Top Ten Indie Reads of 2019

Book Reviews

If you follow me on GoodReads, you may be familiar with these books. I've been waiting for the chance to sit down and write a full review of these books. If you are looking for the perfect Summer Indie Reads, this list is for you!

A few of these are sequels to books I read in 2018, so you want to read about them, click here.

#10 Free Trader Of Warren's Deep by Craig Martelle

(free on Kindle Unlimited!)

Starting at #10, we have Free Trader Of Warren's Deep. I thought they would set this on a space station based on the cover. I have been trying to read exclusively fantasy this year, but the cover convinced me to dip into science fiction. Imagine my delight when I found a sci-fi fantasy story in the same vein as Dragon Riders Of Pern! The story follows Braden and his mindlinked Hillcat as they traverse dangerous terrain filled with mutant creatures to find Old Tech that he can trade for untold riches. Along the way, Braden picks up new companions like a Hawkoid and a female warrior much more knowledgeable about ancient tech than he is. The cooperation between the different creatures and their mission makes for an entertaining read. I love the back story of this world and how it is revealed piece by piece through the eyes of someone who does not understand the ancient tech. I am looking forward to exploring more of this world in the sequels!

#9 Halayda by Sarah Delena White

You could call 2019 the years I read books because their covers are so pretty. I mean just look at that cover (why yes, I am judging a book by its cover)! Halayda is a thoroughly enjoyable fantasy romance with an action-packed adventure! It has a bit of a Hades and Persephone vibe to the romance which I love. It starts off right in the middle of things and reveals bits of information one piece at a time. I am impressed by Sarah's ability to create such an in-depth and complex world, and yet only reveal it piece by piece, without info dumps! There is so much to explore in her version of the faerie realm AND the human realm. I could easily see multiple spin offs about each of the minor characters. I can't wait to read the next book in the series. I think my favorite characters are a tie between Zad and Diza and they are just (ha!) the secondary characters! I wouldn't mind a prequel about how they met! 

#8 The Dark Realm by Anthea Sharp

This LitRPG is a reimagining of Celtic ballads with nail-biting moments in virtual reality and reality alike! The story introduces us to rich girl Jennet Carter, the daughter of an immersive game developer and Tam Linn, the best virtual reality gamer in town with secrets he doesn't want anyone to know. Jannet never could have suspected that the harmless virtual reality game Feyland is actually a portal to the Faerie Realm and her battle against the Dark Queen could have some serious side effects. She will have to rely on Tam Linn to save her soul and the world or die trying.

I thought I was like 10 pages from the end when something happened that I didn't expect. I turned off the kindle and announced to everyone that I was not okay with what just happened. They asked, "Oh, it isn't a good book?" I replied, "No, it is a fantastic book, that's the problem!"

This book really drops you right in the middle of the action. I would encourage people to read the prequel first because it flows nicely with no spoilers.

#7 Pippa Of Lauramore by Shari Tapscott

(free on Kindle Unlimited!)

Pippa of Lauramore is a delightful fantasy romance novel I highly recommend this to anyone who likes romance with great character arcs and twists you may not see coming. I thoroughly enjoyed the growth of the main character Princess Pippa. She started out as judging everyone, feeling like she was always being treated unfairly, and trying to meddle. She realized she had treated OTHERS unfairly, learned that first impressions aren't always what they seem, and sometimes you should leave well enough alone.

I loved each of the knights, but Irving made me laugh out loud many times and Dristen made me aww, so if it were up to me I'd pick either one of them. Archer was brilliant and honorable. Rigel was great and though I had him figured out after a few scenes, but it didn't make it any less sweet when his pure and honorable intentions were revealed. Lionel is delightfully despicable. I can see myself rereading this book many times.

#6 Breakwater by Catherine Jones Payne

(free on Kindle Unlimited!)

I'm not a huge mermaid fan, but this book may have changed that! I didn't realize that political Intrigue and mermaids would make a such great combination! I love the growth from all the characters and the plot! When Jade finds her fiance over the body of a dead naiad, her decisions are all that it takes to plunge the underwater city into chaos, revealing the prejudice simmering just below the surface. I was so ready for the next book the moment I finished the last word of this one. Thank goodness they had a bonus chapter from the next book at the end!

#5 City Of Masks by Ashley Capes

(free on Kindle Unlimited!)

This is the first book to stab me in the back so hard I almost threw my kindle across the room with how absolutely devastating the plot twist was. I personally felt the betrayal. Don't get me wrong, Ashley Capes is an amazing author! This book has so many layers, the world building is richer than most fantasy novels I read, and there are many threads unsolved while still leaving a satisfying ending. Weird and scary monsters, multiple conspiracies and so many lies, I almost didn't think Sofia was going to make it! I love Notch, Flir, Seto, Luik, and Sofia. I don't know if I could pick a favorite. Recommend for fantasy lovers! I just got the second book and I am looking forward to diving in!

#4 Windwalker: Relic Of The Dead by H. G. Chambers

Free on Kindle Unlimited!

This is a sequel to the amazing first Windwalker book, and it certainly delivered. This is one of those authors where you don't worry if the sequel is going to be good, you just worry about whether everyone will make it out with all of their limbs intact! Relic Of the Dead took the universe in a completely different direction than I expected, but it was refreshing! Plunging deep into their mythology and religion, Kiva leaves behind the troubles of her everyday life and trades them for the fate of the world once again. I think Lim might be my new favorite character, but Samal was great too! Kiva experienced a lifetime of character development in this adventure and I can only imagine what the next adventure holds in store for her!

#3 Nyssa Glass and The House Of Mirrors by H. L. Burke

I will admit I have been on a bit of an H. L. Burke kick lately, so I forced myself to only choose two to put on this list. I can't believe I haven't read this series before! It is right up my alley! Reformed cat burglar and mechanic Nyssa Glass is drawn into a mystery surrounding the disappearance of a reclusive inventor. What she finds is far beyond anything she could have imagined. I loved Hart! There were nail biting moments and a few mechanical monsters I'm glad aren't real! This steampunk world is more futuristic than others with videophones and other tech which would be spoilers. It feels like H.L. Burke imagined what today would be like with steampunk tech. 

#2 The Desert Wall by Raf Morgan

This is the best book I've read in a long time. First, the cover is absolutely gorgeous and was the first thing that caught my eye. I love stories set near deserts and this delivers in spades. The magic system felt fresh and interesting. I loved how the main character had to build bridges between all the characters and considering her upbringing the occasional piece of wisdom from the young girl made sense. I love each of the characters fiercely and would adopt all of them in a heartbeat! I had a moment (you'll know when), where I thought, well, crap, now I have to adopt this grown man too. They tug on my heartstrings. I loved the strong female friendships formed in this book; it is rare that I read about women forming such close friendships and bonds in a way that it is realistic. I really enjoyed the three vicious girls in this book. This didn't feel like a NA, YA or MG book to me, just a fantasy book with protagonists who were younger and that is refreshing. Highly recommend!

#1 Spice Bringer by H. L. Burke

Wow, that was an adventure and a half! This book gets the unique distinction as being the second book that has made me cry, and I cried actual tears three times while reading it. The intense journey had me mentally leaning forward hoping to propel the characters forward just a little faster. The unique worldbuilding (especially the religions), the fact that the characters grew through adversity, and the bittersweet end makes this a new favorite of mine.

If you enjoyed this post, please let me know in the comments below! What is your favorite indie read in 2019 so far?