Sharky’s Top 10 Indie Reads
Thanks for stopping by for another visit on my Devil’s Nightmare Bewitching blog tour. Today, I’d like to share a list of favorite books that I’ve read over the past couple of years, but since I started my writing journey as an indie author this Top 10 list will focus on indie authors.
10 | Eleven by Carolyn Arnold
Carolyn Arnold “breaks the rules” when it comes to her writing style in Eleven. It begins with the reader following the story from the main character’s perspective. Later, however, as the story unfolds, Arnold makes a shift and tells the story from the perspective of her antagonist. It’s works very well in this novel.
The author also did a very good job of keeping me guessing throughout the investigation. Just when I thought the FBI team was on the right track, something threw them off. I had my suspicions of who the killer was (I was wrong of course!), but I was pleasantly surprised when Carolyn finally revealed the identity of the serial killer.
9 |Billy Purgatory: I am the Devil Bird by Jesse James Freeman
Jesse James Freeman has a very interesting style of writing where you get to know several of the characters from their own perspectives while also enjoying other elements of the story in the third person. His writing is clever and near flawless; you can tell he treated this novel with care and did not rush it to publication. There is a lot of character development in Billy Purgatory, and while the switch in perspectives may be a little bit distracting at times, I feel it worked well. The lengthy character development is also completely necessary as each character has a very important role in the overall story. As an avid gamer, for me it was like playing a huge role-playing game with several side quests that all tie in to the main story. Each individual character’s story is woven together masterfully to Billy Purgatory’s main quest.
In my opinion, the final chapters are where this book shines the most. The fast-paced writing in the action scenes kept me turning the pages and reading well into the night. Billy’s conflicting relationship with Anastasia is also one of the best character relationships that I’ve read in a while.
8 | Enigma Black by Sara Furlong Burr
Even if you rarely read superhero stories, like me, if you enjoy action, romance, sci-fi, conspiracies, humor, or all of the above, you’ll more than likely enjoy Enigma Black. I loved the relationship between Celaine and Blake (the two main characters), and Cameron is one of my favorites; he’s such a smart ass. I think the narrative is where the author shines the most. She did a good job with her shifts between first (Celaine Stevens) and third person perspectives. Dialogue sometimes feels a bit too formal, but overall it was great! Sara wrote some entertaining lines in Enigma Black, particularly between Celaine, Black and Cameron.
The story does end in a cliffhanger, but not in such a way that it feels unfinished. I’ve never read a book that was flawless, and there are a few minor formatting issues in the e-book (mainly with some indents here and there) and a few minor typos, but they were minor and limited. Enigma Black is an easy, enjoyable read.
7 | Blood Skies by Steven Montano
I love reading fantasy and grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons when I was a kid (still a big fan of the computer games), so I was pleased to see some familiar creatures make it into Blood Skies. However, this is not your typical fantasy story. That took some getting used to. Blending undead creatures (such as vampires, wights, liches, zombies and hellhounds) with modern weaponry and the arcane powers of witches and warlocks was something that gave Blood Skies a unique touch.
Montano’s descriptive writing in this fantasy-adventure was top-notch. He paints a vivid picture of each scene and does an excellent job of narration and dialogue. This is one of the most unique fantasy novels I’ve read in a long time and left me craving for more.
6 | Gabriel’s Redemption by Steve Umstead
There’s a lot of backstory in Gabriel’s Redemption. Some readers noted that it was too slow-paced, but I disagree. I rather enjoyed it. Steve gives just enough without going into information overload. If you are the type who expects action from the first page all the way through the end, a little patience goes a long way. Umstead rewards that patience with some intense action and a satisfying ending! I finished reading Gabriel’s Redemption with a smile on my face.
5 | Osric’s Wand: The Wand Maker’s Debate by Jack D. Albrecht Jr. and Ashley Delay
4 | In Her Name: First Contact by Michael R. Hicks
3 | As the Ash Fell by AJ Powers
The overall story is what really drew me in. What would it be like if the supervolcano at Yellowstone erupted? The author only briefly touches on that subject, but I think it worked well. The story isn’t so much about the eruption, but how a man struggles to keep his family alive and safe from the real threat . . . other people. As the Ash Fell has a good mixture of suspense, drama, some romance, and action, but what I really loved most about this novel were the characters and their relationships. AJ got bonus points for making a grown man cry, so that bumped Michael Hicks’s In Her Name: First Contact down a rank, but he still gets the No. 2 spot.
2 | Season of the Harvest by Michael R. Hicks
I have always been a fan of fiction based on reality, such as Jurassic Park and Prey. It’s one reason why I’ve always enjoyed reading books written by the late Michael Crichton. He knew how to entertain us with a good work of fiction based on reality, and he often got me thinking, “Could this really happen?” With the passing of Mr. Crichton, I never thought I would find another writer who wrote in a similar style until I read Season of the Harvest by Michael R. Hicks.
It had all the elements I was looking for, including the science fiction based on reality. This particular book focuses around the science of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), something that is very real and a bit scary if you do some reading about it. But what if the food you ate was genetically altered and you didn’t even know about it? After reading Season of the Harvest, you may think twice about taking a bite out of that corn on the cob.
Aside from the science fiction/horror based on fact aspect of Season of the Harvest I think one of the best things about this book is that it is fast-paced and has a lot of action. It is written very well, flows well, and has a satisfying ending. In fact, the ending got me screaming at my Kindle (just like screaming at the television). But that’s a good thing. Michael did a great job at ending the story that left me disappointed at the outcome, but completely satisfied at the same time. It’s hard to explain without giving anything away. You’ll just have to pick up a copy of Season of the Harvest to find out. Oh, by the way, this one is also free on all e-book platforms.
1 | Imago Chronicles: A Warrior’s Tale by Lorna Suzuki
The story starts a bit slow, but only because the author spends this time building up the main character. There is A LOT that goes on in the first book of the Imago Chronicles. It spans over several years of Nayla Treeborn’s life (she is half-elf after all). The author kept me engaged in the story and I’m pleased to say that it left me with a smile on my face. I’m glad I also purchased the print edition for my fiction library because it includes maps of Eastern and Western Imago (printed on the back pages), which is a nice bonus.
A Warrior’s Tale is not the typical fantasy that I’m used to reading, but that is definitely a positive note. I think where Suzuki shines the most is in the battle scenes. They were awesome! And there is plenty of it! I loved her descriptive detail of the action scenes, and it does not surprise me that these books are in production for a major motion picture with Oscar-winning producer Don Carmody on board. Suzuki placed me right in the middle of the action with her battle scenes. I could almost hear the sounds of steel clashing and arrows flying through the air as I read A Warrior’s Tale. I can’t wait to see the movie!
Devil’s Nightmare Series Book One
Publisher: Forsaken Imprint
Date of Publication: July 15, 2015
Cover Artist: Laura Hidalgo
Veteran homicide detective Aaron Sanders thought he’d seen it all, but nothing could have prepared the seasoned detective for the mutilated remains of a kid’s parents or the equally vicious deaths of three boys at another crime scene.
As Aaron works to solve the cases and protect his only witness, an orphaned child, he learns of an ancient curse that leaves him questioning all he’s ever believed. Now, to save himself and the child, Aaron must confront his own inner demons, and some he never knew existed. But if he does, will he make it out alive?
Devil’s Nightmare is an occult suspense horror novel by Robert Pruneda, who shakes readers with his visually graphic scenes, supernatural twists, and disturbing settings in this first installment of the Devil’s Nightmare series.
Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though.
He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!
Pursue your dreams . . . and never look back.
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