Hello, everybody! We’re back here again with another segment of my Indie Author Appreciation series: a series dedicated to shining the spotlight on some lesser-known authors and their hidden gem books.
If you haven’t seen the previous parts, you can find them linked in Part Six: https://rebeldynasty.wordpress.com/2021/01/22/indie-author-appreciation-part-six/
We have quite a few to go through today, so without further ado…
Winterreise by Daphne du Bois
I read this book about two years ago, so the fact that it stuck with me speaks volumes. If you like stories that involve fae–extra points if one of those fae is the Erlking–you’ll probably enjoy this, too. Wanna know more? Check out the summary below:
Life in the old city of Aldgard is (almost) never boring…
When music student Penny Wells first met the Erlking, she had an inkling that trouble would follow. Especially since she had a thesis to write and concert to prepare for, and she definitely didn’t have time for magic.
So it really stands to reason that Penny should have known better that to stroll into the Hinterlands to return a strange locket he’d left behind – because nothing is ever accidental when it comes to the Erlking.
And when she does so anyway and awakens an ancient Valkyrie, seriously annoying the Norse Gods (well, most of them), she finds that she has to set things right before they use her new friend for their upcoming ritual sacrifice. Because Penny won’t stand for that.
But first, she has to figure out what it is they’re really worried about and what all of it has to do with a Schubert song cycle that the Aldgard University music department will be putting on in just a matter of weeks…
Next up–Sailor to a Siren by Zoë Sumra.
I’m not 100% sure what to classify this story as. It has a lot of sci-fi elements, some magic, deals with intergalactic commerce, and gave off some serious cyberpunk vibes in the mix. It was equal parts gritty and glamorous, fitting two contradictory pieces into a fantastic whole. The writing was crisp and the characters intriguing. The synopsis is as follows:
When Connor and Logan Cardwain, a gangster’s lieutenants, steal a shipment of high-grade narcotics on the orders of their boss, Connor dreams of diverting the profits and setting up in business for himself. His plans encounter a hurdle in the form of Eloise Falaviere, Logan’s former girlfriend, who has been hired by an interplanetary police force’s vice squad.
Logan wants a family; Eloise wants to stop the drugs shipment from being sent to her home planet; Connor wants to gain independence without angering his boss. All of their plans are derailed, though, when they discover that the shipment was hiding a much deadlier secret – the prototype of a tiny superweapon powerful enough to destabilise galactic peace.
Crime lords, corrupt officials and interstellar magicians soon begin pursuing them, and Connor, Logan and Eloise realise they have to identify and confront the superweapon’s smuggler in order to survive. But, when one by one their friends begin to betray them, their self-imposed mission transforms from difficult to near-impossible.
Next is a modern, satirical take on Greek mythology; particularly Hades and the Underworld– Girl: Repurposed by Meaghan Curley!
I read this nearly two years ago, so I’ll put the synopsis first for this one:
Tranquila Obiit is smart enough to save a stranger’s life. But when Tran’s salty, daytime-television-addicted grandmother tricks her into selling her soul to Hades, dodging near-death experiences becomes a daily ritual.
Now, as an employee of the Underworld, Tranquila seeks out her purpose in life while pet-sitting a three-headed dog that is hell-bent on destroying her.
She’s not alone. None of the Gods are any better off: Hades is battling negative Hollywood stereotypes. Persephone is trying to overcome her jealousy issues. Most importantly, Hera is trying to gain control of a domain that isn’t hers.
Girl: Repurposed is a refreshing satire on the American Dream that’ll keep readers laughing all the way to the Underworld.
Let me tell you, this book delivered. It was honestly the kind of book that until I read it, I didn’t know I needed it–but I did. Oh boy, did I. It turned everything people know about Greek mythology (or think they know, thanks to Hollywood flubbing it so often) and turned it completely on its head. Tranquila has got to be one of the funniest, most interesting MCs I’ve come across in a long time or since. She was refreshingly human, seldom capable of the most basic skills–making for a nice change of pace where heroines always seem to know what they’re doing.
Looking for a read that’s not predictable? Then this might be the one for you.
Next: Brimstone by Justine Rosenberg.
This is a fairly short book, yet for all that, thoroughly packed with gritty world-building, atmospheric scenes, intrigue and interesting characters.
The summary is as follows:
Sariel, a fugitive slave, is running from the desert mines, and from an Empire that is hungry for a new and mysterious metal that the alchemists call brimstone.
In a moment of mercy and lust, Ava Sandrino, herself a knight fallen from grace, shelters Sariel from his pursuers, and in the light of the moon, he speaks to her of a door. It is a gate that opens into a world that lies beyond the Northern Dark, over the edge of their farthest horizon. There, paupers rub shoulders with princes, and there are riches to be had by those with the will to seize them.
Swayed by Sariel’s tales of strange oceans and distant stars, and tired of a past that holds her down, Ava joins him on the trek to the kingdom where souls are remade. Together, they must cross a borderland that is the domain of magicians, the humans that serve them, and the One O’clock King: a faceless despot who guards the crossroads of worlds.
I highly recommend this book, as its sequel (which I have not yet read, but have full intentions of very soon) is also available.
Next is a poetry collection by Chanel Hardy–Sweet Oleander.
I’m pretty touch-and-go with poetry a lot of the time, but I genuinely enjoyed this one. And gods, would you look at that cover? Absolutely gorgeous!
But more to the point of the book itself. The poems within touched on all facets of love, be it romance or otherwise. It touched on those first, euphoric feelings, the highs, the rose-tinted glasses. It touched on the lows, the heartache, the trials, the will to overcome and heal. Some poems were raw with emotion, while others were lyrical, flowing like honey. The summary of Sweet Oleander says it all:
Oleander seeds and leaves are used to make medicine. They help with heart conditions, asthma, and other health issues. They can also be deadly to ingest. ‘Sweet Oleander’ is the first collection of poetry by Chanel. with ballads, haiku’s and sonnets and more about love, sex, death, and all of life’s intricate experiences.
If you’re a poetry lover and you’re looking for something fresh and new, I highly recommend Sweet Oleander.
Next is a fantastical novella brimming with eldritch creatures; The Eldramyth by Patrick Tuttle!
If you’re looking for something a little darker, this won’t disappoint:
Long have the elves of Takshi-ha held their forest borders, but with the incursion of Orcs, a tragedy drowns the young elvish prince in madness. Seeking answers, he finds only wickedness in his delirium and is set upon a path that resurrects an ancient evil and reveals a carefully hidden part of Elvish history.
You know those stories that start out with something cute and fluffy, then take a terrible, horrifying turn for the worst? This is one of those stories, and one that kept me turning the pages until the very end. The prose is excellent, each scene atmospheric and filled with foreboding. So if you like dark/gothic fantasy, check out The Eldramyth.
Last (but not least) is a story that falls into that branch of sci-fi where our relatable MC’s journey takes place in a VR fantasy RPG: Load Custom Character by Tyler Lee.
If you like things such as Ready Player One, Sword Art Online or anything similar, this book will probably be up your alley. But don’t be fooled; though it shares a genre with some pretty cool and memorable books, movies, and shows, it’s a force all its own–and every bit as amazing as those mentioned.
Here’s the synopsis for some context:
Life as a teenager is never easy. This is especially true for Peter Robinson, a boy of 16 just trying to survive high school. This is made all the more difficult with constant bullying, discouraging parents, and no friends.
One day, after a particularly rough time at school, Peter finds a mysterious package on his doorstep. Inside is an Emerser, the most advanced virtual reality system in the world, along with a copy of the best selling game Our World. Thrilled at the prospect of finally diving into the game he’s always dreamed of playing, Peter doesn’t hesitate to plug in.
Once inside, the game gives Peter everything he’s always wanted: freedom, friends, strength, and a sense of acceptance. For a brief moment, he is happy.
However, sometimes paradise can turn to perdition. One day while inside Our World, the millions of players discover that they are trapped inside with no escape other than to defeat the creator of the game itself. All this with one new, horrible rule: if you die in the game, you die in real life.
Peter and his companions can either live in fear of their virtual prison, or fight back and risk death as they struggle to escape.
Load Custom Character is a love letter to videogames and those who play them–especially the underdog. So if this resonates with you, give it a read. It’s worth it.
And so concludes this installment of Indie Author Appreciation. Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you find some new reads to enjoy and treasure.
Until next time, stay safe everybody–and get your read on.