Best Indie Books for Spring

There’s no lack of good books to read. The trick is finding a way to sort through to find the best ones!

Here at IndieReader, our job is to recommend the best self-published, hybrid, and small press books. Those that receive a rating of 4-5 stars (the top being 5 stars) are deemed IndieReader Approved.

For your reading pleasure we have compiled a list of the top indie books for Spring!   

The Bush Clinic: Book One of The Tribal Wars by Stella Atrium

the bush

What’s better than a great science fiction book?  How about an award-winning four book part series! 

Stella Atrium’s The Tribal Wars series begins with The Bush Clinic, in which a rural clinic doctor discovers her cause to support the tribal women in their struggle for home rule. Dr. Greensboro takes a mixed-race girl named Brianna as a student, and forms bonds with lizard-like creatures called gualareps. Dr. Greensboro and her allies move from simply reacting to a medical crisis toward daring to achieve more sweeping changes. The rich, convincing world-building makes the off-world characters’ cultures feel immediately believable, as though they truly exist on the other side of our galactic neighborhood.

The reader also follows Brianna’s coming-of-age story until she has an opportunity to jump back to her father’s world on Earth. Brianna carries the narrative in Book 2, The Body Politic, where we meet Hershel Henry, an Australian photojournalist who has come adventuring into the galaxy’s Westend. With the most recent release of Book 4, Tribal Logic, we expand the worldview to include a military coup at Stargate Junction and Henry’s tense rescue mission into the asteroid field.

Atrium started her series with the principle that female characters drive the plots of her stories. She looked at women in combat zones and saw that they had no protection, no cover, no rights—not even to clean water. How did they manage to feed the children and stay clean? In a free emerging democracy, women must secure the right to vote, the right to open a business, to own property, to choose when to have kids. Access to capital is critical to have a voice in business and in politics, so she developed several of these character types to see what obstacles they addressed, what bad behavior they indulged in, and how much social power they could accrue. But that doesn’t mean the male characters are neglected. In fact, some get heroic roles as militia leaders or generals in the peace-keeping corps. After all, a woman is more interesting when an interesting man pursues her (and vice versa).

You can find the whole Tribal Wars series at Stella’s website, follow her on Twitter and Bookbub.

The Monarchs by Mark Sabbas

The Monarchs Front Cover

Searching for a book (and planned trilogy!) that combines science and spirituality?

The eyes are windows to the universe, if one knows how to look. For a select group of extraordinary children in Mark Sabbas’s The Monarchs, this has never been more apparent. Born into a world ravaged by war, Samuel Helen is among the first in a wave of “new youth” children who possess abnormally large eyes and breathtaking psychic abilities. But Samuel’s powerful telekinesis cannot be managed by the team of scientists at General George Mabus’s military facility. His only solace is found in sessions with his wise tutor, Walter (who introduces him to music and philosophy), and his cherished weekly visits with an ordinary orphan girl, Evelyn.

When a twist of fate sends Samuel and Evelyn into uncharted territory, Samuel is forced to confront dark shadows from his past in order to unlock the deepest wells of his psyche—as well as the universe itself. He also discovers deep spiritual truths while harnessing his abilities and facing off with vengeful enemies. Soon he realizes that he is part of something much greater than he could have ever imagined.

Although The Monarchs boasts colorful characters, riveting psychic action, and an engaging plot filled with romance, humor, and wisdom, the philosophical and metaphysical themes truly set this book apart from your typical novel. Commencing with Samuel’s conversations with Walter, this book boldly addresses pertinent questions, such as the existence of God, free will versus predestination, the nature of consciousness, and the soul’s true purpose. Regardless of readers’ particular beliefs, the enlightening wisdom found in these pages can help people expand their awareness. This is a book that breaks paradigms, inspires, and awakens.

As an extension to Walter’s Musical Theory of the Universe—or, in Samuel’s words, the view that “all things could be expressed through vibration, sound and geometry”—readers will discover an added dimension with scattered references to music lyrics from artists ranging from The Beatles to Jimi Hendrix to The Flaming Lips. Some of them reveal hidden messages pertaining to the story when deciphered correctly. (All quoted lyrics have been used with permission.)

The Monarchs can be enjoyed by anyone from young adults to an older demographic, particularly those interested in its unique metaphysical themes. Also, though it stands well on its own, the book is planned to be the first installment in a time-bending trilogy. The author’s genuine wish is that readers will come away from it feeling deeply inspired and spiritually uplifted.

The Monarchs is available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And readers can find out more about Sabbas’s process for writing the book here.

MORI: The Lost Ones Volume 1 by Michael Seagard

MORI Kindle

Love a great mystery?  Look no further than Michael Seagard’s Mori: The Lost Ones Volume 1, a suspenseful story infused with ghostly magical realism and touches of uncanny horror. After a psychedelic encounter with a disembodied voice, reclusive Miles “Mori” Morhart becomes convinced that a message of unfathomable importance has been hidden for him in a place that no one would expect. As he sets out to find it, he crosses paths with his alluring neighbor, Sofie, who has reasons of her own for joining his strange quest across modern-day Los Angeles.

The secret they uncover is deeply eerie and disturbing, pulling them further into a labyrinthine mystery with someone—or something—malevolent and dangerous at its center. As the shadows deepen and surround them, Mori must find a way to either confront the darkness he has summoned or be consumed by it. A mesmerizing tale brimming with intrigue, menace, and otherworldly revelation, MORI is a novel full of emotional depth—with hope and despair in equal measure.

In the words of IndieReader, this novel is “a thriller that grows stranger, creepier, funnier, and more magical throughout.” Readers may find it makes them cry on one page, and burst out laughing on another. Either way, you’ll find it hard to put down until the story’s stirring conclusion.”

You can find MORI: The Lost Ones Volume 1 on Amazon.

Marginal Man: Life of Emilio Goggio by Paul Redvers Brown


Looking for an historical biography with hope and heart? 

Marginal Man: Life of Emilio Goggio tells the story of author Paul Redvers Brown’s grandfather. His name was Emilio Giuseppe Goggio, born in 1885 into a bourgeois family in Piedmont, Italy. In the fall of 1899, Emilio traveled in steerage to New York City on the S.S. Aller, and from there by train to Boston. Emilio worked in a hat store, graduated from Harvard, and dedicated himself to teaching the Italian language and culture—believing he could reverse the prejudices he saw around him by teaching others about Italy’s gifts to civilization. After Harvard, Emilio took faculty positions at several universities, but the 1922 March on Rome elevated Mussolini to power and pulled a willing Goggio into a growing Fascist movement that was reaching out to all Italians in North America. When Italy joined the Axis in 1940, the man was swept up and sent to jail. After his release, he spent the rest of his life attempting to repair the damage done and restore his honor.

Emilio Goggio’s life was a crusade for multiculturalism during a period of intense nationalism, nativism, and bigotry. In a screenplay he wrote during his darkest days in 1944, he describes the dilemma of Enrico (a thinly veiled depiction of himself): “On account of his Italian origin, however, his attempt to rise above mediocrity is almost doomed to failure and, though an excellent citizen, he finds himself in the position of a marginal man, unhappy in his old surroundings because of his higher education and unhappy in his new environment because unaccepted among the better class of Americans in consequence of his foreign origin.” This book tells the life story of that marginal man. Goggio told the author many anecdotes directly, yet he never told him anything about his experiences in those formative years of his life. Marginal Man helps close a gap in the history of Italian Studies in North America during the years between World War I and World War II. The period was traumatic for many, especially those who had known Italy as an ally in the first World War and were caught off guard when Italy was the enemy in the second. After World War II, those years of Goggio’s life were intentionally blurred. Marginal Man brings the fullness and complexity of his life back into focus.

You can find Marginal Man: Life of Emilio Goggio on Amazon and the author’s website.

The Peculiar Affliction of Thomas Wade Duncan by Kip Koelsch

the pec

Looking for a supernatural mystery adventure?   

Thomas Wade Duncan lost a leg. A casualty of the Civil War’s bloody Battle of Antietam, he wants nothing more than to drift into the comfortably numb embrace of his chosen medicine—forgetting his life before the conflict and the one he’d planned with his fiancée for the aftermath. Instead, the former schoolteacher stumbles through the seedy margins of a fraying nation—fading in and out of consciousness and finding himself somehow marooned on a stark, grey New England island at the onset of winter. Detoxing under the care of Milly, a member of one of the island’s mysterious communities of women, Thomas struggles with his demons and tenuous sobriety as his feverish dreams, hazy recollections, and once-hoped-for future become frustratingly indistinguishable. He also uncovers the sinister secrets of Black Ledge Cove, its elderly matriarch, and the obsession with its odd library—believing he has discovered a way to find peace by tapping into that powerful darkness.

Kip Koelsch’s The Peculiar Affliction of Thomas Wade Duncan is a tidy, atmospheric novella that immediately immerses the reader into the feverishly uncertain world of Thomas Wade Duncan. Readers have described this book as “an unsettling tale” and “[a] dark and brooding account of an uncertain time, flowing like the smoke laden and misty dream-like world that it describes.” This work has a vivid, cinematic quality that makes the narrative both easy and exciting to read.

You can find The Peculiar Affliction of Thomas Wade Duncan on Amazon.

SOUTH KOREA: The Price of Efficiency and Success, 2nd Edition by John Gonzalez and Young Lee 


Looking for a book that will both educate and entertain?  In South Korea: The Price of Efficiency and Success (second edition), authors John Gonzalez and Young Lee combine their backgrounds and professional experiences to look behind the public face of South Korea. Through stories, anecdotes, and hard evidence, they capture Koreans being themselves without the glamour and glitz of K-pop, K-beauty, and K-drama. They examine the conditions, behavioral patterns, and cultural values that helped lift the country from the ashes of the Korean War to the international stage as the fifth-largest economy in Asia and 13th in the world. Their analysis includes the price Koreans have paid for the country’s astonishing achievements and its existing social inequality. In the current edition, the authors have thoroughly revised and updated the narrative, incorporating a discussion of recent significant events, such as the deadly 2022 Itaewon crowd crush.

The reader and professional reviews of this book since its publication have been quite positive, averaging 4.5 stars on Amazon as of the time this piece was written. South Korea: The Price of Efficiency and Success appeals to a wide audience, as the universal themes covered in the work touch the very core of human experience. This is a compelling narrative that effectively uses various sources to both support the authors’ theories and present a balanced perspective.


You can find SOUTH KOREA: The Price of Efficiency and Success, 2nd Edition on Amazon in Kindle format here, in paperback format here or on IngramSpark here.

Trauterose: Growing Up in Postwar Munich


Are historical memoirs more your thing?  Trauterose: Growing Up in Postwar Munich by Elisabeth Haggblade is a non-fiction first-person account of the postwar years in Munich, Germany—where the war is an ever-present shadow that has left physical and psychological marks. What was it like to be orphaned at birth in the winter of 1942 in Munich, and to spend the next eleven years as a foster child in the family of a former SS-officer? What was it like, after the death of one’s foster mother, to live for seven years in a home for children under the aegis of Catholic Sisters? What was it like to immigrate to the United States at age eighteen without family support or knowledge of English? In telling her story, the author draws portraits of people that have affected her life, for good or ill, and describes the rooms and furniture as silent witnesses to her family’s daily struggle. The work is book-ended with critical thoughts about nationality: specifically, being considered German in the United States versus being American in Germany. She closes with reflections on today’s Germany, with the past intruding on the present, and with inherited trauma and guilt still pursuing her.

In Haggblade’s research, she finds the available literature consists mainly of two types:  Histories, meaning more in the academic sense, or intimate stories that lack reference to the larger backdrop. 

Her approach is twofold:  First, she guides the reader through the daily routine.  She strives to have the reader experience how the hardscrabble preoccupation with food and shelter was complicated by additional issues such as health and behavior, and how it was even mirrored in recreational pursuits. Second, she reflects on changes in Germany and how these have molded her attitude toward her country of birth.

You can find Trauterose on the author’s website or on Amazon and an interview with the author here.



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