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.
By K Jo
A search and rescue mission turns into a bizarre yet unforgettable supernatural adventure.
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.
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.
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.
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.
LaSalle weaves together several narratives about cultural and territorial tensions in this novel of the Old Pacific Northwest.
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.
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 protagonist of Thackeray’s “Vanity Fair” recounts her life story.
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.
It is said that revenge is a dish best served cold. Unfortunately, when creating a zombie army, this is not always possible.
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.
By Terry John Barto
A heartfelt dragon goes against social conventions to pursue his dream of being a professional comic.
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.
Whisker and the Pie Rat crew are back in the third installment of this delightful middle grade series.
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.
By Panayotis Cacoyannis
A magically original story about two strangers and enticing secrets.
By J A Carter Winward
A group of disparate individuals find solace, frustration, challenge and connection at a strip club.
By Fiza Pathan
A strong heroine uses her musical talents to escape a life filled with pain in India’s sordid slums.
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.
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.
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.
By Wayne Clark
A man of meager ambition and accomplishment experiences a midlife crisis that launches him into the world of S&M.
By Welcome Cole
A wry, self-loathing nihilist reconnects with humanity.
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.
A father’s continual search for his kidnapped son leads to the unexpected.
A homicide investigation turns dangerous when the lead detective’s girlfriend does her own sleuthing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
An Artificial Intelligence must discover his identity in order to protect the world from an insidious threat.
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.
A a global political thriller taking place ten years in the future.
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.
At its heart, ELIXIR is a captivating love story.
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.
A young man joins forces with the outcasts and uses his heightened musical abilities to help topple an oppressive government.
by Corky Scranta
A secretary turned animal activist paves the way to protect the wild mustangs of Nevada from cruel and inhumane capture.
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.
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.”
By Sean Meshorer
The author offers advice and suggestions for not only managing chronic pain, but also leading a full life with it.
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.
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.
A richly detailed and thoroughly researched tale of the transportation and safekeeping of the Mona Lisa during World War II.
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.
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.
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 heart-rending story of a physically fit psychologist, wife and mother’s battle against colorectal cancer.
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.
A poet takes a new look at cities, love, wisdom and other aspects of human existence.
A former hiring manager offers advice to job seekers on everything from resume design to how to follow up after an interview.
An eye-opening narrative replete with humor, hope, and, most importantly, helpful tips about the health care system.
A musician tells the story of his travels in Guinea, West Africa, learning about the people, history, music and rituals of the country.