book reviews

More Great Indie Fiction

Here are three more great Indie books I am thrilled I didn’t miss reading:

  1. Murder in Blue Gingham  — Bridal salon owner, Max, not only is a talented wedding consultant but a gifted amateur sleuth in this third in Walker’s popular series
  2. Dirty Work –– Two twins lead very different lives, one rich and one struggling, only to have a murder upend everything
  3. Watching the Daisies — a highly-personal memoir of surviving and coping with chronic disease

Murder in Blue Gingham: A Bridal Shop Cozy Mystery (Bridal Shop Mysteries Book 3)Murder in Blue Gingham

by Karen Sue Walker


Murder in Blue Gingham (CreateSpace 2018) by Karen Sue Walker is book three in a lively cozy mystery series set in Wedding Belles Bridal, a salon located in a small Southern California beach town. The owner, Max Walters, is a talented bridal gown creator/consultant and a gifted amateur sleuth. In the first two books of the series, Max proved she knows her way around a crime scene and can connect the dots no matter how obtuse the clues so it’s no surprise that her friends expect her to help solve a murder involving a guest at the upcoming wedding of one of her best friends. Since Max is at the dinner where the murder happens, it’s clear to her that the guilty party must be someone else who was in attendance. Her secret heartthrob, Detective Jason Cruz, is assigned to solve the murder and insists that this time, unlike the earlier two cases they worked together, she stay out of crime solving. But Max can’t stop herself from checking alibis, digging into backgrounds, and generally asking questions that she feels need to be answered. As she and Cruz work together again, Max finds her deepening feelings for this handsome detective dashed when she finds out he has a beautiful girlfriend and–worse–meets her.

As in prior books, in this series, Walker does a wonderful job of weaving subplots into the main one without detracting from either. Her characters are well-drawn and interesting. One of my favorites is Max’s assistant, Keiku, who is intelligent, clever, and rarely holds back on what she’s thinking. Just my type of gal! Murder in Blue Gingham kept me turning pages as I couldn’t wait to figure out if the clues she gathered resulted in solving the murder and if Detective Jason Cruz would finally return her budding affection.

Overall this is a delightful romantic cozy mystery and recommended for lovers of this genre.

–received a free ebook in exchange for an honest review

Dirty Work (Berriwood Book 3)Dirty Work

by Wendy Unsworth
5 of 5 stars

In Dirty Work (2017), Wendy Unsworth’s third in the Berriwood series, two brothers struggle to fix their marriages, one by quitting the drink and the other by spending more time at home. As we dig into this story, we realize that what really gets in the way of fixing their lives is lies, deceit, affairs, and murder. When it seems things could go right, that’s exactly when Unsworth upends everything. To make the story even more tantalizing, Unsworth tells it from the perspectives of all four involved parties leaving it to the reader to determine who is a reliable narrator and who doesn’t know how to tell a truth.

This is the second of the series I’ve read–and loved. Unsworth has a way of weaving her words, beautifully blending action and emotion so you are caught up not only in the plot but how the characters react. If only I could collect words the way she does…  See if you don’t agree:

“If all the good work of the past few weeks was about to be screwed into a ball and tossed like so much rubbish into the flames, she was sure that finally this was the end.”
“…propped like some hideous ornament that no one quite had the heart to put out, in a corner of the Cornish Inn’s lounge bar.”
“Pete’s relationship with the demon drink was as much a fact of life as Logan Talbot’s angelic curls or Tiffany Harris’ bra-less T shirts.”

And she drops clues as you read, hidden amidst a conversation or a thought or a benign action, tidbits that eventually add up to a story you can’t quit. If you think of putting the book down, she throws in another unexpected twist. And you’ll never believe how it ends.

Overall, a satisfying, exciting read I’d recommend to all.

Watching the Daisies: Life Lessons on the Importance of SlowWatching the Daisies: Life Lessons on the Importance of Slow

by Brigid P. Gallagher
5 of 5 stars


Brigid Gallagher’s Watching the Daisies (2017) is the soul-baring experience as an active, hard-charging woman’s life is turned upside down by a disease she doesn’t know how she contracted, has no cure, and only gets worse the longer you live. Gallagher starts her story with her completely normal childhood in Scotland as the daughter of loving parents who raise their family to be moral, ethical, and self-responsible. We see Gallagher’s everyday life in school, with her family, and in daily activities, as she grows into a productive and successful adult, made more poignant by knowing what was coming in her future. As luck would have it, maybe even before the first hint that her body carried this nasty disease, she develops a passion for alternative methods of healing. I was fascinated to read the depth of knowledge required for her to be considered capable of serving in this new career. In the midst of her success in this important field, a panoply of misdiagnosed physical ailments prevent her from working (not uncommon for this horrid disease). Gallagher’s disease is finally diagnosed correctly but that’s the only good news. Fibromyalgia is a life-long disease where treatment can improve quality of life but never cure it.

In all of this, Gallagher shares her insights, her experiences, steps she took to try to resolve her physical problems, ranging from drugs and medicine to diet and exercise. She ends the book with her top tips on self-healing illnesses.

This book is highly recommended for anyone with any chronic disease as a real-life example of how to live through it with grace and a positive attitude.

View all my reviews

Jacqu, Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming Born in a Treacherous Time. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

61 thoughts on “More Great Indie Fiction

  1. Pingback: 2 Personal Stories | WordDreams...

  2. I loved Karen Walker’s first two Bridal Shop mysteries – now I must read this one. Jason Cruz has another girlfriend? No-o-o.

    I will have to read Brigid Gallagher’s book, and you know to whom I’ll recommend it.
    Great reviews, Jacqui.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there. A good start to making money on your blog is to have it all ready to go when you get out into the blogosphere. Replace all widgets, add your bio and contact info, and have at least 5 pithy posts that readers can enjoy!


  3. Hi Jacqui … these three all sounds really good reads – also of course they’ve all got 5 star ratings from you … I’d like to read them all – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ll have to try the cozy series. Thanks for the rec, Jacqui. I’ve found it can be very hit and miss with Indie authors and I prefer recs (although 2 of my favourite authors are indie and I stumbled across them).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Indie authors are often empowered to write uniquely, in very personal ways, which may or may not work for you. But, I think traditionally-published authors often have that same attitude but pushed as much by the agents and publishers. The good part is, if an Indie isn’t to your taste, you’ve only spent a couple of bucks!

      Liked by 1 person

        • Ah yes. I’ve seen that too. And almost as often in traditionally-published books. I’m told often agents don’t spend a lot of time editing, almost take the book as written, which could explain it. These agents/publisher might be more of the small houses than bigger names.


    • Murder in Blue Gingham is a quick read but Dirty Work and Watching the Daisies made me think. You know, those times you’re reading along in a book, inspired, and find yourself staring into space with your mind miles away? That sort.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. That ‘Dirty Work’ sounds like every suburban community’s story, but told completely in an original way. I think I could really get into that one, despite the genre not my usual.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Pingback: A Great Review from Author Jacqui Murray – Watching the Daisies

  7. Jacqui, three terrific reviews! I’ve just come from Brigid’s latest post and her calm and wisdom permeates all her writing. I have this on my Kindle and your insightful review is a reminder for me to read it soon! Ahh…the cosy mystery sounds just the perfect holiday book – noting it down!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thanks so much for reviewing Dirty Work, I am so glad you enjoyed it! I seem to be in exalted company too, this morning, as Watching the Daisies and Murder in Blue Gingham both sound like wonderful reads! Thank you again, it’s always an honour to be featured here!

    Liked by 3 people

What do you think? Leave a comment and I'll reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.