Introducing Indie Book Corner: a safe place to call out great reads

Indie Book CornerHello. Glad you could stop by. Pull up a chair, or drag a cushion this way, and grab a cuppa before you sit down, because it’s time to talk about all things books.

Indie Book Corner is a little place on my website I have officially dedicated to calling out great reads. It’s not a review service. There’s no star ratings or rankings.

Here’s what it’s all about:

  • Calling out great reads. I’m an author and I love to read. Life is better with books. It’s that simple. As an independent author, I also appreciate how special it is when someone likes or recommends your book, which is why I want to do my bit to support all the other hard working authors out there.
  • Great reads means 3+ stars. Any book I mention in Indie Book Corner, would be considered a 3 star + rating, but here’s the thing: I won’t be rating them on this site. It’s up to you to decide whether you’d give a book a 3, 4 or 5 star rating. I believe we all arrive at a book individually and what I would consider a 5 star book, might be 3 star to you. This is why in Indie Book Corner we say we’re ‘calling out’ a new book, rather than reviewing it.
  • Indie Book Corner is a happy place. I won’t be criticising in the corner. That’s not what this is about and I want it to be a safe place. If I read a book and I think it’s less than 3 stars, then it won’t be mentioned here. Period. If I’ve read one of those books then I’ll put it aside and assume the author is not as far along on their writing journey as other writers may be. Hopefully one day they’ll make it to 3+ stars, but for now, I’m going to let them continue on their journey unscathed.
  • I’ve read the books I call out. Indie Book Corner isn’t promotional. Marketing is my day job and I’d like my happy place to be marketing free. That’s why I won’t call out books I haven’t read. Keep in mind, most of us read for enjoyment, not for work, so I won’t take kindly to being bombarded with requests for reviews, because that’s not what this is all about. If however, you share my love of books and you’ve read an awesome story,  I’m all for a heads up on a potential great read. That’s what the comments are for on WordPress sites – sharing.
  • Let’s have some book club style discussion. If you’ve read a great book, then tell us what you loved and what you thought worked and why we should read it. Comments are open, provided they don’t impinge on book corner being a happy, safe kind of place (see point 3).
  • Genres. I’m a romance kind of girl. I’m also a thriller and suspense kind of girl. Chick-lit is not a dirty word here. It’s called Indie Book Corner, so you’ll see some good representation of indie works from those genres I’ve mentioned here in book corner. But you’ll also see some mainstream authors and books from traditional publishing houses occasionally on here too. I’m open minded and eclectic in my tastes, with a need for variety. Kind of like my taste in music: some days I’m heavy on Coldplay or the Foals, other days I’ll have some classical going. I’ve been known to play Kylie or Madonna at high volume (and I’m not ashamed). I won’t restrict myself and ask you to do the same! It’s about the books and the writing and a love of reading.

So without much further ado, here’s the very first ‘call out’ in Indie Book Corner…and it’s a challenging one.

Hang on –  but didn’t you say this was a safe place and now you’re challenging us? I’m confused!

Don’t be. Indie Book Corner is completely safe, which is exactly why I’m calling out this one first up.

ANGST by Victoria Sawyer

Angst by Victoria Sawyer

The title kind of gives it away. If you’re in the mood for escape or fantasy, then maybe put this one on the back burner until a later date because this book demands your attention, brutally so.

It tells the story of Victoria, a first year college student, who has suffered from anxiety and panic attacks since she was a child. College is no different. In fact, this new world she is coming to terms with will push her further than she’s ever been before and we’re along for the entire nail biting, intense ride.

Angst is an enticing read because it is plot driven, urging you to read on, while also exploring the turmoil of Victoria’s inner world. It uses clever devices like non-chronological chapter progression that weaves us into Victoria’s world until we are isolated without a map and feel as though we too, are just as lost as she is at points. For some readers, this could be potentially frustrating, even confusing. But well, that’s actually the point.

Anxiety and panic attacks are difficult to describe unless you have been there. Angst doesn’t describe, it immerses you so honestly, so effortlessly, that soon you are living the anxiety with Victoria until it’s painful…but again, that’s the point!

If this were just a book about anxiety and panic attacks, then maybe it wouldn’t be worth a call out. This one is – not just for the well crafted writing – but for the characters and the journey we are taken on. It is, after all, college; and there’s interesting friends, parties, character conflicts and a love story along the way. I almost felt as though I was living vicariously through Victoria, so wild were her actions due to her desperate need to destroy her inhibitions via alcohol, drugs and partying hard.

The other reason this book is worth calling out is because you won’t always like Victoria. At some points, I downright detested her actions. But I felt for her. I hoped for her. And I cheered for her when she had the courage to face her demons rather than run from them.

Angst defies classification. If you were to put it on the shelf next to the YA fiction, the surrounding books would seem like trite fairy tales. At times, due to the style of writing, it could dip into literary fiction. The frequent (bad) language and hard core frat parties and sex, pulls it in another direction entirely. The fiction of Angst may even lapse into a more autobiographical style, but to what extent we’ll never know.

What I do know is this: Angst is real and honest to the point of raw. It fosters understanding and awareness of a very a rarely discussed condition. It’s also an incredibly brave debut that reminds us that sometimes good fiction can challenge us, as well as entertain us.

How about you? Read any great indie books lately that are worth calling out?

4 Replies to “Introducing Indie Book Corner: a safe place to call out great reads”

  1. Belinda,

    I like what you’re doing here.

    The best indie book I’ve read is Robert Bevan’s Critical Failures. Given your likes, I’m not sure you’d care for it, though. It’s about a bunch of guys who are transported into a Dungeons and Dragons style world.

    Not only is it well written, quite simply it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever read. Better than Hitchhiker’s Guide. If you’re at all inclined, you should at least check out the sample.

    If you like epic fantasy at all, you may want to check out Benjamin Clayborne’s Queen of Mages. It’s got an interesting premise: a mundane world where magic is introduced. It’s heavily character based and relationship driven. Good story, though the writing is a wee bit spotty in parts.

    I’m sad to say that, out of all the indie stuff I’ve read since I discovered the existance of such over a year ago, those are the only two that I can really recommend.

    I look forward to seeing what books you come up with.



  2. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for stopping by. Critical Failures sounds intriguing – you’re right it’s probably not what I’d normally read but I’m open to trying new things. I have actually read Hitchhiker’s Guide (my husband is a fan) and I do appreciate some humour!

    I think you’ve hit on an important point. There are some talented Indie authors out there but there’s also a lot who are not quite so far along on their journey and some aspect – whether it be the plot, characters or the writing itself – means it’s not as polished or professional as traditionally published books. I’m hoping I’ll be able to include some of the ones worth calling out here, so stay tuned and keep the suggestions coming!

  3. Oooh, I like this.
    “Delivered” By Michelle Thorne. A beautiful story about what it’s like to be a birth mother. It’s non-fiction, but written as a novel. Captivating and heartbreakingly beautiful.

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