We’ve taken stock of our Favorite Indie Books and picked the 20 best from 2018! With heartwarming coming-of-age fiction, unexpected romance, magical castles full of secrets, mysteries, thrillers, and more, there’s plenty to love from these great books at great prices. All published with Barnes & Noble Press, check out the collection and find a new favorite today!
New York Station by Lawrence Dudley
In August 1940, MI6 agent Roy Hawkins is mysteriously rushed from Nazi-Occupied Paris to New York City. Thinking his time would be better served back in France, on the front lines in the battle against fascism, Roy is quick to discover that the free and democratic America he knew is under threat from right-wing extremists. When Roy discovers a plot to rig the presidential election, it becomes a race against the clock to save the beacon of the free world from enemies he thought he left behind in Europe.
Why we loved it: Fast-paced and gritty, this WWII spy adventure is a thrilling ride from start to finish thanks to a layered protagonist and thought provoking relevance.
Son of a Midnight Land by Atz Kilcher
Atz Kilcher learned many vital skills while helping his parents carve a homestead in the Alaskan wilderness. Later in life, Atz began to reflect on his upbringing, seek to understand his father, and heal his emotional scars. Learning to use new tools–honesty, vulnerability, forgiveness, acceptance–he embraced the value of resilience. This revised perspective has enabled him to tell an enhanced and more positive version of the legacy his father created and has him doing the most rewarding work of his life: mapping his own inner wilderness while drawing closer to his adult children, the next stewards of the land he helped his father carve out of the Alaskan frontier.
Why we loved it: Kilcher skillfully ushers the reader into a daring frontier that centers on the oftentimes contentious dynamic between masculinity and vulnerability.
All the Men As Mad As He by Neal Roberts
LONDON 1600. Though Queen Elizabeth has ordered the Earl of Essex’s release from confinement, she’s thwarted his return to social and military grace by barring him from court for an indefinite term. Unsatisfied with this humiliation, the Queen considers whether to cut off his sole remaining income, as well. Noah Ames strongly advises against it on grounds that the Queen will thereby lose any remaining influence over Essex’s conduct and also place him in desperate financial straits. When several seemingly unrelated men are found murdered, Noah begins to suspect that such murders reveal Essex’s treasonous intention to return to court in bloody defiance of the Queen’s order.
Why we loved it: Dripping with historical authenticity, Roberts crafts an engaging, unpredictable mystery.
Blind the Eyes by K.A. Wiggins
When the Mara came, they took everything. Hope. Desire. The ability to feel. The will to defy. For Cole, escaping to the Refuge made her one of the few lucky dreamers still able to disobey the will of the Mara. But, if anyone uncovers the truth, Cole is certain to lose what little she has left. And, as it turns out, she’s not the only one with a secret. Worse, her life’s not the only one at stake. With enforcers in pursuit and the dead invading her dreams, Cole races from the dazzling, forbidden heights of the tower to the glittering menace of the underground club in a desperate bid to stop the dying before the nightmares eat her alive.
Why we loved it: A unique twist on the YA-dystopian genre, Wiggins weaves a complex tale that unfolds like a dream itself — mystical, and sometimes odd, but always captivating.
Bed of Flowers by Erin Satie
Bonny Reed is beautiful, inside and out. A loyal friend and loving daughter, she’s newly engaged to her small town’s most eligible bachelor. But an old enemy shatters her illusions of tranquil happiness and security. First Baron Loel cost Bonny’s family her fortune. Now he’s insisting that her betrothed has hidden flaws and dark secrets. When the truth comes out, Bonny will have to choose between doing what’s right and what’s easy. Between her family and her best friend. And hardest of all–between her honor and the love of a man who everyone wants her to hate.
Why we loved it: With heart and soul, Satie reveals the old wounds of a small town full of big secrets. Tender, evocative, and charming, this historical romance takes readers on an emotional journey that is both satisfying and heartbreaking.
Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews
No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy. Hugh d’Ambray served only one man, until his immortal master cast him aside. Now, someone is hunting down and murdering Hugh’s fellow soldiers. Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Above all, she is a woman who will protect her people no matter the cost. But what if the cost means accepting help from the devil himself? Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies. How can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?
Why we loved it: A villain becomes a hero and a pair of rivals join forces in this thrilling portrayal of the complex dynamic between leadership and power.
LOST by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
In the second installment of the House Of Night Other World Series, things in Tulsa have settled down since Zoey and the gang closed the tear between worlds. But not all is not as settled as it may seem. In Lost, we follow Zoey, Stevie Rae, and Rephaim to an alternative version of the House of Night, where dangers take the form of friends and allies are found in the strangest places. With the villain Neferet still at large and the vampyre’s war against the humans raging, Z is thrust into an adventure that will test her loyalty and love.
Why we loved it: Mother and daughter remain as dynamic a duo as ever in this follow up to LOVED. Readers will be thrust into a wild ride that is full of magic and suspense.
Veins of Gold by Charlie N. Holmberg
Desperate to save her siblings from poverty, a young woman discovers magic fueled by gold . . . and a love for the man who wields it. Abandoned by their father for the gold rush, Gentry and her siblings labor to survive alone in the inhospitable west. When bizarre natural disasters begin wreaking havoc on the land, Gentry discovers a world of magic. Desperate for help, she accepts aid from a mysterious stranger. Winn not only sees the magic, but controls its hunger by feeding it gold–the very thing Gentry’s father left to acquire. But the earth’s unrest only grows worse, and Gentry’s fear leads her to a terrible choice: marry a wealthy man she does not love, or trust in Winn’s unpredictable power to save her family.
Why we loved it: Hidden magic and the historical western setting makes this a unique tale coupled with talented writing.
Unbreak My Heart by Lauren Blakely
I didn’t break her heart, and she didn’t break mine – we broke each other’s. There’s so much I have to put back in place now that I’m alone and on my own. When I receive an unexpected letter that might hold the clues to everything I desperately need to understand about my family, I’m sure I have to follow it. But that means leaving her once more. She says she’ll come with me, and having her by my side will unbreak my heart…or destroy it. That’s the chance I have to take…
Why we loved it: Fight back those tears as you dive into the tattered hearts of this second chance romance from Blakely, who’s typical style is vaulted for one more poignant and emotional.
Cross Country by Brian Herberger
Having her father away in Vietnam wasn’t easy for Bets, but she soon discovers having him back home comes with its own set of problems. When a letter from her friend Emmie arrives along with a ticket to Woodstock, Bets has a tough decision to make. Should she stick it out back home or leave her problems behind for a cross-country adventure? There’s a lot happening in 1969, and figuring it all out is complicated. The people Bets encounters all have their own perspectives, each changing the way Bets thinks about the war in Vietnam, the problems America is dealing with, and her own problems at home.
Why we loved it: This is a heartfelt coming-of-age tale set during a turbulent time with a protagonist who feels both real and relatable.
The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews
Helena Reynolds will do anything to escape her life in London, even if that means traveling to a remote cliffside estate and marrying a complete stranger. But Greyfriar’s Abbey isn’t the sort of refuge she imagined. And ex-army captain Justin Thornhill is anything but a romantic hero. Thronhill has spent the last two decades making his fortune, settling scores, and suffering as a prisoner in India. Now, he needs someone to keep his affairs in order both at the house and in the village. Their marriage was meant to be a business arrangement and nothing more. But when Helena’s past threatens, will Justin’s burgeoning feelings for his new bride compel him to come to her rescue? Or will dark secrets of his own force him to let her go?
Why we loved it: An intriguing plot and an haunting setting leaves the reader immersed in this impressive series launch. The chemistry between the leads is strong and the tension is palpable.
Good Night, Oregon by B.K. Froman
In 1997. any visitor to Rain, Oregon would find long-buried secrets, crazy neighbors, a convent, a buffalo, a jailbird, and a sky full of beckoning stars. Sophia Bolton can’t wait to get out of the place. At twenty-six, she dreams of saving humanity by traveling to the stars. On the night she sneaks into the campus radio station and makes a secret broadcast, it’s simply a diversion to the tedium of school. It soon becomes an obsession. She can’t explain why she’s pirating the airways, risking her future, to share tales of how-to-survive growing up.The stories, she says are for the doubtful, insecure, or anyone who doesn’t fit. She doesn’t realize she’s doing what she’s always wanted–trying to save humanity. Nor does she realize her stories will save herself.
Why we loved it: For those who feel out of place, this humorous and poignant story celebrates the strange, quirky, and marvelous weird inside us all
Uncompromising Honor by David Weber
The Solarian League’s navy counts its superdreadnoughts by the thousands. And for hundreds of years, the League has borne the banner of human civilization, been the ideal to which humanity aspires in its diaspora across the galaxy. But the bureaucrats known as the “Mandarins,” who rule today’s League, are not the men and women who founded it so long ago. They are corrupt, venal, accountable to no one . . . and they’ve decided the upstart Star Kingdom of Manticore must be destroyed. Honor Harrington has worn the Star Kingdom’s uniform for half a century and served her monarch and her people well, but a war is brewing. Once a voice of compromise and caution, Honor is coming for the Solarian League, and Hell is coming in her wake.
Why we loved it: An intricate world built among the stars and vast galaxies of space. Honor is a worthy hero for fans of the genre.
Five Years Gone by Marie Force
The most brazen terrorist attack in history. A country bent on revenge. A love affair cut short. A heart that never truly heals. I knew on the day of the attack that our lives were changed forever. What I didn’t know then was that I’d never see John again after he deployed. Five years gone, the world has moved on from that awful day and I’ve resisted. Until my sister’s wedding when I meet Eric and my heart comes alive once again. The world is riveted by the capture of the terrorist mastermind, brought down by U.S. Special Forces in a daring raid. Now I am trapped between hoping I’ll hear from John and fearing what’ll become of my new life with Eric if I do.
Why we loved it: A beautiful story of loss, recovery, and starting over when it feels impossible. But these characters are strong in their grief and this authenticity shines through masterfully.
A Love So Sweet by Addison Cole
Treat Braden wasn’t looking for love when Max Armstrong walked into his Nassau beach resort. But he saw right through the efficient and capable facade. After one evening together sparks an intense connection, for the first time, Treat finds himself wanting more. But something caused Max to turn away, and Treat finds himself returning to his family’s ranch alone. A chance encounter brings Treat and max together again, and it turns into a night of passion and honesty. When Max reveals her secret, pain past, Treat vows to do everything within his power to win Max’s heart forever.
Why we loved it: A revised version of Melissa Foster’s Lovers At Heart, Reimagined. In her writing as Addison Cole, A Love So Sweet captures the essence of life and love and the struggle to open your heart to both.
The Palace of Lost Memories by C.J. Archer
The king’s magnificent palace was built in a matter of weeks. No one saw the builders, no villagers are allowed beyond the gilded gate, and only one servant has ever left. When the king decides to take a wife from among the eligible daughters of the noble families, the palace gates are finally thrown open. As her father’s assistant, Josie finally sees inside the lavish walls, but she soon learns the palace won’t surrender its secrets easily, for not a single resident, from the lowest servant to the king himself, has a memory from before the palace existed. In the search for the truth, Josie is drawn deeper into danger, and the answers she seeks might shake the very foundations of the kingdom.
Why we loved it: Fantastical and whimsical with a story that captures the reader’s imagination and delights with fun magical curiosity.
The Perfect Lie by Adam Croft
What if you were framed for a murder you didn’t commit? Amy Walker lives the perfect life with her family. Until a knock at the door turns her life upside down. With the police at the front door, Amy learns that her father-in-law is dead and she’s wanted for his murder. The evidence against her is overwhelming. Forensics and witnesses place her at the scene. But there’s only one problem: She didn’t do it. With her family destroyed and a murder sentence looming, Amy must discover who murdered her father-in-law — and why they’re so hell-bent on framing her as the killer.
Why we loved it: The reality of Amy’s situation is gripping and suspenseful with twists and turns until the end.
Day of the Dead by Kristi Belcamino
They are the forgotten girls. The lost ones with haunted eyes wandering the gritty streets of San Francisco. Gia Santella, long experienced in fighting her own demons, is drawn into a battle for the girl’s very lives. The vigilante heiress discovers that more than bad choices are to blame for the girls’ circumstances. Gia is soon engulfed in a world dark with betrayal and abuse. As she fights to stop the injustice, she finds she must also face her own dark, tormenting guilt if she has any chance of saving anyone else. After falling into the darkest pit of despair yet, Gia questions how she can save the girls when she can’t even save herself.
Why we loved it: Grounded by a tough-as-nails heroine, Belcamino indulges readers in a twisted tale that thrills at breakneck speed.
I Am Number 13 by Andra Watkins
When Emmaline Cagney’s father dies, she forgoes college and heads to Honduras to volunteer with Nicaraguan refugees. It’s 1986, and the Sandinista-Contra war rages in the jungles of Central America. Amid the turmoil, General James Wilkinson is stuck in an undead world called Nowhere, a place he’s used for his evil designs. With the fight to protect refugees and maintain America’s involvement secret, Em and Wilkinson careen toward a showdown that outstrips space and time. And Em must confront the one person she never wanted to see again: her craven mother. Will Emmaline outwit the two people who peddled her childhood innocence before she runs out of time?
Why we loved it: A blend of suspense, history, and the paranormal, this book is fast-paced and rich with detail.
Forty Dead Men by Donis Casey
Returning from the battlefields of France has left George Washington Tucker with too many demons and too much time. When a stranger finds his way to his family’s farm, Gee Dub thinks he may have found a new mission and a true purpose. But there are shadows that Gee Dub can’t seem to cast off. Forty of them still linger in the cartridge boxes he keeps under his pillow. And a single bullet isn’t enough to quell the demons. When this lone bullet is tied to a murder and Gee Dub becomes the prime suspect, his mother must do whatever it takes to keep her war-ravaged son safe.
Why we loved it: A poignant mystery set just after the devastating horrors of The Great War.
And there’s more favorite indie books to check out in these other collections from Barnes & Noble Press!