My Top Ten Indie Books of 2020
Hey, it's only ... March ... I'm not that late.
(You can view my 2019 list here if you like to track trends)
As I have for the last few years, I'm choosing to focus on INDIE books. I honestly read mostly Indie, and I figure best sellers don't need the push that smaller titles you might not have heard of do. Of course ... almost all the non-indie titles I read last year were comic books. Honestly--90% of my reading last year was comic books. Mainly because Claire does this thing where if she really likes a graphic novel, she'll follow me around with it until I read it. She's very determined.
2020 was a weird year/rough year. Honestly, I didn't think it had influenced me that much on a personal level because the logistics of my life didn't change a ton and I tend to be notoriously hard to get to ... but in my reading, something did change. I struggled to get done with books last year. Because of that, I almost skipped this post. Normally I read 40-50 qualifying books, so doing a top ten feels like a "best of." Last year I read (goes to count) only 21. At that point a top ten starts to feel more like, "which books weren't awful" rather than "which books really stuck out to me." However, in that 21 there were definitely some I really wanted to honor/talk up, especially to people who might not have heard of them yet.
So ... here we go. (oh, and this post includes affiliate links)
Counting down to my top book of 2020.
The Three Royal Children and the Purrflyer Problem
by Angela Castillo
This is a simple book, but it knows what it wants to be for its age group. It has some fun elements, and I really like the purrflyers. I also appreciate that it lets the kids get into trouble in somewhat believable (I mean it is a troll and kidnapped flying kittens ...) circumstances rather than trying to shelter kids from danger--but it's never too terribly scary.
by Janeen Ippolito
I feel this one is cheating because I read a beta version, and I am very aware it changed a little since I read my version. Like the hero picked up a dog after I finished my read through, and I keep meaning to "re-read" it so I can write an educated review, but ... I am bad about re-reading things.
That said, the version I read was a strong enough story that I'm going to give it a place on this list because the elements I liked (creative world building, fun take on the Cinderella story, some cool romance) shouldn't have changed in the final book.
By Liz Delton
Another beta read. A fun adventure with snarky sisters and interesting puzzles set in a cool Steampunk world I'd like to read more about.
by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt
Yeah ... I beta read this one too. I did a LOT of beta reading last year. Anyway, I enjoyed this sweet lower-YA, upper-Middle-Grade fantasy. It's got some cool fairy land elements, a determined heroine, and it's generally very well written.
by Janeen Ippolito
I really enjoyed this short story.
Short, fun superhero slice of life with an interesting take on superheroes in the "real" world.
All the Different Shades of Blue
by W. R. Gingell
Another short story. This one is a fun "aside" to the City Between series, the main books of which have made it onto past "best of" lists for me.
Creative use of magic/fae world building combined with computer and internet tech in a believable way and a nice glimpse at some other aspects of the broader world and the characters' place in them.
by C. J. Brightly
This one I listened to, rather than read. (Yay, audiobooks!)
I worry this is going to be assumed to be snarky, but it's really not. It's just that the easiest way to describe this book is Hallmark Christmas Movie for the Fantasy set.
You can read my longer review HERE.
By Kyle Robert Shultz
Another "audio" read. You can read my full review HERE, but the short version is this is a funny, fast paced, and occasionally heartfelt fairy tale mash up series, and this installment does not disappoint.
By Michele Israel Harper
A short action packed story with some interesting world building and a great premise. This IS a prequel. I found it stood alone pretty well. I still need to read the main series books.
And my number one book issssssssssssssssss ....
By C. E. White
The narrative and themes of this one felt a little bit written for me. I enjoyed this creative take on wonderland with the interesting addition of a famous painter, but as a child. This was fun, poetic, and heartfelt. While not preachy, there is a lot of good stuff in there about your inner light and using your gifts even when they sometimes might seem like unmanageable burdens rather than true blessings.