For my personal Indie Books Challenge, I’ve decided to try to have at least half of all the books I read in a month be by an indie author or published by an indie publishing house, which I’m broadly defining as not published by one of the Big 5 because doing otherwise would break my already exhausted brain. So, how did I do in April?
I read 10 books and 5 were definitely indie books. Yay! I made it! Half of all the books I read in April ended up being indie.
The Indie Books
Twilight’s Fall by J. Steven Lamperti was a quick self-published book. Really, it’s quick and short. This was my first indie read of the month. Unfortunately, I felt a little mixed about it. Meant for a wide audience, it does have something for everyone, but I primarily enjoy adult reads, so it wasn’t a bit of a disappointment.
The Memory Keeper by Jenny Hale was published by Harpeth Road Press, which was founded by Jenny Hale herself. This was such a sweet, charming, feel good novel that was absolute perfect. It was so well done I thought it had been published by one of the Big 5!
The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes by Xio Axelrod was published by Sourcebooks Casablanca, a woman-owned indie publisher. I loved this book! From the music scene to the strong female characters to a setting that was familiar to me, this book hit all the right notes for me. It was an extremely pleasurable indie read this past month.
The Reincarnationist Papers by D. Erik Maikranz was published by Blackstone Publishing, which I recently found out is about as old as I am! This sounded fascinating as I’m intrigued by past lives, but the book itself has an interesting history. Originally self-published, the author actually offered a reward to anyone who could get his book turned into a movie. Well, it was, a movie called Infinite that’s supposed to be out later this year. Jury’s out on whether I’ll see the movie or not. Movies are so not my thing.
Fate Accompli by Keith R. Fentonmiller has proven to be my last read of April. This one will be self-published in May, though NetGalley lists is as being published by Ellysian Press. Either way, this Italian Renaissance meets ancient Greek gods is definitely an indie read. It’s quite an interesting one, with alternative chapters involving a long line of hatters in Italy who have somehow come into possession of Hermes’s hat and various people and creatures of mythology. There’s also something philosophical about it. It reads like a classic, but updated, perhaps? Some of the language is a bit more crass than I’m used to and some phrases seem out of time, but the bizarreness of this book has hooked me.
The Books from the Big 5
I left March while still reading Finding Home by Kate Field and The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner, so I consider them to be April reads, as well as March’s.
The Queen of Izmoroz by Jon Skovron from Orbit was published on April 20th, so I needed to jump on it. I had been looking forward to it since I read the first book, The Ranger of Marzanna, last year. I love everything about the world and the siblings it revolves around, Sonya and Sebastian, were so much fun.
Son of the Storm by Syui Davies Okungbowa. My second full read from one of the Big 5 in April. This one is set to be published by Orbit on May 11th. It’s a fascinating look at three people in a land inspired by Western African before colonization and their desires to formulate their own destinies. It’s very character-driven, something I really enjoy.
Black Water Sister by Zen Cho comes out in May from Ace, which has become one of my favorite fantasy publishers. This one is a Malaysian-inspired fantasy and, since it takes place in Malaysia, it’s a little hard to keep up with the language, but it’s easy to get past (for me, at least) and the story is kind of a crazy one with crazy relatives, ghosts, gods, and gangsters.
So, I’m really proud of myself this past month for meeting my 50/50 goal. It happened to work out that way when I was looking ahead to what’s being published next month (and during the latter half of April), but I was also mindful of whether I could squeeze in an indie book ahead of one being published by the Big 5.
I’m not feeling quite as hopeful about May since I know it’s my birthday month and my husband always buys me books published by the Big 5 (he has a list) that I know I’ll want to read. But I also have a number of indie books I need to read and review by the end of June. So, it’ll be an interesting month!
Thanks for reading!