IndieReader's Best Reviewed Books of 2017

12/27/2017 10:03 am ET

Every year readers are faced with “best of” book lists, from outlets ranging from The New York Times to NPR. And every year they all pretty much feature the same titles.

We’re not saying those books aren’t good, but really, is that all there is? What about the indie titles? The hot romances, off-beat memoirs, the cool science fiction, fantasy and YA—worlds created and envisioned by one person, the indie author?

So while you’re trying to unwind from the year that was 2017, consider checking out a few titles below. Then find a cozy chair, take a few cleansing breaths and try to relax, because who knows what 2018 has in store?

Presenting IndieReader’s annual list of our best reviewed fiction titles of 2017 (non-fiction titles to follow tomorrow).

The Librarian by Philip Wilson
The Librarian by Philip Wilson

THE LIBRARIAN by Philip Wilson

Genre: Action/Adventure

IR Verdict: Author Philip Wilson has taken a tired old genre and breathed new life into it by giving what has been a male superhero fantasy to a female, and a desk-bound one at that.

Read the full review here.

CITY OF GODS II: THE HORSEMEN  by Jonathan Maas
CITY OF GODS II: THE HORSEMEN  by Jonathan Maas

Genre: Fantasy

IR Verdict: CITY OF GODS II: THE HORSEMEN is a thoughtful and philosophical addition to the fantasy genre, and an engaging story as well.

Read the full review here.

CHEMISTRY by CL Lynch
CHEMISTRY by CL Lynch

CHEMISTRY by CL Lynch

Genre: Humor

IR Verdict: CHEMISTRY by C. L. Lynch may start off as a Twilight spoof, but quickly establishes itself as a breezy, fun read, complete with thrills, humor, and romance.

Read the full review here.

CHARMER BOY GYPSY GIRL by Victor Harrington
CHARMER BOY GYPSY GIRL by Victor Harrington

CHARMER BOY GYPSY GIRL by Victor Harrington

Genre: Literary Fiction

IR Verdict: Superbly written and well-researched, CHARMER BOY GYPSY GIRL is breathtaking story about the transformative power of love, even in the most insurmountable of circumstances.

Read the full review here.

EAGLES AND HAWKS AND ALSO PEOPLE AS WELL by Frank Marcopolos
EAGLES AND HAWKS AND ALSO PEOPLE AS WELL by Frank Marcopolos

Genre: Literary Fiction

IR Verdict: Frank Marcopolos delivers drama and humor in a poignant story about a college baseball player looking for a way into the big league.

Read the full review here.

BOYS by Scott Semegran
BOYS by Scott Semegran

BOYS by Scott Semegran

Genre: Literary Fiction

IR Verdict: With nary a dull moment, Scott Semegran's BOYS features short stories filled with unexpected nuances that draws readers right into the heart of his well-developed characters.

Read the full review here.

CAVEMAN AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Brad Rau
CAVEMAN AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Brad Rau

Genre: Literary Fiction

IR Verdict: Realistic and twisted, yet shrouded in secrecy, CAVEMAN AT THE END OF THE WORLD provides lit fiction enthusiasts with a one-of-a-kind story that is captivating to the very end.

Read the full review here.

THE TRUTH ABOUT GOODBYE by Russell Ricard
THE TRUTH ABOUT GOODBYE by Russell Ricard

THE TRUTH ABOUT GOODBYE by Russell Ricard

Genre: Literary Fiction

IR Verdict: THE TRUTH ABOUT GOODBYE, Russell Ricard’s novel about a gay man grieving over the loss of his husband’s death, pulls the reader of all sexual persuasions in with its witty dialogue, light touch, and refusal to propagandize.

Read the full review here.

BELIEVE by Geoff Visgilio
BELIEVE by Geoff Visgilio

BELIEVE by Geoff Visgilio

Genre: Literary Fiction

IR Verdict: Visgilio does an excellent job of making a confused—and, at times, not so likeable—young man, a sympathetic protagonist one can empathize with and care about. The novel flows and is difficult to put down. The reader can’t help but wonder what is going to happen next and how the story will end.

Read full review here.

THE ATHEIST AND THE PARROTFISH by Richard Barager
THE ATHEIST AND THE PARROTFISH by Richard Barager

Genre: Literary Fiction

IR Verdict: THE ATHEIST AND THE PARROTFISH offers a thought-provoking story that challenges both one's intellect and one's heart, exploring health and sickness, faith and atheism, and love and betrayal.

Read the full review here.

THE EAGLE & THE CHILD: THE CHILD by S. Khubiar
THE EAGLE & THE CHILD: THE CHILD by S. Khubiar

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

IR Verdict: In this excellent tale of a reluctant Israeli assassin put back into harness, S. Khubiar fulfills the demands of the thriller genre in getting readers to turn the page, while at the same time educating them in the mysteries of Judaism.

Read the full review here.

THE HEALER’S CURSE by J.P. Doyle
THE HEALER’S CURSE by J.P. Doyle

THE HEALER’S CURSE by J.P. Doyle

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

IR Verdict: Author J.P. Doyle has a gift for suspense and for seamlessly inserting medical matters into this excellent novel without slowing it down.

Read the full review here.

PINK SLIPS by Beth Aldrich
PINK SLIPS by Beth Aldrich

PINK SLIPS by Beth Aldrich

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

IR Verdict: Without giving too much away, readers not “with child” will be gripped by Beth Aldrich’s skillfully written thriller and pregnant readers will be unsettled by the ending, perhaps leading them to pay closer attention to those around them.

Read the full review here.

DARKROOM by Mary Maddox
DARKROOM by Mary Maddox

DARKROOM by Mary Maddox

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

IR Verdict: Vividly drawn and fantastically crafted, DARKROOM is a taut thriller that shines a light on the darkness in men’s souls.

Read the full review here.

BACKSTRAP by Johnnie Dun
BACKSTRAP by Johnnie Dun

BACKSTRAP by Johnnie Dun

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

IR Verdict: BACKSTRAP is a compelling tale, and it is an achievement of author Johnnie Dun that he is able to present damaged characters in a way that somehow make readers root for them. Without being maudlin, Dun shows characters that can redeem themselves after hitting rock bottom.

Read the full review here.

THE BOOK OF MOON by George Crowder
THE BOOK OF MOON by George Crowder

THE BOOK OF MOON by George Crowder

Genre: Literary; Popular Fiction

IR Verdict: Author George Crowder has a poetic gift of being both lyrical (his descriptions of California almost rival Raymond Chandler’s) and making every word count. He is equally good on machine gun-like dialogue. THE BOOK OF MOON is well worth the read.

Read the full review here.

THE BEST OF FAMILIES by Harry Groome
THE BEST OF FAMILIES by Harry Groome

THE BEST OF FAMILIES by Harry Groome

Genre: Popular Fiction

IR Verdict: Author Harry Groome has taken the well-worn cliché of a family fighting to keep their privileges in a world that has passed them by, and that of a rich boy shedding what he considers a hypocritical upbringing via combat, and breathed new life into both.

Read the full review here.

SIZE ZERO by AC Moyer
SIZE ZERO by AC Moyer

SIZE ZERO by AC Moyer

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

IR Verdict: SIZE ZERO is an excellent thriller that takes the reader on a nourish ride through the fashion world of drug-taking hopelessly anorexic models and the corporate fashionistas who control them.

Read the full review here.

THE APOLOGY by Eric Haggman
THE APOLOGY by Eric Haggman

THE APOLOGY by Eric Haggman

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

IR Verdict: The achievement of Eric Haggman is that when he does note the setting of this fast-paced adventure novel, it meets the demands of true noir: the country is as much a character as any of the villains.

Read the full review here.

THE AMERICAN SWEENEY TODD by Marilyn J. Bardsley
THE AMERICAN SWEENEY TODD by Marilyn J. Bardsley

THE AMERICAN SWEENEY TODD by Marilyn J. Bardsley

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

IR Verdict: True-crime aficionados will be delighted by THE AMERICAN SWEENEY TODD, a disturbing, intimate look through the eyes of one of America's cleverest and most dangerous serial killers.

Read the full review here.

ELECTION 2064: BOOK ONE by Scott McDermott
ELECTION 2064: BOOK ONE by Scott McDermott

ELECTION 2064: BOOK ONE by Scott McDermott

Genre: Science Fiction

IR Verdict: ELECTION 2064: BOOK ONE, Scott McDermott’s futuristic tale of a civil war-torn America eagerly embracing a president’s healing process gesture of picking a vice president from the opposition, is a commentary on our age. In McDermott’s very capable hands such appeals to unity rhetoric mask a sinister agenda that is all too possible today.

Read the full review here.

THE FAIRYTALE CHICAGO OF FRANCESCA FINNEGAN by Steven Wiley
THE FAIRYTALE CHICAGO OF FRANCESCA FINNEGAN by Steven Wiley

THE FAIRYTALE CHICAGO OF FRANCESCA FINNEGAN by Steven Wiley

Genre: Science Fiction

IR Verdict: THE FAIRYTALE CHICAGO OF FRANCESCA FINNEGAN is a deeply imaginative and wondrous fairytale for adults who are still young at heart.

Read the full review here.

THE GIRL ON RUSK STREET by Penny Carlile
THE GIRL ON RUSK STREET by Penny Carlile

THE GIRL ON RUSK STREET by Penny Carlile

Genre: Young Adult

IR Verdict: Author Penny Carlile captivates the reader with a razor-sharp depiction of small town life in this heartbreaking tale of sin and remorse, love and loss.

Read the full review here.

TIMELESS TRAVELS by Joe Rotenberg
TIMELESS TRAVELS by Joe Rotenberg

TIMELESS TRAVELS by Joe Rotenberg

Genre: Short Stories

IR Verdict: In this well-done series of short stories, Joseph Rotenberg displays that rare skill of being able to write convincingly in first and third person and avoids the temptation of showing off such skill to the detriment of the stories; instead the reader benefits from his examining ethnic identity from a variety of angles.

Read the full review here.

For more recommendations, be sure to check out IndieReader’s book reviews regularly!

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