One of my new favourite trends is books being published by small independent publishers. There’s a bunch of publishers, like Raw Dog Screaming Press and Graywolf Press, that have been around for 10+ years, while others are more recent. No matter how long they’ve been in business, they all seem to publish books that are edgier and more interesting than their bigger counterparts. It’s only been in the last couple years that supporting small, independent publishers has become trendy. Here are some of my books from small, independent publishers.
I read The Crown of Zeus, by Christine Norris, earlier this year and loved it. It was originally published by Samhain Publishing, but the author got it republished by Zumaya Publications when her original publisher for the series folded. 13-year-old Megan has it hard when she has to move from New York City to an old house forty minutes outside London after her father gets a promotion. At first, she’s miserable because she’s used to an urban setting and no school uniforms, but things get better when she befriends three girls at her new school and they go on a wild adventure. At first, I was drawn more to Megan’s new friend Claire than Megan, but I warmed up to Megan. I really liked the girls’ “Greek” adventure. New, $8.99, or used, $3.99
I read Stolen Away, by Kristin Dearborn, the same week as I read The Crown of Zeus. It was published by Raw Dog Screaming Press, which I like because they're billed as a publisher that will sniff out books that are off-kilter, weird, or deviant. Tricia is a single mom to 4-year-old Kourtney and 2-month-old Brayden. When the baby is kidnapped and his sister insists he was taken by a monster, Tricia has to face the cold, hold facts: the creature she had the one-night stand with that produced Brayden, and he’s definitely not interested in sharing custody. After Tricia gets her ex, Joel, to help her look for Brayden, “Demon” sends his minions after the pair. Joel, meanwhile, is dealing with problems of his own, in the form of Russian mobsters on his tail. New, $2.99, or used, $9.99
The Quelling, by Barbara Barrow, was published less than six months ago by Philadelphia- based Lanternfish Press. Sisters Addie and Dorian are beautiful and clever, but have spent most of their young lives in a locked psych ward, diagnosed with a rare disorder called Reactive Attachment Disorder. You see it more with kids raised in orphanages in Russia and whatnot, but you also see it sometimes with kids who grow up in foster care. Now that Addie’s old enough, she wants to start a family of her own, to replace the one she lost. The girls’ psychiatrist, Dr. Lark, however, has other ideas for them: rebirth, a controversial but possibly dangerous treatment, particularly for pregnant women like Addie. I liked the girls, but they definitely lived up to their hype as beautiful by clever. New, $9.99
I’m currently rereading The Steel Empire series, by J.L. Gribble, was also published by Raw Dog Screaming Press- at least, I’m trying to when my cat Stan Lee isn’t laying on the books and demanding attention. In the first book, Steel Victory, the title character is a vampire and retired mercenary on the city council of Limani, a neutral zone between the British and Roman colonies. All hell breaks loose when Victory’s daywalker is gravely injured by racists and the Roman empire invades. In the second book, Steel Magic, Victory’s daughter Toria and her partner, Kane, are just beginning their mercenary careers when they discover mages are disappearing and get hired for their first contract to investigate why. In the third book, Steel Blood, Victory’s kids are off on their exciting new mercenary careers, but she’s suffering from Empty Nest Syndrome, so she takes a job protecting a princess in a southern colony. In the fourth book (my favourite so far), Steel Time, Victory and Toria are sent back in time while on a gig, hunting for a rock. I really liked Victory and Toria. Victory is smart and strong, while Toria is headstrong in the first book but grows up in later books. New, $14.95 individually, or $49.99 bundled