Top Book Club Picks – Indie Reads!

*If you are new here, WELCOME! In this post, I’ll share Top Book Club Picks – Indie Reads – that Your Book Club Should Read!

Top Book Club Picks - Indie Reads
Top Book Club Picks – Indie Reads

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. In the event of a sale, I will be awarded a small commission (at no extra cost to you or the featured book’s author). All opinions are 100% mine and every book, unless otherwise noted, is handpicked by me to be featured on the site.

You may or may not realize that in the last decade scores of talented writers have decided to forgo traditional publishing and chosen instead to embrace a more entrepreneurial way of getting their books into the hands of readers.

For you, the reader, it shouldn’t matter how the book came to you, only that, for the 350 pages it was with you, it touched your life in some way.

Perhaps you read a self-published or small publisher book in the past and it…well, it wasn’t very good.

Well, let me tell you that times have changed.

What used to be a way for people who shouldn’t publish to get a dusty manuscript out too soon is now a viable option for talented authors to take control of their publishing careers and publish books that you, the reader, really love.

That said, it’s still difficult to find these gems on Amazon or elsewhere when the algorithm favors large publishing houses (including Amazon’s own Lake Union).

So today I’m featuring “Indie” books that you really should read as a book club! (In the future I’ll try to post more about the difference between self-publishing and small publishers, but this list includes a little of both!)

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Lainey Cameron, whose book The Exit Strategy is on this list, for offering more than a few suggestions for this list when I asked.

Lainey is a champion for authors and you can find her fantastic podcast where she features the Best of Women’s Fiction, HERE!

She’s also an all-around great person and digital nomad whose Instagram account will have you sighing with jealousy at her fantastic adventures. If you don’t follow her, check her out!

Top Indie Published Reads for Your Book Club

In this list you’ll find novels chock-full of interesting characters, some romance, a little adventure, and more! There’s something on this list that every book club will enjoy.

Explore these talented authors that other readers are loving. Many of the books listed boast multiple literary awards!

Here’s a quick list of the 10 Top Book Club Picks – Indie Reads! featured in this post:

The Restaurant

Do you love feel-good books about sisters and food and love? I do! The Restaurant by Pamela Kelley combines all three in a delicious happily-ever-after book.

Jill, Emma, and Mandy were thick as thieves growing up, but years and families of their own have separated the sisters. Now, living hundreds of miles apart, they try to stay close, but their childhood on Nantucket seems like a lifetime ago.

When their beloved grandmother, Rose, dies, the sisters learn that she left them both her Nantucket home and the island’s most popular restaurant. Shocked to learn their grandmother owned Mimi’s Place, they’re in for a bigger surprise when they realize they must run the restaurant for an entire year together or the place will go to the head chef, Paul.

As the sisters return to Nantucket, love, laughter, and food reunite them in new and unexpected ways!

The Restaurant

Dire’s Club

If you loved Anxious People and The Bucket List, then I think you will love Dire’s Club by Kimberly Packard.

A terminal diagnosis is hard on those being left behind, but it’s harder on those whose lives are cut short. That’s where Dire’s Club steps in. Jimmy Dire started the business to give the terminally ill one final bucket-list adventure before leaving this life behind–he just didn’t realize how expensive offering end-of-life hope would be.

Charlotte Claybrooke is a life coach who has built a successful career helping people deal with grief, but she’s hiding a dark secret. Ten years after the tragedy that launched her career, she still hasn’t dealt with her own momentous grief and the burden is crushing her. Killing her, really.

When Charlotte signs up for a Dire’s Club trip under false pretenses, she never expects the eccentric cast of dying trip-mates to be exactly what she needs. But Charlotte isn’t the only one keeping a secret, Jimmy’s clock is ticking and, with investors breathing down his neck, he needs a solution quick or this might just be the last Dire’s Club ever.

Dire’s Club

The Chocolatier

If you loved Chocolat (the book or the movie), you’ll love Jan Moran’s The Chocolatier.

With fewer elements of magical realism but plenty of chocolate and romance, the novel takes place in post-WWII Italy.

When second-generation chocolatier, Celina Savoia, loses her husband to a mysterious death, she decides to travel to the Italian Amalfi Coast to introduce her son to his father’s family.

Italy offers Celina an escape from her grief as she crafts her chocolate in the romantic seaside village and grows to love her husband’s family, but secrets about her husband’s true identity and his dark actions during the final days of WWII threaten her newfound life.

To find the truth and save the life she’s grown to love, Celina travels to a remote Peruvian cocoa region with her husband’s brother, Lauro, to face the deceit that is threatening to destroy them all.

The Chocolatier

Boop and Eve’s Road Trip

I love a book where a younger character is paired with an older character, don’t you? In Boop and Eve’s Road Trip, Eve Prince’s search for her MIA best friend is hijacked by her grandmother, Boop.

Eve is done with college, boys, her parents, and her ridiculous fashion designer dreams. Boop, a Southern retiree dripping with genteelness, recognizes her granddaughter’s grief and frustration, and sets out on the road trip determined to help her heal.

But, what Eve needs is more that sweet platitudes, and it isn’t far along a trip full of interesting adventures, that Boop realizes she’ll have to reveal a secret she’s kept for sixty years, a secret that could tear her family apart, if she really wants to help Eve.

Boop and Eve’s Road Trip

It All Comes Back to You

In another pairing of an older and younger character, Beth Duke creates an unforgettable duo in her main characters, Violet and Ronni.

In a small Alabama town, post-WWII beauty queen, Violet, (now an octogenarian), meets Ronni, a licensed nurse and an aspiring writer who spends her days at Fairfield Springs assisted living.

Ronni is drawn to Violet the same way the men of Fairfield Springs are–the same way men have always been drawn to Violet–but she’s shocked when Violet dies and leaves her a generous bequest…as long as she writes a book about Violet’s life within a year.

When Violet’s secrets begin to pop up in unexpected places, some in human form and some too close to Ronni’s own life, Ronni realizes she may have agreed to more than she bargained for.

Told in alternating chapters between Violet’s 1947 life and Ronnie’s 2012 struggles, this dual timeline story features an elderly character you won’t soon forget and a young woman struggling to find her way.

It’s sure to be a book club hit!

It All Comes Back to You

The Exit Strategy

Workplace dramas with strong female executives are hard to find. Especially ones that focus on the balance between work life and personal life so many of us are trying to achieve.

Enter The Exit Strategy by Lainey Cameron. (Remember her from the intro of this post? Go check her out if you haven’t!)

Ryn Brennan is a Silicone Valley investor in the male-dominated venture capitalist world. She has a loving husband and her career is at the top of its game–she’s about to close the deal of a lifetime. She never expects to come head-to-head with her husband’s mistress at the negotiation table.

Carly Santos has struggled her whole life–clawing her way out of a life she hated, juggling single motherhood, and becoming an accomplished scientist and cofounder of a biotech company. The company needs funding, though, and she feels lucky to have found an investor.

What she couldn’t possibly foresee is that the primary investor is married to her perfect fiancé–a man who promised to love her and to be a good step-father to her son.

As the truth emerges, the women face a choice: Will they succumb to the male-dominated industry that has brought them together in more than one way or will they rise above, work together to overcome their heartbreak, and find success in unexpected ways?

The Exit Strategy

Goodbye, Orchid

If you love a story about survival, overcoming the odds, and romance, then check out Carol Van Den Hende’s Goodbye, Orchid.

When Phoenix Walker wakes in the hospital after a tragedy, the only person he wants is the love of his life, Orchid. But, he knows that reaching out to her in his condition may break her. She’s already been through unspeakable tragedy that led to her own bouts with panic. How can he burden her more?

And, does true love mean leaving her without explaining why?

Check out this book about love in the face of tragedy, especially if you loved the blockbusters Me Before You and The Fault in Our Stars.

Goodbye, Orchid

Their Last Chance

I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for books revolving around the intricacies of communication, especially in situations where love is involved. I blame Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice for stirring such a fondness for miscommunication in romance trope. If you’ve ever been in a relationship, you know the struggle is all too real.

In Their Last Chance, Hannah and Will Abbott’s marriage is fraying at the seams. Each suspect’s the other of infidelity, and, once lawyers are consulted, they tumble into the throes of a divorce. When Hannah flees with her children against a court order, their impending divorce is suddenly ignited with a social media firestorm (miscommunication, anyone?).

With legal fees rising as fast as their public profile, Will and Hannah reluctantly accept an invitation to a reality show featuring divorcing couples.

Can the beautiful paradise of St. John Island illuminate the good they’ve missed in each other or will it only highlight everything that’s unfixable?

Their Last Chance

Queen of the Owls

While all of the books on this list offer character development with a good character arc (i.e. not just plot driven novels), this novel may be the most literary of the bunch.

The novel revolves around Elizabeth, a Ph.D. student and mother who is completing her dissertation on Georgia O’Keefe and feminist art.

When a photographer convinces her that the only way she can truly understand O’Keefe is by getting into her skin and recreating O’Keefe’s famous nude photographs, Elizabeth agrees. The consequences are both liberating and devastating.

As Elizabeth’s life mirror’s O’Keefe’s, Elizabeth’s desire to be fully known haunts and upends her.

I’ve always been fascinated with Georgia O’Keefe. If you have, too, then check out this award-winning novel.

Queen of the Owls

Sweet Jane

If you’re looking for a literary read, but the Queen of the Owls (above) isn’t your thing, check out this literary novel about a teenage girl who runs away from a drunken mother to a new life.

Vowing to never return, Jane runs to California, and seventeen years later she’s grown into a woman who has overcome her own drug problem, married, and attended grad school. But her fragile existence crumbles when her mother dies.

Forced to return to the small community she ran from, Jane must confront her past and the ghosts that still haunt her in the wake of her mother’s funeral.

A story about complicated family relationship, forgiveness, and self-growth, Sweet Jane is an award winning novel that you’ll enjoy if you love tough, but satisfying reads.

Sweet Jane

And that wraps up the list of Top Book Club Picks – Indie Reads! I hope that you enjoyed reading all of the options available and that you’ll pick a few to read this year!

This is by no means an exhaustive list and I’d love to know what other small press or self-published novels your book club has read and loved!

Until next time, Happy Reading!

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. In the event of a sale, I will be awarded a small commission (at no extra cost to you or the featured book’s author). All opinions are 100% mine and every book, unless otherwise noted, is handpicked by me to be featured on the site.

Mallory
 

I’m Mallory Barnes, a fiction writer living in West Texas. My hope here is to encourage reading and discussion. In the digital age, we often live together so separately. Community and intellectual discussion are harder and harder to come by. I hope that Book Club Bites can help alleviate that by encouraging the birth and growth of book clubs.

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