Having reached the end of the search, I don't have an independently-published novel to rave about this week. So, instead here are three that were included as part of my search...
Catalyst (Tethered Book1) by Jennifer SnyderPublication date: 1st May 2012.
The premise of the novel is a good one but it is mostly about the cat and mouse exchanges between female protagonist, Addison, and one of the local boys, Kace. Kace is fully aware of the magic inside of them that is causing the strong attraction they feel for each other and he believes it is only natural that they give in to it. So, he spends most of his time trying to talk her into bed and she weakly plays hard to get for a bit, before giving in. I don't want to sound prudish; I have no problem with these two characters carrying on a relationship based purely on physical attraction, but these exchanges are repetitive and dominate the story. Nothing significant happens until the last two chapters. The climax read like a spoof of the 'Scary Movie' type. In that sense it was comedic - but I have no idea whether it was intentionally so. The central plot starts to emerge just as the book ends, suggesting that Book 2 could actually be a better one. I'm probably going to give it a miss though.
Reaper's Novice (Soul Collector Book 1) by Cecilia RobertPublication date: 8th January 2013
I would give this novel full marks for the cover and I like that the setting was in Vienna (makes a refreshing change from some small town in America). I really wanted to like it and finish it but I failed on both counts. (It's just not for me.). I was expecting fantasy fiction but it was mostly about a teenage girl's daily routine and relationship with friends, boyfriend & family, while the paranormal plot was vague. The author insisted on holding back in that regard, supposedly to maintain an air of mystery, but I was more frustrated than mystified and gave up in the end.
Both of the above novels are the first of a series and I suspect that this is part of the problem. I am convinced they had the potential to be great stand-alones. Instead, in both cases, they are in a series where the central plot is being spread thinly over several books, rendering them flimsy. As a result they contain a lot of padding. I believe this to be an increasingly common problem with books that make up a series (independently-published or otherwise).
The Ninth Orphan (The Orphan Trilogy Book 1) by James and Lance Morcan.Publication date: 16th June 2011
The premise is basically a cross between two TV shows of the early 00s: Dark Angel (by James Cameron and Charles Eglee) about a genetically-enhanced bunch of teens who were created to be superior soldiers/assassins and one breaks out and goes on the run, and Alias (by JJ Abrams) about an American secret agent working for SD6, who she believed to be a black ops branch of the CIA but is actually a private organisation very much like 'The Omega Agency' in this novel. Both protagonists (strong female characters) were 100 times smarter than Nine (the protagonist in this book). I have the box sets and I would prefer to watch them again than continue reading this.
My full review on GRs
This concludes my November 2013 Indie Author Showcase.