2021 in Review: Indie Books, Author Interviews & More!

a man holding a sparkler, text reads '2021 in review, indie book spotlight'

I started Indie Book Spotlight about a year ago in an effort to find other authors and connect with them, and the result has been wonderful! I’m stunned by the reception of the page, and so utterly grateful to everyone who’s helped boost the reviews and writer’s lifts and pinned reposts, etc. There is such lovely community spirit in the #WritingCommunity on Twitter, so for anyone hesitating joining, I definitely recommend it.

It’s fabulous to be able to boost indie voices in a way that’s actually getting noticed and I’ve met so many amazing authors and read some seriously fabulous books. From short stories to poetry to kid’s books to fantastical novels with epic world-building, the indie world has such a plethora of wonder on offer! Really, a great group to be part of!

For my part, I didn’t write as much this year as I’d hoped/planned, but I did publish These Violent Nights earlier in the summer, my dark fantasy novel that I’m so, so proud of. I started TVN back when I lived in Canada, so it’s been a long time in the making. I’m delighted it’s finally published and getting readers! There’s also character art (!!!) for the book from two very talented artists, see: Character Art for These Violent Nights [Thorn/Kol + Lucien/Nik] and Character Art for These Violent Nights [Thorn/Kol]. I’ve never had character art before and it’s so brilliant being able to visualise my main characters. A huge thank you to the artists!

I also republished my *very short* story The Man and the Crow. I’m so happy to have my story back out there as Enlil and Aris, the central witches, are characters I absolutely adored writing. I’ve had a few requests to write a follow-up story, but we shall see. 😉

Additionally, I had two short stories published in the Indie Bites AnthologiesVampires & Voyages and Mermaids & Mythologies collections. Both stories are LGBT+ fantasy. You can read them for free on the Indie Bites website or buy the paperbacks on Amazon.

As well, I entered A Game of Wings and Marks, my urban fantasy romance, in the BBNYA competition. It made it into the second round, but didn’t go further. Still, I’m proud that it’s found a few more readers this year! I also entered A Touch of Death into SPSFC, the new sci-fi competition for self-published books. I didn’t have a book ready for SPFBO, the yearly fantasy competition, but I’m hoping to enter These Violent Nights next year.

I am also part of a group of indie authors/editors that formed the Indie Book Trove this year! We vote on an indie book to read and then post our reviews online together in an effort to shine a light on one book each month. It’s so much fun getting to have a group focus on an indie book and I definitely encourage other book clubs to pick indie books! There’s some rocking talent out there! We’ve had so much fun with ours and hopefully we’ll have some more books to showcase next year!

Now, on to the reviews!

a woman reading inside a book holding a torch, text says 'reviews'

Note: One difference in my reviews from this year as opposed to previous years is that I’ve stopped rating books. I had someone ask me why I rated their book a certain way which left a bad taste in my mouth and frankly discouraged me from doing it again, thus as I don’t want more people asking why their book is this rating or that, and as I read a lot of ARCs outside of my general mood-read genres, leaving ratings aside for now is easier. I might change that in future, but for now, I’m reviewing without ratings.

INDIE BOOK REVIEWS
Book Review: The Ghost Beside Me (2019) // [short story, fantasy]
Book Review: A Walrus & A Gentleman (2021) // [lgbt+, fantasy]
Book Review: Wonder Rush (2021) // [spy thriller, YA]
Book Review: Emma and the Minotaur (2013) // [action/adventure, fantasy]
Book Review: Fever Dreams (2021) // [short stories, horror]
Book Review: The Summoner’s Cry (2021) // [novella, fantasy]
Book Review: Tamsen’s Ridge (2020) // [novella, romance]
Book Review: A Haunting at Hartwell Hall (2021) // [novella, romance, lgbt+]
Book Review: Landfill Mountains (2021) // [post-apocalyptic, action/adventure]
Book Review: Dark (2019) // [urban fantasy, romance]
Book Review: Partners in Crime (2021) // [novella, romance, lgbt+]
Book Review: I Love You S’more (2021) // [novella, romance]
Book Review: Trail Markers (2021) // [western, historical fiction]
Book Review: Along for the Ride (2021) // [novella, romance]
Book Review: Hoglets’ Christmas Magic (2021) // [children’s, holiday]
Book Review: Gathering of the Four (2021) // [dystopian, fantasy, action/adventure]
Book Review: The Stars Will Guide Us Back (2021) // [short stories, audiobook, lgbt+]
Book Review: The Wolf and the Water (2020) // [fantasy, romance]
Book Review: Paint Me Yours (2021) // [novella, romance]
Book Review: Untouched (2021) // [action/adventure, suspense, lgbt+]
Book Review: The Cracked Reflection (2021) // [short story, fantasy]
Book Review: Tales of Solomon Pace (2014) // [audiobook, fantasy]
Book Review: May Day (2020) // [urban fantasy, mystery, romance]
Book Review: The Girl in White (2017) // [fantasy, mystery]
Book Review: Into the Dark (2021) // [action/adventure, superhero]
Book Review: The Murder Next Door (2021) // [historical fiction, romance, murder, lgbt+]
Book Review: Of Blood and Deceit (2019) // [fantasy, romance]
Book Review: Paper Castles (2021) // [contemporary fiction]
Book Review: 7 Days in Hell (2020) // [horror]
Book Review: Jinnik (2020) // [non-fiction]
Book Review: The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon (2019) // [action/adventure, fantasy]
Book Review: Each Little Universe (2020) // [fantasy]
Short Story Reviews: Battered Heart (2021) & On the Edge of Salt (2020) // [short stories]

REVIEW ROUNDUPS
Note: These are usually mini/smaller reviews of books, comics, short stories or poetry, etc. The genres and formats differ wildly.

Book Review Roundup – September 2021.
Book Review Roundup – August 2021.
Children’s Book Review Roundup – August 2021.
Poetry Review Roundup – June 2021.
Mini Review Roundup – April 2021.
Review Roundup – April 2021.
Review Roundup – January 2021.
January Reading Roundup – January 2021.
Review Round Up – January 2021.

POETRY REVIEWS
Note: I read so much more poetry this year than I usually do and I loved it! Poetry is like soul sugar and I adored so many of these poems. Keep ’em coming!

Poetry Review: You Might Feel This (2021)
Poetry Review: Scarlet Shadows (2019)
Poetry Review: Golden Threads (2021)
Poetry Review: Black Movie (2015)
Poetry Review: The Smallest of Bones (2021)
Poetry Review: Fairytales (2020)
Poetry and Photography Review: Rhythm Flourishing (2020) and Seizing the Bygone Light (2021)
Poetry Review: Emotionally Raw by Carlos Cabrera & Lovable Losers and Romantic Monsters by B.P. Learner

TRAD BOOKS, SHORT STORIES AND AUDIOBOOKS REVIEWS

Epic Fantasy I Want to Read
Book Review: An Honest Man (2019)
Book Review: Mortal Engines (2001)
Book Review: The Colour of Magic (1983)
Book Reviews: The Host (2008), Roommate (2021), Skyward (2018)
Book Review: The Deep Blue (2021)
Book Review: To Be Taught, If Fortunate (2019)
Audiobook Review: Midnight Sun (2020)
Book Review: Prince of Thorns (2011)
[Audiobook Rec] Caught Inside (2016)
Book Review: Caught Inside (2016)
Short Story Review: customer service (2019)
Short Story Review: The Lady or the Tiger? (1882)
Short Story Review: Keys (2020)

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Children’s Book Review Roundup
Book Review: Usha and the Big Digger (2021)
Book Review: Dancing in Thatha’s Footsteps (2021)
Children’s Book Review: Three Lines in a Circle (2021)
Children’s Book Review Roundup
Children’s Book Review: Ruth and the Green Book (2010)
Four great books for kids!
Six fabulous children’s books!

COMICS/GRAPHIC NOVELS

Graphic Novel Review: Forget Me Not (2021)
Graphic Novel Review: Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms (2021)
Graphic Novel Review: White All Around (2021)
Comic Book Review: Always Raining Here (2012)
Buffy, Willow and Comics Galore!

TELEVISION SHOWS

Shows For Hopeless Romantics (multilingual recs)
Top Horror TV Shows
Show Review: Panic (2021)
Show Review: Falsa identidad (2018)
Show Review: Falsa identidad (2018) [pt. 2]
Show Review: Las chicas del cable (2017)
Show Review: Superstore (2015)
Show Review: Castlevania (2017)
Show Review: The Resident (2018)
Show Review: ¿Quién mató a Sara? (2021)
Show Review: Barbaren (2020)
Show Review: New Worlds (2014)
Show Review: 도시남녀의 사랑법 (Lovestruck in the City) [2021]
Show Review: 그 남자의 기억법 (Find Me in Your Memory) [2020]
Show Review: A Discovery of Witches (season two, 2021), Deadwind (2018), Little Fires Everywhere (2020)
Show Review: Outer Banks (2020) & Somewhere Between (2017)
Show Review: The Mandalorian (2019)
Show Review: Alias (2001)
Show Review: Santa Clarita Diet (2017)

FILMS

Underrated Movies You Should Watch
Film Review: Bad Samaritan (2018)
Film Review: Predators (2010)
Film Review: Stardust (2007)
Film Review: Breaking and Entering (2006)
Film Review: Possession (2009)
Film Reviews: Battle (2018) & Fierce (2020)
Film Review: Break (2018)
Film Review: Stoker (2013)
Short Film Review: Query (2020)
Film Reviews: The Darjeeling Limited (2007) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Last year’s end of the year(s): Honourable Mentions of 2020, 2020: End of Year Favs, Audiobook Recommendations.

a drawn man holding a coffee behind a draw woman with sunglasses; text says 'author interviews, indie book spotlight'

AUTHOR INTERVIEWS
Author Interview: Sinnamon Carnelian
Author Interview: Ciarán West
Author Interview: Mansur Hasib
Author Interview: Val Neil
Author Interview: Alan Denham
Author Interview: Barbara Avon
Author Interview: Rita A. Rubin
Author Interview: Maxime Jaz
Author Interview: Chris Clancy
Author Interview: Elford Alley
Author Interview: Dan McKeon
Author Interview: Elena Nix
Author Interview: Charlotte Sullivan Wild
Author Interview: M. W. McLeod
Author Interview: L. Krauch
Author Interview: Sarah Bell
Author Interview: D.N. Schmidt
Author Interview: Casie Aufenthie
Author Interview: Courtney Maguire
Author Interview: Diana L. Smith
Author Interview: Jamie Jackson
Author Interview: Luther Kross

*I have about 50+ more interviews to come, so if I post any more before the end of the year, I’ll update this page to include them!

I believe that wraps up the year of reviews, interviews and more! If there are any bad links or if I mis-labelled a book’s genre, do let me know. 🙂

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