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Tuesday, April 04, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Indie/Self-Published Books I Want to Read

How do you feel about self-published books? What about those that come through smaller, independent presses? That's what today's TTT prompt is all about: Top Ten Indie/Self-Published Books. I'll be honest, I'm not hot on the self-pubbed. I've read so many stinkers in the past that, nowadays, I avoid them, except when they come from an author I already know and love (Here's looking at you, Melanie Jacobson!). I'm fine with indie books, although I still don't seem to read many of them. All of this means that today's topic is a toughie for me. And yet, I'm pressing on, not going rogue this time. Impressed? You should be! I managed to find ten indie and self-published books that are now on my TBR list (if they weren't already).

As always, TTT is hosted by the lovely Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Click on over to her blog for all the details.

Top Ten Indie/Self-Published Books I Want to Read
 - in no particular order - 

1. Here For It by Melanie Jacobson (Four Petal Press)—Jacobson published a bunch of books with Covenant Communications before turning to self-/indie publishing. There are many of her fun, flirty novels I still haven't gotten to, but I enjoyed So Not My Thing—the first installment in the Love in New Orleans trilogy—and I want to finish the series.

This second book stars Anneke, a supermodel who's in NOLA to help her BFF open his new jazz club. When she realizes that her online crush owns a record shop in town, she can't help but be intrigued. Jonah feels the same, although Anneke's not at all the kind of woman the music store owner has in mind for himself. So, why can't he stop thinking about her? 

I always look forward to Jacobson's books because they're humorous, sassy, lighthearted, closed-door romances that are fun and entertaining.

2. Maybe I Will by Melanie Jacobson (Four Petal Press)—This third installment in the Love in New Orleans trilogy is an enemies-to-lovers romance between a feared food critic and a chef who's trying to make a name for himself. Chloe Morel and Dylan Jones have hated each other for years. When they suddenly become neighbors, the heat between them intensifies, but not in the way they expect. What will happen when their professional goals come between their growing attraction to each other?

Known as "America's Independent Publisher," Kensington has published a number of books that appeal to me, including:

3. The Second Mrs. Astor by Shana Abé (Kensington)—Everyone knows I'm a bit of  a Titanic junkie, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that I want to read this one. The romance between 17-year-old Madeleine Talmage Force and wealthy businessman John Jacob Astor, a man almost three times her age, creates a huge scandal. Their honeymoon to Egypt provides a respite from the relentless attention of the press and other tongue-waggers, but their return trip on the Titanic proves to be anything but peaceful. In the aftermath of the tragedy, what will become of the young widow?

4. Mastering the Art of French Murder by Colleen Cambridge (Kensington)—This is the first book in a historical mystery series starring Julia Child's (fictional) BFF, Tabitha Knight. Also an American, Tabitha has fallen head over heels for the City of Lights. Her enchanted French experience turns sour, however, when a dead body is found in Julia's cellar. The murder weapon? A knife from Julia's kitchen. As the police begin their inquiries, Tabitha launches her own investigation. Who killed the dead woman and why? She aims to find out.

5. The Runaway by Lisa Childs (Kensington)—Once an insane asylum, Halcyon Hall is now an exclusive spa for the wealthy. Located on a secluded estate on an island off the coast of Maine, it's not an easy place to gain access to, which is a problem for Rosemary Tulle. Her younger sister's frantic phone call from Halcyon Hall, begging Rosemary to come get her, has left Rosemary worried and afraid. She grows even more desperate—and suspicious—when the spa's staff insist Genevieve ran away. Rosemary refuses to believe that. She will find her sister, no matter what it takes.

6. The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew (Kensington)—It's 1954 and 13-year-old Jubie Watts is on a road trip with her family and their Black maid, Mary Luther. As the group travels from their home in North Carolina to their destination in Florida, Jubie notices the racial tension that increases the deeper the longer they're on the road. When the unthinkable happens, Jubie will be left to reconcile with hard truths about the South, her parents—and herself.

7. Red Flags by Lisa Black (Kensington)—This series opener stars Dr. Ellie Carr, a crime scene analyst working in Washington, D.C. When she's assigned to a missing baby case, Ellie is stunned to discover the child's mother is her cousin. What happened to the baby? Ellie must find out.

8. Owl in the Oak Tree by Penny Walker Veraar (GG Publishing)—After her husband's death from cancer, Reagan Ramsey is doing everything she can to hold it together, especially for her special needs daughter. When a drive-by shooting happens right before Reagan's eyes, she becomes an unwitting witness to a shocking crime. As much as she wants the perpetrator brought to justice, she is terrifed of risking her family's safety. What will she do? How will her decision impact her already grief-stricken life?

9. Silver River Shadow by Jane Thomas (Books and Bicycles Press)—The plot summary of this middle-grade novel is unique and I don't want to screw it up by writing it in my own words, so here's the publisher's version:

In 1946, Barney and Marion Lamm climbed into their two-seater plane and flew deep into the heart of the Canadian wilderness. Then one day the wonderful life they created was ripped apart.

Over seventy years later, their great-granddaughter Lizzie follows in their footsteps. Nobody ever tells Lizzie anything. Her mother's dead and her father's hiding in his work. Determined to know her family history, the truths she uncovers are laced with dangerous secrets.

Based on a true story and a real, raw quest for truth, Silver River Shadow shines a light on a country's darkest secrets and unveils the mercury tragedy that still affects the Ojibway community in Canada's northwestern Ontario today. With gorgeous illustrations, this beautifully written book is perfect for 8+ fans of Katherine Rundell, Tom Palmer and Onjali Rauf.

My Name is Ona Judge by Suzette D. Harrison (Bookoutre)—This historical novel tells the stories of two women: Ona Judge, a slave who escaped the household of George and Martha Washington in 1796, and the modern one of the woman who finds Ona's carefully-hidden journal, which tells a harrowing and shocking tale...

There you go, ten indie/self-published novels I want to read. Have you read any of them? What did you think? Which indie/self-published books have you enjoyed in the past? Which would you recommend to me based on the titles I've listed above? I'd truly love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT! 


  1. These look like some really excellent books. I've heard a lot of good things about Jacobson's books, but haven't read one yet. I'll have to change that. 😀

    1. Definitely! Her books are tons of fun.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Nicole!

  2. I have not read any of these. Thanks for sharing this list.

    1. I'm hopeful that they will all be good reads. Fingers crossed!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Wendy!

  3. Love the eclectic mix! I have become more drawn to self-pubbed authors over the last few years.

    1. Self-pubbed books seem to be huge in the romance genre these days. Interesting.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Tanya!

  4. Replies
    1. Doesn't it? The cover is SOOO pretty!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Louise!

  5. Great list! It can be hard to find the indie books out there among all of the Big 5 books (with their larger marketing budgets) but you found some that sound really good! Happy reading!

    1. Indie books are definitely at a disadvantage, but they do seem to be more popular these days. And list topics like this help to get the word out, which is great!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Nicole!

  6. The only author I have read from your list is Melanie Jacobson, the rest are new. Great list!

  7. Great list. Silver River Shadow might be one that I would enjoy!

  8. I haven't read any of the books mentioned in your TTT post, but The Second Mrs. Astor by Shana Abé sounds good!

  9. In theory, I'm all for authors getting published any way that they can except for those way too obvious "vanity presses" that notoriously rip off naive folks. Sadly, though, I find my hit/miss ratio when reading them to be really, really poor. Too much junk in that haystack these days.


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