June 20, 2017

Guest Post: Tamara Beard, Owner of Wrapped Up Writing {Top 5 Books}

Tamara Beard is the owner of Wrapped Up Writing, a business that provides editing, proofreading, and content writing services. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a writing concentration and communications minor, from the University of Tennessee at Martin. She currently lives in Nashville, and enjoys reading, traveling, and volunteering in her spare time. Connect with her on her website at wrappedupwriting.weebly.com or on Facebook (@wrappedupwriting).

With hundreds of thousands of books being released each year, readers often have a hard time choosing what book to read next. I know that I have over 500 books on my Kindle alone that have not been read yet. We will not even begin to try and count my paperback mountains. While I am always excited to begin a new book, I am also anxious to see if it will meet my standards. What standards, you ask? The standards set by my very favorite books. Every reader has their own personal standard set by the books that changed, impacted, or moved them in an unforgettable way. Luckily, I have come across many books that have done this to me. However, five books in particular will always stand out for one reason or another as a phenomenal Indie book. Not everyone will love them, but their distinct features that I explain below are undeniable. Without further ado, here are my five favorite Indie books.

#5. In the Air by Crystal Serowka: If you are looking for a book filled with more than one kind of passion, you have found it. The book was not perfect; however, it is obvious that it has a creative and unique storyline that gives the author a lot of potential. The romance in this book is sweet and suspenseful, but the couple’s passion for ballet is inspiring and moving. Set in the city that never sleeps, you will lay awake with anticipation of what the next page holds. Natalia and Samson, the main characters, will not disappoint you as you laugh, cry, and fall in love alongside them. Serowka sets herself apart from other authors with her use of real-life situations—sickness and death, hopes and dreams, and the rollercoaster of emotions that comes with being young adults—and the inevitable real-life consequences. This is not just a romance, it is a look at the journey of a girl who lost the love of a lifetime, but continued to grow through a love for dance and unlikely companions.

#4. The Edge of Darkness by Melissa Andrea: This book allows readers to step inside a world that is unlike anything they have probably ever experienced. While the author does not transport the reader to a different time or world, the setting will be unrecognizable for many. Trapped inside the experiences of a girl with a disability, readers can better understand the challenges, embarrassments, and even hopes of the main character. All the while, a love will begin to bloom that cannot be stopped by any darkness that gets in its way. Araya’s differences may separate her from everyone else, but when Ryland discovers what they are, he does not let them overtake her life. He shows her that she can live her life to the fullest, regardless of these obstacles. As a person who can relate to the main character’s struggles, I can say that Andrea’s command of character development is unique, thorough, and entirely realistic. This is a must-read for anyone looking for a story about the life of an extraordinary girl and a romance that beats the odds. It will not only raise the temperature with its passionate heat, but it will also touch your heart with its real-life struggles and achievements.

#3. The Grey Wolves Series by Quinn Loftis: I’m going to cheat a little here and use an entire series instead of a single book. Why do I feel the need to list the entire series? Because I love the series as a whole and believe that a reader cannot truly see the entire value of this author’s writing unless they have read three or four of her books. This series easily captures readers’ attention because of Loftis’s ability to overlay a natural, earthly landscape with supernatural details. The author takes advantage of the unknown by creatively mixing a foreign landscape and a magical world that are both uniquely new to the reader. Due to her careful and thorough development of each character, readers continue to crave more of each character. Not willing to disappoint, Loftis continues to give each character a moment to tell their own story in a personal, refreshing way. As this series will surely begin to draw to a close, it continues to produce sweet, YA love that does not require heavy bedroom scenes to demonstrate its authenticity. Full of joy, grief, love, and hate, this series follows an entire family as they cling together through each individual’s journey.

#2. FURY by Fisher Amelie: I still have a book hangover from this story… and I read it two years ago. FURY is a standalone novel of the Seven Deadly Series. In this captivating series, Amelie takes each of the seven deadly sins and crafts an emotional, descriptive story to demonstrate the consequences of living out each sin, as well as how self-determination and love can overcome that sin. With VAIN, GREED, and FURY already released and IDLE on its way, these books are packed full of well-developed characters, significant themes, and engaging plots that leave you craving more. I specifically love FURY the most so far because of Amelie’s highly successful attempt to truly capture the sin. VAIN and GREED were fantastic books, but in FURY you can literally feel as the protagonist’s blood boils and emotions erupt. Ethan becomes so consumed with fury that he cannot see straight, and readers try so hard to speed read in anticipation that their vision begins to blur as well. As the truly unique story idea and resonating themes keep me coming back for more, there is no comparison to Amelie’s fantastic use of language, sharp wit, and engaging descriptions.

#1. Collide by Shelly Crane: There are so many reasons why this will always be my favorite book. For starters, this was the first Indie book I ever read. It is because of this book, which I stumbled upon by accident, that I was introduced to the Indie world. There are hundreds of wonderful people and phenomenal books that I never would have discovered otherwise. However, that is not the only reason I love this book. Crane artfully created an otherworldly scenario that kept readers on the edge of their seats and begging for more. Full of plot twists and complicated relationships, Collide is a must-read paranormal romance perfect for young teens and mature adults. Although this was Crane’s first novel, her creativity shines through in the plot, setting, and especially character development. Since this release, Crane has continued to write fantastic books full of original plot lines and fantastical characters. As her success continues and her writing ability reaches new limits, Collide will always remain the starting point that definitively left its mark on the writing world. 

I hope this list helped you decide what your next must read book will be. If you happened to have already read all of the books mentioned above, feel free to join me in reminiscing on how fantastic it was to read them! Reading is a journey through which we experience, learn, and grow. Just like in life, sometimes it is important to think back on wonderful memories as a way to relive our past emotions and compare the past to current experiences. For this reason, I always love discussing my favorite books and the standards they seem to set for my reading experience. Do you have a favorite book that I need to stick in my to be read pile? Do we both love the same book? Let me know in the comments! I look forward to some recommendations. Until then, happy reading!

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