Indie Book Reviews


Standalone Short Stories


My Father’s Fire, by Phillip McCollum. A fast-paced mystery tale about a man uncovering family secrets. Full Review.



Pads for his Throne, by Olli Crusoe. A comedy about a woman who summons a bloodthirsty-but-inept demon in a very unusual way. Full Review.



Virtually Yours, by Isabella Norse. A romance between two video-gamers whose affection for each other is rivaled only by their in-game crushes. Full Review.

Short Story Collections


The Raven and Other Tales, by Joy V. Spicer. A terrific collection of short fantasy stories, many of which are clever reimagining of classic tales, à la Angela Carter. Full Review.



The Triumph of Vice and Other Stories, by W.S. Gilbert, curated by Andrew Crowther. A collection of short stories by the great Victorian dramatist, of Gilbert and Sullivan fame. Full Review.



Utopia Pending. A collection of speculative fiction short stories by a number of authors. Very interesting reading, especially in contrast to all our dystopian fiction. Full Review.



52 Stories in 52 Weeks, by Phillip McCollum. A collection of 52 terrific short stories, in lots of different genres. Plus, the full edition includes Phillip’s notes on his process. A must-have for aspiring authors. Full Review.



Jersey Ghost Stories, by Erren Michael and Noah Goats. A wonderful collection of ghostly tales set on the island of Jersey. Unnerving and creepy, not too gory, and with plenty of evocative settings. Full Review.



Tiny Shoes Dancing, by Audrey Kalman. A collection of haunting and beautifully-written short stories. Full Review.



Waiting for Earl to Die, by Lydia Schoch. A collection of clever sci-fi/fantasy stories, each with an interesting premise and ironic twists. Full Review.



The Marfa Lights, by Mark Paxson. A wonderful collection of short stories, with lots of variety in style and genre. Full Review.


tales of byzantium

Tales of Byzantium, by Eileen Stephenson. Three short historical fiction stories set in medieval Byzantium. One is a romance, one is a war story, and one is a love letter to history itself.  Full Review.



The Kitchen Brigade, by Laurie Boris. A plausible dystopia set in a Russian-occupied United States, with plenty of plot twists and intrigue. Full Review.



Nondisclosure, by Geoffrey Cooper. A thriller about a rape/murder case at a medical school. A well-paced, powerful look at corruption. Full Review.



Number Seven and the Life Left Behind, by Mayumi Hirtzel. An exciting espionage novella with a dash of romance as well. Full Review.



On the Other Side of the River, by Noah Goats. A dark, incredibly gripping crime thriller. Memorable characters, plot twists, and gallows humor abound in this brutal tale of a man caught between rival drug gangs. Full Review.



The Prize, by Geoffrey M. Cooper. A fast-paced thriller set in the world of medical research. An ambitious scientist will stop at nothing to win the Nobel Prize by stealing the work of a rival in the field. Full Review.


The Bone Curse

The Bone Curse (Benjamin Oris Book #1), by Carrie Rubin. A supernatural medical thriller that follows Benjamin Oris, a medical student ensnared an ancient Vodou curse after injuring himself in the catacombs of Paris. A fast-paced page-turner. Full Review.



The Seneca Scourge, by Carrie Rubin. A medical thriller with sci-fi elements, it tells the story of a young doctor racing to cure a raging epidemic. Full Review.



Eating Bull, by Carrie Rubin. Part thriller and part social problem novel, Eating Bull takes on the obesity epidemic, examining personal, socioeconomic and cultural factors that contribute to the disease. Likable heroes and an unbelievably twisted villain make the plot tick, while the thoughtful and detailed depiction of the medical subject matter make for a truly thought-provoking tale. Full Review.

Science Fiction

Eagle Ascendant

The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, Part One: Eagle Ascendant: A Biographical Fiction, by Lorinda J. Taylor. The first installment in an epic science-fiction series that tells the story of Robbin Nikalishin, who from an early age dreams of voyaging to the stars. Fantastic characters, world-building, and a thrilling ending, this is a marvelous book that every sci-fi fan should read. Full Review.



Vander’s Magic Carpet, by Patrick Prescott. A clever story about a brilliant scientist, convicted of a crime he did not commit, who invents a technology that allows cars to fly. He uses his invention as a way to get back at society for destroying his life, but not the way you might expect. Full Review.



Miira (Book 1 of Innerscape), by A.C. Flory. The premise: a dying woman enters a virtual world that provides a perfect simulation of health and youth. It’s a clever concept and a fast-paced, fun read for fans of sci-fi and cyberpunk. Full review.



Surreality, by Ben Trube. A neo-noir sci-fi mystery in which the intrigues in the eponymous virtual game world spill over into the real world. A novel of virtual reality that seems to only get more relevant with the passage of time. Full Review.


Devil and Wolf

The Devil and the Wolf, by Richard L. Pastore. An indescribable comic adventure, telling the wild tale of demons, angels, small-time criminals, a team of amateur paranormal investigators, a wolf, and the devil who transforms him into a man. Full Review.



The Unpublishables, by Noah Goats. A brilliant, comic-yet-poignant tribute to books and the people who write them. Fun reading for anyone, but more than that, it’s required reading for all indie authors. Full Review.



Say Uncle, by Noah Goats. Another hilarious book from Goats, just as funny as his earlier comic novel, Incomplete Works. A fast-paced and funny read. Full Review.



Incomplete Works, by Noah Goats. A hilarious comic novel, reminiscent of P.G. Wodehouse and John Kennedy Toole. A real delight to read. Full Review.

Literary Fiction

mother adelli

The Calling of Mother Adelli, by Zoe Keithley. Beautiful prose and a dark, dark storyline about a young nun’s struggle with a troubled student that culminates in tragedy. Full Review.



Nola Fran Evie, by Britt Skrabanek.  A historical novel with gorgeous prose that tells the stories of three women whose shared experience playing baseball brings them together years later to fight for Civil Rights. Full Review.



Fascination, by Kevin Brennan. A beautifully-written and extremely funny road novel. Full review.



Charlie and Pearl, by Tammy Robinson. A brilliantly-written romance, with a stunning second-half twist. Can’t say much more without ruining it, but it’s a marvelous tear-jerker. Full Review.



She Who Comes Forth, by Audrey Driscoll. A masterfully-told Lovecraftian adventure set in Egypt. Full Review.



The Islands of the Gulf Vol. 1: The Journey, by Audrey Driscoll. The second book in the Herbert West series leaves Lovecraftian elements behind, but it’s brilliant in its own right. A fantastic work of literary fiction. Full Review.



The Friendship of Mortals (Herbert West Series #1), by Audrey Driscoll. A re-imagining of H.P. Lovecraft’s original short story. Driscoll imbues Lovecraft’s mad scientist and his world with humanity and nuance that HPL would never attempt, all while remaining faithful to the universe he created.  Full Review.


Ocean Echoes

Ocean Echoes, by Sheila Hurst. A dream-like journey into the mysteries of the ocean and the human psyche. A novel of science and magic whose scope is as large and mysterious as the ocean itself. Full Review.



Oblivion, by Hank Bruce. A utopian, environmentalist novel with plenty of philosophy and social commentary. Could do with some polish, but very interesting. Full Review.



Human Sacrifices, by Patrick Prescott. An ambitious novel, whose main thread is an examination of different approaches to Christianity in the American southwest. Prescott takes on a number of controversial subjects, exploring each from the perspective of a thoughtful liberal protestant. Full Review.



Houses on the Sand, by Noah Goats.A witty and well-constructed mystery with plenty of atmosphere as well. Full Review.


One Night in Bridgeport

One Night in Bridgeport, by Mark Paxson. A well-plotted legal thriller about an innocent—though not exactly sympathetic—man accused of a crime and his fight to avoid a lengthy prison sentence. Full Review.

Historical Fiction


Napoleon in America, by Shannon Selin. A clever “alternate history” that imagines what would have happened if Napoleon had escaped exile on St. Helena and come to the United States. Full Review.


Imperial Passions

Imperial Passions – The Porta Aurea, by Eileen Stephenson. A sweeping historical novel that explores every facet of life in the Byzantine Empire. Full Review.



Optimus: Praetorian Guard, by Patrick Prescott. A sprawling historical novel, depicting the early days of Christianity in ancient Rome, through the eyes of one of the Empire’s soldiers. Full Review.

Epic Fantasy

patchwork warriors

Of Patchwork Warriors: (Being Vol.1 of the Precipice Dominions) by R. J. Llewellyn. The first installment in a sprawling epic led by a trio of memorable female characters. Rough in places, but a lot of fun. Full Review.



Whaddya Know!, by Maggie Swanson. A selection of blog posts and artwork by the inimitable Maggie Swanson, AKA “Thingy” of the blog Pondering Life. It’s an eclectic mix of humor, philosophy, musing, and general Thingy-ness from one of my best blogger friends. Full Review.


Hasuga's Garden

Hasuga’s Garden, by Frederick Anderson. I put this under “other” because it’s very hard to categorize what sort of book it is. It could be considered science fiction or fantasy, but I put it here because what stands out to me most about it is the prose–gorgeous and almost-hypnotic. It’s a strange, mesmerizing and fascinating book that I highly recommend. Full Review.

Happy Reading!


    1. My pleasure, Pat! I want to add more of them; I just need to get around to writing the reviews.

  1. Our reading genres are sometimes different, but I love how they overlap, too. I’ve read all of Carrie’s books and agree they deserve the accolades! Can’t wait for her next book to come out. You’ve also reminded me of Ocean Echoes and The Prize – I have both on my Kindle so I’ll have to read them soon!

    1. I know; I can’t wait for Carrie’s next one either. It sounds so cool.

      And I love both Ocean Echoes and The Prize; I’ll be eager to hear what you think of them. 🙂

Leave a Reply to Berthold Gambrel Cancel reply