Inspired by Stacey Benefiel Wallace's post about buying indie as gifts for the holidays, I decided to write about the books I've read this year that have stood out to me. Now that Amazon are allowing the gifting of ebooks, it's even easier to pass on the gift of indie this holiday season. ;) They're all priced between 99c and $2.99 so great value reads.
I'm sure I've forgotten some, and I've enjoyed more than those listed here but, for whatever reason, these are the memorable ones to me. I haven't read every book I've bought this year yet but I have read a lot. I don't review and I don't recommend books very often so I think people can be sure that when I say I like something, I mean it. I'm not nice enough to exaggerate. LOL.
Just because a book isn't on the list doesn't mean I disliked it and you may have the opposite opinion to me but these are my standout picks for this year (so far and in no particular order). I have varied tastes so I hope there might be something for everyone here.
Sojourner - This is a y/a paranormal series with angels. I think Sojourner might have been one of the first indie books I read. I inhaled this book, I really wanted to know what happened next. To put it into perspective, it's written in first present tense. I hate first present tense but it did not deter me from this book for a second. I loved the ending and part of me wishes I hadn't read the other books so I could keep that as the ending. It has a lot of comparisons to Twilight but there's no creepy stalker vibe so I was fine with any other similarities. If I had to read either Sojourner or Twilight again, I'd choose Sojourner.
Burial to Follow - Anyone who knows me at all, knows I'm a big fan of Scott Nicholson. Burial to Follow may have been my first Nicholson book and I loved it. It's a supernatural novella but it's completely fresh. I sat there thinking about it afterwards and going through the storyline with a different eye, once I knew the ending. Scott's writing is quite lyrical and passionate at times, he brings atmosphere to life. He gives you a character's whole life and motivations with just a couple of words. I still think about this one.
Cameo - Cameo is a quirky wee book with more paranormal aspects. I'm seeing a theme here. LOL. I enjoyed Cameo because it isn't something you will find every day. Cameo is an assassin but that isn't all. She's thrown together with other characters who are similarly not what they first appear to be. I have no idea how to classify this book and that's why it stands out for me. I loved that the characters aren't all beautiful creatures who don't make mistakes and do what is best all the time. I feel like the whole series will lead to a lot of natural growth that I'm keen to see.
Waiting for Spring - This one is about a woman who makes a fresh start after a broken marriage. There's sex, bad language and a true feeling that the characters are people who could be living next door to you. When I first heard about this book, I thought, meh, boring. I got a copy of it anyway and it stayed on my ereader for a while then I randomly selected it while having a bath and OMG, I couldn't stop reading it, the water went cold and I didn't notice. It's a looooong book and I tried my best to read it all in the one go but I think I had to save some for a second go. Excellent book.
The Merry-Go-Round - I have to be honest and say I'm not a big of romance novels. I read this one purely because Donna Fasano is so lovely. I am glad I did, this book is so sweet. It begins with a divorce and follows the MC while she tries to figure out dating again, her feelings for her ex and what to do with the Merry-Go-Round she receives in the divorce settlement. On a deeper level, it's about her emotions and the realisation that she has been angry and bitter to spite herself. I think maybe I could relate to her motivations and that's why I liked it.
The Second Coming - This is a post-apocalyptic type of fantasy. It's interesting because it throws an epic fantasy into a modern, yet destroyed setting. I enjoyed the lore, the twists and was interested to read what happened next - I felt like it was the tip of the iceberg. There are quite a few gay characters which is refreshing, particularly in this type of genre.
Origin - This was the first Konrath book I read, I downloaded it for free after reading his blog. A man is brought to an underground facility to try and interpret the speech by a demon who has been held there for many years. It was asleep and finally woke up. I loved the premise of this one. I believe I read a sample and had to know what happened next. It was pretty exciting and would probably make a great film.
Glimpse - This is a y/a PnR. I saw this book a number of times before I bought it. I remember thinking the storyline sounded great and I kept wondering how it could possibly turn out okay then eventually I remembered it while I was on a book buying spree and got my grimey hands on it. I loved it. At first, because the teenage couple were just adorable - I mean really, you cannot help thinking how sweet they are. Then, because the paranormal element was so unpredictable that it was genuinely original. Lots of kickass female characters too.
Hush Money - I saw this beautiful cover on Smashwords then saw the book being bigged up so bought it. It's another y/a novel. It's basically about a bunch of kids who have hidden talents. Hidden because they will be taken from their families if they're found out. Okay, teen superheroes - I have a huge thing for comicbookesque superheroish powers. :D I really enjoyed the characters and the big scene in the middle where all of the kids help one talent who is about to be taken away. That's my kind of action scene.
Forsaken by Shadow - The author of this PnR began posting chapters of this book on her blog so I bought it because I have no patience and when a MC has no memory, I really need to know why. This one is a novella, uses some really interesting powers and has plenty of action. I remember thinking how well-written it was when I read it.
Dating my Vibrator - This is a collection of short stories - I bought it after writers tested out their samples on Kindleboards, I happened to read this one and loved it. Most of them are about the writer's bad/crazy experiences dating after her divorce. The thing about these stories is how personal they are. While they are funny, they are also tragic, her pain and experiences really come through the humour. I really enjoyed this collection - it's very well-written - but sometimes I felt bad for laughing. I can't wait to read this author's novel.
Lessons & Other Morbid Drabbles - I bought this when it was Kindleboards book of the day. It's a series of drabbles, pieces of flash fiction amounting to exactly 100 words. I was curious but I didn't expect much, I'm in awe of anyone who can write so many drabbles but I've also read a lot of, well, crap ones. Not in this collection! I thoroughly enjoyed the stories, the genre is horror which I also love. The stories weren't repetitive, they had great twists and it's just a brilliant form of quick entertainment. You'll read them quickly, probably want more, but still feel satisfied. Will definitely be reading Lessons II when it's released.
Waiter, There's a Clue in my Soup! - I read this collection after reading another book by this writer. I could easily have put that other book on this list but I wanted to stick to one per author. This is a collection of short mystery stories. Most are shorts about two main characters in the writer's western mystery novel. I didn't expect to like these but I really enjoyed them. Well-written, entertaining and you can tell the writer has put a lot of work into, not only the characters, but the mysteries themselves. I have no problem recommending this.
Die Already - I bought this because Kipp wrote it. LOL. I read his work before and it was deliciously mind-bending, plus ,Kipp does a lot for other indie writers. This is a short story. The cover freaks me out and the storyline is twisted. It is absolutely awesome. It's about a person who realises that nothing dies around them, no matter how injured they are. The tragic consequences troubled me, in a good way. I'm still thinking about what happened and what could possibly happen next. I didn't expect the end either, great idea and story.
Jenny Pox - I read this one the other day but it definitely belongs in my top picks. It's (yet another) y/a urban fantasy type novel. I was comparing formatting on a number of Kindle books and completely forgot all about that when I read the first paragraph of this one. It begins with Jenny as a child, she kills a snake and her father dons a cuddle suit to comfort her. My heart pretty much broke here. Teenage Jenny covers up as much as skin as possible in case she touches someone and accidentally kills them. This book was incredible. Well-written, original, shocking in places (and I mean, my jaw dropped at one particular scene), well drawn and complex characters and just such an engaging tone that I couldn't stop reading. There's sex and violence so it's for the more mature crowd but this one will stay with me. It probably crosses a line for a lot of people but I really enjoyed it.
Let me know if you have a list of recommends!