Back in March 2019, I posted a list of highly recommended books by Independent Authors I had read since joining the writing community on Twitter. If you missed it you can read it here – https://paulblakeauthor.com/2019/03/25/indie-books-theyre-awesome/.
It’s been 18 months, and I feel it’s time to add to the list as I’ve read some damn fine books since then, some of the authors from the first list crop up on this but that is just testament to how good they are.
The books are in no order of preference. I genuinely loved each one, and believe you will do so too.
The Dark Restarter and The Restarter Initiative – Sean McMahon (Books 2 and 3 of the Restarter series)
In the previous list I included Fir Lodge, the first in the series. Since then, Sean has released books 2 and 3, and oh my goodness, they are so good. I loved the first one, but Sean takes it even further, raising the stakes, upping the awesomeness and creating my favourite book series of all time. A mix of time-travel, psychological thriller, and so many pop culture references that it puts Ready Player One to shame. Buy them all, read them, and then tell your friends (and movie producers, if you know any. It totally needs to be on the big screen).
Fool’s Gold by P.J. Skinner (Book 1 in the Sam Harris series)
PJ Skinner is the reason why there aren’t more books on this list. Her Sam Harris series is so good I’ve read 4 of the books and have book 5 in my To Be Read queue. They are proper adventure books with a believable main character finding her way in the male-dominated world of mineral exploration.
Watcher by Jason Stokes
If ever a book is begging for a film version it’s Jason Stokes’ Watcher. Reminiscent of Rear Window, Disturbia, and The Girl on the Train, Watcher is a psychological crime thriller full of suspense. The main character, Terri, is the Watcher of the title and she is hooked on hacking security cameras and watching people live their lives the way she can’t. She suffers from MS and Jason has written her with so much care and detail that what could have been a gimmick, but most certainly isn’t, makes us feel what Terri feels, the frustrations, and the pain, but also shows us the strengths of her character and the life within her. A brilliant novel filled with tension.
Mongol Moon by Mark Sibley
Mongol Moon starts with an explosive beginning in Iran in 1979, and takes the reader across the globe and into space in the present day. This is a thriller definitely not lacking in scale. It reminds me of Tom Clancy’s best – Executive Orders, Red Storm Rising, The Bear and the Dragon – as varied plot lines, characters, and settings come alive and begin to interconnect and entwine, leading to brilliantly described set pieces that wow, and to be honest, kinda terrify.
The characters are well done, none feel like a cardboard cutout and really add to the dramatic events that unfold.
You can also check out the excellent trailer for Mongol Moon here.
Tea in Crimea by David Kopf
An excellent read. The merging of real-life events into a fictional narrative was really well done, leaving the reader immersed in the Russian invasion of Crimea, while focused and invested in the fates of Danilo, Angelina, and Iskander. The story builds through multiple viewpoints to an exciting conclusion. A must-read.
The Beauty of Decay by Lisa De Castro
I loved Lisa De Castro’s novel Margot (and included it in last year’s list) and picked up The Beauty of Decay without knowing anything about it. I knew it would be beautifully written because that’s what Lisa does. I wasn’t expecting a long poem that painted such a wealth of imagery in every line that took me on a journey of emotion and beauty and death. Wow. Such a talented writer.
Once Upon a Death by Dzintra Sullivan (Days of Death book 1)
This was the first Dzintra Sullivan book I’d read, and since then I’ve also read the sequel too, plus her Murder, They Wrote novel. She is such a good writer. Each page dripped with delicious humour and fantastic characters. Kaah and Rork’s master/servant relationship was hilarious and felt so real. So much fun to read. Awesome.
You can check out the thrilling trailer here.
Bermuda Conspiracy by K. D. McNiven (Book 3 of the Dexter and Callie Adventures)
Like a dumbass I started this series with book 3 because I loved the cover. However, I’ve rectified that mistake by going back and reading books one and two. Bermuda Conspiracy is a great blend of action, adventure and mystery, rolled into one fast-paced and expertly plotted ride.
Gooseberry: Octavius Guy and the Case of the Thieving Maharajah by Michael Gallager (Send for Octavius Guy Book 1)
I loved the real feel of Victorian London in Michael Gallagher’s Gooseberry. You immediately feel the dirt of the cobbles and dankness of the industrial revolution in the air. This is backed up by some excellent characters and a plot worthy of Sherlock Holmes. I’ve not read the Moonstone (which the characters are based on in this book) I’m now going to have to give that a go, however I have read the sequels Octopus and Big Bona Ogles and they continue to surpass expectations.
Undead as a Doornail by William F. Aicher (Phoenix Bones: International Monster Hunter Book 1)
Bill was in last year’s list with the excellent The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks and I have since read quite a few of his other books and short stories. He is one of my favourite authors. Undead as a Doornail exceeded my high expectations. It is a great read and Phoenix Bones really stands out as a character. Delightfully gruesome with a compelling story. Add this to your basket now.
Fairy Tale Ending by William F. Aicher (Creepy Little Bedtime Stories Book 5)
Talking of Bill’s short stories, here’s Fairy Tale Ending. A gruesome, gory, and dark take on some classic fairy tales. Poor Little Red Riding Hood. She really gets dealt a crappy hand in this tale. The quality shines through in the writing, it’s as good as in his full-length novels.
No Soul, No Service by Sean Erik
I loved everything about this story. A hard-boiled detective thriller crossed with the supernatural world. The story opened with a bang and didn’t let go until the final page. The thrills and excitement are complemented by the main character who oozes charisma and the town of Colt which is vividly described and imagined.
You can also pick up the excellent sequel, Angel’s Kiss which is equally as brilliant.
Over a God’s Dead Body by Joel Spriggs
I loved this book. The humour came thick and fast, and always hit the spot. Great characters, main and supporting. I really enjoyed the plot and overall story. If you’re a fan of crude humour then this is the book for you. I’m a fan. Over a God’s Dead Body is like a bawdy Terry Pratchett novel.
The Hook by Catherine Morrison
The Hook is a little different to my usual reading material. Romance isn’t a genre I usually rush towards. However, sometimes it’s good to broaden your horizons. In this case, I’m sure glad I did. The story whizzed along with a delightful blend of thrills and romance. A real page turner.
Her awesome book trailer is here
Cur Dogs by M. N. Seeley
Mr Seeley graced last year’s list with the excellent A Flicker of Shadows so I knew Cur Dogs was going to be good. I didn’t expect it to be this good though. Wow. A sci-fi novel set in an alternative 1978 on a strange planet – retro sci-fi? Just brilliant. It draws you in immediately with memorable characters and takes you on the journey of your life. The world is so real and well described that you’ll want a compendium book to refer to as you read about the fascinating and horrifying creatures that inhabit the planet. The ‘coffin nails’ are so scary.
I’d rate this as one of the best books I’ve ever read.
You can check out the trailer here. Proper production values and talent on show. Very impressed and very fitting to the book.
Circe Syndrome by Jeanette Bach (Book 1 of the Rogue Divine Heart Stories)
If Neal Stephenson wrote a book about magic and fantasy creatures I’d imagine it would read similar to the Circe Syndrome. A fascinating blend of science, magic, otherworldliness, romance, and family life. It is a long book, but never boring. The story flies by with humour, action, and incredible attention to detail. Can I have the sequel now, please?
The Darkling by Katie Hagaman (Book 2 of The Awakening series)
After loving Katie’s first book in the series: The Awakening I couldn’t wait to read the sequel. Man, it doesn’t disappoint. It is packed to the gills with heart-stopping action and quite a few outright surprises. It continues directly on from The Awakening and continues the quest of Lilja to save her kingdom, along the way we learn a lot more about Kaden, a whole lot more. The ending is perfectly set up for the third in the series, The Restoring, and I’m very happy to have that already sitting on my Kindle waiting for me.
The End Part
I hope you enjoyed this post and find your new favourite books to read. There’s a good mix for everyone and some of the best books I’ve ever read.
I’m going to repeat the ending of last year’s post and say these authors have written amazing stories and their work deserves greater exposure. So, if you bought one, two, or all of the ones above, can I please ask you to review the book on Amazon or Goodreads when you’ve finished it.
Reviews are the main way Indie Authors can get exposure. each review adds to Amazon’s bizarre algorithm lifting each book further up the search results page. As well as gaining exposure there isn’t an author in the world who doesn’t love getting a brilliant review. It seriously makes their day.
Thank you for reading this mega post and I hope you enjoy my recommendations as much as I did.