I love self-published and indie authors. Not just because I’m one myself, but because there is so much terrible self-published work out there that, when you find a good book, the excitement is magnified ten-fold.
However, not everybody has the stomach (brain? eyes? masochism?) for wading through piles of horrible books full of tropes and appalling grammar. As such, I’ve decided to start saving you the effort, by listing the indie books that I absolutely recommend are worth your hard-earned dosh.
Needless to say, this is a work in progress. Books that appear on this list meet the following requirements:
- I have given them at least a 4.5 star rating on Goodreads
- They are self-published or indie titles
- They are available for download or purchase. Links are to the Amazon Kindle versions.
- The spelling and grammar is excellent—no more than a typo every 10 pages, as a general guideline.
I prefer reading humour, fantasy, and sci-fi, so these are the genres that will predominate. I may know or have come to have known some of the authors, but this has not affected my judgement (as the odd 2-star rating I’ve given people I know on Goodreads will tell you). I have also not included my standalone book, though the In Memory anthology is there.
Have an indie or self-published book to suggest? Drop me a line!
The Pattern Scars – Caitlin Sweet – Nola is born into poverty in Sarsenay City. When her mother realizes that Nola has the gift of Othersight and can foretell the future, she sells her to a brothel seer, who teaches the girl to harness her gift. As she grows up, she embraces her new life, and even finds a small circle of friends. All too soon, her world is again turned upside down when one of them is murdered. When a handsome, young Otherseer from the castle promises to teach her, she eagerly embraces the prospects of luxury beyond what she can imagine and safety from a killer who stalks girls by night. Little does she know that he will soon draw her into a web of murder, treachery, and obsessive desire that will threaten the people and land she holds dear, and that she will soon learn the harshest of lessons: that being able to predict the future has nothing to do with being able to prevent it.
The Angel of Elydria (Dawn Mirror Chronicles #1) – A.R. Meyering – At the crossroads, where dreams become nightmares, lies the world of Elydria… It’s not every day that a college student dies and is revived in a distant world far away from her small hometown in Oregon. But that’s exactly what happens to Penny Fairfax. Penny soon discovers her near death experience awakened an ability to manipulate the dreams of others, permitting her to unlock hidden secrets from the past and create vivid illusions. Trapped in Elydria with her English professor, Penny must navigate a world of gas lamps and glittering façades on the verge of collapse in search of the way home. Haunted by a malicious specter wearing an iron funeral mask, she learns that her gift of life comes with a high cost. Now, Penny must escape its wicked intentions, solve the mystery that is unleashing havoc on Elydria, and return home without meeting death a second time.
Sycamore – Craig A. Falconer – Imagine a world where your eyes can't be trusted... When the Sycamore corporation releases the ultimate gadget -- an implantable microchip designed to replace smartphones -- society rapidly descends into dystopia. Augmented reality contact lenses act as the new system's display, simultaneously recording everything in the user's field of vision. The potential applications are limitless. So are the surveillance opportunities. Soon after gaining access to Sycamore’s inner circle and learning the corporation’s plans for the future, the chip’s young creator painfully regrets ever giving them the idea. Power like this has never existed.
Ascendancy (The Godswar #1) – Jennifer Vale – A thousand years ago, a dying race of Immortals left behind an enduring legacy: the Ascendants, mortal men and women capable of binding hundreds or even thousands of others to their will. Together these “Bound” and their magic form the foundation of nearly every society in the world. But everything is about to change. A few rare mortals possess the ability to channel magic without an Ascendant bond, and these "Unbound" renegades finally have a leader: a gifted young sorceress bent on freeing those who share her power, whatever the cost.
The Ninjabread Man – Z.C. Bolger and Garrett Robinson – Prepare yourself for a new breed of fairy tale. Charlie is a simple gingerbread boy whose happy life is ripped away when his parents are killed. Taking an oath of vengeance, he becomes the Ninjabread Man, dealing death from the shadows. Now, years later, he's finally on the trail of those who murdered his parents. Teaming up with Snow White and battling players like Pied Piper (it's pronounced "pee-yed") and Hansel and Gretel, and with the help of a tribe of raucous, out-of control fairy Scotts, Charlie's quest of vengeance is just beginning - and yet the ending will leave you screaming for more. From the minds of Z.C. Bolger (Danny Calloway and the Puzzle House) and Garrett Robinson (Touch: Trilogy) comes this classic fairy tale/ninja revenge action/comedy/fantasy epic - with a twist.
Hyde (Hyde #1) – Lauren Stewart – Honesty is impossible when you don't know the truth to begin with. Mitchell Turner is everything women want most in a man--he's charismatic, successful, and undeniably gorgeous. But he's not a man--he's a monster. By venting his rage 24/7, Mitch keeps people out of the danger zone that surrounds him. But, after the most incredible night of his life, he realizes that might not be possible. Except the woman he wakes up with claims she doesn't remember any of it. And that kind of thing can make a guy insecure. Eden Colfax is kind, loyal, honest to a fault, and cavity-inducing sweet. To rid herself of the monsters that haunted her broken childhood, Eden doesn't lie, doesn't curse, and definitely never wakes up naked in strangers' beds...until the day she does. Then the flashbacks start--places she's never been, people she's never met, blood she's never spilled. And the only person with any answers is a man she never wants to see again. What they don't know is that someone is manipulating them, determined to find out exactly what they're capable of. And when the truth leaves them nothing to hold onto, they will be forced into a partnership neither expected. Or wanted. But in life, who you trust is as important as who you are. And when you can't even trust yourself, sometimes the only person you can rely on is the last person on earth you should be falling for. Note: The whole series is fantastic.
Fire & Water – Betsy Graziani Fasbinder – Only in the glaring light of hindsight does Kate Murphy understand that she was groomed for the path she's taken. Raised by a widowed dad and a misshapen, sometimes comical trio of parental surrogates from Murphy's Pub, her father's Irish bar in San Francisco, Kate learned secrecy as a way of protecting those she loves. Kate's well-meaning family has hidden bitter truths about her mother's mental illness and death. Once this thread of family deception is pulled, the rest of Kate's family history unravels. Shaken by the family secrets uncovered, Kate turns to her best friend, Mary K, a hard-edged aspiring surgeon from Queens who doesn't miss a thing and names bull when she sees it. Kate first encounters Jake Bloom in a hospital emergency room, but it is when she experiences his sculptures on Ocean Beach that she is forever changed. Jake reveals beauty Kate has never noticed and exposes her to spontaneity, sensuality, and love deeper than she'd imagined it could be...
Two Necromancers, a Bureaucrat, and an Elf – L.G. Estrella – Two necromancers, a bureaucrat, and an elf – it sounds like the start of a bad joke, only the joke is on Timmy. Timothy Walter Bolton – better known as Timmy – has spent most of his life as a necromancer. When he isn’t terrorising his enemies, he’s plotting inside his castle, which is built on top of lightless chasms filled with nameless horrors and beings of a generally malevolent and megalomaniacal nature. But after one of his latest creations, a zombie hydra-dragon-bear, tries to eat him, he decides that maybe it’s time to find a new, less dangerous, career. But that’s easier said than done. Note: I gave this 4.5 stars as it's a cute and fun read, but it's definitely not everyone's cup of tea. Here it is on Goodreads.
Etherwalker – Cameron Dayton – The world is broken. The powerful machines that once ruled over land and sky fought and died, leaving humanity in a primitive age of swords and monsters. But that was long ago, and only legends of the Schism remain. Enoch has never been frightened by these tales. He sees things differently than the other youth in Rewn's Fork, and that makes him an outcast. Where others see crops and weather and flocks of sheep, Enoch sees numbers and patterns. When he accidentally awakens a powerful Artificial Intelligence, he discovers the truth behind his peculiarity—Enoch is an Etherwalker, the last in a long line of powerful technopaths who can control machines with their minds. Without knowing it, he has triggered the ancient Hunt, and now legendary monsters are hungry for his blood and bent on his extinction. They know he has seen the truth behind the broken world, and, if he survives, he may have the power to shatter it . . . or to make it whole again.
Non Zombie II – Garrett Robinson – Cliff was just an ordinary nerd in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. He saw all the movies, read all the comics, and knew how to handle himself. But despite his best efforts, one day he got bit. He woke as a zombie - but not really. He was still in control of himself, and could still think, though he had no idea why he didn't turn like everyone else. After already defending his family from threats both undead and human, Cliff, Cheryl and Luke now face a new threat: civilization. The military has begun organizing and trying to re-establish order in the world. But as everyone whose seen zombie movies knows, once people enter the equation, so does power, and those will kill to obtain it... This sequel to the raucously funny novella "Non Zombie" continues examining a post apocalyptic landscape from the insolent viewpoint of a gamer nerd who's spent his whole life preparing for the end of the world.
The Princess & The Penis – R.J. Silver – A beautiful, chaste, and completely naive princess encounters a strange lump in her mattress. The lump soon morphs into a shape familiar to everyone but her, triggering her curiosity and her father's greatest fears. He frantically tries to intervene, but having a large phantom phallus in a curious maiden's bed is never a good combination. Note: this is obviously a book for adults. I was in stitches!
Connected – Simon Denman – Beginning with the funeral of a renowned classical violinist in a sleepy rural hamlet in the Lake District, a former theoretical physicist tries to make sense of his brother's suicide. Across the country, a university student, enjoying the unexpected attentions of an enigmatic seductress, is disturbed when his best friend falls to his death from the thirteenth floor of a neighbouring campus tower block. As each tries to unravel the mystery behind the apparent suicides, they are drawn into an obsessive search for a computer-generated fractal video sequence, with startling effects on human consciousness, and which might just pave the way for discovery of the ultimate Theory of Everything. However, they are not the only ones to have seen the potential of this mind-altering video, and soon find themselves in a desperate race against time with gangsters from the shadowy worlds of sex, drugs, cyber-crime, and massively multi-player on-line gaming. Note: I originally gave this 4 stars, but it's definitely worth a go.
In Memory: A Tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett – Various – “In Memory” features seventeen unique takes on the theme of memory from authors spanning nine countries and four continents. Written in dear memory of Sir Terry Pratchett and with all proceeds going to Alzheimer’s Research UK, these seventeen tales of magic (and the occasional automaton) will move you from giggles to tears and back again.
The Scriptlings – Sorin Suciu – "Master Dung's study was silent. So silent, in fact, that one might have been able to hear a gnat passing air, if only an obligingly flatulent gnat had happened nearby." The Scriptlings is the unlikely, yet strangely charismatic lovechild you would expect if Magic and Science were to have one too many drinks during a stand-up comedy show in Vegas. In short, it follows the story of Merkin and Buggeroff, two magician apprentices in a world where magicians are capitalists, computers are quasi-magical, and goats are sometimes invisible - all under the watchful eye of a wandering tribe of monosyllabic demigods.
Arcane (The Arinthian Line #1) – Fourteen-year-old Augum and friends Bridget and Leera dream of becoming warlocks. But with a kingdom in total chaos, it will take courage, sacrifice, and an iron will to make that dream come true. The Lord of the Legion, a vicious tyrant, has overthrown the king in a relentless and murderous quest for seven mythic artifacts--and Augum's mentor, the legendary Anna Atticus Stone, possesses one. While Augum struggles with demons from a painful childhood, a betrayal puts him, his friends, and his mentor through a harrowing ordeal that threatens to destroy them all ... and change the course of history. Arcane, the debut novel in the fantasy adventure series The Arinthian Line, follows three friends as they navigate an ancient abandoned castle, endure grueling training, challenge old mysteries, and learn that a bond forged in tragedy might just be the only thing to save them from a ruthless enemy. Note: the following books are ALSO EXTREMELY AWESOME. (Yes, that's right, awesome enough for some unnecessary adverbs.)