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 August?
I read 14 books and 10 were definitely indie books. That’s well more than half, and I couldn’t be happier or more excited about it! Especially since I don’t think I’ll be accepting many review requests for the rest of the year (school at home is really kicking me) and don’t have many lined up. I do, however, have a ton of books from the Big 5 sitting on my Kindle and my shelves that I really ought to read. Like The House in the Cerulean Sea, which has been sitting since last Christmas because I’m really scared of reading it. Anyways, this month was great, but I don’t think the rest of the year will be in terms of indie books.
The Indie Books
I started August off with finishing Murder at the Town Hall by Denise Jaden (Self-published). This is the third in the Mallory Beck Cozy Culinary Caper series. I love that it involves food and a cat who doesn’t actually like Mallory much, but adores Mallory’s fifteen-year-old friend Amber. Every book in this series is short and fast-paced, but so much fun and packed with food. You can check out both my traditional review and a fun, new review format I’d like to do again.
On Home by Becca Spence Dobias (Inkshares) was my first full indie read of August. This one isn’t my usual cup of tea, but I felt compelled to read it because the author was once one of my son’s teachers for a nature parent-child class. I’ve never once read a dedication where I knew the people listed, so it hit a rather interesting chord in me. This book was interesting in that it really homed in on womanhood and motherhood, but I felt it tried to take on too many topics. My review
Note to Boy by Sue Clark (Unbound Digital) was not what I was expecting. It’s told by a fashion has-been from the 1960s and 1970s who now wants to write her memoir. She still lives in her heyday, but reality is pressing in on her. It’s also told by the seventeen-year-old she hires to write her memoirs. Bradley is desperately in need of a job, if only to escape his mother and older brother and those who would ogle something on his head. I thought it would be a heartwarming friendship between an older and a younger person, but it really wasn’t, even if they did have their sweet moments. Still, quite enjoyable, even if I did absolutely hate the characters (who were exceptionally well-done). My review
Shackles of the Storm by D. & L. Kardenal (Self-published) immediately followed because I really wanted this month to be big on the indie books. I couldn’t wait to read this one for the desert setting and a djinn as a main character. There’s also a bit of a mystery woven in, and I liked the idea of a djinn and a mercenary teaming up to avoid a powerful water djinn, but, in the end, there were just too many characters and a strange story in that plot points weren’t fully reached before they hit. If that makes any sense. My review
Verena’s Whistle by K. Panikian (Self-published) was such a surprise! I know to not judge a book by its cover, but it has the look of an okay self-published book. I really was interested because I thought it was a monster hunt across the world where Verena has a questionable companion. But don’t be fooled by the cover and description! This book is actually really good. It’s well-written with great world building, a strong female lead, and a really interesting story. My review will post on Thursday!
Tok: Magick Tale by Pablo Reig Mendoza (Babelcube, Inc.) made me think so hard. It’s a short fantasy novel, but it’s not a traditional fantasy novel in any real sense of the genre. It effortlessly blends history, religion, philosophy, and fantasy, and probably more elements. There are dragons and interesting magic. It’s neither character- nor plot-driven, but tells a fascinating story.
The Goodbye Song by Karl Kristian Flores (Self-published) isn’t my usual read, but it really caught my eye because it’s different (and I do like different). It’s a collection of 10 recipes, 10 objects, 10 definitions, 10 sonnets, etc. It offers bite sized pieces of people’s lives. I think I would have loved this more about 10-15 years ago, but it does offer some food for thought and a real look into real lives and real feelings.
100% Organic is the second book in James Allinson’s Chickpea Chronicles (Self-published). These are relatively short novels full of fantasy and satire. Centered around George The-Decent Dragon, this one has a fruit and vegetable growing competition. These books are humorous and full of fun characters, and great if you enjoy British humor.
The High Mage by John-Ross Elliot (Lulu Publishing) is a short story that kicks off his Mage Series. I must admit the writing was all over the place, so it was hard to follow everything. But the magic was interesting and I think it has to do with lovers who are now trying to get revenge on each other? It has a lot of good elements, but definitely needs a lot of work.
The Tenant’s Wrath by Gabriel Nombo (Self-published) was one I was looking forward to because I thought it would be really funny. Otherwise I don’t like books with aliens. Unfortunately, this turned out to mostly be comprised of conversations, not nearly enough wrath until the very end, and too many truly unpronounceable words (I’m still puzzling how to sound out strings of 3 consonants in words that only have 1-2 vowels).
The Books from the Big 5
Wildwood Whispers by Willa Reece was my first read from the Big 5 this month. Published by Orbit a couple of weeks ago, it’s witchy and involves something of a religious clash as there’s a very strict Sect community not far from the small mountain town this book is set in. I adore how it revered nature, but the beginning was a bit confusing!
A Song of Flight by Juliet Marillier isn’t set to be published by Ace until September, but I couldn’t wait to read this one. This is the third in the Warrior Bards series, and I love it because it has Celtic mythology and music and the Otherworld. It feels so mystical and pretty, but they all follow the same pattern of a slow first half and a second half that just never stops. Still, I’ve really enjoyed this one!
The Orphan Witch by Paige Crutcher is set to be published in late September by St. Martin’s Press. This is one of the few books I’ve written directly to the publisher to request a physical ARC of, and I’m so happy to be reading it! Not only is this such a magical read so far, but there’s just something about the cover I love to much. Also, my actual username on WordPress is katpersephone, so, obviously, I really love the name Persephone, the name of the main character in this book. Now if only I could convince my 4 year old to stop blowing on the pages so I can actually read it…
The Bone Ship’s Wake by RJ Barker is also set to be published in late September by Orbit. It’s the last in the Tide Child trilogy and I’m both anticipating and dreading it. I’m dying to know how it all turns out, especially after the way book 2 ended, but I also don’t want it to end. I just started this one and it’s already completely reeled me in.
Thanks for reading!