Indie books on my reading list for 2021

Who doesn’t love a good TBR list? Here’s a non-exhaustive list of the books I plan to read over the rest of the year. If you’re a fellow fantasy fan, you’re in for a treat…

Feathers of Snow & Feathers of Blood by Alice Ivinya

How flipping gorgeous are those covers? I love covers with women in beautiful dresses – especially if they’re holding a weapon!

This series is an adaptation of the Goose Girl fairytale, and Ivinya puts such a unique twist on every fairytale she chooses to adapt, plus her characters are diverse and inclusive, bringing old traditional tales right up to date.

Find the Kingdom of Birds and Beasts series on Amazon

Blood and Promise & Chaos and Destiny by Miranda Lyn

The third and final installment of this stunning fae series is coming out very soon, so you and I will be able to binge read to our hearts’ content!

Miranda recently made the incredibly brave and admirable decision to change the title of book one, having built up a lot of exposure with the title Blood and Honor, after a fan contacted her to inform her of the terrible connotations behind that name. Something Miranda had been completely unaware of, and that she absolutely did not want her book to be associated with or to take lightly and potentially cause harm and offense.

I think Blood and Promise has an even better ring to it, and I can’t wait to jump into this series as soon as book three, Fate and Flame, is released!

Find the Fae Rising series on Amazon

Crystal, Rebel & Legacy by Darby Cupid

Another set of eye-wateringly beautiful covers – I guess I’m a sucker for a good cover, but honestly who wouldn’t want these on their shelf? The Starlatten series is a contemporary sci-fi trilogy, and the final book just came out this week so it’s prime binge-reading material!

If you read and loved The Mirror Souls by Julia Scott, I can see this being your next must-read.

Find the Starlatten series on Amazon

Awakening Shadows and Whispering Shadows by Sydney Hawthorn

Now, Whispering Shadows doesn’t actually come out until June, but Sydney just revealed the cover and I couldn’t not include it here beside it’s equally gorgeous sister.

The Navarre Chronicles is a high fantasy series with royalty, magic, a warrior princess and a demon king – basically everything I love!

Find Awakening Shadows on Amazon

Hopefully you’ve seen something on this list that takes your fancy, I love supporting fellow indie authors and would love to know if you buy any of these or add them to your TBR!

What’s a book your really looking forward to reading this year?



Success! You're on the list.

Why it’s OK to be bad at something new

I hate the term “overnight success”, don’t you? It’s never accurate, in fact statistically speaking, it takes around ten years for most of those people we deem “successful” to reach the point in their careers of being touted as an overnight success in the media.

That’s crazy, right? To have worked your arse off for a decade, grown your skills, built your brand and earned your success – only for it to be immediately reduced and belittled by the press who call it “overnight”, as though you hadn’t been killing it for years before you became a household name.

It not only completely disparages all the hard work of the successful individual, it also gives a completely false impression of achieving goals and getting recognition to those of us still reaching for that unreachable star. The concept of an overnight success can cause us to give up before we make it, because we start to believe that if it was meant for us – or worse, if we were “good enough” – then surely we would have made it by now?

But that just isn’t the case. If you want something, and you’re willing to work HARD for it, then there’s every chance you can achieve it. I’m obviously speaking from a place of privilege (as a white woman from a nuclear family with a parent who went to university before me), and I know that my experience isn’t everyone’s, but I want to believe that anyone can be who they want to be and do what they want to do. I want to live in a world where that is true, and I will fight alongside anyone who is working towards their big goal, whatever that may be.

How to be OK with sucking at something new

  1. Remember, there’s no such thing as an “overnight success”. Keep trying, keep aiming for your goal and don’t give up.
  2. Read more biographies and autobiographies about people you admire – you’ll soon realise they faced many of the same struggles as you on their journey towards success.
  3. Find your tribe – look for the people and groups online who are also working towards your same goal, open up to them and they’ll reassure you that the process is the same for every newbie (and hopefully they’ll encourage you to keep trying!).
  4. Get OK with being vulnerable. Share your attempts, admit when you fail – somebody somewhere is so inspired by you and your progress. Do it for the old you, the one who dared to dream and didn’t quite believe they could do it. You’re doing it!
  5. Remind yourself that you might fail one hundred times, but it only takes one time for you to succeed. Every single person who ever succeeded started as a beginner, overcame challenges, learned from failures, and eventually achieved their goal. One day, that person will be you.

Try, fail, try again, fail better

I have failed many, many times in my life. I’ve never hit 50k words during NaNoWriMo, I entered Pitch Wars with my first manuscript and didn’t get in, I queried around 40 agents and got some pleasant responses but not even a single full request. I kept writing, kept rewriting, kept sharing my journey here on my blog and on Instagram with the incredible writing and reading community over there, and just over a year ago I made the bold decision to self publish. And I haven’t looked back.

I certainly haven’t achieved my version of overnight success yet, but that’s all part of the thrill. Where do you go once you’re considered “successful”? I guess it becomes a game of maintaining it and living to everyone else’s expectations of you, and that’s just not as much fun to me.

Keep trying, dear reader. Never stop trying.



Book trailers: love or loathe?

If there’s one thing that divides the bookish community more than any other, it’s book trailers.

OK, and love triangles, but book trailers are pretty controversial.

Personally, I love them. Nothing gets me more excited for a new book than a trailer with epic music, flashes of the characters in exciting scenarios, and gripping titles that give me just enough of the plot to really grab my attention.

One of my closest friends is brilliantly talented at creating and editing videos (she edits all my [frankly terrible] video snippets for my day job) and she made these absolutely gorgeous trailers for my debut novel, The Fair Queen, and my short story anthology, Enchanted Waters.

Sound on for an epic cinematic experience!

The Fair Queen book trailer
Enchanted Waters book trailer

I honestly fangirl over my own stories watching these.

The first book trailer I think I ever saw was for Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, which is still one of my favourite series. It was captivating and lured me in, and sadly I thought it meant there was a movie in the works because I had never come across the concept of a book trailer before. Now I’m addicted to watching them – although they still make me wish every book would be turned into a film.

Have you read Nevernight by Jay Kristoff? It’s a really dark and bloody adult fantasy series inspired by Roman culture, with some of the most incredible world-building I’ve ever experienced. There are three suns so it is almost literally “nevernight”. Genius.

Anyway, I digress.

So, an actress named Piera Forde decided to film a series of shorts adapted from Nevernight and share them on her YouTube channel, and it is one of my favourite things. To have an actor love your book so much that they decide to fund their own serial adaptation of the story? Absolute author bucket list item right there.

(Piera actually has a short film of The Assassin’s Blade by S. J. Maas on her channel too – definitely worth a watch to see her play Celaena!)

If anyone feels like doing the same thing for The Fair Queen, let me know! I’m all for it.