughter.

Feud by Derek Birks – the first book from the Rebels and Brothers series , currently just 99p!

The Murmur of Masks by Catherine Kullman – another Regency triumph, we loved Catherines’s other book Perception and Illusion, so this is on our radar.

Florence and the Highwayman by Angela Rigley – it’s like naughty Austen, great to read.

Fortunes Wheel by Carolyn Hughes – an historical novel set during the Plague, the first in the series of Meonbridge Chronicles.

The Chalky Sea by Clare Flynn – a Second World War drama full of loss and salvation.

A Clash of Empires by Paul Bennett – a dramatic family saga set during the Seven Years War, and reaching across Europe.

A Popish Midwife by Annelisa Christensen – based on a true story, this is a tale of high treason.

The Night Raid by Clare Harvey – a review is on the way, great drama from the Second World War based in Nottingham. Clare has also offered a signed book plate and book mark for anyone who contacts her via her facebook page and mentions this gift guide thanks Clare!

Two Dogs at the One Dog Inn by David John Griffin – a novella and short stories, which are so useful to have in your bags in case of queues…

A Summer Goddess by Joanne Hall – another wonderful fantasy tale full of drama and slavery.

Rubies in the Roses by Vivian Conroy – the second book in the new cosy crime series featuring the lovely daschund Dolly. Book one is Death Plays a Part.

Damselfly Inn by Cameron D. Garriepy – the first in the romantic Thronton Vermont series.

Chicago’s Best by Katherine E, Hamilton – law and love and Chicago, what’s not to love?

Tobias by Prue Batten – first of the Triptych Chronicles full of treachery, intrigue and Venice.

Perfect Stranger by Lindsey Powell – proud to be great chicklit, and first in the Perfect Series.

Riviera Stories by Debra Moffitt – great short stories with all the glamour (or not?) of the luxurious Riviera…

Losing Jane by A.K. Biggins – a deep and moving debut novel based in the 1970’s.

Any by Dianne Ashcroft – a wonderful reader has said you can try any of these historical fiction books and fall in love… may be the start of something…

Death Comes Calling by F.B. Hogan – a collection of dark tales… you have been warned!

Stalker by J.V. Baptie – two short stories introducing WPC Mavis Hart and a seriel killer… all profits are being dontated to Pancreatic Cancer Action UK

A few more authors I have enjoyed this year…

Jodi Taylor – St. Mary’s Chronicles (time travel epics)

Ben Arronovitch – Peter Grant series (magic is real…)

Cheri Champagne – Mason Siblings series (sex and spies)


The House of Beaufort by Nathen Amin – a fascinating history of the Beaufort family and their impact on the British Monarchy over many generations.

Successful Business Minds by Helen Monaghan – a good one for any entreprenaurs in the family… review is here x

The Elephants in the Room by Lisa Cole – all about gentle de-cluttering,  might be good for the Christmas clear up…

Book Marketing Made Simple by Karen Williams – if you know an aspiring author this could be what they need to get their book ‘out there’.


The Order of the White Boar by Alex Marchant – for older children/teens. A book about the real Richard III, told via 12 year old Matthew.

Little Mouse’s Sweet Treat by Shana Hollowell – it’s a really lovely picture book for little ones.

Maddie’s Magic Christmas by Sam Maxfield – another one I’ve reviewed, such a great story. Aimed at Primary age children.

The (Fairly) Magic Show by Rob Keeley – a collection of fun short stories for older children.

Duffy’s Lucky Escape by Eleanor Jackson – beautifully illustrated book about keeping our oceans clean… very topical.

Robin’s Ring by Jeanette Taylor Ford – great history and adventure for junior school kids.

The Niggle by Peta Rainford – you can see the review here – great for prompting discussions…

Through Time to London by Brindy Wilcox – a tale of adventure with two fabulous dogs, for older children x

The Ghost of the Fishergate Mariner by P.D Mitchell – on my review list this another great adventure for older children with some time travel too.

Finding a Friend by Carol Thomas – a great picture book for little ones, and more dogs!

Floga with Flossie by Jude Lennon – another beautiful book from the creator of Astronaut Lamby… now sheep do yoga!

Of course all of the books reviewed on the site would make wonderful gifts, and I have a stack of greatness waiting to be read…

If you are looking for a grander gesture to the Reader in your life, then you could consider giving them a voucher for a Reading Retreat – these are wonderful breaks away staying in beautiful locations with all food created by the in-house chef, guest authors visiting but most importantly uninterrupted reading time, no guilt – they even watch your phone for you x

There is also an end of year giveaway for the paperbacks if you would like to enter x Merry Christmas!


Book Giveaway

Interview with Helene Fermont

Good Morning Helene Fermont!

5 Questions to get to know you better…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

Definitely hot chocolate! I simply Love chocolate, in particular Swedish candy and cakes. My favourite café in Malmö where I live and write part of the year is Cafe Hollandia.

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

Gosh, that’s a difficult question to answer! I guess I’ll always have a soft spot for the characters in my debut novel. But I really like and feel for all my characters in all novels. They’re such a big part of my life and I spend much time with them.

Everyone represents a variety of traits that are representative of real people.
Even the ‘bad ones’ are likeable to me to an extent since there are underlying reasons for their actions and behaviour. However, I really admire strong independent female characters which I believe mine are to a large extent.

Do you have a particular place where you write – can you show us a picture?

In London my favourite place to write is in my office where I see clients.
I love having my gorgeous British Shorthair cat, Teddy, next to me in his wooden box.

Equally, in Malmö where I write in our living room with a great view of The Western Harbour. There are photos of both on my website/social media and blogs.

Here is a picture of my home in Sweden. The white desk is where I spend hours on end writing my novels when I'm in Malmö. The view is my inspiration. It overlooks the Western Harbour and Turning Torso and is only a three-minute bike ride away from the main Ribersborg beach. I can see the Öresund Bridge and water from the balcony and, on a clear morning, part of Denmark across the water. The neighbourhood is tranquil, the only sound coming from birds in the sky And there are some lovely shops, cafés and restaurants in the vicinity. I generally write in long bursts punctuated hours with breaks when I either walk or cycle down to Limhamn's Harbour. Malmö is so different from London – which is far more intense and stressful – but I'm not complaining. I love both cities and get the best of both of them. Where is your favourite place to write?

A post shared by Hélene Fermont (@helenefermont) on

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

I’m hugely inspired by everything around me and draw on experiences as psychologist and life in general. My novels are completely fictitious and reflect real life situations. I always carry a notebook when I’m out and even on my bedside table in the event I suddenly come up with new ideas.

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

Currently, I’m working on two novels simultaneously. One is set in New York and Malmö and the other in Oslo in Norway. They are quite different and contain my usual in depth characters. Both are incredibly exciting and will be published next year.

You can see a review of His Guilty Secret over on our new YouTube Channel! 

Book Giveaway

A lovely way to end the year, I’m giving one lucky person a set of paperbacks that I have reviewed this year. I never have time to read books a second time, so it seems a shame to leave them on a shelf… lots of ways to enter xx
Book Giveaway

Author Interview with S J Parks


Hello to S J Parks, author of Made in Japan, her debut novel.

A review will be on the website on Monday 4th December as part of the Bookollective Blog Tour.


Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

Well it has to be Green tea and preferably Sencha

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?


I had an affair with the architect as I wrote. Briefly. He’s very Zen.

Do you have a particular place where you write – can you show us a picture?


Really snatched at any desk and quite a mobile approach. The ideas could come on a walk before it all goes down.

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

This is a long one but I believe I begin with a sense of place as a Catalyst.

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

I hope the next novel is a speedier process than the first. It’ll take me to a tight knit English community this time.


Welcome to the second in our new feature – a Business Book of the Month. For November, I read and thoroughly enjoyed…

Successful Business Minds by Helen Monaghan

I really found this book helpful on a number of levels; instead of a standard ‘good business principles’ book which re-covers the same old information, it is a very useful insight into our relationships with money and the resulting impact this will have on your decision making and how you rate your success.

It appears to be a fairly short book, but the font size is small and so there is so much more information in the book than I first realised. There are also great ‘takeaway’ notes at the end of each chapter, to help you to focus on what the main points were and to reflect on the material further. This is a very practical book, there are several worksheets to complete and for it to be used to have real impact on your business you would need to spend some time working through the practical and more thoughtful aspects of the chapters.

I was surprised by how many aspects of our thinking processes were covered in the book, as well as time management and more traditional skills. Having taught a number of similar courses I thought the quality of the information and how it was written was very good. Far more than just a business book – Successful Business Minds helps you to really dig deep and build your business from a base of strong values and self knowledge, it’s a great book for those playing the long game to build a great business they love.

To find out more about Helen, take a look at her website 

This review is also featured on the UK Business Circle, a network of small businesses helping each other to grow. 

Hello to Catherine Kullman!

I so enjoyed reading Perception and Illusion – I had to know more about the author that wrote it… so here were are x  As the new website still isn’t ready (grumble, grumble…) I am looking at doing book reviews as a video clip – I rather think this will be my first one so watch this space!

Over to Catherine…

Perhaps most important – tea or coffee, or maybe hot chocolate?

Tea in the morning, coffee in the afternoon.

Of all the characters you have created, who is your favourite?

I have a great fondness for Lady Needham, Luke Fitzmaurice’s ‘grand-godmother’ in The Murmur of Masks, who also appears in Perception & Illusion. An elderly lady, she is inclined to be blunt but has a very kind heart and will always come to the assistance of young people in social distress.

Do you have a particular place where you write – can you show us a picture?

As you will see from the photos, I have a wonderful writing cave, whose walls are lined with bookcases holding my research library and hung with engravings and prints from the Regency period. I also treated myself to an antique Regency desk and chair where I work with pen and paper, editing for example. Although I have a proper, ergonomic desk for my PC.

Where do you find your inspiration and ideas?

Everywhere. It is very much a question of ‘what if?’ and ‘what happened then? For example, this brief exchange from Perception & Illusion:
“The carriage is outside if you still wish to leave early,” Thalia whispered.
“I do. And you?”
“I think I’ll stay awhile”
triggered The Murmur of Masks. The two speakers are at a masquerade and I wanted to know what happened after Lallie left.

What are you working on currently, and when can we expect to read it?

I am completing the final edits for A Whisper of Scandal, the story of a governess who suddenly finds herself in a very sticky situation. I do not yet have a publication date, but it should be during the coming Winter.
After that will come The Potential for Love, a sequel to Perception & Illusion. It is the story of Hugo’s niece Arabella who finds choosing the right husband is not as straightforward as she thought it would be.