Jun 28, 2016
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Best Of 2015

The 55 Best Self-Published Books of 2015

Our top reviewed books of 2015 compiled for your reading pleasure!

Homepage Sub, IR Staff, Lists  •  Dec 02, 2015

Every year readers are faced with “best of”  lists of books, from outlets ranging from “GoodReads Choice” to NPR.  And every year they all pretty much feature the same titles (this year it’s Ta-Nehisi Coates’s award-winning Between the World and Me, Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, David McCullough’s The Wright Brothers and Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman , among others).

We’re not saying those books aren’t good, but really, is that all there is?  What about the indie titles?  The hot romances, off-beat memoirs, the cool science fiction, fantasy and YA, worlds created and envisioned by one person, the indie author?

Two years ago we predicted that at least one of the prolific “Best Of″ lists would include a self-pubbed book or two.  This year that happened via The Washington Post’s list, although to be fair the paper is owned by Jeff Bezos (of Amazon) and the book chosen was a Romance/erotica novel called Serving Pleasure by Alisha Rai.

So get out your gift lists and your Kindles and Kobos, or order them in print.

Presenting IndieReader’s list of the best reviewed indie titles of 2015.

FICTION

FANTASY

old blood

Love drives a mortal to request immortality within the Tuatha De Danann in OLD BLOOD

By K Jo

A search and rescue mission turns into a bizarre yet unforgettable supernatural adventure.

jabberwocky

A charming and clever quest in JABBERWOCKY

By Theodore Singer

A bright and beautiful collection of stories, which take a classic poem in new and engaging directions. Lewis Carroll would be delighted.

 

HISTORICAL FICTION

the cats

A cat’s eye view of Jesus’s life in THE CATS OF REKEM

By CL Francisco

A family of cats and humans are required to learn how to live by a new religion, after their lives are touched by Yeshua of Nazareth.

Lost Ground

Set in Finland, LOST GROUND’s World War II story is unique and compelling.

By Ulla Jordan

Many stories that take place during World War II come from an American point of view, but few of them are set in Finland.

the last hanging

Two groups struggle to find solace in a hectic world in THE LAST HANGING IN SCOTS BEND

By Jack Hammond Jr.

In the aftermath of the Civil War, a simmering rivalry between two families boils over as Stash Harris avenges his mother and father’s murder. The sentence is death by hanging.

Widow

Tensions build in the changing face of the colonial Northwest in WIDOW WALK

By Gerard LaSalle

LaSalle weaves together several narratives about cultural and territorial tensions in this novel of the Old Pacific Northwest.

isthmus

A hijacking on the Panama Isthmus railroad in ISTHMUS

By Gerard LaSalle

As war gathers in the United States in 1860, a train is hijacked in Panama, bringing disparate personalities together as hijackers, hostages, lawmen, and innocent bystanders are all drawn into a violent, life-or-death drama.

Anna

A young girl evokes compassion in Nazi Germany in ANNA’S BEAR

By O.W. Shumaker

Three followers of the Third Reich learn that their Nazi beliefs don’t fit well into reality when they are forced to face the horrible truth of Nazism as it relates to the health and survival of a sick child. They decide on their own to do something drastic in order to save her.

the confessions

A woman falls from grace in THE CONFESSIONS OF BECKY SHARP

By David James

The protagonist of Thackeray’s “Vanity Fair” recounts her life story.

before the

A man struggles for redemption by rescuing Jewish refugees in BEFORE THE COURT OF HEAVEN

By Jack Mayer

A young German nationalist, a collaborator in the assassination of Walter Rathenau, finds healing and redemption in rescuing refugees from the Nazis he once supported.

 

HORROR

the robusta

A refreshing, humorous and terrifying zombie apocalypse in THE ROBUSTA INCIDENT

By Jennifer Fales

It is said that revenge is a dish best served cold. Unfortunately, when creating a zombie army, this is not always possible.

 

INSPIRATIONAL

shaken awake

Homelessness is examined in SHAKEN AWAKE

By Allen Madding

The news of a man frozen to death on the front steps of a Georgia church sends a wake-up call to Reverend Samuel Matthews, his financial chairperson Phil Portman, and parishioner Alvin Smith. The three men have no idea that their decision to open the church’s doors as a shelter will make an unexpected impact in their lives.

 

KIDS

nickerbacker

NICKERBACHER, THE FUNNIEST DRAGON is the best stand-up dragon for the job

By Terry John Barto

A heartfelt dragon goes against social conventions to pursue his dream of being a professional comic.

abracadabra

Mummy’s the word in ABRACADABRA TUT

By Page McBrier

Fletcher Perry, a somewhat nerdy middle school student and amateur magician is the unexpected recipient of an Egyptian coffin that was sold at an auction.

Pierats

Stakes get higher and the quest continues in THE ISLAND OF DESTINY (Pie Rats Book 3)

By Cameron Stelzer

Whisker and the Pie Rat crew are back in the third installment of this delightful middle grade series.

hey,

Engaging color and images stimulate conversation in HEY, BABY, LOOK!

By Kate Shannon

Sparking chatter and vocabulary combine in a beautifully designed board book that offers a simple, thoughtful narrative to provide visual stimulation and talking points for babies and toddlers.

 

LITERARY FICTION

bowl

An intriguing look at delicious secrets in BOWL OF FRUIT (1907)

By Panayotis Cacoyannis

A magically original story about two strangers and enticing secrets.

ripped paper background

Raw human emotions are bared when lives intersect at a strip club in GRIND

By J A Carter Winward

A group of disparate individuals find solace, frustration, challenge and connection at a strip club.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00005]

A heroine’s musical abilities set against the slums of India in AMINA,THE SILENT ONE

By Fiza Pathan

A strong heroine uses her musical talents to escape a life filled with pain in India’s sordid slums.

blue sky1

Addiction, abuse and young adulthood in BLUE SKY

By D. Bryant Simmons

Three young women must struggle with adolescence and young adulthood after surviving the childhood trauma of their family’s breakdown and reformation.

intensive

Transformation over twenty years in INTENSIVE THERAPY

By Jeffrey Deitz

The novel follows the relationship of a doctor and his patient from their first therapy sessions in the 1980s, then shifts to 20 years later to demonstrate how that therapy has transformed and affected them both.

finding flipper

A road trip forces a lonely loser to choose direction in FINDING FLIPPER FRANK

By Patrick M. Garry

Walt Honerman, a 38-year-old, troubled, lonely loser decides to go on a road trip with an elderly man named Izzy and a young woman, Moira, who wants to break Walt out of his shell.

he &

A man journeys into his sexuality to save his soul in HE & SHE

By Wayne Clark

A man of meager ambition and accomplishment experiences a midlife crisis that launches him into the world of S&M.

henry's re-entry

A man, damaged and lost, finds his humanity in HENRY’S RE-ENTRY

By Welcome Cole

A wry, self-loathing nihilist reconnects with humanity.

 

MYSTERY/THRILLER

portrait

Thrills and chills are plentiful in PORTRAIT OF RAGE

By Cynthia H. Wise

When Thomas Shear buys an old house to use for his art gallery, he’s confronted by its secrets and sordid past and is drawn into a supernatural mystery that threatens to destroy everything and everyone he loves.

the boy and

A bike ride on Christmas day turns into a mysterious disappearance in THE BOY AND THE BASTARD

By Russell Newell

A father’s continual search for his kidnapped son leads to the unexpected.

maximum

It’s no walk in the dog park in MAXIMUM SECURITY

By C.A. Newsome

A homicide investigation turns dangerous when the lead detective’s girlfriend does her own sleuthing.

devil music

A likeable demon becomes an unlikely guitar hero in DEVIL MUSIC

By Carly Oroz

A supernatural mystery tale of a demon named Cain who’s sent on an innocent mission by his Master, but who ends up with a lot more than he bargained for when he has to take on a serial killer named the Engineer.

HighRoad

A competitive cyclist weighs morality with his desire to win in: HIGH ROAD

By David Chauner

It was a relationship that started innocently enough; pretty, yet mysterious, young woman meets wealthy heir and college playboy. But amid strange circumstances, she ends up dead, and the entire nation chooses up sides as to whether or not Kurt Dufour is the man to blame.

deadly lies

A detective and software engineer search for the truth in DEADLY LIES

By Chris Patchell

When Detective Alex Shannon is asked to find a missing teenager, he must unravel the trail of lies that will lead him to her kidnapper. While he searches for the perpetrator, his wife Jillian is having an affair with her boss.

 

SCIENCE FICTION

we chose

Fifty-one exceptional children are launched into space in WE CHOSE TO GO

By Charles Smith

In November of 2046, the SETI Project detects a signal from beyond the solar system. It’s a short burst of Fibonacci numbers whose increasing and decreasing values indicate an intelligent origin.

nemo's

A group of idealistic scientists use gateway technology to save the United States in NEMO’S WORLD

By Jeb Kinnison

The second installment in Jeb Kinnison’s The Substrate Wars series takes place in the near future where the US has become a one-party oligarchy opposed by a group of rebel scientists and humanity is poised to destroy itself in the name of “security.”

after mind

An A.I. must discover who he can trust before he takes on a sinister scientist in AFTER MIND

By Spencer Wolf

An Artificial Intelligence must discover his identity in order to protect the world from an insidious threat.

FLUENCY

A linguist contends with a mutinous crew as she attempts to communicate telepathically with a creature in FLUENCY

By Jennifer Foehner Wells

Dr. Jane Holloway, an internationally respected linguist, has been asked to act as Earth’s ambassador on a journey to an apparently abandoned spaceship that’s on a collision path with an asteroid.

THRILLER

Kingdom

NYPD Detective and a Saudi princess join forces against terrorists in THE KINGDOM OF ASSASSINS

By Eric Mackenzie

A a global political thriller taking place ten years in the future.

 

YOUNG ADULT

Blooded

Lisen faces more challenges as disaster strikes after she gains the throne in BLOODED

By D Hart St Martin

The third installment in the Lisen of Solsta series tracks the journey of Lisen, ex-valley girl and reluctant ruler, as she at last ascends her rightful throne as Empir of the other-dimensional Garla.

elixer

Hockey

A hockey star and high school student team up to push through their troubles in THE HOCKEY SAINT

By Marcia Inoue, Howard Shapiro, Andres Mossa

High school aged Tom Leonard gets the nerve to meet his hockey mentor Jake, and discovers that even mentors have their demons. Together the two of them battle both Jake and Tom’s demons in this heartwarming tale of friendship.

grooveworld

Music is the power in GROOVEWORLD

By Jeremy Gray

A young man joins forces with the outcasts and uses his heightened musical abilities to help topple an oppressive government.

NON-FICTION

BIOGRAPHY

WildOnes

THE WILD ONES tells the story of one woman’s quest to save the wild mustangs of Nevada

by Corky Scranta

A secretary turned animal activist paves the way to protect the wild mustangs of Nevada from cruel and inhumane capture.

rhythm

An African American entertainer’s rise to fame is detailed in RHYTHM FOR SALE

by Grant Harper Reid

Leonard Harper (1899-1943) was in the thick of the Harlem Renaissance, the bright lights and the low life, the big venues and the back alleys, as performer, promoter, owner—in front of the audience and behind the scenes.

HEALTH

stop the diet

A common sense, fun but no-nonsense approach to food in STOP THE DIET, I WANT TO GET OFF

By Lisa Tillinger Johansen, MS, RD

Overhearing food-focused, diet-obsessed conversations and observing strange, often excessive eating behaviors at a wedding party, Registered Dietitian Lisa Tillinger Johansen reflected, “I should write a book.”


thriving

Clear, practical pain management advice in THRIVING WITH CHRONIC PAIN

By Sean Meshorer

The author offers advice and suggestions for not only managing chronic pain, but also leading a full life with it.

 

HISTORY

masters

A renewed commitment to fair housing standards for all in MASTERS OF INEQUALITY

By Andre F Shashaty

Written nearly 50 years after mass riots destroyed the heart of America’s cities, this new book offers this new​ book  offers a new commitment.

Jewels

Women’s rights in Iran and heroines of women’s rights in JEWELS OF ALLAH

By Nina Ansary

There is a popular narrative about Iranian women, suggesting that they advanced during the Pahlavi Monarchy, and, since the overthrow of the Shah, suffered massive repression and became symbolically and literally re-veiled.

saving mona

SAVING MONA LISA, a celebration of the remarkable power of art.

By Gerri Chanel

A richly detailed and thoroughly researched tale of the transportation and safekeeping of the Mona Lisa during World War II.

MEMOIR

managing

A Jewish grandmother’s tales filled with history, humor and love in MANAGING BUBBIE

By Russel Lazega

Attorney and author Russel Lazega blends funny stories about his larger-than-life Miami Beach Jewish grandmother with her historical accounts and additional research of her escape from the Nazi regime.

little american

Lessons learned when a boy emigrates Israel to America in LITTLE AMERICAN MAN

By Lior Lampert

At five years of age, Lior Lampert emigrates from Israel to the United States with his two brothers and his mother. A high school student “with a clear vision for his future,” Lampert candidly shares his immigrant journey to America.

Salvation

The search for truth and faith in SALVATION OF A SERIAL CELIBATE

By Gregory McAllister

The memoir begins in the safe cocoon of a Catholic parish in Northern California to the present day where he has come to rest in the scenic mountains of Vermont.

the cancer olympics

Authentic, raw and inspiring, THE CANCER OLYMPICS

By Robin McGee

The heart-rending story of a physically fit psychologist, wife and mother’s battle against colorectal cancer.

broken places

Rediscovering happiness and wholeness in BROKEN PLACES

By Rachel Thompson

The heartbreaking memoir of a middle-aged woman who was molested when she was a girl is a must-read for anyone who’s been the victim of sexual assault.

 

POETRY

city times

Images filled with lush vividness and simplicity in CITY TIMES and Other Poems

By Vihang A. Naik

A poet takes a new look at cities, love, wisdom and other aspects of human existence.

 

SELF-HELP

secrets of a hiring

Resources and suggestions on finding a job in SECRETS OF A HIRING MANAGER TURNED CAREER COACH

By Lisa Quast

A former hiring manager offers advice to job seekers on everything from resume design to how to follow up after an interview.

Questioning

Advice on how to successfully navigate the health system in QUESTIONING PROTOCOL

By Randi Redmond Oster

An eye-opening narrative replete with humor, hope, and, most importantly, helpful tips about the health care system.

TRAVEL

Djo

Music of the Malinke people in DJOLIBA CROSSING

By Dave Kobrenski

A musician tells the story of his travels in Guinea, West Africa, learning about the people, history, music and rituals of the country.

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