2020 Indie Author Reviews

JANUARYChange Your Mind – Sugar Daniels

Sex, Drugs, & Rock and Roll!

Change your mind. (One last song series Book 1) by [Daniels, Sugar]Reviewed in the United States on January 26, 2020

This book takes a no nonsense look at many controversial topics in society and does not hold back. Murder, drugs, sex, domestic abuse, and the underground crime syndicates surrounding the rich and famous take center stage in one of the most uniquely written stories I have ever read. Each chapter is a first person account from a different character’s point of view, which I found intriguing and fascinating!

FEBRUARYOver the Borderline – Leanna Floyd

Wonderful Psychological Thriller!

Reviewed in the United States on February 19, 2020Over the Borderline by [Floyd, Leanna]

Dr. Floyd is an incredible storyteller! Over the Borderline is a compelling story with intriguing characters that you easily want to root for. The trial of Zach Barton was fascinating, and peppering in scenes with the unknown Surfside Killer made me want to keep going until the end. With the cliffhanger ending, I’m anxious to read the next book in the series!

MARCHThe Chosen Seven – Gill D. Anderson

The Chosen Seven by [Anderson, Gill D]Reviewed in the United States on March 20, 2020

Gill Anderson’s The Chosen Seven is a nail biting thriller that takes you on a journey through the minds of a diverse and ensemble cast of characters, several of whom find themselves trapped in a restaurant by a radical terrorist with an insane mission. The author mixes the elements of drama, action, and romance, and she does a fantastic job telling the stories of all these characters. Well done!

APRILThe Safeguarded Heart – Melanie A. Smith

Reviewed in the United States on April 18, 2020

Melanie Smith’s debut novel was nothing short of captivating. The plots surroundingThe Safeguarded Heart (The Safeguarded Heart Series Book 1) by [Melanie A. Smith] Sera’s relationships (those with Alessandro, her mom, Bryce, and her co-workers especially) are well developed and helps her own overall character development. The conflict surrounding her company and the sabotage from within was a wonderful sub-plot and well drawn out. I enjoyed the story from beginning to end, and the cliffhanger does well to keep the reader wanting to see where Smith goes next with her main characters. I am very interested in continuing this series!

MAYHope Quest Book 1: Blackbird – Melanie Ever Moore

Hope Quest: Book 1: Blackbird (Hope Quest trilogy) by [Melanie Ever Moore]Reviewed in the United States on May 19, 2020

The first book of the Hope Quest series introduces the reader to a number of compelling characters, but the mystery surrounding its main protagonist is what keeps this book going until its cliffhanger ending. It is a sad tale indeed, and I hope (pun intended) to see her develop into a stronger heroine in the next novel, now that many truths have been revealed.

JUNELeft in Good Spirits – Anne Pleydon

Powerful look at youth incarceration and mental health

Reviewed in the United States on June 29, 2020Left In Good Spirits (Merivale Series Book 1) by [Anne Pleydon]

JULYTop County: Case Closed – KN Messier

A fun, easy read that keeps your interest!

Top County: Case Closed by [K. N. Messier, Austin James Robinson]Reviewed in the United States on July 25, 2020

If you want to take in a book that is fun, straightforward, and easy to follow with a compelling story, grab Top County: Case Closed. The plot and characters were strong, and it was easy knowing who to root for. Also, the twists were unexpected, and the dark element introduced in the second half of the book (NO SPOILERS) was eye-opening and makes you root even harder for the protagonists.

AUGUST – Someone’s ThereCJ Grayson

Reviewed in the United States on August 19, 2020

SEPTEMBER – Hidden Realm (Legends of Lightning Book 1)T.R. Slauf

Reviewed in the United States on September 23, 2020

Hidden Realm (Legends of Lightning #1)In the debut novel by author T.R. Slauf, the reader is introduced to Esther, a timid librarian whose bizarre dreams eventually lead her to another world where she is dubbed the Realm Walker, a powerful individual who others in this new world believe will save them from the evils trying to take over. Esther is a complicated character, one who struggles with her identity throughout the novel, but you still want to root for her to discover her powers and overcome her fears in order to take down the main antagonists (primarily the wolves and the Red Witch). The author does a good job developing the characters and telling the story of Esther and the others she encounters along the way. The setting is dark and ominous, and you can picture Esther’s surroundings, which makes you push for her to survive the nonstop onslaught she faces. The ending leaves you with a number of unanswered questions, but because this is the first book in a series, the author is leading the readers into the next entry, which is to be expected.

OCTOBER – Lily – Ashley Greathouse

Reviewed in the United States on October 12, 2020Lily (Lily Green Book 1) by [Ashley Greathouse, Gabriella Messina]

A chilling tale of an unhinged maniac, or is Lily just a misunderstood girl? There are many questions about who exactly is Lily Green, and author Ashley Greathouse does an amazing job keeping the reader on his toes in this spine tingling novel about a woman who responded to evil with her own brand of horror. Lily has been on a killing rampage for a decade, and when she is finally captured, she enters a special place for people like her – a place where experimental procedures attempt to rehabilitate even the worst killers in the world. But when Lily disappears right before the big unveiling of her treatments, we are led to wonder if she has escaped and is going on another rampage. The twists and turns in this one are thrilling, and the ending leads us to believe that this tale is only the beginning, and Lily will be back in the near future!

NOVEMBER – Once Upon a Death – Dzintra Sullivan

Death never takes a holiday – but he does retire!

Once Upon a Death (Days of Death #1)Reviewed in the United States on November 24, 2020

With a most unique plot, author Dzintra Sullivan delves into the story of death, or more specifically, the Grim Reaper. The reaper has retired and moved to the small community of Deadend with his trusted assistant, Rork. As the duo attempts to settle into a quiet life of retirement, the community (and death) come calling. Murder in this little community forces the former soul taker to become a private detective (all the while trying to fit in as a member of the decorating committee.).
This dark comedy is such a fun, creative tale with some strong characters and plot twists that will keep you entertained until the end!

DECEMBER – Experiment X: Sacrifice – Nikki Haase

The War has just begun!

Reviewed in the United States on December 26, 2020Experiment X: Sacrifice by [Nikki Haase]

In the first book of the Experiment X series, author Nikki Haase takes her readers on a bizarre journey where we discover a secret government plot to create the ultimate in human weapons, using the elements of the earth to give these superhumans their powers. But the inhumane treatment of the subjects leads to a bloody revolt, as the superhumans must band together to take out the lab where they were held and all the evil within.

This novel doesn’t shy away from sensitive topics, and first person narrative of its lead, Karen, gives the reader the perspective of a gifted person who did not experience the horrors of the lab the way the others did. I enjoyed how the superpowers were connected to elements (fire, earth, water, air), and the dark secrets of the lab were shocking, even if all secrets were not revealed. I’m anxious to read the next book in the series!



Published by: Eric Woods

Eric Woods resides in Springfield, Illinois and has been writing since grade school. He has published five novels, two novellas, and has appeared in horror anthologies. He serves as a tour guide for the Lincoln Ghost Walk in Springfield and was a collegiate speech and debate coach for seven years. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s Degree in Communication from the University of Illinois Springfield.

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