Indie Books I Like
What's Become of Me by Scott Beebe for insight into the mind of a troubled and occasionally lost soul via a
collection of thought-provoking short works of art (some fiction, some autobiographical, and some poetry) told in
a completely unadulterated manner. He tells this story his own way, in his own words, without input from editors
or the like, in a casual, often brutally honest and gut-wrenching writing style that will at times leave you awestruck.
Faithless Elector by James McCrone. Be prepared to read this book in a very short period of time—it’s that
intriguing. It’s a presidential election year, and after one candidate is declared the winner, a college researcher
discovers things that just don’t add up with the electoral process. There are mysterious deaths, a hint of
romance, amateur detective work, and a plot that will have you wondering who done it right up until the end…and
In the Comfort of Shadows by Laurie Bragstad. The story is about Ann Olson, a big city professor, who engages
on a journey to discover her parentage. An exceptionally well-written book, this debut novel includes an
interesting cast of characters, family secrets, love, and intrigue.
From time to time I review books written by other indie authors. I dedicate this page to those I've read and really
A good book makes you want to live in the story. A great
book gives you no choice.
Island of the Assassin by Joseph Roccasalvo. If you’re looking for a truly unique plot, look no further--Island of the Assassin has it.
Written in a style that will keep you turning the pages until the end, this book is chock full of intrigue, compelling characters, and
interesting twists and turns. In this short read--only 120 pages--the author manages to craft a story that evokes emotion, empathy, and
Hosanna by Katelyne Parker. There are few books I read that will linger in my mind for a long time, and Hosanna is one of them. Told
from the perspective of a young and troubled mixed-race girl, this book includes a remarkably accurate depiction of what it must have
been like to be in her shoes in 1940s Georgia, living with her dysfunctional family members. The author captures and relays everything
beautifully – the characters, the time period, the culture. Highly recommended, especially if you like literary fiction.
Between the Rows by Raymond Paul. A delightfully told story about a man who discovers the inherent healing powers of a home-grown
garden. “Between the Rows” left me wishing I had a neighbor like eighty-one-year-old George Konert. A moralizing tale that is a
As It Is In Heaven by Neil Ostroff is an interesting read. The combination of the author's unfettered imagination and his ability to
transcend his thoughts into an intriguing interpretation of what happens to our souls after we die made for an interesting and thought-
Montana in A Minor by Elaine Russell is a delightful book about a seventeen-year-old girl's early journey to adulthood. The protagonist's
personal growth is laced with heartwarming experiences and conflicted relationships, within the family and outside. This realistically
written story is a good read for both young and old.
Flowers in the Snow by Danielle Stewart takes you through an emotional journey through the 1960s South when racism was prevalent
and openly practiced. It's the touching story of young innocence rising above hatred. The author does an exemplary job telling the story
candidly but with sensitivity to everyone's circumstances. Excellent read.
One Before Bedtime by N. S. Johnson This is a delightful collection of short stories, some of which may cause you to flip back a few
pages once you've read the ending. I love the author's sense of humor, imagination, and writing style.
The Accidental Wife by Cj Fosdick This isn't your typical time travel story. Fosdick does an exemplary job giving us insight into how a
modern-day woman may have dealt with the hardship and unexpected impediments of living in a previous era. She weaves a unique
story that incorporates well-developed characters, descriptive scenes, and a nice mix of romance, drama, and mystery. The Accidental
Wife is a well-written book that is both entertaining and enlightening.
Drawing Breath by Lourie Boris is a compelling true-to-life story about innocence, entangled emotions, and complicated relationships.
The author does such an exemplary job of portraying the simplicity and complexity of someone having a debilitating illness that it didn’t
surprise me to learn that she wrote from personal knowledge. There’s a touching realness to each scene, the characters, and how the
story was told. The book is well-written, thoughtfully researched, and one I could recommend to both male and female readers, from
young adults to seniors.
Every Five Minutes by Bronwyn Elsmore is a love story without one single sex scene - what a welcome surprise. It is told in second
person narrative, and for me that made it clumsy to read...at first. But once I understood the nature of the secondary character, it made
perfect sense why the author chose this POV. Second person narrative brought a level of intimacy to the story that probably couldn’t have
been achieved any other way. I was also put off at first by all the mundane narrative about what went on in the lives of a rather ordinary
married couple, but then I realized the story wasn’t about these mundane things at all. Hopefully other readers won’t be as slow as I
was to get what this book is really about. It is truly an interesting read that was cleverly written.
American Gypsy Girl by Mary Zinda is a coming-of-age story that presents an interesting insight into how a young girl growing up under
extremely unfavorable conditions can find in herself what it takes to build a future outside of what she knows from her own upbringing.
The book is well-written and the characters so well-developed, you’ll feel as though you personally know them.
Trapped on the Wheel by John Glavin. This book is a wonderful historical read that takes place in 1890s Chicago during the World’s
Fair six-month exhibition. Laced with a wealth of compelling history (I can't imagine how much research must have gone into this novel),
it is a coming-of age-story about a strong-willed eighteen-year-old girl’s struggle with cultural biases, familial dysfunction, and life-
changing family secrets. The book is well-written; the characters are notably fleshed out; and the story is interesting.
The Imposter by Pamela Triolo. With a thought-provoking plot and an interesting cast of characters, this medical mystery will keep you
guessing until the end. The author’s decision to change the point of view from chapter to chapter makes it more difficult to read, but also
adds dimension to the plot. It’s frightening to read about deception, power struggles, and unethical behavior in a hospital setting, but I
guess if it can happen in other industries, it can happen in healthcare too. Good read.
The World Undone by Mary Driver-Thiel. Knotty family dynamics--that's what this story is about. When Sylvia discovers she has a half-
sister who is nothing like her, at least not on the surface, she digs a little deeper and discovers something about herself as well. Told
from the perspectives of both sisters and their mother, this is a good read and true page turner.
The Stranger's Enigma by Louis Villalba. The story line in this novel is one of the most creative ones I’ve ever seen, and for that reason I
loved it. A Chicago neurologist going through mid-life crisis goes on a quest to find eternal bliss in the most unconventional way. A
combination of dream analysis, fragmented self-analysis, and vacillation between reality and fantasy, the book is well written, the
characters are interesting, and the story is intriguing.
The Lion Trees - Part I and The Lion Trees - Part II by Owen Thomas is a great read if you like epic novels. This 1,600+ page epic novel
is about a man, his wife, and their three grown children--all with problems, wants, needs,and different perspectives of life. The story is
complex, believable, and memorable, with characters that are distinct, interesting and purposeful. I love the theme of this story. In life we
become the person we believe we are, but making that determination can often be a struggle. Sometimes we have to search for truths
about ourselves to confirm who we are. And sometimes after we discover new truths, we change. Literary fiction is my favorite genre. I
enjoyed reading The Lion Trees and sincerely appreciate its value.
The Girl Behind the Door by John Brooks is a compelling true story about a family in turmoil, how it came to be that, and the aftermath
that followed. A sad but painfully honest story, it's about mistaking a child’s pain for bad behavior. The author generously opens up his
heart and vulnerability to reveal his daughter’s journey through life that ended so tragically, his desperate search for answers, the waves
of guilt he endured, and his pursuit to help other families who are in similar situations. With narrative that was sometimes difficult to
hear, this book provides valuable insight into attachment disorder--a must read for parents whose adopted children are displaying
inexplicable troubling behavior.
The Trouble With Celebrity is a quick humorous read about what many of us have said all along about the celebrities of today—but not
as prolific as author Charlie Bray does in his book. He begins by telling us some interesting encounters he had with celebrities when
he was a Nottingham policeman, and follows with his tongue-in-cheek opinions of today’s celebs. He qualifies his sentiments with, “I
know my views aren’t shared by all or even many,” but I think he’s wrong about that. Thoroughly enjoyable read.
Death Without Cause by Pamela Triolo has a riveting storyline and provides interesting insight into the inner workings of a hospital
critical care unit. The author does an exemplary job using medical terminology without confusing the reader or impeding the book’s
readability. The plot is chilling and makes you wonder if something like this could actually happen.
I think the author took a chance by writing the story from multiple points of view and using dramatic irony (when the reader has greater
knowledge of what is going on than the characters). But it worked. "Death Without Cause" is a compelling read for a widespread
audience and very impressive for a debut novel.
A Pledge of Silence by Flora J. Solomon is an exceptionally well-written book that depicts the role of a WWII army nurse in the
Philippines, with detail it would seem to me that could only be provided by someone with first-hand experience. I thought the author also
did a commendable job showing the affect war had on those who served. The story line was interesting and believable. It maintained a
good pace and kept my interest.
Raised by Committee by Carollyne Haynes is a beautifully told story of the authorʾs childhood growing up in England in the sixties,
mostly in child welfare facilities under the governance of a committee of anonymous social workers. I found it to be a painfully open and
honest account of her troubled life before she turned eighteen and on her own—the abuse she suffered from her parents before being
taken away from them, her life in institutions, and how her anger often affected the way she handled various situations. This was a
The Clock of Life by Nancy Klann-Moren was a memorable read for me. Taking place in the small mixed-race town of Hadlee,
Mississippi in the mid-seventies, the author takes us on the coming-of-age journey of the main character, seven-year-old Jason Lee
Rainey. Not only was this book beautifully written, but the depth of the characters was as incredible and the story was powerful. The
relationships she develops between the characters, some simple and some more complex, is steller. Remarkable book in my opinion.
Mad Days of Me – Escaping Barcelona by Henry Martin was a very interesting read. In part what made it so interesting was Martin’s vivid
development of the main character, Rudy. Teenage Rudy flees his home in Rome to Barcelona, leaving his family and girlfriend behind,
looking for freedom. He realizes he needs to embrace who he really is in order to find peace within himself and joy in his life, but he
doesn’t know who that is. For months, he spends his days on the streets of Barcelona interacting with an pitiful array of junkies,
criminals, drunks, street performers, stray dogs, and other lost souls, adapting to the backdrop of the day like a chameleon.
Occasionally Rudy has a bout of philosophical thinking, but that soon dissipates as soon as a new situation presents itself. After
squatting in an old abandoned building with a Romanian thug, a deaf Columbian, and a heroin addict, he focuses on leaving
Barcelona, but that proves more difficult than he ever imagined.
This book was extremely well written with intense drama and beautifully executed scenes. It is well worth the read.
Searching For Lincolnʾs Ghost by Barbara J. Dzikowski is the story of a young girl in the 1960s who is faced with adult social and
philosophical issues that many grown-ups would have difficulty managing. It is her innocence and unrelenting drive to understand
things that help her get through them.
The author does an exemplary job creating the characters. Written in first person from the perspective of the eleven-year-old protagonist,
Andi, you will feel the depth of her thinking as she tries to find the answers to her "life after death" questions and understand what drives
others to do what they do. The extraordinary relationships she has with her diverse classmates, her grandmom, and the unusually wise
bait shop owner are expertly crafted, making them believable and heartwarming.
This was a book I couldnʾt put down. Filled with drama, albeit sometimes quite subtle, Dzikowski maintains a momentum with the
storyline that will keep you turning the pages. It is a story that will stay with me a long time.
Dirt by S. L. Dwyer takes place in Bosen Creek, Oklahoma during the Great Depression. This book tells the captivating story of how a
young boy and his sister survive on their own despite what would seem to be insurmountable odds. Dwyerʾs excellent descriptive
writing style and character development allow readers to be right with them on their adventure. This is a very good read that you wonʾt
want to put down until you see how it ends.
Unravelling by Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn has an interesting storyline that involves the complexity of knowing when it's better to let go of
someone and start over rather than remain in the relationship. The author's characterizations, attention to detail, and the way she artfully
developed difficult relationships between the characters were all well done in my opinion. The only problem I had with this book was the
extensive use of backstory. The protagonist's repeat relationships with the same character over time sometimes made it difficult to
determine if we were in the present or the past.
Letters From Wishing Rock by Pam Stucky is an interesting read. Comprised solely of a series of e-mails between friends, relatives
and acquaintances destined to become more, the author does a great job developing the characters and their relationships. Everyone
is in search of happiness, and in the process, there are some unlikely attempts at just that. I particularly liked the character, Gran, and
her wisdom. “Don’t be ruled by passion,” she said to her granddaughter about her current relationship with a young man. Very good
advice. Letters From Wishing Rock was creative, entertaining and thought provoking. It gets a ‘thumbs up’ from me.
6692 Pisces the Sailfish by Don Darkes is a wonderfully written memoir about a man who relinquishes material things for the only
possessions he deems of real value--love and family--was both intriguing and heartwarming. Leaving his home in South Africa by
yacht, Don Darkes (pseudonym), his wife and their two children experience unfamiliar territory sailing down the African coast and then to
Madagascar. Darkesʾ candid and descriptive writing style allows you to accompany him on their journey while they experience all the
trials and tribulations associated with sailing and living on a yacht. Their encounters with local villagers and their customs and rituals
and unwritten rules were interesting as well as educational. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and canʾt wait to read the sequel.
Requiem (Byland Crescent) is a wonderful tale told by William Gordon. While I did have to maintain a cheat sheet to keep track of all the
characters, I thoroughly enjoyed their relationships and the way the author weaved in period history. I even enjoyed learning about the
wool industry during that era. But most of all, I enjoyed the numerous twists and turns throughout the storyline. A wonderful read.
Untying the Knot Linda Gillard knows how to tell a good story. This book has an interesting and believable storyline, well developed
characters, and enough drama and turmoil to keep the reader turning pages. Itʾs the story of two people in love who go their separate
ways for good reasons. But it is only physically they separate, not emotionally, and then it is about mending incomplete, shattered lives.
Even though I felt some of the scenes and dream sequences were longer than need be, the pace for most of the book was fast enough
to keep my interest and detailed enough to depict the characters, surroundings and what was happening in that time period. Very good
Hack: Stories from a Chicago Cab by Dmitry Samarov. As someone who took a cab to work in downtown Chicago Monday through
Friday for ten years, I thoroughly enjoyed Samarovʾs candid and sometimes hilarious stories about his experience as a cab driver.
Laced with his artwork in every chapter, the author enlightens us as to the inner-workings of the cab industry. "Hack" is an entertaining
and insightful read.
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