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One of my more enjoyable jobs this year has been role of judging the Rubery Book Prize, an international  prize created to celebrate independent and small publisher books of a very high standard. This is a fabulous job, as I get my hands on great reads and am actually invited to vent an opinion on them 🙂

Here are a couple of the star reads for me of the shortlist and the winners (uses affiliate links)

Where Madness Lies – Sylvia True


This was the first novel I’d read in the competition, and I found it completely compelling, constantly trying to check whether i was prejudiced by this early reading, by looking again, and being impressed on each reread.

If you are a fan of my novel HELEN & THE GRANDBEES, you will find this a completely different exploration of the marginalisation of mental illness. In the early twentieth century Nazi Germany tried to eradicate the mentally infirm, cruelly mistreating them in hospitals to the point of starvation and other indignities. It can feel as if novelists can’t find inspiration beyond this tragic episode of 20th Century atrocities, but within Where Madness Lies, I feel a really unique perspective has been offered. The story is perfectly crafted. We all loved it.

The Word – JL George

Wow. This was gripping and original. Some children are born gifted with a unique ability that when they order, the listener is forced to oblige. Is it a gift, or a curse, or… a weapon to fit someone else’s agenda? The teenagers in this young adult novel are well developed, and their stories, engaging. I’d happily recommend this to an adult or young adult reader.

Keep on reading…

Adrift- The Mosaicist and the Storyteller is currently only 3.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited