Discover the best indie eBooks of 2020. From established writers and emerging voices, these independent publishers and authors shared stories worth celebrating. Don’t miss out on these special indie eBooks from the past year and find a new favorite today!
Best Indie eBooks 2020: Fiction
Pale by Edward A. Farmer
The summer of 1966. Finding herself in a precarious position, Bernice accepts a job working for a white family on an old plantation. But the secrets of the house are plentiful. And the silence that has encompassed it for so many years suddenly breaks with the arrival of the harvest and the appearance of two brothers, Jesse and Fletcher. Bent on revenge, when the Missus starts flirting with Jesse, she sets into motion a dangerous game. Bernice must walk the fine line between emissary and accomplice, as she tries her best to draw secrets from the Missus’s heart, while using their closeness to protect the lives of the people around her.
What People are Saying: “An engrossing story that builds slowly as it pulls you into the middle of a class/ race battle lived in a short period of time in Mississippi. Edward Farmer writes as if he lived the story.” – Langleyd, B&N Reviewer
All Things Left Wild by James Wade
The American Southwest at the turn of the twentieth-century. After an attempted horse theft goes tragically wrong, sixteen-year-old Caleb Bentley is on the run with his mean-spirited older brother. Wealthy and bookish Randall Dawson, out of place in this rugged and violent country, is begrudgingly chasing after the Bentley brothers. When Randall meets Charlotte, a woman experienced in the deadly ways of life in the West, together they navigate the murky values of vigilante justice. This is a coming-of-age for one man, a midlife odyssey for the other, and an illustration of the violence and corruption prevalent in our fast-expanding country.
What People are Saying: “Strong prose backed up by a solid narrative. Explores themes of morality and mortality. Wonderfully beautiful language. Loved this read, and highly recommend it.” – Charles Masters, B&N Reviewer
Escaping Dreamland by Charlie Lovett
Robert Parrish’s childhood obsession with series books inspired him to become an author. Just as his debut novel becomes a bestseller, his relationship with his girlfriend begins to fall apart. Robert realizes he must confront his secret demons by fulfilling a youthful promise to solve a mystery surrounding his favorite series—the Tremendous Trio. Guided by twelve tattered books and an unidentified but tantalizing fragment of a story, Robert journeys into the history of the books that changed his life, hoping they can help him once again. And Robert’s quest intertwines with the stories of three young people trying to define their places in the world at the dawn of a new century.
What People are Saying: “This is my third Lovett novel and my favorite. It is a delight from start to finish.” – Eilnev47, B&N Reviewer
The Queen of Paris by Pamela Binnings Ewen
Against the winds of war, Coco Chanel finds herself residing alongside the Reich’s High Command in the Hotel Ritz. Surrounded by the enemy, Chanel wages a private war of her own to wrestle full control of her perfume company from the hands of her Jewish business partner, Pierre Wertheimer. With anti-Semitism on the rise, he has escaped to the United States with the confidential formula for Chanel No. 5. While Chanel struggles to keep her livelihood intact, she will do anything to survive. But what lengths will she go to keep her stormy past from haunting her future?
What People are Saying: “Loved reading this story. The history this story tells follows along the story of Chanel herself. Felt That I was at the Ritz watching all the drama and following the life of CoCo lead me to appreciate how hard her life was for her from early childhood and read how strong of a woman she became. Excellent Read!!” – ReadingObsessed, B&N Reviewer
Seabreeze Inn by Jan Moran
Ivy Marin’s life implodes after discovering that her late husband had spent their life savings on a beach house. Strapped for cash and with nowhere to go, Ivy and her recently jilted sister head to Summer Beach to recreate their lives. If only renovating a historical home didn’t unveil a host of hidden secrets in the beachside community.
What People are Saying: “…The women in Jan’s stories are always intelligent and strong business women… The story evoked a wide range of emotions – frustration, anger, fear, jubilation, but most of all love.” – BettyTaylor, B&N Reviewer
A Life Without Flowers by Marci Bolden
Many years after losing her daughter in a tragic accident, Carol Denman has finally made peace. And, with the pain of her failed first marriage behind her, Carol is determined to mend her broken relationship with her mother. But she soon discovers she isn’t the only one who has been hanging on to bitterness. A road trip to face the past leads Carol’s mother, Judith, to unearth the seeds of past mistakes and deep resentments in ways neither of them would expect. The roots of family animosity run deep and thick. While Judith seems hesitant to start digging, Carol commits to pruning away the thorns of the past so she no longer has to live a life without flowers.
What People are Saying: “A Life Without Flowers is a bittersweet, hopeful read that explores forgiveness, understanding, and the process of grief. While the book is full of tragedies and pain, the overall message is one of redemption and love.” – armstam3, B&N Reviewer
Best Indie eBooks 2020: Mystery
What Lies Beneath by Adam Croft
A peaceful Sunday morning in Rutland is shattered when a dead body is discovered on the rocks at Normanton Church. The victim has been laid out in a crucifixion pose, facing the altar. DI Caroline Hills is certain there’s a religious connection — one which threatens the tranquility of life in the area.
The killer has gone to extraordinary lengths to make the symbolism clear. And the deaths will continue until Caroline and DS Dexter Antoine uncover the truth behind the dark secret — and what lies beneath.
What People are Saying: “The plot is well written, characters are deftly drawn. I enjoyed how history played large part in investigating. Multiple suspects are introduced, all who may have a motive for wanting the victim dead.” – linstrong, B&N Reviewer
Deadfall by Deborah Coonts
On the best day of Dr. Rita Davenport’s life, she jumps in front of a speeding London Underground train. The police think suicide. Dr. Davenport’s team in Portland, Oregon thinks otherwise. With Dr. Davenport’s breakthrough treatment in Alzheimer’s likely undercutting Big Pharma, to her team, that is motive for murder. They turn to Detective Kate Sawyer, one of their own—a participant in their study who is battling her own genetic form of Alzheimer’s. As the investigation builds, Kate gets pulled deeper and deeper into the secret places where those on the fringes of synthetic biology ply their trade…for good and for ill.
What People are Saying: “The second installment of the Kate Sawyer series will keep you guessing to the end. Coonts has captured the bounce of memory, even as she keeps the story flowing. This taunt medical thriller will chill you to the bone.” – Blonde Betty, B&N Reviewer
Little Girl Lost by Cheryl Bradshaw
For the past two years, Georgiana “Gigi” Germaine has been living off the grid, until today, when she hears some disturbing news that shakes her. Georgiana’s brother-in-law has been murdered, her seven-year-old niece kidnapped. As the hours waste away, Georgiana races to return to the town she left behind, and a former life she’s still not ready to face.
What People are Saying: “I was mesmerized by this book, and could not put it down. I am so excited to read the next books in this new series. I am looking forward to getting to know more about this new character Gigi.” – KCP317, B&N Reviewer
Mayhem in Montana by Lucy Quinn
When Dora and Evie land at Windy’s ranch in Montana, they fall hard into an underground bunker, where they meet a man from Windy’s past. Sam, the love of Windy’s life, has been framed for stealing a prized race horse, and Dora and Evie are obligated to stay and help solve the crime before heading back to Pensacola. With an entry into the Ms. Rockin’ Rodeo pageant, a crash course in cow milking, and a stint as a rodeo clown, the crime-solving friends have their hands full this time. Can they prove Sam’s innocence and finally get the evidence they need to return home to their beachside town and clear Dora’s name?
What People are Saying: “I love the mixture of murder, mayhem and romance mixed with a very healthy dose of laughter. The series is light-hearted in tone but keeps you in suspense as well.” – LiaLL, B&N Reviewer
Left to Die by Blake Pierce
FBI special agent Adele Sharp is an invaluable asset in bringing criminals to justice as they cross American and European borders. When a serial killer case spanning three U.S. states goes cold, a new lead surfaces and Adele is dispatched to Paris to lead an international manhunt. Adele returns to the Europe of her childhood, where familiar Parisian streets, old friends and an estranged father reignite her dormant obsession with solving her own mother’s murder. To solve the case and her past, Adele must discover where the killer will strike next—or lose another victim and her own mind.
What People are Saying: “Entertaining and interesting characters. Intense whodunnit to read about characters that capture your attention. Edge of your seat reading. Intense page turner until the end. Good read!” – Grannylovestoread, B&N Reviewer
You Don’t Know Me by Sara Foster
Lizzie Burdett was eighteen when she vanished, and Noah Carruso has never forgotten her. She was his first crush, his unrequited love. She was also his brother’s girlfriend. Tom Carruso hasn’t been home in over a decade. He left soon after Lizzie disappeared under a darkening cloud of suspicion, and now he’s back for the inquest into Lizzie’s disappearance—intent on telling his side of the story. As the inquest looms, Noah meets Alice Pryce on holiday. They fall for each other fast and hard, but Noah can’t bear to tell Alice his deepest fears. And Alice is equally stricken—she carries a terrible secret of her own. Is the truth worth telling if it will destroy everything?
What People are Saying: “This was the first book I’ve read by Sara Foster so I wasn’t aware how strong her descriptions and character development are… This book kept me guessing until the very end.” – Oakcitybooks, B&N Reviewer
Lowcountry Boondoggle by Susan M. Boyer
Private investigators Liz Talbot and Nate Andrews thought they’d put Darius Baker’s troubles to rest. Then his recently discovered son ropes him into a hemp farm investment with his college buddies. When a beloved Charleston professor—and potential investor—is murdered, Liz and Nate discover Darius keeps the PIs on speed dial. Though the stakes might be far higher than Liz imagines, she is hellbent on finding the no-good killer among the bevy of suspects. But will the price of justice be more than Liz can bear?
What People are Saying: “This has to be one of the best books I have read this year! Susan M. Boyer has found the magic once again having us all trying to figure out who did it and what in the heavens name is bound to happen next, and this book delivers that and then some with several extra twists.” – christine08638, B&N Reviewer
Execution in E by Alexia Gordon
When an influencer-turned-bridezilla shows up at the lighthouse to entice sponsors to fund her lavish wedding, Gethsemane realize she has her hands full. Moreover, the wedding bells become funeral bells when members of the bride’s entourage start turning up dead. Gethsemane uncovers devilish dealings as she fights to clear a friend’s name. Will she find the killer in time to save Frankie from another heartbreak? Or will the photos in her social media feed be post-mortem?
What People are Saying: “This paranormal mystery is a fun and fast read with lots of suspects, all of which have interesting backstories and motives. The mystery is well-plotted and engaging. I recommend it for those who enjoy paranormal mysteries…” – Anonymous, B&N Reviewer
Best Indie eBooks 2020: Romance
Can’t Fight the Moonlight by Barbara Freethy
Justin Blackwood can’t remember a time when he believed in the magic of anything, least of all love. A cynical businessman, who grew up in a broken home. And he guards his heart with every breath he takes. His job has taken him all over the world and roots are the last thing he wants…until he meets a beautiful innkeeper in Whisper Lake. Warm-hearted, free-spirited Lizzie Cole wants it all. Despite a previous romantic setback, she still believes in happily ever after and her perfect soulmate. But she just has to find him. When a lunar eclipse throws Whisper Lake into darkness, Lizzie and Justin find themselves struggling to fight the moonlight and a love that could change their lives—if they’re willing to take the risk.
What People are Saying: “The third installment of the Whisper Lake series is amazing. I wish this were a real place and that I could live there. Barbara Freethy has a gift for story telling. The words and story just flow, and I don’t want to put the book down and deal with the real world.” – Cathy Egan, B&N Reviewer
From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Poppy’s life has never been her own. Solitary. Modest. Isolated. Virtuous. Only waiting for the day of her Ascension. But she would rather be fighting back the evil that took her family. The choice has never been hers. But when a golden-eyed guard bound to ensure her Ascension enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. Hawke incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.
The Winter Companion by Mimi Matthews
As a lady’s companion, Clara Hartwright never receives much attention. And that’s precisely how she likes it. With a stormy past, and an unconventional plan for her future, it’s far safer to remain invisible. But when her new employer is invited to a month-long holiday at a remote coastal abbey, Clara discovers that she may not be as invisible as she’d hoped. Neville Cross has always been uncomfortable with people. An accident in his youth left him with a brain injury affecting his speech. And finding the right things to say to a lovely young lady’s companion seems downright impossible. During a bleak Devon winter, two sensitive souls forge an unexpected friendship.
What People are Saying: “Each story is a building block upon the other and made Mimi Matthews become one of the amazing authors that I knew my reading mind could never do without. Her descriptive prose, in depth character insight and flowing storyline are one of the best to be found.” – georgia1, B&N Reviewer
Creole Kingpin by Meghan March
The thing about ghosts is they’re supposed to stay dead. That’s exactly what I am, but I can’t stay away from Magnolia Marie Maison for one more day, let alone another year. We’ve already got fifteen of those between us. As it stands, she’ll want to kill me as soon as she lays eyes on me. And knowing her, she’s completely up to the task. But I’m a man on a mission, and I’ve got everything riding on this. So, here I come, Magnolia. This ghost is ready for whatever you got. After all, there’s only one way I want this to end—’til death do us part.
What People are Saying: “What a start to a new duet! I am shook! This book had me reeling with questions and wanting to know more about all the characters involved… This story is suspenseful and intense and there are twists that will have your jaw dropped.” – MellyP, B&N Reviewer
Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan
Dig a little and you’ll find photos of me in the bathtub with Ezra Stern. Get your mind out of the gutter. We were six months old. Pry and one of us might confess we saved our first kiss for each other. Above all, get into our business and you’ll see two families, closer than blood, torn apart in an instant. Twenty years later, my “awkward duckling” best friend from childhood, the boy no one noticed, is a man no one can ignore. Tell me the boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can’t have. When we find each other again, everything stands in our way–secrets, lies, promises. But we didn’t come this far to give up now. And I know just the move to make if I want to make him mine.
What People are Saying: “Their chemistry jumps off the pages. The angst has me wanting to break things. I needed to know… Kimba and Ezra are explosive together. I am always amazed at the things I learn reading Kennedy Ryan’s books. She is so talented.” – Kris251999, B&N Reviewer
When You Kiss Me by Bella Andre
Lola Sullivan has never felt truly seen. That is to say, not until Duncan Lyman. A deep passion sparks between them and Lola is sure she’s found The One. Duncan never imagined Lola could change his life in one night. But he knows the dark secret from his past could destroy their budding love. It took thirty years for Lola and Duncan to find perfect love…but it could take only thirty seconds to destroy it.
What People are Saying: “There are a number of reasons to love a Bella Andre novel… From laughter to heartache to hope… You feel the burn of emotion yet are grateful to have not missed out on the ride.” – Lashea13, B&N Reviewer
Fatal Fraud by Marie Force
A prominent member of the D.C. community has been murdered, therefore, pulling Lieutenant Sam Holland into yet another high-stakes investigation. When both the FBI and IRS show up with new information, the case takes a turn no one could’ve seen coming—not even Sam. All the while, Sam’s husband, Vice President Nick Cappuano, faces mounting pressure to declare his intention to run for president in the coming election. As always, when things become too hot to handle on the job, Sam and Nick turn to each other for solace in the storm.
What People are Saying: “As usual Marie Force has completely killed me with her writing. This book kept me on the edge of my seat through out with suspense, tears, laughter (oh, the laughter goes on & on) & then I fell off my seat with the ending. Can’t wait for the next book…” – Park, B&N Reviewer
Best Indie eBooks 2020: Young Adult
Terraformer by Colleen Houck
In the future, a terraforming ship lands on a green planet. Two perfect young men, one a budding colony leader, the other an engineer, compete for the affection of one perfect young woman training as a botanist. The only problem? She’s not perfect. Astra has a secret. A big one. And someone or some thing just maybe trying to kill her for it.
What People are Saying: “There was a lot intrigue and mystery to keep you turning pages along with the creative science fiction aspects of the story. While this might be a YA series with the main characters being around 17 or 18, it had so many twists and turns and deeply hidden trails it was comparable to many adult science fiction novels I’ve read in the past.” – LisaLovesLiterature, B&N Reviewer
Chasing the Sun by Melanie Hooyenga
Neb Connelly has looked forward to the solar eclipse for as long as he can remember. Therefore, when his only friend in his new town invites him on a school camping trip to watch it, he’s there. After all, his wanting to go is only partly because of the quiet girl… She gets his jokes, doesn’t mind when he geeks out about the eclipse, and for the first time in months, he’s ready to chase more than the sun. But when Nate and Sage Winters finally meet in person, another girl stakes her claim on him. Does Sage run the other way to save her heart, or risk it all for a chance at happiness with this space boy?
What People are Saying: “Melanie Hooyenga is on my auto-approved must read list. Her books suck me in and I can’t get enough of the worlds she creates. Chasing the sun is about accepting the loss of the past and searching for a better future.” – Danielle_Danii, B&N Reviewer
Best Indie eBooks 2020: Thriller
Extraordinary Rendition by J. Robert Kennedy
CIA Special Agent Dylan Kane returns home from assignment and finds the apartment he shares with the love of his life empty. Former Chinese Special Forces operator Lee Fang is gone. Taken. And the race to find her begins. With heartbreaking consequences sending Kane down a reckless path of despair and revenge. Each step closer might just result in an international incident that could lead to war.
What People are Saying: “What a gripping story line, once I started reading I couldn’t put it down.” – JoAnnMK, B&N Reviewer
The Dark Corners of the Night by Meg Gardner
He appears in the darkness like a ghost, made of shadows and fear—the Midnight Man. The bedroom communities of Los Angeles are gripped with dread, and the attacks are escalating. While still reeling from her best friend’s close call in a bombing six months ago, FBI behavioral analyst Caitlin Hendrix has come to Los Angeles to assist in the Midnight Man investigation. And it’s her work that keeps her going. But something about this unknown subject doesn’t sit right. She soon realizes that this case will test not only her skills but also her dedication. Because within the heart of a killer lives a secret that mirrors Caitlin’s own past. Hesitancy is not an option, but will she be able to do what must be done if the time comes?
What People are Saying: “This UNSUB thriller utilizes all the many skills of author Meg Gardiner, as she dances a tightrope across the emotions of her readers, and keeps us guessing through every twist and turn. A must read for every thriller fan.” – EileenHutton, B&N Reviewer