“We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel… is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.” Ursula K. LeGuin
I have to admit that I did not know there was a Self-Published Author Appreciation Week. I should know better as I read so many self-published authors. Not to pat myself on the back (I can’t reach anyway), but I am a big advocate for promoting self-published authors. They have amazing stories to tell and some of my best reads are self-published. I do have reviews for many on this list. If not, they are forthcoming. The genre I read is fantasy and science fiction. The books are in no particular order. If you click on the book, it will take you to Amazon where you can purchase them. I highly recommend all of these books.
I started blogging years ago. However, it was last year that I began book blogging and doing reviews. I had re-kindled my love for reading. During the shut down, I was reading almost a book a day. It was one series that was the impetus that made me change the focus of my entire blog, The Paternus Trilogy. While I think my reviewing style has evolved, it will always be that amazing trilogy that started my book reviews and book blogging journey.
THE PATERNUS TRILOGY by Dyrk Ashton
GENRE: Epic Fantasy
My first book series is not one I read this year. However, since I didn’t do this last year, I have to mention The Paternus Trilogy. I found the series on my Kindle app when I was looking for a more “adult” fantasy series. It is the first review I did. The research on mythology that went into this series is astounding. It went through mythology of various cultures, but it all started with one being, Peter, the father of all mythological “creatures”. While it is a series about good versus evil, it is ultimately a story of love, loss, family and belonging. Review is on my blog.
Author Website: https://www.paternusbooks.com/
IN THE ORBIT OF SIRENS: The Song of Kamaria Book 1; by T.A. Bruno
GENRE: Science Fiction
Quite simply, this is brilliant science fiction. The world building was phenomenal. As an Environmental Scientist, the complexity of the ecosystems created in this book made perfect sense. Every organism fit in, it was organic and never forced. A very unique take on how humanity must find another planet on which to live. Review on website.
Author Website: https://tabruno.com/
DRAGON MAGE: Rivenworld, Book 1; by M. L. Spencer
GENRE: Epic Fantasy
Dragon Mage has one of the most unique magic systems I have read. Combine that with amazing world building and fully fleshed out characters, and you have one of the best epic fantasies I have read this year. The protagonist, Aram, just crawls off the page and into your heart. He is wonderful. Review on website
Author Website: http://mlspencerfiction.com/
GOODBYE to the SUN, Windtide 1; by Jonathan Nevair
GENRE: Science Fiction
Science fiction at its finest using the Greek tragedy, Antigone, as source material. From the outset of the book, the reader knows basically what will happen, but not the details. The terraforming of planets, turning them into desert wastelands, to harness wind energy, I felt was a metaphor for what we are doing to our planet. The wanton destruction of ecosystems for greed. The story has twists and turns you never see coming, and runs the gamut of emotions. Review on website. Book 2, Jati’s Wager will be out soon.
Author Website: https://www.jonathannevair.com/
BLOODLINES & PIECES OF EIGHT: Guardian of Empire City Series; by Peter Hartog
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
I was looking for a new urban fanatasy series to read. Through the amazing Storytellers on Tour, I found Bloodlines. It is everything urban fantasy should be. Gritty detective with subtle magic, assistants that we quite don’t know the whole story on, and cases that involve the supernatural. I had to love this series. The main character, Tom “Doc” Holliday is one bad ass, java drinking detective. Anyone who drinks that much coffee is OK by me. Review of Bloodlines is on my website. Pieces of Eight will be forthcoming.
Author Website: https://peterhartog.com/
THE THRONE of ICE & ASH: Book 1 of the Runewar Saga; J. D. L. Rosell
GENRE: Epic Fantasy
I really enjoy Nordic Fantasy and this did not disappoint. The character development was a very strong point in this book. The main protagonists, a brother and sister, both go against what we normally see in Norse fantasy. He himself is not a warrior, and she has ambitions to rule despite being a woman. There was surprisingly little magic in this book that the characters wielded. I felt we were getting the set-up for the next book in the series. The ending was amazing, and I am really looking forward to the next book. Review on website
Author Website: https://www.jdlrosell.com/
COLD FROM the NORTH & THE DARKEST DUSK: Books 1 & 2 of the Onyxborn Chronicle; by D. W. Ross
Genre: Epic Fantasy
As a debut novel, Cold from The North was first rate. I felt pulled right into the story of the impending doom of an invading army that seems unstoppable with the power of the Onyxborn. When you see the power, you wonder how they can stop that dark magic. Book 2 is a wild ride that picks right up where Book 1 left off and is non-stop to one hell of an ending. All the threads are coming together and I can’t wait for the third book to come out. Review for Cold from the North is on my website. The Darkest Dusk is forthcoming.
Raven’s Ruin: The Keeper Origins; by J. A. Andrews
GENRE: Epic Fantasy
This is the second book in the prequel to the Keeper Chronicles (which I also highly recommend). The magic system in these books are manifested in such an unusual way. When they use their magic, it involves life force. By using it, it can take some of the life from any living organism around. I thought the idea of interconnectedness and the consequences of magic was extremely well done. The characters grow and develop through the series, which is something I always look for. Ms. Andrews has the best endings. You just have to wait until the next book comes out! Reviews will be forthcoming.
Author Website: https://www.jaandrews.com/
A TIME of ASHES & HUNTING GODS: Fate and the Wheel Series by Ru Pringle
GENRE: Grimdark Fantasy
I found A Time of Ashes through Storytellers on Tour, then immediately read Hunting Gods. I have to say, and I do not mean this in a negative way, this series is one of the most underrated I have come across. Many of the others I have seen on Bookstagram, but I never saw these books. Quite frankly, they are brilliant. Mr. Pringle has created grimdark fantasy at it’s finest. There are numerous characters, but never confusing as to who we are following and where they are. Where these books excel is the worlds, yes worlds, building. I lost count of the worlds the characters travelled to to find and stop the Corruption. The worlds were brilliantly constructed, but again, never confusing as to where we were. The characters are all unique and face brutal hardships in the various places they find themselves in. These books need to be out there and read! Review for A Time of Ashes is on my website. Hunting Gods is forthcoming
Author Website: https://rupringle.com/
VOICE OF WAR & STONES OF LIGHT: Threadlight Series 1 and 2, by Zack Argyle
GENRE: Epic Fantasy
This was such a unique and amazing fantasy. It had all the elements: magic system, world building and fully fleshed out characters. I loved the magic system. Anything that shows interconnectedness always fascinates me. The use of threadlight, the magic that certain characters possess, to push and pull to move was incredibly unique. The threads seem to run throughout the world that the story was set in. There are several main character arcs that are followed and I felt as if we were listening to a fine piece of music where each instrument comes in and all at once they are together. Now what happens when we hit the crescendo, we wait until the third book. Reviews for both books are on my website.
Author’s Website: https://www.zackargyle.com/
THE HIDDEN KING, THE LAST PRINCE & THE WILD COURT: The Coming of Aed Trilogy, by E. G. Radcliff
GENRE: YA Fantasy
What can I say? This series is one that touched me deeply. It is beautifully written and brought me to tears. A half-fae, Aed, and Ninian, both of whom live in the slums, come to love each other deeply. It is a story first of 2 broken souls who find each other in the midst of the horrible conditions they live in. The world of the fae, of which Aed is part of, is also explored. The fae, wow, they are wild! The representation of LBGTQ+ characters I felt is so important to bring diversity into the genre. Reviews of all three books are on my website
Author Website: https://www.egradcliff.com/
PALADIN UNBOUND: An Archives Of Elevium Tale, by Jeffrey Speight
This book was really a fun read. Yes, there was some gore, but not too much. I loved the main character, a half human, half orc, named Umhra. I pictured Lord of the Rings orcs. I was very happy when I saw the picture of him close up on Mr. Speight’s Instagram. Not at all a LOTR orc. His name is Umhra the Peacebreaker. How cool is that? I’m ready to change my name! The Barrows Pact, which includes Umhra, Laudin, Nicholas, Gromley, Naivara, Shadow and Balris, must go on a quest to find the dark evil which is causing people to disappear. The world building was great and the quest was just an amazing ride from start to finish. Review is on my website.
Author Website: https://www.jeffreyspeight.com/home
AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Kevin J. Fellows
This was another great read from Storytellers on Tour. It is quite unusual and had me thinking about it long after I read it. A city that moves through space and time, where people end up there. We don’t know why they end up there. They come from all different periods in history. They are not prisoners. They are free to leave at anytime. However, they will not return to the time and place that they live in. It made me think about choices we make. Everyday choices that affect our lives and can have large ramifications. The people in The End of the World have a choice. Do they stay and make their life there, or venture out into the unknown? What is the answer? Maybe that’s what we are left with to decide.
Author Website: https://kevinjfellows.com/
THE HOLLOW GODS & THE ECHOED REALM: The Chaos Cycle Duology by A. J. Vrana
GENRE: Fantasy, Horror
A young woman who walks in her dreams, an angry young man, a curious doctor and a creepy town named Black Hollow. Put them all together and you have the Chaos Cycle. The build up to what is ultimately happening is superb. The ability for the one of main characters, Miya, to walk in her dreams, the angry Kai who scares everyone but Mia, and Mason (the doctor) who is trying to pull it all together are all in Black Hollow. This place gives off too much of a perfect small town vibe and it is anything but perfect. This is the finest blend of fantasy, magic and a bit of horror. And of course, there’s Kai. You’ll have to read the books to find out more about Kai. Reviews for both books are on my website.
Author’s Website: https://thechaoscycle.com/
This is my list for this week. As the year progresses I will add more lists of recommended books, not only by indie and self-published authors. If you love fantasy and/or science fiction, I really encourage you to read these books, and other books by self published authors. I am big advocate for them because I have read so many of their books and they are amazing. They need their stories told.
REMEMBER: When you read books by indie authors, it is so important TO LEAVE A REVIEW! It doesn’t need to be pages long. Just a few lines about how you felt about it. It goes a long way to promote their work.